Liberty and ecossism

Liberty is a matter of compromise. A compromise between the voluntary exercise of one’s choices, the respect toward others, and that as regards the law.
Free will is a matter of judgement, enlightened by conscience, and based upon choices and acts on behalf of ethics.
Thus, choice depending on free will, seems to be circumscribed to the liberty of finding a compromise, that of realising one’s desires in the respect of others and the law.

At a social level, one will say that too extended a liberty deepens inequalities, that too much equality burdens liberty, and that, in principle, fraternity enables a just sharing … But has one exhausted the topic for that ? What may one grant to oneself , and tolerate in others to reach a reasonable and mutual liberty ? Behind what we believe to be our liberty, there are lies concealed, self-blinding, permissiveness of ourselves, indifference to others, and ignorance or transgression of the law. Indeed, in a consubstantial manner, liberty demands an aptitude to master oneself, a capacity that should be acquired all along one’s own quest.

If masonic ethics, in their oral transmission, invite to a sterling humanism, the Scottish rituals mark progress and regression, profitable attempts and failures which want themselves to act as a pedagogy an have no other aim than to set into relief human weaknesses so as to become aware of them.

Thus, the feelings of liberty are alternately guided by emotions, instincts, empathy or the moral law according to each degree. And actions are led by impulse, interest, goodwill or duty. Then, how can one reconcile desires, necessity, beliefs, alterity and humanism ?

Beyond the obligation of silence and the well-being of discovery, the Apprentice degree places the Mason at the foot of the wall which he is to erect. The hope of shaping a better world remains the incentive to progress. Everything is to be reconstructed as if to ward off the profane frustrations which led one to be received into the Craft. It means that a project is on its way.

In the wake of the latter, the degree of Fellowcraft, creates a genuine space of liberty through the essential contribution of work as an emancipating tool, and for a collective undertaking altogether human and solidary. Everyone holds the symbolic place he is to occupy, according to his qualities and qualifications, under the guidance of acknowledged masters. Everything seems to go on its own in a harmonious world. Here, there are no longer apparent constraints but those of a salutary discipline. Art is the joy of free men, as a ritual would say.

The Master’s degree destabilizes this whole construction while staging the dark side of the human face. While leaving their established values and rules, Fellowcrafts misuse the liberty they have been offered because its does not behove them. This murderous takeover engenders disorder, doubts and iniquity. Everything is to be reconstructed anew.

Are then the first two degrees an allurement as regards the third and following ones ?

In the Fourth Degree, the Secret Master sets his free will into relief to try and reconsider the use of values, to perceive a truth that wants itself different from that commonly admitted, so as to learn how to think by himself, get rid of contingencies, false appearances and idolatry. At this level, he must draw lessons from the past, and see the world otherwise, by means of duty and reason, and make out the real levels of action.

In the Fifth Degree, the Perfect Master, while only preserving the best from the defuncted Master, undertakes to overcome what is now completed. He thus carries on with his own enfranchisement and his emancipation from the tutelage of pseudo masters.

In the Sixth Degree, thanks to his commitment, his responsibility and the reconciliation he has realized, the Intimate Secretary, favours a larger social intelligence and frees himself from divisions. A new order is on its way, active and participating.

In the Seventh Degree, Provosts and Judges, who own the building plans, demonstrate their capacity to command, with justice and accuracy, order and concord, so as to prevent any abuse. At this stage, a regulating power also exerted upon itself on the self is instaured and exerted.

In the Eighth Degree, the Buildings Surveyor maintains and perpetuates the works so as to stabilize and preserve that new equilibrating balance. Everything now finds itself in its correct place.
Since the third degree, the pause in the construction, its structured disconstruction and its methodic maintenance thereafter, help passing a free judgement on the work.

In the Ninth Degree, the Elected Master strives to free himself from a part of himself by means of a justifying force. While accomplishing a symbolical necessary revenge against the evil buried within him, he endavours to vanquish himself, to master himself while conjuring a freedom for himself and reaping the clemency of his own conscience for the brutality of the method.

In the Tenth Degree, the Illustrious Elected Master of the Fifteen, carries on with the violent liberation of what is weighing on his conscience, by means of a public demonstrative chastisement. If the methods and rules of life remains still disproportionate, animality looks symbolically vanquished.

In the Eleventh Degree, the Sublime Elected Knight, sets up a liberating governance of the burden of past iniquities while sharing out responsibilities.. Beyond the apparent division, this partition is only meant to set up power relays to reach a regulating balance. The process of justice is on its way. Yet, what is the actual latitude of the candidate in these first Elected Degrees in which selection occurs through drawing, nomination and elimination ?

In the Twelth Degree, a change occurs : the Great Architect Master strengthens his will to free himself from contingencies through creation. Institutions running smoothly, and revenge being accomplished, a new project can be set into action. One deliberately faces the future and universality. Everyone may participate. The doors are no longer guarded.
Yet nothing is eternal. Liberty also depends on others. Societies, buildings as well built as they may be, cannot resist fate and the fights between civilisations. Lusted after because it is a symbol of power, the Temple is destroyed.

In the Thirteenth Degree, the Knight of the Royal Arch, a slave of materiality, while exploring the ruins of his past as well as his own subterranean substructures to look for ancient truths, verges on the limits of his knowledge, of his culture and of his understanding to discover the horizon of his own being, the measure of himself, of his own liberty, and of his moving within his inner space, that of expressing himself with his own thought and language. Thanks to the power of words, as if by their own virtues, doors open on to the unutterable, on the impossible.

In the Fourteenth Degree, the Great Elected Master of the Sacred Vault, Perfect and Sublime Master Mason, resting on his discoveries, affirms his own identity. Yet, disvested of illusions, he must return among his likes, captive in Babylon, the city of slavery to another power, the symbol of delusion and appearance, a world of servitude. He is yet supposed to have demystified the commonly received culture and surveyed what is possible. So as to affirm himself, he has cleft himself in twain. He is aware of the fact that he still remains a prisoner of his condition, of his culture, of his past and of himself and his likes (the centre of the idea still remains between the unutterable word and a vain symbol) . He is also aware that he is fully responsible for his submission, his subjugation, often by necessity, but also by compromise at times ; the word he will utter will doubtless be a liberating one, for, through the degrees of perfection , he has been able to take a glimpse at the weakness of his thoughts and actions, the sense of their finitude and temporality.

In the Fifteenth Degree, the Knights of the East and of the Sword are liberated by their jailor, Cyrus who – frightened by a dream he had – has trained them in the arts of war and let them go to rebuild the Temple. One could say a lot at a psychoanalytic level : the executioner is he through whom liberty may be granted. But nothing is ever granted insofar as they’ll have to fight the enemy as to pass the bridge leading to the promised world. This Liberty of Passing is a collective yet temporary conquest insofar as they still have to fight to rebuild the Temple, with a trowel in one hand and a sword in the other. Here, the liberty of passing meets the liberty of thinking and living together, yet in confrontation and adversity. Staged in this degree (a dominating Cyrus, Zorobabel as a victim, and Samaritans as scapegoats) in which the part of saviour is transferred from Cyrus into the hands of Zorobabel and his troop, the emotional and dramatic triangle confers a new and complex outlook to the development of the topic of liberty, far beyond the mere liberty of passing, essentially resorted to in this degree. The relationship between the protagonists to whom anyone can identify himself becomes as ambiguous and perverse as the tale develops. However, each party seems to find its interest therein, except the Samaritans, the new enemy, the usurpers of the initial identity, whose guilt is to stand for the former self which the heroes wish to get rid of at all costs, obsessed as they are by the reconstruction of the Temple. At this degree, one has reached beyond divinity, mysticism and magics drawn from the past and the ruins of the two preceding degrees, to adopt a warlike tactics and a strategy of reconquest, including the reconstruction of the Temple. The Mason turns into a Knight. Armed as he is, he merges into the logics of honour and fight.

In the Sixteenth Degree, the Prince of Jerusalem finds himself compelled to beg from Darius, the dominating stranger, for the liberty of building together in the legitimacy of power. The delusion of a world in which the place of everyone seemed granted undergo a new fall, reaching within his own ethny. Jerusalem stands for what was lost and which it is imperious to recover at this stage of initiation : the golden age, the ideal of the Fellowcraft degree. But conditions have deeply changed. An institutionalised social authority of justice offers a license to work, and actually the commanding power. Legitimacy, liberty, authority and commanding power keep apace. The fight goes on. Repression and law ( as illusory as they may be) uphold a belief in a better future.

In some way, the 13th, 14th and 15th degrees build up a coherent set in which each player holds a specific part varying between necessity, needs, desires and fantasy.
-  Nabuchodonosor embodies the powerful conqueror, the agressive, envious, megalomaniac rival destroying the ostentation of the Temple, its advantages and its glory. He stands for frustration, covetousness and power. His strength leads the Israelite people into the trial of exile, as a punishment to have been able to erect such a building.
-  In the eyes of the Hebrews, Cyrus appears as the liberator, the saviour. Actually, torn apart by the fear of losing his power in the wake of an ominous dream in which he saw Nabuchodonosor in chains, he starts a series of negociations, seduction, manipulations, blackmail and exchanges with Zorobabel which nevertheless prove fruitless. If he trains the people in the art of war to reconquer Jerusalem, it is probable that he considers it as likely that the ruined Temple is no longer worth a penny, compared with his probable downfall. His motivations are far from being altruistic.
-  Darius embodies a legitimate authority completing the episode and enabling a new project of life by law and decree. His interest meets that of the Hebrews.
-  The people symbolizes the initiates. At first vain, powerful and strong in a Temple so majestuous in others’ eyes, they draw the envious who fight them and drive them into exile. Then, submitted and enslaved, they somehow look masochistic, merely surviving through sufferings and feeling responsible for their guilt. They will evolve along with the degrees bestowed on them. Under the guidance of the magus Guibulum into the subterranean vaults of the Temple to recover their roots, strive to discover the mysteries of their past and appreciate the limits of their egoes, they choose as their chief Zorobabel « from the tribe of Juda, blood prince of David, the first amongst his peers, a freeman by state, and a prisoner by disgrace », who will resist fire and pass waters. …Incorrupted, resisting the temptations of wealth and power in a first stage, Zorobabel will lead the people to victory as a warlord, but without glory. He first fails in his fight with arms,and only recovers liberty while abandoning to his opponents the signs of power (ribbons and rings) which Cyrus had bestowed on him. But above all, he will henceforward give way to his will for power while reconquering and reconstructing the Temple in ruins. From the state of victim, in his turn, he turns into a dominating, persecutinh harrasser of the Samaritans, since he considers he has been invested with the mission and duty to recover his ancestors’ commonweal. Relentlessness, deliberate will, or the victim of Cyrrus’ manipulations in whose trap he fell unaware ? Finally, not succeeding by means of the cementing trowel, nor by the defending sword, he leaves it to Darius’ law and power to work as if strength alone proved inoperative. A new personnel failure or a complete success at all costs ?
-  As for the Samaritans, they are the scapegoatsof the script. In the legend, they are not age-old ennemies. The inhabitants of Samaria, represent 10 of the 12 tribes of Israël, emtombed in the eleventh degree. Long before they took their share in carrying the cedars of Mount Lebanon. According to Esdras 4, 1 to 3, they even proposed to Zorobabel to rebuild the Temple together. They resist the sword in the 15th degree only to yield under the impulse of a foreign pseudo legitimacy in the sixteenth degree, for the vassalized Temple remains the property of Babylon. (Let us remark that they are not alluded to in the Bordeaux ritual of the 15th degree and that they are the enemies to be fought on the bridge of Euphrates in the ritual of the juridisction site of the A.A.S.R).

Are then this people and its leaders to which the Apprentice is supposed to identify with, the victims of others or merely the victims of themselves ? Are they the executioner of themselves or that of others ? Which margin of action is left to them by their rituals ? It has been said that rites were used to preserve and maintain peace in primitive societies, but that their vocation is to condition people in our pretended civilized societies ! So, are they manipulated by their environment, society and its laws ? Have the art of war, the handling of weapons to which they have been trained, really helped them ? A necessary initiatic step, some will answer, as if to test their warring sense.

In the Seventeenth Degree, the scenery changes : the Knight of the East and the West embodies the just, at peace with his conscience, he who thinks and acts faultlessly and without error, he who has rectified many times and thus serenely judges because he has freed himself from his individual contingencies. He is free and strong enough to accept any destructions. « There will always be an open door before him, which no one will ever be able to shut, says the ritual ». The sealed truth of the self inner book (mysteries of heavens, enigmas of origins, bottomless perspectives of the future : end of times, men’s last judgement, advent of a new era) will open into an apocalyptic rumble which free, pure and strong beings are able to overcome, while impious ones will symbolically be chastised. Liberty is set to the test of destruction.

Yet changing man is not changing the world. Disorder and iniquities last on. Temples are destroyed anew and worse, tools are scattered away. One must draw a new lesson and learn how to live otherly, without temple, and soon in wanderings and nomadism. Such is life.

In the Eighteenth Degree, the Knight Rose+Croix, no longer requires any sacred space : the temple is destroyed, space is (at last) open and will never close again afterwards. Liberty seems to rest entirely in the liberation of the carcan and in the (provisory) abandonment of the growing obsession which the Temple has become throughout the degrees, because it is not an end in itself, be it symbolic. And there is no doubt that the substituted mystic, prophetic or symbolic Temple, the revelation of a sudden, ethereated vision, is a blind alley for most of us. The necessary crust of an initiatic process toward the realisation of an acculturation as regards the profane world is no longer useful, Everything becomes transparent, the opening destroys the frontiers between inside and outside. Inner liberty enables availability and allows alterity. A new, stronger and more humanistic law discloses the prospect of a new world. Motivated by faith, the bearer of a word of hope, and freed from himself, the Knight Rose+Croix will perhaps be able to work for the improvement of society. But which share of liberty remains available to those Masons entertaining a dolorist and sacrificial vision of this degree despite the motto « I have that happiness » ? The liberty to sacrify oneself, or a mere exercise of duty ? At which time does duty turn into sacrifice ?

The progressive enfranchisement experimented through the four Chapter Degres conveys its quality to the initiate who from the « utterly good Mason » acknowledged in the Lodges of Perfection, turns into the Free Mason, the enfranchised Mason, vowed to develop the symbolical method necessary to individual, social action. Many ways will discover themselves which must also be known to make a good use of them.

In the Nineteenth Degree, the Great Pontiff no longer fights on bridges, but builds them to link up two shores, two worlds. He is now he who now grants liberty of passing. He has become a passer opening ways towards spirituality, but – it is not to be doubted – the celestial Jerisalem of the ritual will never replace the ruins of the ancient temple . It will remain a mere hope, a promise, a belief, an ideologgy, anotther illusion. Yet, it is also a part of our cultual, cultural and anthropological imagination.

In the Twentieth Degree, the Master ad Vitam seems to have the eternity of mastership before him. Is it an allurement, an illusion, a reminiscence of the practice of the beginning of the XVIIIth century, or a possibility acquired through wiadom ? If he carries within him the lights of his ancestors, as the ritual says, it would be ill-advised for him to try and abuse them. Nothing is perennial, everything is nothing but attempt and impermanence, yet do these temptations for power exist ?

In the Twenty-First Degree, the Prussian Knight experiments the failure of having wanted to build a tower reaching up to the sky (in the same way as he had been rebuked from the door leading to En-Soph in the fourteenth degree), later he finds himself lying in the Prussian salt mines. Liberty has its limits, in depth as in elevation, but one must dare explore them to measure what is possible, with the risk of dispersion and exile.

In the Twenty Second Degree, the Prince of Lebanon, armed with a Royal Axe, fells down cedars because they cannot reach up to the sky. Their use rather belongs to the earth , to uphold and build. He thus distances himself from illusion, gets rid of what is useless, to free himself and find their right use.

In the Twenty-Third Degree, the Chief of the Tabernacle perceives the limits of his reason and looses a part of his liberty, insofar as he prefers sacrifices and offers which recalls the stamp over his mind and his part of irreflexion, tending to idolistic practices which one thought to be forgotten,. Our subconsciousness is also our fate and often leads us without our being aware of it.
In the Twenty-Fourth Degree, the Prince of the Tabernacle, ready to sanctify the Temple, loses himself in the same superstitious wanderings before the devious attitude of the unassailable Solomon, likely to imperil the institution. Limits are not only set, but regressions are ever possible. Yet the initiate will come out greater, freed from the idolatry which he professed toward the « model judge » whose emblematic wisdom has withered at the end of his days. Everything elapses. One no longer sees with the same eyes.

In the Twenty-Fifth Degree, the Knight of the Brass Serpent is freed from his chains, a hindrance to his liberty, so as to ascend the mountain and meet the reptile healing the bites of life. Yet the talisman which he designs with the serpent coiling around the Tau must not become another amulet, a new superstition, another enclosing device. A powerful necessary symbol of life and hope, or meanness and dereliction of the fetishist spirit needing amulets for walking sticks.

In the Twenty-Sixth Degree, the Trinitary Scots Master, Prince of Mercy, endeavours to get rid of his moral and physical fear, when he choses to throw himself into the void, yet he clearly realises his dependance on the material world during his ascension on the scale of theologal virtues leading up to an open, perfect third world which, however remains to be explored. Yet if Truth, statufied as a palladium at this degree, can free from error, should not confine to another idolatry, no more than the wings the candidate has been equipped with will enable him to fly off. In the course of his sault, he remains attached to life, perhaps somewhat strongerly while facing his fate. Does that third sky belong to this world ?
Added to the Rite of Perfection, originating in the Order of Trinitarian Scots Masters, these four degrees partly confine to some fetishism linked with ancient cults and which must be relativised.

In the Twenty)Seventh Degree, the Great Commander of the Temple, will have his hands freed from any hindrance as he gives his address : « I free you from the ban of men’s servitude, you will no longer be submitted to any brother, all will respect you, your only equal is the sovereign court ». Equality, respect, liberty and mutual duties are the essential values of this degree whose members meet around a round table.

In the Twenty-Eigth Degree, the Knight of the Sun, gets rid from his illusions, while returning to the Laws of Nature in which « evil and its manifestations ar part of the universal harmony » and where « any harmony renews itself thanks to the action of contrary forces ».
(even if these notions have been lately introduced). It is the reason why some rituals accept the necessary liberty to consider the same action from two opposite points of wiew (one interested and vile, the other, generous and wise) as a descent from the edenic pedestal on which man too often likes to place himself. One must eventually accept to see the world and men as they are. No irenism, a simple and lucid readjustment of man’s perfectibility, the basic teaching of Masonry. Violence seems to be inscribed in our genes and truth is entirely contained in our heart where it took refuge for fear of what men have done of it. It only manifests itself if one knows where to find it and deliver it beyond good and evil.

In the Twenty-Ninth Degree, the Great Scots Master of St Andrew, the building knight, mistakes himsel into imposing his own truth onto eastern places characterized by other customs and beliefs. Infiltered by the enemy the knights manage yet to come back and are welcomed as victors in Scotland . New limits are set anew, where belief and reason turn into dogmas. « Worship pure Reason, serve Truth, protect Virtue, fight for Law », the creeds of the degree, may become universalisable only insofar as other cultures are respected. One must thus know how to come back after the necessary voyages which should not limit themselves to holy, ideological colonialist wars ( or to mercantile conquests might one add nowadays).

This third stage of regression (after those of the 13th and 21st degrees) will not be the last in the process, the top of the scale of the following degree will be another one.

In the Thirtieth Degree, the Knight Kadosh claiming «  Do what you must, happen what may » looks conquered by total liberty, that of a justitioner looking for repairing from a wandering camp. The initiatic progression, with its acquired knowledge, its proved virtues, and its repressed vices, might thus allow the action against the « powers of evil ». The Knight Kadosh, looking for « the light of liberty for those who do not abuse it », does not content himself with not being submitted to legislation, but turns himself into a legislator. As a « soldier of the universal » he prescribes to himself the law to which he will defer to complete his liberty. For liberty cannot find itself outside any law. Besides, his conscience moreover provides him with the autonomy of his own determination as regards this law , for its good use in action. Yet how can the Knight Kadosh, in his healing fight and crusade, in his conjurment of malefices, prevail himself of the adequacy of his duty, of the innocence oh his intent, of the righteousness of his action,and of the impunity regarding the consequences of his acts, even though the purity of his arms may turn against himself ? Is his conviction, be it lucid,, enough to justify action ? And is that nec plus ultra over knowledge, values and the virtues of the scale, the top of the Scots Master’s conscience, or the abyss of his dereliction ?

In the Thirty-First Degree, the Great Inspector Inquisitor Commander, acquires the liberty of judging in The Great Court of the World, but with equity and responsibility, nevertheless without passing sentences. The liberty of the degree consists in interpreting the law, blind to particular cases, to erase inequalities. But exercising the faculty of judgement, also means to be able to discern – within the limits of understanding – according to an ethical grid of reference to moral values. Thus, liberty becomes subordinated to judging principles inherent in manners and customs, and beyond those, to humanity. At this degree, the Mason recovers an appeased place where law and justice substitute themselves to the tragic fight against fatality. Order is symbolically re-established. It is over with revenge, chastisement, of antient justice, whether solomonian or divine, that served in lieu of destiny. A new regulating and moderating is set in place.

In the Thirty-Second Degree, the Valiant and Sublime Prince of the Royal Secret practises an art of life subdued with an ideal of reasonable liberty, for know-how and know what-to-do run on a pair. Yet, if the Ritual calls for a solidary convergency and a rally of circumstances, it is to prolong a fight for the « right to the liberty of conscience » in the meeting camp, the final destination, where one is ready to besiege the initial Temple turned into a citadel, for reconstructed, fortified and occupied by other communities of thought whose different convictions are age-old enemies. The fight goes on and the war will come to an end only for those who are to die. « I was what you are, youll be what I am » the ritual usefully reminds. Man seems to be doomed to stay up and fight for his own survival, but also for creeds, even ideologies with which he identifies himselF

Masonry’s initial method on the topic of the erection of a solidly founded building, then, of its appropriation, by all means, in view of a sedentary possession which eventually proves illusory, from exiles to reconstructions to failures in a nomadic wandering, at first repairing, then justitial, and finally combative. Is that the Mason’s fate ? Getting rid of one’s frustrations or agressivity in impermance, fighting against or for something else, necessarily amounts to destruction, destroying what others have erected, destroying (willingly or not) what one has built oneself, whatever the cost.

Does this schematic analysis come to curb the hope of liberty for the initiate, the tragic heroe on his way to evolution ?

In the Thirty-Third Degree, the Grand Sovereign General Inspector is torn between the feeling of the accomplishment of a completed course and that of an ever recurring cycle to ceaselessly undertake in an open world. The degree is an invitation to lucidly consider the masonic progress so as to realise that a degree does not aim at crushing another. The attachment to the Order is an incitement to practise them all simultaneously as if some front containing past and future would proceed into temporality, for a promising future. Liberation, if it even happens, can’t be achieved through forgetfulness, even if the course proves inviting to filter knowledge.
The liberty of Ecossism consists above all in commitment and responsibility in an improbable world on its way, and all the degrees imply their share of truth.

Indeed, if the majority of degrees sets into perspective a liberty underlaid by the conscience of a reasonable will, they are intersected by others, less humanist, but quite as human (too human, perhaps !) staging the satisfaction of immediate needs, often by means of force and violence. The latter whose origin may be traced to necessities, but doubtless also essentially to beliefs, often end into reforming failures starting again the epos of Ecossism. Others whose foundation relates to the consciousness of a world greater than the self, set into relief alterity and openness of mind. Others, at last, enhance the necessary expression of the ego and the prospect of its finitude in which liberty is circumscribed.

The masonic course of the A.A.S.R. through its symbolism, its situation settings and its myths, thus brings to light the facets of a complex liberty, not a monolithic one, ceaselessly reconsidered. Yet, the philosophical meaning of the course tends to let think that the Mason has a vocation to be a just, a maker of laws which he is supposed to create while progressing on the path of life. As a counterweight, the posture of the Mason in Consistories, the last working-shops of the A.A.S.R yields the impression that the initiatic progress, far from altering him, provides him on the contrary with the necessary arms and tools to comfort him in his initial convictions. Only his own look on himself and the world is altered, but his inner self remains immutable. Better tooled, better armed, inured to the art of rhetorics, often entrenched in a masonic ready-to-think, he will know how to use the necessary eloquence to explain what he is, what he believes in, with the cultural references acquired in the lodge, but his ethical background, the very one which enabled his initial cooptation into the Order appears to remain unchanged. And indeed, as soon as the humanist consensus is overcome in the speech in lodge, everyone remains entrenched on his own positions. Rare are the conversions, whether progressive or cathartic. The saying « One becomes what one is only because one is what one becomes » seems to be verified here. Each one’s beliefs finally are the motor of existence, what permanently remains in the inner self, without one ever truly understanding why.

Then, is masonry a mere alibi to provide oneself with a good humanist conscience ?

Life is a permanent fight against entropy for all, but also against fear for some (less lucky ?) fighting against themselves and against others to exist. Do necessary fights or vain gesticulation, mean fights or feeling of existence ? And yet, this is the price at which liberties are conquered. A being losing his vital energy looses his place amongst his likes ; it is the severe law of the evolution of species. In these conditions, one may estimate, for want of other explanations, that there would exist a salvaging instinct, often bellicist, superior to lawfulness, surging out into the manners and customs and escaping cognition, because necessary to survival. Struggles attest that we are alive, and masonry does not escape these struggles. Theoreticcally unbounded, the Mason must however defend what is called Order, a yet masonically unclear notion, at the risk of compromising or jeopadirzing a share of his own liberty. Thus, struggles are immoral in the third degree to acquire an illusory power, vengeful in the 9th and 10th degrees, to recapture a psychological balance, at once warlike, salvaging and illusory in the 15th and 16th degrees to recover a long awaited liberty and be able to carry on building, repairing in the 30th degree, conquering in the 29th and 32nd degrees, yet are they legitimate for all that ?

Man’s is a curious destiny, he believes himself free yet only « dances in his chains ». His only conscience and free will can be his guides. Yet which latitude, which liberty may he expect in the yet necessary decision and in contingent action ? Are we free in our choices ? Freud answers theses questions with a realistic pessimism, no doubt partial, yet inducing reflexion : « free will is the choice of nevrosis ». After all, the idea of liberation in constraint demonstrates that man is the prisoner of his condition, and can onmy overcome it in the myths and culture which he generates, and in the thickness of language, which oftens runs against the search for the true word, the freeing of the imprisoned meaning.

« Soilless, orderless, without origin, the being is not, says Heidegger, he requires a history ».

« When it is not suffering, life is a game », states Emil Cioran, and whatever the means employed (order, violence, force, altruism, love) liberty remains closeted between belief, creed, desire and necessity. Isn’t wisdom eventually but an acceptation, a compromise, even a compromise with fate, simultaneous with the discipline of desires ? It seems that while claiming our liberty of thinking, and yet endowed with reason and critical spirit, will and determination, we might simply be sentenced to hope.

Intelligible worldSensitive worldIntuitive worldUnconscious world
Conscience of a reasonable will Satisfaction of immediate needs Consciousness of a world greater than the self Expression of the Ego
Action through Duty Action through interest Action through compassion Action through impulse
Moral law compels Instincts guide Empathy dominates Emotion drives
Humanism Necessities & Beliefs Goodwill Desires
1, 2, 4, 6, 7, 8, 11, 12, 15, 16, 17, 20, 22, 30, 31, 32, 33
(27, 28)
3, 9, 10, 21, 23, 24, 25, 29
5, 18, 19, 26
(27, 28)
13, 14