Dear reader in the appropriate form of salutation!
Yesterday we heard three interesting reports about three mystical and esoteric paths aimed at the search for the Truth, as a privileged means to ensure salvation. We do not intend to summarize here what we have heard, nor to try to make a comparison between them, but rather to develop in a more general way a reflection on the peculiarities of the initiatic-religious ways, trying, wherever possible, to give account of the similarities with the Masonic path. And since we believe that one of the key elements common to every initiatic path, of whatever nature, is the exercise of individual freedom, this work will fundamentally be about FREEDOM.
Now, if we were to ask what action, in the collective imagination, is more identified with the idea of freedom, we are almost certain that the answer would be: traveling. Windswept hair (for the lucky who can), and go! The world is ours to discover.
Maybe our approach to religion is not very different from the one we have when we decide to take a trip. Some people prefer to rely on tour operators: they know the world, so they are considered the most suitable to lead others in discovering the unknown. And even if this means that all travelers end up repeating the same journeys and see the same things that others have chosen for them, this is a minor inconvenience compared to the leisure and the guarantee of the final result. In fact, the degree of satisfaction is determined a priori: trust us and “live a dream vacation”; “choose the real adventure”; “here is the romantic tour that will make you fall in love”; and so on. We want so bad that everything meets the expectations that, for example, tour operators hire musicians to spare tourists the disappointment in discovering that we Italians have not the habit of playing mandolin while eating spaghetti. This is what tradition requires, otherwise someone could start thinking that maybe the world is not exactly the one shown in tourist brochures.
However, and fortunately, sometimes the doubt arises. If the initial approach may similar to a guided tour, during the trip someone could feel the need to look beyond the planned routes, beyond the established stereotypes and mandolin players for hire. Maybe they now want to see the world through their own eyes, walk it with their legs, unaware of where the journey will lead them, of the joy and sorrow that the trip could give them, but with a great desire: to know! Know the countries and people beyond the shop windows that others have set up for them.
I dare say that the revelations allegedly guarded and interpreted by the great institutional religions are very similar to the all-inclusive holiday packages. Centuries of interpretations and exegeses ended up in selecting, packing, crystallizing in stages and predetermined paths the spiritual journey of individuals. They harnessed their yearning for the divine within planned patterns, they somehow conformed the sense of mystery that existence arouses in people, giving them a reason and a well-defined justification. “Follow the program and you will find what we promised you”. In such contexts, the revelation is a complete and final picture in itself, not subject to changes, interpretations or adaptations, at least in its fundamental parts, and in the wake of motions by the people that evolve in their customs, ethics and morality, facing the questions that scientific and technological progress raise, the religions of the Book oppose their monolithic static nature, because changing the Law to adapt to the new is unthinkable; men must trace back to it. The rare occasions of openness always hinge on the social aspect and the need to maintain a contact with that part of the population that, sometimes even despite itself, tends to distance itself from a religious expression that no longer feels as responsive as before to its spiritual needs. In these occasions, mercy and attention to the needs of humanity are anyway based on the doctrine, without an actual review of the canon. Yet, however, there is always an orthodoxy which oppose these timid concessions, because they are still considered a deviation from the “purity” of the revelation.
For those we have defined as mystical paths or esoteric religions, the revelation is only a starting point, a moment of contact between human and divine that was not meant to ratify an eternal relationship of subjection, an insurmountable distance between the creature and the creator, but rather an invitation to bridge that distance, to tread a path that, through the knowledge of what has been revealed, can bring to God. No rules to follow or obligations to be fulfilled, but the free exercise of the will to personally and directly investigate the divine mystery, to relive it, to internalize it and absorb it, so that we can become one with it. From this perspective, the salvation does not depend on the observance of the Law, but on the knowledge of the logic that established it; not on blind obedience, but on the sharing of the same nature from which the Law emanates itself; in a word, on the identification between man and God. This approach is not at odds with the evolution of manners or morals, with technological advances or scientific discoveries, which contribute to the change of values. because these are not an obstacle to the knowledge of God, nor do they necessarily represent the negation of his will.
Institutional religions appear to be linked to a static vision and historicized context of the Divine, being bound to an apparition of it in a particular moment in time which also marks the limit of understanding. In other words: from the lightning that ignites the tree to the gods who rule the life cycles of nature, from the God of Moses to the preaching of Christ, from the Seal of the Prophets to the Book of Mormon, in every time and place divine revelations must have been limited to the level of understanding available to mankind at that time. From this perspective, they must necessarily be considered all true, as responding to the real cognition of the divine possessed by those who have received these revelations. But each one of them was not and is not but a partial manifestation of the Truth, and as such is destined to be overcome by the greater ability to penetrate the Ineffable Mystery that mankind has acquired and is still acquiring in its evolutionary path. So even the current religions, which made themselves custodians and guardians of orthodoxy, which believe to possess the complete and final word, will have to acknowledge the passing of the dogmas on which they are based, because not doing it would suspend the path towards the Truth.
God has revealed (and reveals) himself in so far as we are able to understand it, and our ability to do so does not change his essence, but allows us to gradually abandon its exterior aspects, related to material life, making it increasingly ontologically linked to our very essence, our being, our inner feelings.
This is the purpose of the esoteric religious ways: going back to the direct, not second-hand knowledge of the Truth, beyond the contingencies and phenomenological manifestations of our material existence, in search of the Beginning that gave rise to everything and which forms its substance. They draw from revelations not literally, but in recognizing their symbolic teaching, transforming the religious yearning from blind obedience to a dynamic process, to a way, a searching path that makes us feel God and his Word as a part of us and us as a part of Him, that thinks the creation not as a definitive and settled event, but as a continuous construction of which individuals are simultaneously the object and the subject, the tools and the result, the beginning and the end, the means and the purpose: an identification process that also leads us Masons to declare: we are the G.A.O.T.U..
Two opposing visions of mankind’s relationship with the divine, which imply two different ways of living the reality: one is fundamentally based on a bond of necessity, to which man is a passive object that can only accept what is given to him; the other is inspired by a vision of freedom, to which man is the active subject who can direct his will in search of his spiritual dimension.
Therefore, the ability to undertake esoteric paths of knowledge depends on the exercise of individual freedom. So let’s begin a journey too, through this double reading of reality, so that we can argue the sense of such a statement.
Considering the existence and the deeds of individuals in the plane of the material, can we really talk about freedom? How can it be defined and exercised?
This is a wide debated subject in philosophy: some deny the effective exercise of individual freedom, as Spinoza, while some others consider freedom as a condition inherent to human nature, as Descartes. Who denies the possibility of a real exercise of freedom primarily refers to the dependence of life itself on the laws of nature, by the demands of our physical part. We are bound to our body and the instinct requires us the satisfaction of his needs. But mankind has been able to free itself from the whims of nature, and today the basic needs related to mere survival are no longer (at least for many people) the sole determinant of one’s actions. Therefore, a human being can actually devote to the satisfaction of desires, to cultivating his passions and expressing all the creativity he is capable of and, following the inspiration of his will, directing it towards what gives him more joy and pleasure. Is this an effective exercise of freedom? Schopenhauer used to say: ” A man can do what he wants, but not want what he wants”, because the object of his desire is not born from a free determination of the will, it’s rather the latter that is determined by desire itself, becoming addicted to it. However, even the stimuli that affects us can be controlled and even expelled from our lives.
So, are we free in our determinations or are we bound, forced by our very nature?
Widening the perspective to the whole of creation, the subject can be put as follows: is the world as we know it the result of strict laws that determined its past development and rule its future one, without the possibility to interfere with any of them? Or is the world the result of the free interaction of its components, that determined one of its possible developments without influencing the future ones too?
Here is the science comes in our aid. According to Einstein, the universe moves following a precise physical need: ” God does not play dice with the universe “, he used to say. For quantum physicists, the universe doesn’t have a deterministic structure, but rather responds to probabilistic principles that exists only in relation to the observers. “Einstein, don’t tell God what to do”, said Niels Bhor back. Even the very structure of matter, the “most real” thing we are able to assess, seems to suffer of that duality and those contradictions that plague the sphere of human action.
In the social and political field, freedom is the condition considered necessary in order to grant the expression of individual personalities, with the declared objective of ensuring the citizens with the pursuit of their physical, economic and moral wellness. But how to grant it? By always giving priority to the interests of the individual, or to those of the community as a whole? Depending on times, places and circumstances, the ideal of political and social freedom has seen various incarnations, appeared sometimes as a conquest, sometimes as a compromise or a negotiation, sometimes as a concession, with one of the two abovementioned priorities as the key element. By and large, the most organized and influential social groups make their point of view prevail, with the prime objective of safeguarding their interests more than the realization of an ideal model of freedom. So freedom, even from this perspective, far from being a unique reference is rather an flexible concept, always revisable, sometimes used as a justification for real atrocities against the weakest social groups.
For institutional religions we have already seen how the Law, and the exegesis drawn from it, represent the guide and together the limit within which every human action must be exerted.
In this sense it is worth mentioning that the Abrahamic religions, based on the omniscience and omnipotence of God, which in itself is only good and perfection, attribute to mankind all forms of evil and imperfection in the world, since these cannot in any way derive from God.
Then beyond to find a reason for pain and evil produced by nature, such cataclysms or diseases, even dwelling on the peculiar faculty of the man, namely the liberty, to choose whether to operate for the good or to opt for the evil, a distinction should be made between the evil done out of ignorance, for which we should not speak of a voluntary guilt, and the evil done with intentionality.
However, why the man, beloved creature of God made in His image and likeness, should wish evil?
Faced with these issues, the positions taken as an explanation are basically three: the nihilistic attitude of those who, faced with the contradictions of life, with its tragedies, with the abuses of the strongest on the weak, reject the idea itself of God because in such a world there is no way to recognize his action. Then, there is the fatalistic attitude of those who, in contrast, sees the God’s action in everything, since the God’s plan is so inscrutable as to render vain to ask the reasons for the tragedies or joys of life: we should only accept them, that’s all, and get back in His hands. Finally, the rationalist attitude, whereby it tends to explain the pain that pervades the life as a result of the bad man’s behavior, in the case of voluntary evil, or as preparation for a greater good in the case of innocent evil (the pain is aimed to the salvation).
Ultimately, wanting anyway disregard the intellectual attitudes taken as of a justification of theodicy, that is the problem of the evil’s presence within the Creation, it remains to untie the knot tied to the way in which man can anyway redeem himself faced to God.
Beyond the peculiarities of each single religion, there is a basic contradiction that concerns all them, that is the prevalence now given to the action of Divine Grace, for which the forgiveness and the salvation are an exclusive divine concession, now given to the action of human works of mercy, which instead depend on the will of redemption of the individual.
From what originates salvation? By a divine necessity, or by the action of the Grace, or by an exercise of human liberty, or by the consistency of the works?
Just more and more contradictions, antinomies, alternative visions, conflicts. But this is precisely what characterizes the exoteric world or, to use a term more familiar to us, the world of profanity.
Profanely speaking, there are no arguments that would lead to prefer a thesis rather than another: from this perspective they all can be considered as true, and the prevalence of one or other is a matter of faith, of thought, of scientific belief, of culture, not being able to discern a meta-criterion on the basis of which to compare and make unique choices. Thesis and antithesis are equivalent.
Ultimately, choosing between opposing views is a matter of expediency or convenience, because this is what ultimately drives the individual in the profane context: the pursuit of an interest, of whatever nature and for any purpose it is destined. Based on this goal individuals are naturally inclined to want to get rid of the many contradictions that affect the sphere of their action, always making a choice, to be defended then by all and against all those who make different choices.
In this sense, each individual exerts and expresses his own liberty: following the impulses of one’s ego, of his feelings, of the convictions that stem from his own personal history and lead him to choose one of the given possibilities, confining him within a partial view of reality.
The esoteric and initiatory perspective does not disown the existence of antinomies and contradictions but, instead of considering them irreconcilable alternatives, within which the choice and the will to impose a vision over the other ones is considered the ultimate expression of liberty, considers them a single, inseparable and indivisible substrate, a “unicum” that should be accepted in its entirety because it is in the entirety of the event that you can grasp the meaning of life and from which to start a different path of liberty.
To start from the acceptance of the logic of the world, it means not giving up any of its aspects, considering them all essential to trace the origin from which they emerged. It means recognizing that the world is born with inherent contradictions, and that they all contribute to unity of Creation and the Truth of it.
It has been said that, in the profane context, liberty consists in choosing between opposites and making the choice made their own truth. Instead, we believe that liberty consists in keeping them in relation to each other and not in having to choose, because, as Raimond Panikkar said, a great explorer of spirituality, “in every choice there is a waiver”, there is a surrender a priori at understanding the Truth in its entirety.
Surrender to the world: this is the condition to be acquired to fully adhere to a mystical and initiatory route of knowledge. Surrendering to the world does not mean giving up or abandoning the pursuit of Truth, but on the contrary it means that, in order to make consistent such research, we should cease to fight the world, to consider ourselves the center of Creation, to impose one’s ego, to pursue the satisfaction of our desires, with the aim of being of service to a higher ideal that transcends our Ego.
Denying the profane personality to regain the divine personality, becoming deaf to the din of the world to tune one’s being to the recall of the Origin, the principle that shapes us and who calls us to his presence. Therein lies the ultimate expression of liberty: not to feel bound to the world to turn our whole feeling to the knowledge of God.
Liberty lies in the path of knowledge that leads to the Truth, in the accession process of man to the same source of Truth. In this sense, liberty does not reach its limits, because it does not develop horizontally, competing with others, but it grows vertically, towards the unlimited dimension of spirituality. This is the context within which the esoteric-religious routes, subject of the yesterday’s meeting, operate. But it also represents the substrate within which the upward path of the Scottish Masonry occurs, a path that actually foresees at the final of its symbolic degrees the achievement of Gnosis as a sublime prize.
Of course, Freemasonry does not set a pure soteriological goal as religions do, instead requires that the regeneration, the rebirth of the adept is turned to the benefit of mankind. The stairway, once climbed up, should be descended back. I would like to stress how exoteric plane and esoteric plane represent two distinctly separate contexts, with different aims and methods: it is therefore not possible to tackle the problems and contradictions of life with the same mindset, the same cultural background reference, with the same beliefs. Or we adopt a profane perspective, or we adopt an initiatory perspective.
For this reason we should not introduce into the temple, during our works, reality’s interpretation keys that belong to the profane world. Our mode of reading the world must necessarily be different.
Liberty arising from an initiatory path is therefore not simply the act of freeing ourselves from the necessity of nature, tethered to our physics, or the power to pursue our desires, tethered to our soul and our personality. It derives from a different source, namely from the individual conscience. The conscience is the substrate from which to draw on strength and inspiration, it is the guide able to route the will, it is the sound box inside which we hear the echo of the “Fiat Lux”, it is the mirror reflecting our divine spark. The individual conscience is the reverberation, on the level of the matter, of the plenitude of the Pleroma, and as such is acting as a direct enactment, without further mediation, of the Origin of the manifest.
But his voice was soon buried by the prevarication of ego and personality, that the social and cultural context of belonging help to build, so that too often remains unheeded. And yet conscience is what makes us all Brothers, because once purified from the superstructures of profanity, from the conditioning of prejudices, it draws on the common emanative Principle of Being and makes us see the world with new eyes.
This is the meaning of the silence of the apprentice: make your mind a blank, to silence the thought, and recreate in himself the conditions to trace the source of conscience. This is the meaning of overlaying the tools of the Masonic work, the square and the compass, above the lodge light, namely above the holy book, symbol of the G.A.O.T.U. and true source of conscience, so that shapes our work.
Anyone looking through the eyes of conscience will see in the other one a reflection of himself, and what he will see will be the divine plenitude that shapes all aware consciences. The divine is inside ourselves, it is not outside of ourselves, it is not different from ourselves, instead it permeates us, it completes us, it defines us. We can know God, this is the message of esoteric religions.
Not faith, not works, but the Knowledge instead, as a privileged path for our own salvation. Hence the ontological relationship, noetic, direct, personal and intimate with the Divine, which leads to our identification in Him, “so that there will be nothing left of us that is not in Him and nothing left of Him who is not in us” as stated in a Gnostic prayer. We can then understand how, in this perspective, there is no room for a personified God looking from outside at the work of men, a God judge who punishes and rewards, fulfilling or not the prayers and supplications, granting or not his Grace and salvation as a function of a hidden design that we cannot understand. In a total reversal of perspective, compared to institutional religions, God is indifference, because is not God taking care of individuals, but individuals taking care of Him, having to reproduce His logic and His essence through themselves and within themselves.
I do not believe there could be an expression of liberty higher than this: the liberty to reveal ourselves as divine. I am the G.A.O.T.U.
Anyone who thinks that this can be realized with the authority to perform wonders and miracles, to give free rein to all the whims going on inside his head, did not well understand what we tried to explain. An esoteric initiatory path requires to abandon the peculiar vision of profanity, it asks for to undress of all tensions upsetting the ego and mind, to deny the elements of the personality and ego, in order to put the conscience in the original harmony state with the Creator Principle of the universe, in order to identify himself with the logic that rules and supports the universe itself.
Freed from worldly passions, we will be free to explore its complexity, to investigate the mystery that lies at its origin, on a process aimed not only to pure Knowledge but also to the reproduction of the Truth who shapes it. The identification with the divine is expressed in the ability not only to understand, but also to reproduce the Truth beyond the true that characterizes the profanity.
We already said that the Scottish Masonic path requires that the Gnosis achieved by the adept may be turned out for the benefit of mankind. How can we make this possible?
I believe that the best way would be this: not to live within the time, within the society, within the family, within the work, but rather to live the time, the society, the family, the work.
In the meaning that we should not only operate within our usual contexts, as if we were background actors, extras, but we should instead act on them, take action to promote relationships that tend towards the direction of the Truth, as we are learning to know it, not with the aim to have more, not thinking only to ourselves, to our personal interests, but rather rethinking ourselves, achieving even in such profane contexts our identification with a higher dimension that shapes our different ability of evaluating and acting.
Even in this perspective, it has to be understood how the choice to travel and implement an initiatory path requires a strong willpower and the ability to totally rethink our relationship with the Truth. Are these reasons enough to justify the scarcity of individuals who decide to practice it?
And what about the great hostility that usually surrounds any aggregation of men that identifies itself with one of these paths? Perhaps one of the most keen analysis in this respect can be found in one of the most beautiful pages of world literature: “The Legend of the Grand Inquisitor”, taken from “The Brothers Karamazov” by Fedor Dostoevskij.
We are in Spain in the 1500s, when the Holy Inquisition guarded the respect of orthodoxy by not hesitating to send anyone suspected of heresy to the stake. In this environment of anxiety and suspect Christ returns to the earth and he is recognized and acclaimed by the crowds, but the cardinal grand inquisitor has him immediately arrested and dragged to the dungeons of the inquisition, where he personally goes to interrogate the prisoner that same night.
The inquisitor is a ninety-year-old man,” tall and straight, with a gaunt face and sunken eyes in which there is still, like a spark of fire, some light.” He asks Christ why he has returned, why he wants to through the people into chaos with his message of freedom. Evidently he has not understood that the people are moved by one question only “who to bow to?” and that this “is the greatest secret of this world”. The cardinal reproaches the prisoner of not having understood and that he has behaved in a completely contrary way. “Instead of seizing human freedom, he has multiplied it, while exacerbating eternally, with the torment of freedom, the spiritual reign of man”, but “Nothing has ever been more intolerable to man and society than freedom”. Men, the grand inquisitor continues cannot wait to get rid of freedom in exchange of a strong power that can guarantee their happiness that only material goods can guarantee. And to Christ, it had been proposed that he guide men with the same means, when Satan had approached him, but He had decided to resist hum and he refused his offers of power. The inquisitor and his men had not made the same mistake and for a long time now they had opted for guiding men by giving them happiness in exchange for obedience: “So listen to us, we are not with you” – he says to Christ – “but with him for eight centuries now”. The inquisitor concludes by telling the prisoner that he doesn’t fear him and that on the morrow, as proof of what he has said, he will see how the meek flock of people, at his first gesture, “will rush to light the ardent fire under the stake, on which he will burn him because he has come to disturb them”. Christ doesn’t answer but he just kisses the inquisitor on his bloodless lips. The old man shudders, he trembles. He goes to the door and turning towards Christ he says to him “Go away and don’t return, don’t ever return again”.
This is surely an unsettling picture that Dostoevsky presents us with, but it mustn’t only be confined to the circle of catholic religion represented by the grand inquisitor. I think that the criticism that he moves can and must be extended to all forms of organized ideology, both of the religious kind and of the social and political. In fact it is typical for any ideology to declare not only that its is that of making men happy, but also that its own way of reading the datum of life and, consequently, the pathway that derives from this is the best and most appropriate for reaching this aim. But, according to our author, what ideologies really do is to substitute themselves implicitly with the cosmic order established by God, to let themselves be seduced by the demon forces who, while masking themselves under noble and altruistic intentions.
Ideologies decide for men and they want to impose themselves on men. And they manage to do so because men, instead of to truth and freedom, they are attracted more to promises of stability and wellbeing, by the glitter of idols that the demiurge of the moment flashes before their eyes, that men love to follow those who promise them joys and pleasures. Dostoevsky gives us the image of a humanity that is not only incapable of recognizing the true good, but is also ready to deny it as long as it mustn’t take up the effort and the onus of exercising the freedom of choice.
But this is not what the Christ of the story, with his silence, attests once more with his message of freedom. He is the bearer of an example. He doesn’t desire to impose himself and his law, but he has left men free to follow him, because only in freedom can we find Truth. He who doesn’t impose himself, who doesn’t need to convince and he who doesn’t have to conquer others to his will, loves and accepts the world for what it is, who surrenders to the world, to make it the base of his rebirth through the discovery of the value of freedom.
This is the message of which every pathway of initiation is the bearer.
There is a passage at the end of the chapter in which, the narrator, that of Ivan Karamazov, bitterly notes how the deception towards the people is carried out in the name of He who is betrayed, but all this must remain a secret, just so that it may protect the unfortunate and dim-witted men, so as to make them happy. And then he adds “I imagine that even freemason have principles among them, something that is analogous to this mystery and that the Catholics hate freemasons so much because they see in them the competitors who break the unity of the idea, while unique must be the flock and the shepherd”. This vision of freemasonry evidently rose in Dostoevsky because he was convinced that it acted as an instrument of power aimed at bending the masses to its will and, in this way, placing itself in competition with the other institutions that pursued similar aims.
This is the risk that initiate associates run before the profane. Since they act reservedly, it is supposed that they pursue aims, that cannot be declared, o managing power. This is also the logical consequence which we face when we in effect expect in freemasonry, an institution that may act directly within the world as it is, and not through the improvement of its initiates who then reflect their new mood into society.
Every voyage has its conclusion, but even after having returned home, it will continue to show its effects, re-living in the stories, acting on memories and sensations, and little by little reality and imagination mix to form an ideal story of what had been. At the bottom of our mind, a voyage never ends is it destined to end with death?
Institutionalized religions place a clear division between life and death, between a before and an after. Their soteriology, as we have seen, can be based on the prevalence of grace or on that of works, but in all cases whatever is created, or done or received in earthly life has a meaning in function of afterlife.
However, even about death, there are contrasting visions within the scriptures: even in some books of the Bible it is considered as willed by God, and foreseen from creation, this is also the prevalent theme of Judaism, in others death is a consequence of the sin of man, therefore not wanted by God, and this is the concept of Christianity. Wanted or unwanted by God, friend or enemy, death always marks a divide to be overcome, a moment of judgement whose positive or negative result will depend on what, in our lifetime, we have completed of the teaching of religions.
Within the context of initiation, death isn’t considered the consequence of man’s sin. It is an integral part of the logic of creation, present long before man made his appearance. To accept this datum means once again “to surrender to the world”, and to make it the base of a wider expression of freedom, that for which one isn’t tied to nothing, neither life nor death because one is equally present in one and the other.
What is life and what is death depends from us, from the sense that we give to it and then we can think of death not as a division, a separation, but as a continuation under a different form, because once we have become aware of that part of us who have defined the Self or conscience or the spirit through which we have resonated with the fount of the Divine, then this part of us will live in an eternal present, without a before and without an after.
Life is not an assertion like death is not a negation. Once again truth isn’t only in one of the two opposing propositions. Truth is built as a connection, as a relationship between two opposites, it doesn’t consist in accepting one and excluding the other. As a connection, truth is not an aprioristic datum, external to us, but it is built by living all the aspects connected to it, it is the result of our work of research, it is elaborated inside us and lives and grows within us. There isn’t life on the one hand and death on the other: there is only one integral process whose complete expression consists in the finiteness of the flesh, but in the completeness of the spirit and the unity of the Pleroma, which encompasses all.
At the moment of death we understand what we are so that we are not anymore: to not be anymore, in the case of those who believe that with it all ends; to start becoming, in the case of those that believe that all begins with it.
Life is a succession of joys and pain, hope and disappointments, and in its evolution it leads us to the moment of the fateful question, what remains at the end? We are deceived by life or, rather, it is we who deceive it, because we don’t want to understand, comprehend, interpret it in the right way?
Does what we have said about the eschatology of the initiate’s way represents a real dimension or rather one of the many mental elaborations of man, to account the inexorable mystery of being and evading from the bitter reality of life?
To each of us Brothers, the onus and freedom of giving an answer.
On my side I conclude with a last consideration.
We have examined and highlighted the contrast that can be found between the profane world on the one hand, where the state of necessity prevails and a relative form of freedom, and the exoteric-initiate world on the other hand, characterized by a kind of freedom that transcends the earthly terrain to dedicate oneself to the knowledge of one’s divine identity.
But this juxtaposition is in itself artificial and dictated by the necessity of describing, by the difficulty of the mind to enunciate, in a unitary way, what appears fragmented, because even to an initiate (and especially a freemason) cannot and must not isolate himself from the world, cannot create a marked distinction in his life between the two contexts. There is rather a continuous mixture between one and the other, however much we may try to adhere completely to the vision of the initiate, no one can deny the needs of the body and personality: ours can be called a trend towards the initiate perfection, as a continuous tension towards light, of which we can capture the flashes, have the feeling, live its instants. But only for the few elect can we see the completion of the identification, man-divine of which we have spoken, elected by us, celebrated like those masters of every age and a confession that they have reached the Royal Secret.
We could then say that in our path we are weaving the warp of freedom within the weft of need. The cloth that will rise from it will be characterized by one or the other, according to how the initiate will be capable of giving consistency to his weave rather than suffer the warp of profanity.
Maybe the words that Pico della Mirandola, one of the main proponents of the rebirth of exoteric thought in our culture, makes God say, to define human nature and which can still guide us:
“… I have not made you neither celestial nor earthly, neither mortal nor immortal, because of yourself, nearly free and sovereign architect you formed yourself in the shape that you would have chosen. You may deteriorate into the inferior things which are the brutes; you may, according to your will, regenerate into the superior realms which are divine …”
So said I…
B∴ A∴ T∴