Sunday, October 3, 2010
Symbolism of the Ashlars: consistency
Another way to look at the Rough and Perfect Ashlar is as a symbol of consistent, moral action in public and private life. Freemasons should not have one standard for the Lodge and another for the world. This view builds on the research done by Edmund Dring and published in AQC. For a brief summary of Dring's work, see my previous entry titled Bowling Alone.
V Consistency in Public and Private Life
Dring’s research leads to another, complimentary interpretation of the Rough and the Perfect Ashlar. He demonstrated that the “perpendashlar” is a bonding stone passing through an inner and an outer wall. To the extent that it passes through both sides of the wall, two sides of this stone are exposed to view. The Master Mason utilizes his working tools to square the faces of the stone so that both are true: the face of the stone on the inside of the wall is just as true as the face which is visible to the outside world. Hunt applies this analysis to Speculative Masonry:
It has two faces to be exposed, and both must be absolutely upright. It does not have one standard for the world and another for the home; the same face, square and true, is presented both to the world and the Lodge, and it teaches that we should not have one code of morals for one place and another for another, but that right is the same wherever we are and under whatever circumstance we may be placed.
As Perfect Ashlars, our behavior is consistent with the principles of Masonry throughout all aspects of our life. We must apply the same spiritual, mental, and physical standards to our daily life as we do in the Fraternity. Moreover, our code of morals should be consistent in both public and in private. Both faces of the Perfect Ashlar must be square and true. Christopher Hodapp summarizes the significance of this view in his book, Freemasons for Dummies:
Freemasons believe that there is still such a thing as honor, and that a man has a responsibility to behave honorably in everything he does. It teaches members the principles of personal decency and personal responsibility. It hopes to inspire them to have charity and good will toward all mankind, and to translate principles and convictions into actions.