In matters of ritualism and recognition

One of these days someone remarked what is the sense of memorizing old paragraphs of some ancient ritual, as mode of recognition for Masons when everything is easily exposed in the Internet? The question is accurate and shows the difficulty symbiosis between a traditional school of reaching the secret, through initiation and work, and the culture of facility, of no appeal to effort that we envisage in our societies. For members that came from a long-line of freemasons the answer is implicit: freemasonry is embedded in tradition and stands in a process of transmission of knowledge that is reserved (restricted), dependent on tests and assessment of abilities. For new members or people with no background whatsoever in the Craft, a simple answer may be that this practice exists to show that freemasonry faces the questions of life, death, ignorance and science as a challenge to everyone capacity to progress through effort and sweat. In older times, freemasons were the few people that were allowed to travel from village to village, from town to town. In a time where passports don’t exist, was the ritual enquiry of the quality of Brethren, that gave them access to accommodation and put them in the trail they need to make business. It was a traditional obligation of the Brethren to receive in their house Masonic visitors and be at their disposal for any contacts needed. In this environment rests the traditional formula “welcome all travelers”, which encoders a Masonic formula of recognition. So the efficient perception of the modes of recognition was a pre-condition for a voyage to be successful.

There are those who argue that this ritualism is old-fashioned and people should use the time to discuss other subjects more akin to the realities of the current day life. The argument is rounded, because if one uses the Lodge as a place to debate the same issues that use to do in a café, a lunch with friends, or otherwise why people have the trouble to go to Masonic meetings, wear special dressing, perform odd ceremonies and direct to the other folk seat aside strange names? For a second simple reason, that is for performing this type of ritualism, modern freemasonry repeat the gests, perambulations and routines that connect it to three hundred years of tradition. By putting a step in the past Freemasonry gets a guarantee that can have a future and is not a transitory enjoyment.