Talking about Freemasonry

A Maçonaria é, por vezes, vista do exterior como uma instituição fechada, imutável, dotada de uma grande coesão, que atua em bloco. Esta visão não é, nem de perto, nem de longe, correta. Pelo contrário, a Maçonaria é dotada de uma invulgar diversidade, agrupando sob a mesma genérica denominação, realidades distintas, práticas diversas, entendimentos díspares. Em todos os aspetos, a começar logo pelas suas origens...
Rui Bandeira in A Partir Pedra.

Our Brother Rui Bandeira elaborates recently in his blog (A Partir Pedra [Breaking the stone]) on diversity alluding to the large panorama of traditions and specificities in modern freemasonry. It is a sign of the empowerment the Order to include dissimilar approaches and ways of perceiving the Royal Art as something that departs from the past (a far way past for some; a more recent one for others) and seek out new answers for contemporary problems. Often the Craft likes to cherish the past in such a laudatory manner that it seems not having any future; a sort of beautiful book that looks nice in the shelf of library but is of no use anymore. This diversity is also a challenge of current times and the confirmation that in a world with such a multiplicity there are several ways to enjoy freemasonry.
In this site we aim to give some idea of what is going on in the Masonic world. It is hardly a black & and white world as some insist it is: a world in which there are the good guys in one side and the bad guys in the other. Life has different patterns of grey and we need to distinguish between them to succeed. So as we may see by some reports Freemasonry has problems as other institutions have. It is normal, not an aberration, as freemasonry happens not in the vacuum but within the societies we live in, modelling the men with qualities and vices. Bringing inside the pattern of our profane nature, masons are exposed to the same sort of conflict and litigation we watch outside as interest, competition or ambition accommodate to the same recurrent pattern. There are no saints inside the community of men and those who try to sell us they exist are just demagogues.
Interested in history and Masonic history, in particularly, I have been amazed by the similarities of the present and the first decades of the twentieth century. A time when lodges quarrelled between themselves, influenced (or were influenced) by the political parties or looking to take power (or keepp it). We find the same traces of dispute, pride, ambition, autism that drive the Craft to the battleground of conflict and animosity. There is a recurrent line of argument that says we need to look for the Anglo-Saxon world and make it our prototype of behavior. Not putting aside the fact that new lines of dissidence are emerging with strong impact in this same Masonic world, it seems wise to counter-argue that we are not British. We are Latin and we respond to the tests of life with passion and deliver. It is in our blood and makes us the good and the bad that we are. We are emotional, affecting, and courageous; that collective personality imprints a different character in the way we make out freemasonry and search a role (for it) in our societies.
Freemasonry has been for ages a tool of transformation, of progress in the landscape of ideas, believes or endeavors but in the last three decades has lost its appeal. We have an enormous difficulty to attract innovate young people, bright minds that make a difference in significant fields of knowledge, science or culture. Since when we don’t have in our ranks characters such as Herculano, Norton de Matos, Abel Salazar or Humberto Delgado to name a few? Why does this happen: short of relevance, incapability to pass the message, or just too much concealment?
A common explanation is that our aims and flags were quickly adopted by society and that we have nothing really relevant to offer everyone. This (argument) seems short of reasoning looking what is happening in such mediatic phenomena as Dan Brown books . People are really hunger of knowledge and mystery. So probably the case is - if we adopt a common marketing motto - we have difficulty to sell our product, our catalogue of ideas is odd and overdue because they seem, in a quick look, uninteresting. In that case the problem is not of substance but of the package because our decisions as buyers have became gradually influenced by the image, the package. We cannot run away from this issue if it is something we don't need to bother with.
To be straight Freemasonry needs public and is obliged to find new ideas, forms or means to reach that public .