Why So Serious?
by Midnight Freemason Contributor
Bro. Aaron Gardner, 32°, MPS
Throughout time there has always been some sort of governing body that has dictated how we act. They tell us how we should think, dress, walk or even laugh. It could be a formal governing body such as the the legal system in the country, or just the cultural norms of any given culture that we belong to.
Our sub-culture in Freemasonry is no different. We must adhere to all the cultural norms of our broader culture, as well as the laws of our society. It’s silly to say, but, the cliches in High School are more well defined and developed outside of school. In School you had your Jocks, Band Geeks and you had the groups that didn't fit into the typical stereotypes. Those stereotypes and subcultures did not just vanish outside school; you have your ‘Professional Businessmen’, ‘Hippies’ and you still have the social outcasts that don’t fit into any of the generic stereotypes. If you are a ‘Professional’ you are expected to wear a suit and tie, be well read and live the life of a businessman. As we get older, our interest , belief systems and life structures change. Some become more carefree while others “buckle down”. This is the way of life as we all know it. Some may call it a mid-life crisis, but, we really change through out our entire life. Just trying to find what feels right for us.
We are taught that Freemasonry is there to guide us, to show us better ways to act. It is a society of “Free-Thinkers”. You can find all age groups in the organization, from your young and inexperienced, to the older and well acquainted. We can’t really put an age group on any of these, though. We all would like to believe that life continues in a linear formula. However, it doesn’t. There are older gentlemen in our Fraternity who are just as inexperienced as some of the younger gentlemen; there are younger men who are more experienced than some of the older. The idea that one should listen to his elders is null and void. The idea that we should classify an individual based on their background or culture is ignorant.
Our informal governing body of our social norms is encompassed by a larger formal governing body, we call Grand Lodge. Grand Lodge dictates the laws of the subordinate lodges, and subordinate lodges are in themselves a sub-culture of a sub-culture. Every lodge you go to will be different from the lodge down the street. In one lodge it may be required to wear full Masonic dress, while the lodge that shares the same building only requires that you show up. Is one lodge right and the other wrong? As long as the lodge is in adherence with Grand Lodge laws, no. Normally, we would say that's the culture of that lodge. Traditional Observance culture is full tuxedo, others are more relaxed. Some lodges are extremely somber and grave, while other lodges are less serious. We take it upon ourselves to try and correct ones behavior because “That isn't how a Freemason must act.” So many times the memes about Freemasonry are torn a part by gentlemen who are bit too sensitive to the jokes portrayed in the picture. Are they wrong for not finding the humor? No. Just the same as a brother who does find it funny isn't wrong, either.
We are too caught up in the “what would so-and-so think?”. Brothers, if you find a joke funny, regardless of the nature, laugh. If you don’t find any kind of humor in it, don’t. Perhaps you think it's juvenile, or you just don’t understand it. Either way, there is no need to ruin the fun others may see in it. If you think that our Fraternity is a such a prestigious organization that humor doesn't belong, I would like for you to look at yourself and ask why. We are a prestigious organization, there is no denying that. We are also an organization that deals very closely with the ideas of mortality. Death, though, is very serious business and is not the only meaning behind the term mortality. Mortality is literally defined as subjected to death. That means our focus is not on death but what is subjected to death, which is life. Life is something we learn as we go. It is not all serious business, it is a roller coaster of emotions that we learn on our own individual non-linear path. We are an organization that professes the ideas of free thought. It is not our place to demean another person because they thought differently than you, let alone a brother.
Why do we continue to oppress an individual because we disagree with them?
Why are we so serious?
Bro. Aaron Gardner, an American Soldier who just recently transitioned into the Reserves after 8 years serving the Active Duty Army. He dedicates the majority of his free time to Freemasonry with his constant studies, writing and traveling from lodge to lodge to learn as much as he can regarding Freemasonry. He likes to relate his everyday life to the Craft and anything he finds he wants to spread to the world. It is his passion to study people, religion, history and Freemasonry. When he isn't working as a Soldier he is dedicating his time to the amazing and supportive Emily, writing about Freemasonry and writing his very own novel. His blog page is Celestial Brotherhood.