In the first two installments (part 1 & part 2) of this series I introduced a method that I use when approaching our ritual and texts. Part 3 proved to be more challenging than the first two, primarily because our work deals heavily in allegory which is distinct from analogy. Allegory is when characters or events are used to portray certain lessons. An analogy is a comparison between two items which are similar in some way. As such, it would be incorrect for me to elaborate on what the tyrians represent in our daily lives (as my first draft of this post did). Instead, analogy encourages us to look at the ritual themes for modern ways which they may be applied to our lives.
The ‘Principle of Analogy’ asks and answers the question, "Are there modern situations which are comparable to those which are historically portrayed in the ritual?" The Principle of Analogy is applied when you have scenarios from a historic text or texts that might not exist perfectly the same today but we can still apply the lessons to similar situations. Thus, analogy is less about "What can this teach?" and more about "How can this be applied?"
Often our Masonic education tends toward having an obvious connection to Masonry. Many topics either have the word *Mason* in it, are about a famous Mason, or touch directly and specifically on our symbols. In applying the Principle of Analogy we can significantly expand that which is Masonically necessary to teach. What can we be teaching and discussing within our halls to expand our understanding of the world? Topics that may not be obviously Masonic in nature, could present serious value to our order.
Our degrees address relief. What does that look like in 2017? Could we be developing the hearts of our Brethren by evaluating injustices surrounding us: human trafficking, access to clean water, or institutionalized classism. The tools presented in our degrees should enable us to recognize that these are not political issues; they are matters affecting humanity likely in our own backyards. This analogy discourages our participation in divisionary activity and encourages actions which cement all men together in the bonds of Brotherly Love and Affection.
Another example is Preston’s inclusion of the sciences in our degrees. His intent was to encourage both critical thinking and a sense of wonder in the Great Architect's creation. When the lectures were written, many of these topics were revolutionary but 200+ years later they no longer ought to be considered as such. Shouldn’t we be expanding our education beyond basic history to include anything that might expand the intellect of our Brothers? Analogous topics could be string theory, psychology, and Fibonacci. Each of these subjects can be justified through the Principle of Analogy and understanding the context in which the ritual was written. What else does the Principle of Analogy expand our teachings to include? How can we use this to approach the text with new insight?
Next we will discuss the big picture and its contextual role in our ritual.