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Freemasonry - Its Hidden Meaning
by George H. Steinmetz
A spiritual interpretation of the esoteric work of the Masonic lodge, analyzes the lectures and symbols of the three degrees. (1948)
Chapter 3 - Mental Science
"Be specific, be definite in your mental work. You are dealing with Intelligence, so deal with It intelligently."
MENTAL SCIENCE asks no one to accept any statements made in its behalf that cannot be proven. We should attempt to prove each statement as we build our premise, exactly as the investigator in any other science would proceed to prove his findings.
While all Freemasons necessarily profess a belief in a "one living and true God," else they could not be members of the Order, for the sake of consistency a scientific reason should be established for that belief.
This seemingly is a world of opposites. Negatives at first glance appear to be truths, but on analysis are not. Darkness, of itself, does not exist. It is merely the absence of light. Ignoring the negative side of the question but turning to the affirmative, let us build up a rational belief in a Supreme Being.
We exit The Universe exists. We are conscious of both our own existence and our surroundings. Consciousness is a degree of intelligence. That same intelligence which makes us aware of our own existence and the existence of the world in which we live forces us to admit the prior existence of some creative force which caused both the universe and ourselves.
This is not an attempt to advance an argument to the individual who says "we just happened." In fact he will not be reading these lines. Such a view is so inconsistent with nature that it requires no answer from the thinking person. Nothing in nature "just happens." There is always a reason for natural action if we but find it, and we cannot malign the Omni-present because the human mind cannot grasp the reason for some particular thing and say "there is no reason, no cause." We must ultimately come to th e conclusion that we and the Universe are the result of definite, intelligent planning; in other words - THOUGHT.
The next step in an attempt to find a logical basis for belief is to ascertain HOW we were created. Man the finite cannot comprehend the INFINITE and, therefore, unaided, realize infinity, yet he must needs attempt that very thing. Fortunately, there is in every man that which impels him to seek the infinite, and by means of it apprehend sufficient of the concept of infinity to pursue the proper train of thought.
The universe is distinctly material and, being material, there must have been a time when it did not exist. Hence the Biblical statement: "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." This provides a good starting place, and, by applying the theory of negatives, can be restated; "until created the EARTH WAS NOT." The Bible carefully states "CREATED, not "BUILT." To "build" is to construct or rearrange out of existing material. To "create" is to materialize something out of apparent nothing.
There is some question. as to the correctness of the translation of the foregoing passage, the Hebrew word "ROSH" being involved. It is true that "rosh" may be translated "beginning" but the best Hebrew authorities seem to prefer "the head." Thus we are told that "ROSH HASHANA" means "the HEAD of the year." It is not phrased: "the BEGINNING of the year." In connection with this distinction of meaning it should be noted that "the head" carries the inference of knowledge or wisdom. It is the seat of wisdom. Thus this passage may well be translated: "IN WISDOM God created the heavens and the earth."
Returning to the Bible we read: "In the beginning the earth was without form, and void." That statement seems contradictory, for regardless of the SHAPE of a thing it cannot be without form. If it exists as material, whether round, flat or square, that is its form. From this one can only conclude that the earth did not exist as matter. How then did it exist, if in the beginning it was without form and void? Only as thought, an idea, WITHOUT (MATERIAL) FORM, in the Universal Mind.
The suggested translation lends itself to this line of reasoning. If we say "in wisdom" rather than "in the beginning," we immediately predicate a "mental creation" preceding the material manifestation in form and space. In another passage we read: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, etc." "All things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made." Again we change not the sense, but give it actually more specific meaning if we translate: "In WISDOM was the wo rd, etc."
Earth then, came into existence through the WISDOM of God and by the word of God. What is a word, but the vocalization of a thought? A "word" must be "THOUGHT" before it can be spoken. (We seek a "word," and the reason for our quest is that we, too, may create by means of this word.) A "word" being a spoken thought, we may now change the initial statement of the Bible to read: "In WISDOM God THOUGHT the world into being."
Everything in nature indicates the absolute consistency of the Great Universal Mind, hence we reason when we see the operation of physical laws, that spiritual laws work on the same basis. The Infinite Intelligence can arrive only at a perfect plan of operation, and that plan is absolute.
In studying nature's laws as a starting point in the "seen" we can conclude that the operation of spiritual laws in the "unseen" is similar. Hence the conclusion can readily be reached that there is but one set of laws, or one great universal law. It can be likened to that portion of a spar seen above the water, because of which we know the portion under the water of necessity exists.
Wheat planted in the ground produces wheat, and wheat only. Cattle bred produce cattle, and cattle of the same type and breed. Man produces an offspring of like form and intellect. If the absolute immutability of this law could not be depended upon there could be no assurance of our own continued existence, or of the continuance of the universe.
If, in the wisdom of Universal Intelligence, the operation of this law in the material world is satisfactory, why not apply the same to the spiritual world? This is the dictate of reason, and we may strengthen our conclusion by the precept of the Bible, which the Mason is admonished to use as "the rule and guide of his faith and practice."
The Great Teacher suggests the law of like producing like by several questions he asks, as well as by directly stating it to be so. "Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?" Also - "A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit." Again we are specifically told: "And God said, let us make man in our own image, after our likeness." We have definitely concluded God is not material, but spirit - Mind. He could not have referred to man's physical body when he said "in our own image and likeness," so this can only mean SPIRITUAL LIKENESS.
The Bible contains two separate and distinct accounts of the creation of man. One which may be called the birth of the idea, or ideal, of man in the Infinite Mind; the real spiritual "thought creation" as dearied in the twenty-sixth and twenty-seventh verses of the first chapter of Genesis. In the second chapter of Genesis, seventh verse, is found the description of the physical creation, the actual making of the material body.
William James, writing on the theory of the secondary or subliminal consciousness, says: "In certain persons, at least, the total possible consciousness may be split into parts which coexist, but mutually ignore each other." F. W. H. Myers suggests that the stream of consciousness in which we habitually live is not our only one. According to Bramwell, from whose book, Hypnotism, its History, Practice and Theory, we are here quoting, Myers termed the "self below the threshold of ordinary consciousness the s ubliminal consciousness, and the empirical self of common experience the supraliminal."
Psychology teaches that we have two minds, or one mind capable of two distinct functions. It is immaterial for our present purpose which view we accept, but for the sake of clarity we will henceforth speak of two minds: the objective, or Myers' supraliminal, and the subjective, which he describes as the subliminal consciousness. The objective mind of man is the manifestation of the Universal Mind, which is subjective upon the objective plane.
The objective mind of man, with its ability to reason inductively, make choices of its own and distinguish between good and evil, is the highest work of all creation (in a material body) up to the present time. By culminating in man, with his objective mind, evolution has at last produced something which can go on of As own accord and volition.
While throughout the animal kingdom there is evidence of ability to reason, and particularly in the higher animals does this approach more nearly what man terms reasoning, it is man alone who has attained to the eminence of being a free moral agent; free to make his own decisions, draw his own conclusions and have cognition of the existence of the very Universal Law which underlies the attainment of this stage of his development
With the objective mind man makes his conscious decisions. It is the seat of the ability to choose. HE HAS THE POWER OF CHOICE. It is the objective mind which recognizes the fact and says: "I AM!"
The subjective mind is described as being impersonal, passive, directed by the objective mind and having no will of its own. It faithfully follows the dictates of the objective mind. It is proven beyond argument that it is also the controller of bodily functions, as may be recognized when it is realized that we do not consciously, objectively, direct the heart beat or respiration. These other functions are not material to the present study, so we particularly note the IMPERSONAL QUALITY of the subjective mind for the present.
In a study of the characteristics of the subjective mind, its impersonal nature may be better understood by observing its action in hypnotism. Hypnotism is the displacement of the subject's objective mind by the objective mind of the hypnotist, in order that the hypnotist may directly make suggestions to the subjective mind of the subject.
Mental science teaches that the, subjective mind is impersonal, and this is readily proven by hypnotism. In Bramwell's book, previously quoted, he states relative to changes in personality: "Here the subject [while under hypnotism] assumes the role suggested [by the hypnotist], and speaks and acts in accordance with his conception of the part."
Another fact demonstrated through hypnotism is that the subjective mind reasons entirely deductively, and is incapable of reasoning inductively. In inductive reasoning conclusions are drawn from a number of known facts, whereas deductive reasoning assumes two or more facts to be true, without actual verification; but, if correct, then further conclusions must of necessity be true.
Given the initial suggestion by the hypnotist, the subject will follow through, DEDUCTIVELY even to the most minute detail, arriving at the correct conclusion with a display of intelligence at times far superior to the known ability of the objective mind of the individual. However, the hypnotized subject will neither show any tendency, nor evince any ability, to establish inductively the correctness of the original assumptions, no matter how false, or even ridiculous, they may appear to the objective mind of an observer.
Mental Science informs us that this subjective mind is the individual's undivided part of the great subjective mind of the universe, that creative force which brought us into being, and therefore we are like our Creator. Science thus establishes that we are AS OUR CREATOR, and enlightens us as to the real meaning of the Biblical statement that man is made in the image and likeness of God.
So much for the present of Mental Science. However we hope to subsequently establish the fact that Freemasonry and Mental Science are synonymous. Through its careful and secret teaching Freemasonry has preserved knowledge of Mental Science through the dark ages of ignorance, so that in our more enlightened day, when a man has the right to think for himself and express those thoughts openly, the great storehouse of knowledge is found stocked with the fundamental ideas.
However, due to the necessity of secrecy in the past, this knowledge was concealed in allegory and illustrated only by symbols. The full import was unknown, even to some of those who zealously guarded it and were instrumental in its preservation. For this reason, even today, it is not an "open book" which may be read with ease. The knowledge IS ALL THERE, but it is still "veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols," and is useless until laboriously dug out and exposed to the view of the intellect.
This knowledge is ours for the asking. All we need do is knock at the door of this storehouse of wisdom and "it will be opened unto us," but the door is not equipped with an electric eye which will swing it open as we pass. It takes a "distinct knock," and patience to gain this important privilege. It demands a well formed PERSONAL DESIRE to give the knock and patiently await a due time. We have encountered in the spiritual world the law of the material world, and are dealing with personal desire. We mu st first "form a favourable opinion" of this knowledge we seek, then request admission. That request must be "unbiased by the improper solicitations of friends, and uninfluenced by mercenary motives." It must be for a far more noble and glorious reason: "a desire for knowledge and a sincere desire of being serviceable to your fellow creatures." Finally, we must be able to truthfully answer: "it is," when asked: "Is this of your own free will and accord?"
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