Masonic Philosophy- the Political Influence of Freemasonry
Masonic Philosophy – the Political Influence of Freemasonry
Written By: Thais Campos July 9, 2010
Freemasonry has been an object of speculation and misconception throughout history because of the great impact of the Masonic influence on politics and society under vows of secrecy. The destiny of many countries was decided inside Masonic lodges far away from the public eyes – wherever there was a just cause to fight for, a Freemason would be involved, like in the independence of the United States of America and the French revolution.
Due to the mysterious aura surrounding the actions of Freemasonry, the Masonic lodges have been unfairly associated with occultism and corrupt practices, however, behind its external facade lies a beautiful philosophy that resurrected the ancient wisdom in a time of dogmatic doctrines in Europe.
The History of the Masonic Lodges
The precise origin of the Masonic lodges is uncertain, but the presence of Masons (as a philosophical movement) can be tracked back to the 1700s in Europe. At that time, people were starting to question the dogmatism of the Church and search for other explanations to spiritual and philosophical issues that the Catholic faith could no longer answer. So, among the elite of the society, the ancient knowledge that had been banned during the middle ages started to re-emerge as a reaction to the fundamentalism of the Church. In addition, Plato’s philosophy, along with the wisdom of the ancient world were resurrected.
At that time, the art of masonry was very respected as a profession and masons were free citizens, not serfs, not slaves and not indentured, and therefore, they had the freedom to travel and work in any place, allowing them to be in different locations and meet all sorts of people.
An apprentice spent years learning the crafts from a mason master in order to become a mason himself, and disciples started to receive tutoring at a very young age, when they were still uncorrupted by dogmatic ideas. Mason masters taught their apprentices not only the wonderful and complex art of construction, but also, the principles of an ancient school of thoughts that had long been forgotten by the European society. These were the perfect conditions for a philosophical movement to arise.
The Basic Principles of Freemason Philosophy
The philosophy of Freemasonry is based on the foundations of the ancient philosophy and combines elements of eastern philosophy, Hermeticism, Stoicism and Neoplatonism. In fact, all these schools of thought had some points in common – they understood that nature, as well as humanity, function according to a cyclical pattern, which is pre-established in the universe. One must live according to these universal rules in order to achieve goals and find peace and happiness. This is said to be true for individuals, small groups and whole nations.
From this perspective, the ideal political organization would be that which is aligned with the natural cycles, obeying to the universal plan. Freemasons assumed that they should act as intermediaries between nature’s plan and political changes in order to ensure the positive outcome of some historical events. By applying these principles into politics, they were able to plot some strategies, participating actively of movements that ended up shaping the future of many nations.
Historical Events Influenced by Freemasonry
Some historical events were influenced by Freemasons and their libertarian philosophy. The Masonic ideal included the concept that all nations should be politically and economically independent from the metropolis but united through the same principles, laws and rules, forming political blocks, even though religion and state should be separate. This ideal was behind most political actions, namely:
- American Independence, signed by Freemasons Benjamin Franklin and John Hancock among others (1776);
- French Revolution, with the participation of Freemason Bernadotte and Minister Necker (1789);
- Proclamation of Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, influenced by Freemason Simón Bolivar (1821);
- Proclamation of the Brazilian Republic, under the influence of Freemason Theodoro da Fonseca (1889) and;
- Abolition of slavery in various countries
Today, Freemasons aren’t as active in the political events as they once were, but the Masonic principles continue to play an important role in society despite the misunderstandings that surround the Masonic lodges. No longer considered a secret fraternity, Freemasonry is simply a discreet brotherhood.