It is for each individual Mason to discover the secret of Masonry, by reflection upon its symbols and a wise con-sideration and analysis of what is said and done in the work. Masonry does not inculcate her truths. She states them, once and briefly; or hints them, perhaps, darkly; or interposes a cloud between them and eyes that would be dazzled by them. ‘Seek, and you shall find.‘ knowledge and the truth.
These words are from page 218 Chapter XIV - GRAND ELECT, PERFECT, AND SUBLIME MASON [Perfect Elu.] in the Morals and Dogma by Albert Pike.
Brother Pike tells us a lot about the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry in these few words. Or does he?
What do those few words mean? If you have read any of my articles, essays, commentaries, or other forms of prose; you must know that I am always asking of myself (and by extension: I am asking you the reader): what do those words mean? Do they have a universal meaning or are they different for each of us. What is the etymology of these words?
What means, “Perfect”? Can this Mason now proclaim that everything about him is perfection? He can go no further? He can proclaim himself next to his G-d?
Hardly. A circle, no matter how lop-sided or poorly executed is, as long as the ends meet, “Perfect”. As: Complete. As: Whole. Ideal, conclusive, fixed, etc. A gestalt configuration which appears in the mind as a circle is, none-the-less, not whole, not perfect. So the “Perfect” part of the Perfect Elu, leads us to the sometimes expressed opined remark that the Perfect Elu will recognize no frontiers in his life. What can that possibly mean? You will find, if you seek to make sense of all the various remarks, state-ments and declarations about the Scottish Rite and all her degrees that do not make sense to you as an individual for any one of a number of reasons.
Colors for an example, not only mean different things in different degrees - they mean something different to you depending upon your mood. Some-times a red light is not a stop light, it is a challenge and an opportunity! A very poor challenge and a worse opportunity but still it is that option.
A circle can mean: a wedding band, a troth, a coming-full-circle - back where I was, an opening (another opportunity), a halo, a geometric form, a coterie, a milieu… Are these Signs, Symbols or an Emblem? For that dif-ference, I refer you to the writing of C. G. Jung vis-a-vis Sigmund Freud. And there is a difference.
The words are not always a bridge that we build in order for our thought to cross over to the next person. Perhaps it is our personal limitations. Perhaps it is the author or speaker - s/he might use a word which has A precise meaning, but we do not understand it because it is not in our per-sonal vocabulary. As a Perfect Elu, we need to consider every detail of every degree and discuss it to get another’s opinion and observation. Just because Pike wrote it does not, by itself, make it understandable and assimilable. Think about it.
James “Jens” Petersen 32*