“Equality and Tolerance. The Masonic Values that may Fundamentally Define the 21st Century, a Century of Dramatic Changes."
Address of M. W. Bro. Radu _Bălănescu
Grand Master of the National Grand Lodge of Romania
Both equality and tolerance are not abstractions. They are practical instances in the life of men of good report. They are fundamental pillars of the moral and, implicitly, Masonic conduct. They are measures and indicatives of how deep we understand and how fair we profess and apply the principles that we are taught in the Masonic Temple.
The first question that rises is what means to be tolerant in practice and how the practice of tolerance can generate equality.
First of all, to be tolerant implies to accept that there are differences between human beings, between their character and education, between their principles and how they apply the general principles depending on their character and education. It means to accept as factual, but harmless to your own ego the differences between the human beings’ way of reporting to the present values of the world they live in. It requires an understanding of the way the others differs from you; to respect these differences and to learn how to leave with them means a real practice of tolerance. Furthemore, tolerance means to try to accept something that, in reality, is hard for you to
agree. Tolerance is also the positive and cordial effect of understanding the others’ faiths and habits without sharing or accepting them.
Tolerance includes some attributes as: forgiveness, sympathy, patience and clemency. But most of all, it implies self-analysis and self-awareness from which can develop and construct the comprehension of the otherness.
Tolerance means in fact a superior understanding of a behavior, phenomenon or attitude. The ones that really understand what tolerance means try to enter the core of the
human errors, to find out what generated them and straighten them towards love and brotherly help, without showing arrogance or superiority. Respecting the human dignity is an essential element if you really want to help your Brother, even if he has done wrong, even if his thoughts and practices are different from yours.
Tolerance has always been considered the highest of the moral laws of Freemasonry. In 1756, Lawrence Dermott mentioned in his writings concerned on the Masonic Constitutions the divine commandment: “Love your God with all your heart, and your neighbour as your own person.” The kernel that bears tolerance is in this sacred commandment. It may be said that tolerance is the starting point of the millenary dream naming equality.
If you really understand your otherness and become aware that the nature of the other’s self is the same as yours, you will be able to really understand, observe and profess the core of Freemasonry and its noblest and highest truth – that we are the Brotherhood of Man, under the Fatherhood of the Great Architect of the Universe. In His eyes and when facing the Absolute, we are all equal.
If this truth can be acknowledged and practiced by the entire humankind, we would live in a better world, without gender antagonism, without socio-cultural conflicts and without racist hostilities.
Therefore, we have a duty towards mankind – that of spreading this truth, its meaning and its beneficial effects outside the Masonic Temple, within the vast diversity of different, but equal human beings.