M. W. Bro. Rafael Aragón Guevara
Past Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Guatemala,
Former Executive Secretary of the Interamerican Masonic Confederation
Nowadays, our societies face many and varied problems, arising from rapid change processes that make us glimpse a horizon for the human person with the constant risk of losing their sense of self, and which envisions the presence of uncertainty scenarios that lead to the resurgence of dogmatism, of fanaticism and irrationality, all being carriers of intolerance, exclusion, denial and violence.
In a varied context of tensions and contradictions that arise in a relativism of values that alert about situations inconsistent with the demands and requirements of the emerging social demands, and in whose context the utilitarian approaches prevail, in which generally the means are stronger than the purpose, going as far as replacing them, the Freemason’s critical reflection is imposed, to his role and current social commitment, facing the task of guiding the present and building this project facing the future.
This happens due to the necessary redefinition of the Freemason’s social commitment, in light of the current reality; while wondering whether, facing the new forms of knowledge embedded in this information society, it is possible to continue maintaining a position of secrecy turning only to the interior of our Temples; whether before the social manipulation and the historical biases of the already known political and confessional powers, the contemporary Freemason should be limited to the rhetoric of the freethinker or should become an example and promoter of an ethical life, committed to the public and private behavior, from which to come in the way of the interested deformations of history and to scrutinize critically and purposefully the surrounding reality, to project and contribute to finding the answers that his time demands from him.
It’s the Freemason’s job today to ask himself again if before the pernicious effects of economic globalization sponsored by global power factors, the convenient position of spectator is valid, or it is better to endeavour to cause the qualitative leap to the humanist re-globalization, which represents mainly an emphasis on the human dignity transcending by inclining towards a social approach to globalization, claiming free people, where what is good for one is for all, that is, a legitimized humanitarian globalization, which is equal to orienting it in such a way to place the human being at the center of his thoughts and actions.
A task of such dimensions for the Freemason of the modern times, also demands that his various conclaves and participatory events such as the World Conference of the Grand Lodges, walk the same path, in the sense of becoming strategic tools working together with the magnitude of the challenge, from which the convoking tasks arise, that inspire the various proposals oriented to the contribution in addressing the challenges of the present, and in building tomorrow’s aspirations.
It’s about taking the firm conviction that from the simple speech, from the mere abstraction of the paper and from the single brotherly coexistence within the framework of the large international Masonic meetings, it is not enough to stimulate, lead and promote the full participation with other civil society forces, addressed to the joint construction of development proposals, that will also strengthen the citizen advocacy oriented to the effective legitimacy of the participatory democracy.
Based on this approach, the greatest effort that an international conclave of the universalist Masonic brotherhood can stimulate, is a wide convocation, mainly oriented towards an educational/Masonic project which will allow laying the training foundations of a preparation in social awareness and commitment, from where teachings arise, oriented towards the search of overcoming the approaches of economic reductionism as an interpretive category of all social problems; from where proposals will arise, which will allow the review of the Freemason’s social practice in all his orders, and from where there may appear the alternatives seeking and providing new answers and promoting more opportunities aimed to achieve sustainable development conditions in the societies, and social justice in the others at the border of the basic welfare.
To the extent that our major inter-nation meetings address the Freemason’s present task, whose fraternity concept is increasingly extended towards the social contexts that surround him and demand from him; to that extent it will be assumed as a matter of all the various challenges that the society nowadays claims, as to contribution and commitment; and to that extent as well, the international Masonic presence will need to be recognizing the urgent need to stop living in the past and to adapt to the changes and challenges posed by this 21st century: a world devoid of solidarity, based on a morality of globalized economic determinism, strong generator of multiple inequalities and injustices.
It’s time to assume collective consciousness from the Masonic universalism to take the necessary proposals which claim that scientific and technological progress, as well as the scope of a global economy, must be placed at the service of social welfare and in respect for human dignity.
Nevertheless, it is necessary to clarify that if there is crisis or questioning, or if there is need to revisit or rework the Masonic mission in with the present times, to meet the challenges of social reality, this is the Freemason’s job, and in no case that of the Freemasonry, which as we know from its origins, remains in force as the vanguard of universal humanist thought.
Terefore, the first challenge of all international Masonic conclaves can be identified as the transcendence of the Masonic neutralism before the social challenge, and which becomes increasingly more recurrent, as a mere form of feeling comfortable with the simple expectation of the problematic. The Masonic neutralism is identified in:
- Leaving the Freemasonry devoid of its acting subject, attributing to it as a doctrine the responsibility of not assuming the compromise.
- Exonerating the Freemason from the assumption of the ethical responsibilities to the general good of mankind, that one he swore, thereby diluting the ability to assume an attitude committed to the Great Work.
- Complete reduction in making the impotent speech which denies the Freemason’s the ability to commitment and action.
- Replacing the historical role and the leadership based on values by a rhetoric attitude, one contemplative of the reality.
- Absence of the Masonic projects whose realization makes possible the opportunity to reverse the facts and build alternatives.
Thee major international Masonic conclaves are called to commit themselves to their time, and not to get stuck in the traditional inertia of the purely rhetorical; in that aspect, the interest is centered on the present World Conference in Romania, so that as a starting point, to analyze with critical and committed sense, the future scope of the World Conference of the Grand Lodges, in the light of an emerging guideline which visualizes Freemasonry as an irreversible and irrevocable content and purpose, coexisting with a Freemason – as his tool – called to be an individual committed to his time. Or what could be identified as enhancing the “Fundamental relationship of the Freemason- Freemasonry”, and explained in terms of: “the Freemasonry provides the Freemason with the principles and method and trains him in the absolute respect for his freedom of thought, action and influence. The rest is up to him”. This rest is the one called unitary from the international convergence, making it possible from a programmatic approach to make out proposals from the joint efforts based not only on the interest of the Order, but also facing the social realities of our people, of which we are part, and where we were destined to live.