So, interestingly, after thinking about the state of Freemasonry in the 1800’s I ran across a statement about the frission between mystic groups that append to every religion, the Gnostics to Christianity, the Kabbalists to Judaism, the Sufi to Islam, etc …
“All these mystic groups were disliked by the establishment and by the clergy â€” be it Christian, Islamic or Jewish â€” which claimed to represent them. For institutions require devoted followers not mystical seers, because what they seek is power, not truth.”
– Symbols of Freemasonry by Daniel BÃ¨resniak
That’s a pretty bold statement. I’m thinking that there’s a bit of pride to this whole thing, a kind of over statement of the real problem.
Wouldn’t it be inevitable for the power hungry to desire entry into the powerful society, and that society then runs into some inescapable dialectic between integrity versus survival and compromise?
Obviously powerful people would wield their wrath, being, in my view, rather self-centered and somewhat resembling a textbook ethical egoist, against any group which dared to keep a certain ethical purity by not letting such a person in. Certainly this isn’t a non-obvious dilemma. I suppose by having veil upon veil internally there would be ways to misdirect such a person, seeking merely to advance and gain power, as opposed to getting anything useful out of their membership.
So, perhaps that was the later development, in answer: the inner and outer societies. Using a society, as did Wieshaupt’s Illuminati use the Freemasons, as a filter, might be a way to re-direct those ambitious persons toward what they desired access to without creating a mess for everyone else.
The conspiracy theorist might have it the other way round, I suppose, where the ambitious are filtered away from those ethereal, ineffective mystics.
In a side note, I find it interesting that the previously mentioned “Symbols of Freemasonry” mentions Lodges which are a combination of Males and Females. After reading in Johnston’s works how important that division was, I find that a surprise. Of course, the book is a translation from French, so represents the French lodges … and we all know how those French are.
Semi-non sequitur: The Grand Lodge of British Columbia and the Yukon has a very nice website.
Check out their page on Palmer Cox and The Brownies.