EUGEN OVIDIU CHIROVICI
Past Grand Master, National Grand Lodge of Romania
Honorary Director, MASONIC FORUM Magazine
In the exercise of my two terms as Grand Master, I was sometimes put in the position to manage conflicts arising between the values consecrated by the profane world and those internal ones which are born of the polishing of the stone. I took them upon me, as being inherent in the formative period of a young Obedience.
Up to a point, these values intersected each other, and still do. Altruism, generosity, an inclination to intellectual instruction (symbolized by the liberal arts) and reflection, patriotism, faith, all these, along with other which I have not enumerated, are not (only) Masonic values, but are at the same time broadly embraced by the largest part of the citizens of the democratic societies and are recognized as such.
They tend to part ways there were the number one enemy of the Craft, and not only of the Craft is pride.
I have encountered scientists, dignitaries and wealthy man who claimed – considering themselves in their right – a privileged Masonic status even at the entry into a Respectable Lodge. Ultimately, they said, they were brining an addition of intelligence, credibility and creativity which demanded their just rewards.
So also have I met Brethren who, by dint of their holding an office of power at the level of the Grand Council, thought themselves in their right to claim a privileged status in the profane world, that is to say, in the society, even though their professional track was not necessarily one that would seriously lead to such a thing.
Even within the Lodges, problems sometimes appeared between those who were the repositories of exceptional profane values and those who, even though they did not have what these other ones had in the society, had nevertheless earned them Masonic notoriety and appreciation, by the self-denial and the talent that they had already proven in the polishing of the stone.
In fact, between these two parts of the life of a Brother – his status as a member of the Craft and his social/professional life – no conflict should arise, just like between the profane values gathered by this Brother and the Masonic ones of the one next to him no contradiction should be born.
The ideal is the “(al)chemical” reaction between the profane dowry that an Initiate brings within the Temple and the esoteric, ethical and moral knowledge which he acquires, by the labor and with the aid of the Brethren, at the bosom of the Craft. What is there to polish if you have been wasteful with your own life, if you have wasted your time instead of instructing yourself and tailoring a destiny for yourself? So also, even if you have an exceptional intelligence and a splendid career, what makes you think that these profane values can immediately be converted into Masonic values, about which you had known nothing before the Brethren offered you their trust and welcomed you among them?!
These problems are born, I believe, of the fact that the society in which we live seems not to have exited what I might call “an era of contestation.” And this spirit penetrates, sometimes, beyond the gates of the Temple. The wealthy man contests with the intellectual, thinking him a wastrel. In his turn, the intellectual tends not to appreciate the entrepreneurial efforts made by the business man on his – not at all easy – way to performance and prosperity. The politicians are all thrown into the same kettle, considered all of them farceurs draping their personal interests in the folds of a doctrine in which they do not in fact believe. And the examples could continue.
I believe we will reach the level of normalcy when we will replace exaggerated contestations with the desire to empathize more with the others and we will accept the fact that we all must learn from the others. And if someone possesses a dowry of knowledge more important than another Brother’s, then that constituted a duty, not a privilege: the duty to share with the other what one has gathered by his capacity, education and chance.
A solid and beautiful construction requires the vision of an architect, the skill of the engineers, but also the tireless labor and dexterity of the workers without which the architect’s plans would remain a mere drawing on a board and the skill of the engineers would be useless. Together, these men could leave after them, for those who are coming in the future, a trustworthy thing. Separated, contestants, ground to dust by interior conflicts, they will leave nothing behind them.