Book Review – The Freemasons Stopped in the Middle of the Ford

Freemasonry is one of the most beautiful human inventions. Would it also be one of the least understood, even by its practitioners?

 

The book ‘The Freemasons Stopped in the Middle of the Ford’ explains how Freemasonry works and what are its prospects. It is intended primarily for Freemasons and offers them a vision of Freemasonry that is sometimes unusual.

But this book can also be read by the uninitiated, who will then understand its nature and be able to shed their prejudices.

Seen from the outside, Masonic meetings appear a bit strange: How can educated men and women, often holding high-level jobs and senior positions, subject themselves to following obscure rites, performing childish gestures, wearing clothes they wouldn’t dare be seen in on the street, learning a language of symbols that our societies have long forgotten in favour of the more rational verb, hearing presentations on topics which, at first glance, do not affect them? What’s it all about? 
 
The raison d’être of modern Freemasonry and its way of explaining it are sketched out in the first chapter of ‘Anderson’s Constitutions’ pleading for freedom of thought, tolerance, unity, brotherhood and also evokes spirituality.

Most of the obediences (administrative entities of Freemasons) focus on these values and morals. However, in the United States and the UK they have a predilection for charity.

In continental Europe, South America, and Africa, some obediences also invite their members to discuss the economic, legal, and political issues of the day, and then publish the conclusions of their talks or present them directly to the leaders of their countries. 

The author of the book ‘The Freemasons Stopped in the Middle of the Ford’ tries to approach Freemasonry from different sides, not so much to explain how he understands it as to encourage the reader to seek his own answers: on its methods, its organization, and its meaning.

The book gives examples of different ways of practicing Freemasonry to broaden the horizon of Masons. Diversity inspires.

How did this mysterious organization come about? 
 
Thanks to the evolution of technologies and sciences since the Renaissance, the great scientists who created the ‘masonic method’ understood the interdependence of all humans among themselves and perhaps even with other forms of life on earth. They designate this interdependence by the term ‘universal brotherhood’.
 
The bond that unites all humans is as powerful as the bond between blood brothers and sisters. We can be vastly different from each other, as blood brothers and sisters can be, but despite this we are deeply alike, if only through our genes, and are tightly bound.

The book details the historical reasons that led the founders of modern Freemasonry to this worldview. And the author answers the question as to how/why they expressed it – when they had the means to expose their philosophy by a rational language – by a system of symbols, which refer to the heritage of all civilizations. 
 
This mixture of allusions to alchemy, ancient Egypt, Christianity, perhaps even Buddhism, can give the impression of chaos. In reality it is an incentive to be curious about all cultures, actively study them and learn to tolerate them despite their differences. 
 
Every culture expresses the deep nature of its carriers – who are like us, is it necessary to remind it? – their expression being modeled by their life, their natural and social environment.
 
The purpose of rituals and symbols is explained in the chapter ‘The word, art and symbolic thought’.

The founders of modern Freemasonry were able to observe the beginning of the passage of their world from the ‘local’, regional, and continental scale to the planetary scale.

Today we are coming to the culmination of this process in ‘globalization’. The interdependence of all humans is starting to appear obvious – ‘The flapping of a butterfly’s wings at one end of the world can cause a hurricane at the other’.

How to understand, accept and manage this situation?
 
We must face a complexity that exceeds the capabilities of any individual or group of individuals. No one can impose his vision of the world on all of humanity. At the most, he could destroy it.
 
To succeed without major disasters in reuniting all of humanity, it will be necessary to make good use of all the knowledge accumulated over thousands of years by its various components. We must unite the efforts of all humans, regardless of culture or gender. 
 
Through its ideal of tolerance, therefore of understanding what is common to all humans despite the diversity of their acts, Freemasonry offers us the means to achieve this. We need to respect all humans, not necessarily accepting everything they do.

But Freemasonry stopped halfway, ‘in the middle of the ford’. Instead of admitting its inevitable diversification, Freemasonry has been divided, for a century, into two, in reality three main currents, English, American, and French (with their supporters and followers), which communicate little with each other or no longer at all.

However, if we judge from the fraternal behavior of the Freemasons in the lodges of all these currents, the deep bases of their universe remain the same.

Freemasonry can and must play an important role in the evolution of our ‘globalized’ world. To achieve this, it must remove the obstacle of divisions between its currents.

‘The Freemasons Stopped in the Middle of the Ford’ offers an example of a solution for building the bridge towards unity in diversity.

This is only one possible method among others: it would be simpler to decide that, in the name of ‘universal brotherhood’, all the lodges open their doors, if only once a year, to all. initiates, regardless of their affiliation and ritual.

Diversity inspires, it is still necessary to have the opportunity to know it… 

The debate is open.

Note

 

In 1929, English Freemasonry made a sort of Brexit ahead of its time and then succeeded in creating a very well-structured world organization, of which it heads.

All the other ‘non-recognized’ obediences would have an interest in joining UGLE to benefit from its qualities of organization – provided that the English accept the diversity of Masonic approaches.

In France, only one obedience is ‘recognized’ by UGLE. In Germany, there are five, united in a federation to give the illusion of respecting the rule ‘one country, one obedience’.

Curiously, the ‘banished’ French Freemasonry still attracts candidates and develops, whereas in England and the United States it has already lost more than half of its members. 
 
‘The Freemasons Stopped in the Middle of the Ford’ is not in controversy with UGLE, nor with other Masonic organizations. Its author seeks to understand and help understand this wonderful movement that is Freemasonry. And also, to guess how it is possible that it declines, instead of developing. 
 
The author was able to visit about fifteen obediences in four countries, and his experience has taught how enriching diversity is. The book therefore seeks to promote the mutual knowledge of all Freemasons, this can only inspire them.

About the Author

 

 

Peter Bu was born on 26/5/1940 (passed to the Grand Lodge above on 24/3/2022) in Bratislava, Slovakia, married, two children. – Studied at the High School of Performing Arts, history and theory section, Bratislava, Czechoslovakia (1957-62).

– Doctoral thesis on Stanislavski’s theories of the actor’s art at the Slovak Academy of Sciences, Bratislava (1963-68) then

– Postgraduate studies on politics and culture in the USSR at the Institute of Slavic Studies from the Sorbonne.

He was Initiated into Freemasonry on 05/17/1991 at the La Bonne Foi à l’Orient lodge in Saint Germain en Laye, Grand Orient de France, companion on 03/20/1992, master on 04/30/1993.

In autumn 1995, raised to the fourth grade of the Ancient Scottish Rite and accepted at the Europa lodge in the Orient of Prague, then to the fourteenth and eighteenth grades at the Ennead, Orient of Saint Germain en Laye, same rite.

On 05/08/1993 he refounded Freemasonry in Slovakia by creating the Humanizmus lodge in the East of Bratislava, of which he was Venerable Master for three years then Roofer.

Appointed Venerable Master of Honor by his lodge in 1999. Peter Bu is among the Freemasons at the base of the ‘Call of Bratislava‘.

Hervé Marc, was Grand Inspector in charge of the formation of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Picardie – Plaine de France, Grand National Lodge of France (GLNF).

Member of the Supreme National Council of France. Economist and urban planner, graduate of Paris IX Dauphine and Sciences Po Paris, he has developed activities in audio-visual and business creation, in connection with regional planning and city policy.

Now retired, he is involved in actions related to prevention, child protection, new cooperation and media education.

More books by Peter Bu on Amazon

 

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