Pike Albert - Morals and Dogma of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry

Author : Pike Albert
Title : Morals and Dogma of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry
Year : 1874

Link download : Pike_Albert_-_Morals_and_Dogma_of_the_Ancient_and_Accepted_Scottish_Rite_of_Freemasonry.zip

An Introduction to Bro. Albert Pike's Morals and Dogma. By Bro. Jay Halpern. My acquaintance with Pike's work, "Morals and Dogma of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry", was a matter of chance. I happened upon it in an antique center and was immediately drawn to its erudition, its scope and its willingness to portray the sort of symbolism and arcana that drew me to Freemasonry in the first place. I determined to let his words speak for themselves, and play upon my own knowledge of American and world history, philosophy and political theory to make their point. What I found, much to my delight, was how far Pike's work took me beyond the parameters of pure Masonic lore and into the realm of political and economic theory that had been trod by the greatest minds of the past, like Plato, Plutarch, and the philosophical synthesizers of all ages. It became clear to me, in this regard, that M&D was far more than a Masonic tract. Pike placed Freemasonry and its structure and symbols within two very broad contexts: the religious and spiritual history of the world, stretching far beyond even the building of Solomon's Temple; and the human drama of vanquished peoples coping with the oppressive moral and political climate of defeat in war. For I think it's impossible to understand the significance of M&D without perceiving Pike's spiritual and philosophical outcry against the predations made against the former Confederacy of the American South by the conquering armies and politicians of the United States federal government. Albert Pike was a Confederate general of high moral principles, as is evident throughout M&D. We in the North have been schooled in the history of the victor; the story of the origins of the conflict between the states would, of course, have been written very differently had the fortunes of war gone differently. Having been taught the principle of loyalty to one's national government from childhood, we in the north find it difficult, if not impossible, to conceive of the Confederate rebellion as anything other than an act of betrayal of national principles, a breaking of the most sacred trust that had been forged between states by blood spilled during our mutual revolution from England. Pike writes in the very beginning of M&D: "The nations are not bodiespolitic alone, but also soulspolitic; and woe to that people which, seeking the material only, forgets that it has a soul. A free people, forgetting that it has a soul to be cared for, devotes all its energies to its material advancement. If it make war, it is to subserve its commercial interests. The citizens copy after the State, and regard wealth, pomp, and luxury as the great goods of life. Such a nation creates wealth rapidly, and distributes it badly. Thence the two extremes, of monstrous opulence and monstrous misery; all the enjoyment to a few, all the privations to the rest, that is to say, to the people; Privilege, Exception, Monopoly, Feudality, springing up from Labor itself: a false and dangerous situation, which, making Labor a blinded and chained Cyclops, in the mine, at the forge, in the workshop, at the loom, in the field, over poisonous fumes, in miasmatic cells, in unventilated factories, founds public power upon private misery, and plants the greatness of the State in the suffering of the individual. It is a greatness ill constituted, in which all the material elements are combined, and into which no moral element enters. If a people, like a star, has the right of eclipse, the light ought to return. The eclipse should not degenerate into night." To Pike's way of thinking, the Southern agrarian economy had purposefully eschewed the ways of industrialization and the market forces that had been so warmly embraced by the North. What Albert Pike saw in his own time was the forced encrustation of an agrarian, democratic dream by an imposed industrial capitalism from the North, and he saw himself as spokesman for a free people, now under tyranny, clutching to save its soul. Pike regarded Masonry as a potential framework upon which to retain the noblest and highest ideals once held by the defeated South. Hear his words, then, written in occupation and defeat, regarding this Brotherhood: "And Masonry, like History and Philosophy, has eternal duties eternal, and, at the same time, simple. The people that would be Free and Independent, must possess Sagacity, Forethought, foresight, and careful Circumspection, all which are included in the meaning of the word Prudence. It must be temperate in asserting its rights, temperate in its councils, economical in its expenses; it must be bold, brave, courageous, patient under reverses, undismayed by disasters, hopeful amid calamities. She must, above all things, be just, not truckling to the strong and warring on or plundering the weak; she must act on the square with all nations, and the feeblest tribes; always keeping her faith, honest in her legislation, upright in all her dealings. Whenever such a Republic exists, it will be immortal: for rashness, injustice, intemperance and luxury in prosperity, and despair and disorder in adversity, are the causes of the decay and dilapidation of nations." Albert Pike was a man of broad scholarship, comfortably familiar with the great documents of history, and familiar with the reports of human anthropology and sociology written, with varying degrees of insight and accuracy, by scholars and historians from all times and places. There isn't an indigenous culture, whether primitive or advanced, that Pike doesn't applaud to the degree that its native peoples adhere to the tenets of yeoman culture, of honesty and brotherhood from soul to soul. Indeed, Pike quite clearly states that Masonic ideals transcend all eras and peoples. In his chapter on the Royal Arch of Solomon, he writes, "Even Blue Masonry cannot trace back its authentic history, with its present Degrees, further than the year 1700, if so far. But, by whatever name it was known in this or the other country, Masonry existed as it now exists, the same in spirit and at heart, not only when Solomon built the temple, but centuries before before even the first colonies emigrated into Southern India, Persia, and Egypt, from the cradle of the human race." (Italics the author) Principle Transcends Degree Work and Ritual Thus, to Pike, the principles he found in Freemasonry far transcended the petty formalism of degree work and ritual. He looked into the past for role models whose lives best represented what he considered Masonic ideals, and philosophies that represented what he felt were meaningful paradigms for living the good and virtuous life. His search was broad and unprejudiced and he remarked regarding the appropriateness of holy texts as one of the Great Lights of a Lodge: "The Hebrew Pentateuch in a Hebrew Lodge, and the Koran in a Mohammedan one, belong on the Altar; and one of these, and the Square and Compass, properly understood, are the Great Lights by which a Mason must walk and work." Pike saw in this Masonic ideal the restatement of the Eleusinian Mysteries, and Orphism, and ythagoreanism, and the noble, secret faiths of every ancient generation viewed in its best and most profound light. "We have no other concern with your religious creed," Pike states outright, but for swearing oaths on whatever document commands one's particular heartfelt honor. Pike is drawn to the symbols of Freemasonry, drawn as they are from the most ancient occult creeds, for two reasons. The first reason derives from his status as a defeated general, a man of honor residing under what he perceives as a tyranny of occupation. Pike writes, "Despots are an aid to thinkers. Speech enchained is speech terrible. The writer doubles and triples his style, when silence is imposed by a master upon the people. There springs from this silence a certain mysterious fullness, which filters and freezes into brass in his thoughts." Thus, living under the despotism of the federal U.S., Pike writes his tome compressed between blocks of symbols and arcana that disguise his ancillary intent, to write a missive that will keep the idealism of the South alive during occupation. Pike heralds a warning to his Southern brethren that there will be a price to pay if their path is lost. History demonstrates that nations in their hour of darkest need, turn to the worst rulers: "We should naturally suppose that a nation in distress would take counsel with the wisest of its sons. But, on the contrary, great men seem never so scarce as when they are most needed, and small men never so bold to insist on infesting place, as when mediocrity and incapable pretence and sophomoric greenness, and showy and sprightly incompetency are most dangerous." The result, of course, is that revolutions begun for the purpose of empowering the people, result in new tyrannies: the rule of Cromwell, of Napoleon, of Stalin. Pike adds rather boldly, "That is a sad and true allegory which represents the companions of Ulysses changed by the enchantments of Circe into swine," meaning by Ulysses, of course, Ulysses S. Grant, the new "tyrant" over the South. "The North Ruled With An Iron Fist.." The fact that the U.S. federal government is, itself, a republic, and not a tyranny, doesn't let if off the hook, in Pike's view; the economic system of the North rules with a tyrant's fist: When civil war tears the vitals of a Republic, let it look back and see if it has not been guilty of injustices; and if it has, let it humble itself in the dust!" From Pike's perspective, it is the mercantile system of industrial politics, in contradistinction to the agrarian idealism of the South, that caused the rupture between the states and propelled the nation into civil war. The restrictions established against the expansion of slavery into the new territories of the West, for example, appeared to Southern gentry like Pike to be a serious and unmitigated infringement upon what they took to be the backbone of the Constitutional compromise, the balance between states' rights and federal authority. And in back of that infringement lay industrial mercantilism, the rank capitalism that was to lead to the Gilded Age, the Age of Morgan and Astor and Gould and the rest of the Robber Barons. And, of course, we are not Masons living in the South during Reconstruction; we are not defeated warriors living under occupation. The past is still the past, and therein lies, in my opinion, a great deal of the intellectual fascination Pike's work holds for me, as a Mason. As I read his work, I try and extrapolate just how such a man of both word and deed could be expected to make his theories manifest themselves in the worldatlarge. He is charged by many with helping to found the Ku Klux Klan, an active resistance movement against the federal forces stationed throughout the South. I can well imagine Pike putting deeds to his words and, when faced with the apolitical stance of Masonry then and now, seeking to found a similar body, an offshoot with degrees and symbols and occult titles, that would more vigorously pursue a spiritual cum political transformation throughout the South. But I'd find it difficult to imagine the Klansman as we know him today, ignorant, selfimportant, anarchistic, hateful against all religions and races other than his own, to be the kind of soldier Pike would have called to his spiritual cause. Perhaps the KKK was an experiment that failed in its infancy and went off in the wrong direction, a subterranean cell of political and spiritual theorists turned redneck racists at the starting gate. I can then imagine Pike even more disgruntled and perhaps misanthropic after his years of theorizing and propagating his philosophy. An Infinite Variety of Mankind... It is evident from the symbolic portions of M&D that Pike was too intrigued by the infinite variety of mankind, its religions, its cultures, its spiritual struggles against the forces of darkness, to be blithely classed with the racists we have come to expect from a racist culture. It is true that in some societies Pike allows for slavery; didn't, in fact, the whole Greek and Roman world, packed full of philosophers, depend upon it as an institution? Pike writes, "Influence of man over man is a law of nature, whether it be by a great estate in land or in intellect. It may mean slavery, a deference to the eminent human judgment (italics mine)." He writes elsewhere, "The wiser a man becomes, the less will he be inclined to submit tamely to the imposition of fetters or a yoke, on his conscience or his person. For, by increase of wisdom he not only better knows his rights, but the more highly values them, and is more conscious of his worth and dignity. His pride then urges him to assert his independence. He becomes better able to assert it also; and better able to assist others or his country, when they or she stake all, even existence, upon the same assertion. In Pike's day there was neither theory nor technology for social redemption. Certain forms of maladaptive behavior, certain affects of acculturation, were considered irredeemable and, at best, served as lessons to the rest of us who weren't so afflicted. In other words, slaves are both the victims of their masters, and by remaining enslaved, eventually deteriorate until they are worthy of their slavery. Don't mistake, however, my attempting to understand Pike's conception of slavery given his philosophy and spirituality with a justification. It is here that Pike and I part company, just as I part company with Socrates, Plato and Aristotle, whose philosophic leisure depended upon a slavebased culture. I merely wish to paint as broad a portrait of the man who wrote M&D as I can, given my studies so far. I can sympathize with Archie Stone's perplexity; here, in this remarkable book, sidebyside with drawings of occult symbols, Hebrew icons, Masonic forms, and all manner of diagrams and arcana, is embedded a political and social tract that is the proudly defiant outcry of one man against a nation that has overrun his own. It's easy for me to understand the veneration in which Pike's held by Masons in the Southern Jurisdiction; he represents, to them, the epitome of Southern aristocratic learning, philosophy and values. His words ring, and will always ring, alongside all other worldclass philosophers who saw their societies crumbling from greed and mercantilism. It will, I'm sure, surprise some that a Northern Masonic Jew, a man with ingrained Northern and urban sympathies for multiculturalism and the enlightened use of technology, could glean so much from a man like Albert Pike, a man so different. But I feel that, at bottom, the spiritual truths that have always brought true Masons together, whether in formal Lodge or by informal happenstance, with or without Masonic sanction, are truths that we both share and for whose fullness and radiance we continue to search. That part of contemporary Masonry which falls short of these truths, would, I feel, disturb Pike as much as they disturb me. I can only wish to meet and mingle with brothers who will pursue more light in Masonry with the passion, erudition and reverence that Albert Pike put into his impressive work. JAY HALPERN Contributing Editor/Writer belongs to Cosmopolitan Lodge #125 in New Haven, CT. He published "The Jade Unicorn" in 1979 (Macmillan), an occult allegory of the battle between good and evil, and is looking to have his novel,"GrisGris," a lyric meditation "Cell Fantastick", a collection of poems "The Emerald Canticle of Hermes", and a collection of short stories, "Ghosts & Bones,"published ASAP. Bro. Halpern is also a disability rights, civil rights, environmental activist who ran for Connecticut state representative last November to make a statement about a power plant being shoved down the region's throat, in lieu of a comprehensive renewable energy policy. ...

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