New Page 1
Paper presented at the Masonic Retreat, Yelagiri was a Power Point Presentation
with an extempore amplification of the salient points. The paper formed the
nucleus for the lecture and the same is uploaded here.]
TO LOOK FORWARD-- KRAUSE PHILOSOPHY (REVISITED)
W.Bro.Dr.M.Vamshidhar, W.M. Lodge Concord (No.204)
A common debate
in Masonic and also in non-Masonic forums that are aware of the Masonic
institution centers around the relevance of Freemasonry in the present 21st
imperative that we address a few questions with candor.
Is freemasonry relevant to the present society?
What and how does freemasonry as an organization contribute to the present
society in which it is a part of?
Is freemasonry evolving itself without our conscious knowledge and is addressing
the two questions above?
If the answer is YES and it is addressing the first two questions above – albeit
unconsciously – then don’t we need to codify and make that knowledge available
and work in that direction? If NO, then do we need to change?
These are some
of the issues that need serious perusal. If we fail to address these concerns or
fail to grow educationally then our order may lose the sheen and respect in
While I was
trying to ponder on these issues, which I considered of serious attention, I
came across a book written by Bro. Roscoe Pound, of the law School of Harvard
University. The slim book is very instructive though the language is typical of
its times. I have found that Bro. Roscoe has dealt with the philosophy of
Masonry in a very systematic and concise manner.
consists of a series of 5 lectures on the "philosophy of Masonry". Interestingly
these are lectures based on answers given to the fundamental questions raised by
four eminent Masonic Scholars themselves on Masonic philosophy.
In essence the
questions raised were three:
What is the nature and purpose of freemasonry as an institution? For what does
it exist? What does it seek to do?
What is the relation of masonry to other human institutions? What is its place
in a rational scheme of human activities?
What are the fundamental principles by which masonry is governed in attaining
To give a
nutshell summary of Bro.Roscoe pound’s book is quite a challenge. But I can
safely say in a reductionist manner they can be seen as two broad systems with
four strands of philosophical thought (or schools).
The two broad
systems can be categorized as “Intellectual” and “Spiritual”. These two broad
systems, may be further divided by the particular Masonic thinkers, as strands
(or schools) of philosophical thought using keywords vis-à-vis the emphasis they
school of William Preston - keyword was knowledge.
school of Karl Krause- keyword was Morals.
school of Albert pike- keyword was Symbolism.
school of George Oliver- keyword was Tradition.
researching the various systems of Masonic philosophy, I was particularly
intrigued or fascinated by the works of Bro. Karl Christian Friedrich Krause as
it was dealing with moral philosophy and Freemasonry has the Moral pursuit in
ABOUT THE MAN –
Bro. Karl Christian Friedrich Krause
Friedrich Krause (1781-1832) was born near Leipzig, Germany. He was a student of
Hegel and Friedrich Schelling. He also taught Arthur Schopenhauer. He was
founder of the Law school and wrote many books on Legal philosophy.
He was an
initiate of Lodge Archimedes and was also a ‘Redner’ (lecturer of lodge). His
twelve lectures were published in a book form with the title ”Higher
spiritualization of true symbols of Masonry”. He also tried to release another
book titled “ the three oldest professional records of Masonic fraternity”. This
book was greatly acknowledged by Dr.Albert Mackey who asserted that it was “one
of the most learned that ever issued from Masonic press”. However, it created
lot of flutter among the German Masonic order. The very rumor of Krause’s book
generated greater agitation among German Masonic authorities, as it was not
allowed to have public discussion of the Masonic symbols. This resulted in his
expulsion from the Order and the persecution prevented him from attaining the
recognition he deserved among the other great thinkers of his day.
his philosophy of Masonry, classifies that Masonry’s objectives can be seen to
be; to progressively achieve Natural, Artificial and Moral order. In his own
words, he says:
order is typified by
the ceaseless and relentless strife in which all individuals, races, and species
are inevitably involved. He uses as an example the struggle of every weed at war
with one another for room to grow, but must contend for their existence against
the ravages of insects, voracity of grazing animals, and implements of men.
Thus, the staple of life, under pure natural conditions, is conflict.
If we turn
to the artificial stage – for example the conditions of a garden, the
contrast is extreme. Even exotic species, planted carefully, so as not to
interfere with each other, carefully tended, turn their whole energies to more
perfect development, and produce forms and varieties of which their rude,
uncultivated originals scarcely convey hint. According to Krause, society and
civilization are, like a garden, an artificial order. As in the garden, so in
the society, the characteristic feature is elimination. What we eliminate points
Krause interestingly is the elimination of the struggle for existence (which
exists in the natural order).
stage Krause says is the most desirable of all and is the Moral order.
Natural order is the order of nature, he states that the Artificial
order is a middle transitional step achieved through religion or state and
then what emerges (and we should desire) is the Moral order. To him,
religion governs men by supernatural sanctions; the state governs them by the
sanctions and force of the organized law and morality governs them by the
sanction of public, private and self-reflective analysis.
the Masonic order is the most suited institution in cultivating morality
worldwide. He felt it could play a crucial role in perfecting humankind.
To put it
in perspective and at the risk of repeating myself;
classifies the world and Human beings into three orders based on their degree of
selfishness or self-centerdness.
Natural 2) Artificial and 3) Moral order.
Natural order all species, races and individuals are self centered and not
conscious of others existence. They are inevitably involved in a struggle for
existence. Their activities are centered on their desires and their
immediate family requirements. This results in mutual conflicts and unhappiness
recommended the artificial order to comprise people forming societies,
local organizations and creating an artificial environment, which will customize
the needs, and further the social progress. Here the society (in manifestations
of religion, government, rules and law) takes all the positive steps to resist
the natural order. Society ensures that humans learn to adjust and act without
always believed that society and humanity must mature into Moral order
wherein the individual identifies himself with one and all. He is free from all
worldly divisions and demarcations; where his love is all embracing and
universal. This Krause also realized is a task that can only be accomplished at
an individual level through self- realization and self change.
conceived that Masonry ought to work in tandem with the social, religious and
state organizations to monitor and ensure continuous social progress. In his
vision Masonry should have an active part and should shoulder the responsibility
of the three pillars of human civilization - Religion, Law and Morals thus,
helping in human perfection.
It is this,
which set me on my own thinking and led me to a few perspectives, which I would
like to share with my learned brethren and seek their feedback.
with Krause’s structure and his goal I ask the questions as to how Masonry is
now evolving or should evolve to achieve the lofty ideals as espoused by Krause.
As far as
Natural order is concerned, a large part of the world is now under some form
of government. Hence the “struggle for existence” in a physical harm possibility
has been reduced at an individual level. Of course one could very agreeably
bring the case of recent wars, which are a reflection of Natural order. But even
the staunchest critics would agree that in wars the states or governments are at
war and not individuals. Mature market mechanisms that have evolved over the
years have also contributed in minimizing a brutal and brutish “struggle for
existence”. Essentially today people tend to compete with their specialized
skills and not fight in a physical sense.
Artificial order has also matured over the years. Most governments have
softened and have become democratic. Of course there are many examples that
could be given to repudiate this but this is more the case than not.
Additionally judiciary, activism and public debate (specially through television
and internet) have contributed in maintaining this order in an ever-evolving
manner. This is where Krause saw a lot of contribution that Masonry should make.
He envisioned Masonry working with Religious and Legal bodies to shape this
order. While that was perfect for that period, my thinking has led me to a few
different conclusions that I would like to share.
While religion during that period was a very strong institution which also in
many countries also held sway on the government, today it is not so. In most
secular countries, religion is seen as a private matter.
Law, which at that time was in formative stages and was made by elected
representatives is today mature and is now influenced by various forces
including academics and business interest lobbyists. I would like to quickly add
that I am not taking a pejorative view of this development.
changes essentially bring me to the fundamental question of what Masonry should
do? In continuation of Krause’s vision my humble opinion is that Masonry should
evolve and steer recognizing these changes. And surprisingly it is already,
though in a very unconscious way. Let me state why I feel so;
Masonry is already working with non religious secular bodies and taking up
programs and contributing to the Artficial order. Our own Jyotirgamaya programme
is one such. I am very sure more learned brothers can cite many more.
When it comes to influencing the government and lobbying too Masons have not
been far behind. They have participated in many activities which have led to
better street lighting, drainage, water facilities, environmental protection and
so on by lobbying with the powers that be.
submission is that we are doing all this without our own consciousness on it. Or
in a way we have naturally transformed and are moving on new paths but we have
still not codified it and set the path for the future generations. In a way we
have found the new art but it yet needs to be science.
The third stage
of Moral order which Krause brings about is very interesting. There is
very little in those early days that Krause prescribed for it except hoping that
it would naturally evolve. But I ask myself whether we could leverage modern
technologies (like mobile apps, youtube videos, self help books, audio
recordings etc) and reach individual people to promote this Moral order. What is
the Moral order that we want? How do we espouse it? How do we make it
interesting? And then how do we deliver it to each and every individual using
modern technologies, which are very much within our reach?
How do we carry
the torch of Masonry into future generations and how do we help them carry it
Let us all
brethren jointly rise to the purpose
and make the
commitment now for the future that:
fraternity must aim at establishing relevance of Masonic values to the
must strive for community visibility and demonstrate the stated goal of
improving the moral order in the society influencing individuals, social
institutions and thereby affecting the social order.
3. It is
imperative for Masons to understand that the concept of Brotherhood, which is
based on principled life style, cannot be kept secretively inside an individual.
In fact, they must work at grass-root level and impart the masonic values
namely, Integrity, Inquiry, Diversity, Community and Vitality to each and every
individual of the community
individual level each starts practicing those masonic values through a process
of self-realization and self-discovery. The mechanism will gradually swells into
a critical mass and kick-start a chain reaction that will push a moral change
resulting in Universal Moral Values and Universal Brotherhood at Global level.