I wanted to use my place in the Lodge Bulletin to discuss the power of debate and discourse. With the U.S. election cycle all around us, it can be very difficult to sometimes see that debate has a purpose and a nobler truth. Often now, debates have become about talking points, press conferences, or tweets to a captive and agreeable audience. The chance to have an honest debate and really understand issues, now long gone.
I am reminded of the quote from US Supreme Court Justice, Oliver Wendell Holmes:
There are one-story intellects, two-story intellects, and three-story intellects with skylights. All fact collectors with no aim beyond their facts are one-story men. Two-story men compare reason and generalize, using labors of the fact collectors as well as their own. Three-story men idealize, imagine, and predict. Their best illuminations come from above through the skylight.
Masonry was founded as a place, no...a sanctuary, for three story men. We seek to look at the world, its facts and its generalizations with an illumination that few others ever seek.
Today, one could even assume that Justice Holmes would likely even create a new status of basement intellects, as facts have become less valuable than opinions and passions. Our abilities to see opposing viewpoint as valid seems to be lost in this world of instant media and self-selection of information.
We as Masons must keep discourse alive. If you look at our Lodge, we have many Brothers, with different political viewpoints, different outlooks on life, but we can all sit as equals in our great temple of Brotherhood. We must attempt to bring that intellectual equality to our lives every day.
If only the world could look a little more like the Craft.
Fraternally, Ryan Nalty, Worshipful Master