Something a Freemason hopes to have achieved at the end of his life is to have made the world a little better, more positive and wiser. At least that is what I would deduce from the demands made on a Freemason.
No, this claim is nowhere formulated in this way. Certainly not verbatim. But it can be derived, in my opinion, from the rituals, symbols and documents (we call these acts).
But how do you do that? How do you make the world a little bit better and become a better person? This is a question that, in my personal opinion, accompanies every Freemason throughout his life. Every Freemason, for that matter, too.
In Freemasonry you will not find ‘seminars on becoming human’ or ‘instructions on altruism’. Or any other instructions that are elaborate and rigid in content. Rather, in Freemasonry everyone finds exactly what they need at the moment. Exactly what he is ready for at the moment. That is what is special about working with rituals and symbols: Both fit into the current, very personal context of each individual.
And with precisely this personal teaching, the individually effective symbols and rituals, it is up to each Freemason to work on himself. And on the world.
For some, this may mean concentrating entirely on themselves. And to work in the world through his own example. Or to focus on one’s family, one’s friends, and to be the person there that one wants to be. For other Freemasons this may mean to bring their values into their profession or to be involved in charitable work.
However, all Freemasons are expected to pass on what they have learned, what they have experienced. To the children, to our friends and neighbours, to the younger brothers and sisters. No, not as teachers or even from the arrogance of an exalted position. That would contradict one of our most important virtues, moderation and modesty. But always out of a certain degree of humility. By exemplifying what we have recognised as important and right for us. And by accepting another important rule: the other person’s stone, his personality, is his stone. It is not my place to work on it and try to shape it the way I would like it to be. Everyone has to work on his own stone, his own personality. He always has enough work to do on it. This is also and especially true for me (and you, of course 😉
For many, many years, this demand has been occupying me on a daily basis. And it takes me to my limits again and again. For example, when I catch myself trying to influence someone. To change them. Or whenever I realise that I could have acted or reacted better. That I wish I had acted or reacted better.
And yet, despite the setbacks, it’s there again every day: the desire, the urge to be the best person I can be at that moment and to make the world a little better today too.
That is what drives me to be and remain a Freemason.