Table of contents:
- Who's Afraid of Freemasons?
- The Legend of the Freemasons
- From legend to history
- How did the myth of the Freemason conspirators come about?
- Abbot Barruel's heirs
- So who is there to fear?
Video: Where did the Masonic conspiracy come from? How Dangerous Are Freemasons?
2023 Author: Seth Attwood | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-11-26 22:42
They possess the secrets of antiquity, conduct mysterious rituals and, of course, rule the world. Let's figure out who the Masons are and why they are still afraid of them.
Who's Afraid of Freemasons?
“I believe in the existence of a secret world government,” said 45% of participants in a 2014 poll conducted by VTsIOM. The respondents confirmed: in their opinion, a certain organization or group of persons controls the actions of the authorities of many states and influences world politics.
Many survey participants are not only convinced of this, but are also able to name those who are part of the organization. The most popular options are politicians, oligarchs, and freemasons.
In many ways, interest and even fear in relation to secret societies is fueled by the media. Materials about Freemasons appear frequently in the Russian media and arouse constant interest among the audience.
For example, the release of the REN TV program "Strange Deed" about secret societies has received more than a million views on YouTube. At the same time, other episodes of the program are much less popular: for example, the program about time travel was watched about 300,000 times.
The statements in the program about secret societies are extremely provocative. One of the experts of the program, for example, says: "All world wars are organized by the Freemasons, there is no doubt about it."
The influence of the Freemasons on the political situation is believed not only in Russia. For example, during the 2012 election race in France, the two largest weekly magazines devoted several articles to the secret society.
L’Express published the headline "Freemasons: How They Manipulate Candidates" on the cover, Le Point weekly responded with an article "Freemasons - Border Trespassers".
The topic aroused keen interest: usually retail sells about 73,000 copies of L’Express, but an article about Freemasons helped sell 80,000 copies. Now the author of the article, François Koch, maintains a separate blog on the website of the weekly devoted to Freemasonry.
Koch himself says: “This topic never ceases to interest readers. Mystery is what attracts attention."
Materials about Freemasons are constantly arousing interest, and provocative conclusions only strengthen it. The publications are constantly competing for the audience, so it is unprofitable to refuse such a reliable way to attract readers.
Traditional media are going through a difficult period: part of their potential audience goes to the Internet, so editors will continue to turn to the topic of Freemasonry as a reliable source of readers' attention.
The Legend of the Freemasons
When did Freemasonry appear? The Masons themselves trace the history of their society back to time immemorial - the construction of the Temple of Solomon.
According to legends, the builders of the temple formed a brotherhood for mutual support and transfer of knowledge about architecture. The main mythological plots of Freemasonry are associated with the biblical era, for example, the legend about the death of the master Hiram.
According to legend, Hiram supervised the construction of Solomon's temple. Under him, workers were divided into three categories - apprentices, apprentices and foremen. Labor was paid depending on what category the employee belonged to. The craftsmen, of course, received the most.
For each "step" Hiram developed special signs and passwords: when the time came to receive payment for work, the builder with their help confirmed that he belongs to one of the categories. This led to the death of Hiram: one day, three workers decided to forcibly extort the password from him, according to which the foremen received payment.
According to another widespread version, the students were not interested in money - they wanted to find out the secret of architectural and world harmony, which was owned only by the great master Hiram.
Whatever the reason, when the architect refused to reveal the secret, the workers killed him and buried him in the forest. On the grave of the killer, they left a branch of acacia, which took root into the ground - so other brothers-builders found out where Hiram was buried.
In this legend, the basic principles of Freemasonry are "encrypted".
The brothers are divided into apprentices, apprentices and masters - each degree reflects how fully the participant is involved in the life of the brotherhood. Freemasons exchange knowledge among themselves, while maintaining the secrecy of knowledge is fundamentally important.
Members of the society perform rituals and are in search of the meaning of Masonic symbols. For example, the acacia branch symbolizes rebirth after death, purity and holiness.
Reflecting on symbols is an important way of progressing through the hierarchy of degrees: discovering new interpretations, the student becomes an apprentice, and later - a master.
It is important that Masons do not have uniform dogmas, therefore, the interpretation of symbols may differ significantly. Also, the legend of Hiram formed the basis of the ritual of the Freemason's initiation into the degree of a master.
From legend to history
Historians of Freemasonry agree that the legend of Hiram is a purely symbolic story, and the origins of Freemasonry should be sought much later. Usually the beginning of Freemasonry is considered to be the medieval brotherhoods of masons, which is consistent with the name of the society (English freemasons and French franc-maçons mean "free masons").
In the Middle Ages, bricklayers united around large construction projects. For example, many cathedrals were built over the centuries, and workers settled compactly near the site. It is believed that the very word "lodge", which is now called Masonic associations, comes from the English lodge: so called the premises where the instruments were kept.
Over time, associations of builders acquired a shop organization. Strict rules appeared that governed the admission of new members to the brotherhood, the resolution of conflicts between brothers, the procedure for payment of work and payment of compensation in case of accidents at a construction site.
Like other medieval professional associations, the guilds financially supported the brothers in difficult situations.
With the end of the large-scale construction of cathedrals, by the 17th-18th centuries, bricklayers' associations gradually fell into decay. In England, fraternities were increasingly joined by those who had nothing to do with construction, they were called "outside masons." They were rich and educated people.
In the middle of the 17th century, the antiquarian Elias Ashmole joined the box - his collection formed the basis of the oldest public museum in Great Britain. At the end of the century, William III of Orange, King of England, became a Freemason.
Historians suggest that it was the "outside masons" who decided to create new educational societies in the "shell" of the existing brotherhoods of masons, so as not to attract too much attention from the authorities.
The political situation in England at the end of the 17th century was turbulent; in 1688 there was another coup d'etat, called the Glorious Revolution. With instability in society, meetings of any kind are suspicious, so brotherhoods of builders could become a camouflage for meetings of enlightened and wealthy "outside masons".
Freemasons inherited many of their symbols from medieval builders. The famous compasses and squares represent learning, the ability to draw boundaries and recognize the truth. The white apron of the student symbolizes the high ethical standards by which a Freemason should be guided.
The modern history of Freemasonry dates back to June 24, 1717. Then the representatives of the four London lodges gathered in the "Goose and Spit" tavern and decided to create a united Grand Lodge of London and Westminster.
The small lodges continued to work as before, but beginning in 1717, their members held annual joint meetings, where they exchanged experiences. This scheme is repeated by modern Freemasonry - the Freemasons do not have a central governing organization.
Several Masonic lodges in a certain territory are united in the Grand Lodge. Moreover, such a leading organization cannot exist on its own, it must be recognized by other Grand Lodges.
Thus, the lodges are linked by international relations, much like diplomatic ones. Each lodge can conduct its own rituals and interpret Masonic symbols in its own way.
What are Freemasons doing?
To begin with, let's figure out the definition of the concept of "Freemasonry". According to the explanatory dictionary edited by SI Ozhegov, Freemasonry is "a religious and ethical movement with mystical rites, usually combining the tasks of moral self-improvement with the goals of peaceful unification of mankind in a religious fraternal union."
Sources allow us to imagine what the “moral self-improvement” was: memoirs, letters and personal diaries of Masons, including Russian ones.
Head of the Department of Scientific Design of Exhibitions and Expositions of the State Museum of the History of Religion, Candidate of Philosophy Marina Ptichenko told more about this in an interview with Naked Science.
According to Marina Ptichenko, “the newly adopted brother had a mentor who helped him to follow the path of self-education. The Mason had to keep daily diaries and periodically report to the mentor on the work done. A person had to try to "live" every day - to reflect, think about his actions and thoughts at the end of the day. It was also necessary to reflect on useful reading: which of the books had the greatest influence on him, made the greatest impression, and why, which strings of the soul he touched.
Thus, a Freemason must constantly give himself the work to reflect on himself and his actions, while simultaneously “honing” and educating himself. There are very touching diaries in which some landowner who owned hundreds of serf souls wrote in his diary: "Today I indulged in anger, I am very ashamed," etc."
Reflection is also important for modern Freemasons.
Another manifestation of Masonic activity is the writing of the so-called "architectural works". The genres of these works are traditional: report, article, essay, review, translation. According to the information on the website of the Grand Lodge of Russia, the topics of works can be problems of history, philosophy and symbolism of Freemasonry. The texts are read at lodge meetings, some of which can be found in the public domain on the Internet.
Historically, the activities of Freemasons are associated with charity and education. Many enlighteners of the 18th century were members of Masonic lodges, including Russian ones. For example, Nikolai Novikov, who became famous not only for the publication of satirical magazines, but also for the publication of rare historical sources, was a freemason.
Marina Ptichenko says: “Today, there is no special mystery around Freemasonry: we know how the rituals go, we even know some password words with which the Freemasons recognize each other (although they periodically change them), and so on. architectural works of Masons, and special lodges are engaged in the history of Freemasonry and also publish the results of their research."
What are the Masons not touching on in their meetings? Oddly enough, political issues. An outright prohibition on discussing politics in lodges is enshrined in the Anderson Constitutions.
British Freemason James Anderson began to draw up this document after the appearance of the Grand Lodge of London and Westminster in 1717, in 1723 the book was published in England. It contains the history of Freemasonry and the basic rules that all Freemasons adhere to.
How did the myth of the Freemason conspirators come about?
The secret nature of the Masonic lodges and their wide international connections have raised the suspicions of the authorities from the very beginning. Prohibiting the activities of lodges began in the middle of the 18th century.
In Holland, Masonic meetings were banned in 1735, in Sweden in 1738, in Zurich in 1740. Several bulls and encyclicals of the popes are devoted to the condemnation of the Freemasons as a dangerous sect, the first such document was published in 1738.
Criticism against the Freemasons intensified after the French Revolution. In 1797, a book by the Abbot Augustin Barruel was published, Aide to the History of Jacobinism.
The author claimed that a "triple conspiracy" led to the revolution. It, according to Barruel, involved three groups of troublemakers.
The first he called "the sophists of atheism" - these were the atheist philosophers of the Enlightenment. The second, “the sophists of indignation,” are the founders of liberalism, Jean Jacques Rousseau and Charles Louis Montesquieu, who advocated the natural freedom of the individual, the separation of powers and equality before the law. Interestingly, both Rousseau and Montesquieu were Freemasons. Still others, the "sophists of anarchy," are the Freemasons and the Bavarian Illuminati, who, according to Barruel, called for the complete abolition of states in the name of the worldwide brotherhood of people.
Barruel believed that the "sophists" not only sought to instill atheistic views and ideas of equality, but also wanted over time to destroy all forms of political and social organization following the moral principles of the Catholic Church.
From the point of view of the author of "Aide Memoirs …", they were the "directors" of the revolution, creating a system that led to the overthrow of the monarchy.
The threefold structure of the conspiracy fit into the formula "freedom, equality and brotherhood" - Barruel believed that these words contained the secret knowledge of the Freemasons.
The abbot argued that the very structure of secret societies, consisting of separate lodges, helps to keep the conspiracy secret. He illustrated his conclusion with the history of the Bavarian Illuminati - a philosophical and mystical association of the last third of the 18th century.
The Illuminati did indeed call for radical political reforms. This association was formed in 1776 independently of Freemasonry, but from the early 1780s the Illuminati began to join Masonic lodges in order to use their popularity to spread their ideas. In 1785, the activities of the Bavarian Illuminati were officially banned.
"The banning of the Illuminati by the Bavarian authorities in 1785 and the publication of secret documents of the order, which fell into the hands of the police, caused real panic both among the Freemasons themselves, who suddenly learned that they were being made tools in a dangerous game, and among their traditional opponents," writes Russian historian and literary critic Andrei Zorin.
Despite the ban on the activities of the Bavarian Illuminati, Barruel believed that there are many other "cells" of society, which secretly continue to work and intend to completely destroy the political system of Europe.
Europeans were frightened by the revolution and the wars that followed, and many strongly supported Abbot Barruel's theory.
"Memoirs …" was discussed in the largest political and literary magazines, and two years after publication, the book was translated into English, and until the twentieth century it was regularly republished.
A year after the release of "Aide Memoirs …" British physicist John Robinson released a work entitled "Evidence of a secret conspiracy against all religions and governments in Europe", repeating most of Barruel's statements. Both books generated a powerful wave of discussion and imitation.
Both Barruel and Robinson did not try to distinguish between information about Freemasons, Illuminati and other secret societies. The more popular the books became, the more clearly a single image of the conspirator emerged, in which all the negative features merged.
Since Freemasonry was the oldest and most famous movement and had representations in many European countries, this image in the minds of Europeans was firmly associated with Freemasonry.
Another phenomenon that influenced the reputation of Freemasons is anti-Semitism. Masons in their rituals and discussions often turned not only to Old Testament symbolism, but also to the history and symbolism of Kabbalah, a mystical movement in Judaism.
Therefore, the mass consciousness linked the Jews and the Freemasons. So the historically formed negative attitude towards the Jews was partly reflected in Freemasonry.
Abbot Barruel's heirs
Modern conspiracy theories echo many of the teachings of Barruel's book and the antisemites of the 19th and 20th centuries.
For example, we read in the book of the economist and publicist Oleg Platonov "Russia under the rule of masons", published by the publishing house "Russkiy Vestnik" in 2000: "Freemasonry in all its manifestations is a secret criminal community pursuing the goal of achieving world domination on the basis of the the people. The Russian Orthodox Church has always condemned Freemasonry, rightly considering it a manifestation of Satanism. Freemasonry has always been the worst enemy of humanity, all the more dangerous because it tried to cover up its secret criminal activities with a veil of false discourses about self-improvement and charity. Masonic influence was one of the main factors in all wars, revolutions and great upheavals of the XVIII-XX centuries."
In his book, Platonov states: “The usual Masonic ritual in our time fades into the background. Most of the "Masonic work" is no longer carried out in traditional Masonic lodges, but in various closed Masonic-type organizations."
Among these organizations, the author includes the PEN Club, an international human rights organization uniting writers, poets and journalists.
The publicist makes many extremely bold claims. Like Abbot Barruel at the end of the 18th century, he mixes many concepts into a single conspirator. Platonov connects the concept of a "Masonic lodge" with vague definitions of "closed organizations of the Masonic type" and "world behind the scenes" and claims that Russian Freemasons are funded by the CIA.
He also states that the Freemasons are behind the collapse of the ruble in 1994 ("Black Tuesday") and several wars at the end of the twentieth century.
At the same time, Platonov does not provide evidence for his statements. In the list of references used in the preparation of the book, there are only 21 sources, of which 15 are publications in the media. Also on the list is the famous book by Nina Berberova "People and Lodges", written for a wide range of readers, and only two documents from the archives.
One of the remaining sources is titled: "Materials of special analytical developments (according to internal Masonic information)." Platonov does not give either the author or the output of the "special analytical work".
The author repeatedly refers to such "unnamed sources". The book claims a high level of analysis of the most complex political problems, but at the same time does not use any scientific work as a source.
Hundreds of books about conspiracy theories are published annually in Russia and abroad, built according to the same scheme: free confusion of concepts, loud statements not supported by facts, lack of a scientific base.
So who is there to fear?
The image of a freemason-conspirator is actively used all over the world. In 2007, American Edward Lewis Brown urged fellow citizens not to pay federal income tax - in his opinion, the Freemasons and the Illuminati were behind the increase in the tax.
Many conspiracy theories popular around the world cannot do without "free masons". Freemasons are accused of assassinating John F. Kennedy, falsifying photographs from the moon and collaborating with reptilians. The absurdity of these ideas does not hinder their popularity.
Marina Ptichenko says: "I think that society, probably, just needs faith in some kind of legend, needs an image of the enemy, because reality is different from our ideas of how it should be."
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