The Dutch version is entitled Vrijmetselarij
in kort bestek and can be found on
a page of the website of the Grand East of the Netherlands.
Translated by W Bro Hank van Tongeren, PM
Freemasonry is a method handed down through the ages to work on one's expansion of consciousness. With the assistance of symbols which have been connected with each other within a framework of a number of rituals, members contemplate the maxim Know Thyself. The purpose is to learn to know about one's self and to determine ones own place in respect to himself, his fellowmen and the cosmos, the nature of God: the ALL.
The Order of Freemasons sets forth from the existence of a spiritual and moral world-order which propels man and humanity upwards. Every freemason is free to experience and conceptualise the Being of all Things, God, nature, in his own way. This makes it possible for people of different religious convictions, for those who do not belong to a particular religion and for humanists to be a member of the same Order.
Freemasons are people who search for answers to questions about the real essence of life. They meet in the lodge and exchange thoughts about all kinds of subjects. They test their own views and thoughts against those of other freemasons who often have very differing points of view and convictions. Freemasons endeavour to find that which unites people and nations, and try to remove that which divides men's hearts and minds.
Freemasons certainly agree about a number of essential points:
All people are equal (but not alike!) and are a part of the universal brotherhood of men;
Every person has the right to seek individually for truth;
Every person is responsible for his own actions and inactivity;
Every person should work devotedly on the welfare of the whole of society.
Freemasons strive for the development of all those attributes of mind and conscience which can raise men and mankind to a higher spiritual and moral level.
Freemasons strive for the many-sided and harmonious development of men and mankind.
Freemasons are not alone in their striving for those ideals or in their search for answers to the questions of life. But the methodology of freemasonry - with its symbols and ritual - is unique.
When talking about freemasonry, some freemasons at times put too much emphasis on the respectable age of the starting points - the origin of the precepts. The connection with ancient Greece or the ancient Egyptians is often quickly made. Universal human processes like the search for answers to questions such as: Who am I? and Where do I come from? are universal and from all ages.
But even though freemasonry certainly has its roots in that universal quest of mankind, the beginning of the factual history cannot be brought back any further than the early Middle Ages. More than two hundred and fifty years of active history belongs to the Order's foundation. Today the 'Order of Freemasons' is still a living part of society.
Inexpressible and unpronounceable thoughts can yet be interpreted and contemplated and for but a moment may appear to become intelligible, even though they cannot be expressed in words.
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Updated: 15 May 2006