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attitude in masonry

by Bro. Carl Brigg

Our attitudes are like our shadows, they follow every thinking individual in his total activities. They are impelling forces in action, they shape our purposes, they largely determine our policies and practices. They are the very foundation of our many decisions, decisions which affect us personally, our families, our relations to others in society and our actions as citizens. They are to human conduct what gunpowder is to shot, yet how many times do we given them much thought?

Hardly if ever do we bother to ascertain what our attitudes are, how we acquire them, or where they are leading us. That we acquire them is a certainty. We acquire many of them unconsciously them from the four corners of our existence and are not aware of them unless we are confronted with a problem or a decision. They crystallized in our minds on the basis of what we hear, see, feel and learn by contact with our fellow man. They result from our studies and our search for knowledge. Many of our attitudes are by necessity, transitory, temporary, and fleeting. Many are inherited form friends, parents and associates. Others are created by our environment, some are fundamental and permanent, permeating our entire existence. They stay with us for life, and shape our acts, our thoughts and react upon our personality for god or bad. They may constitute our philosophy whether we realize it or not, and their existence is a part of our approach to every problem or activity we confront. They are of vital importance of immeasurable importance to us. We cannot conceive the influence they have upon us and those surrounding us. While we cannot trace their source we can and should at lease to some extent attempt to analyze our attitudes toward life and direct them in paths that will be most productive of good.

Do we ever stop to ask if our attitudes are proper and wholesome? If they are influenced by our prejudices or if they are tempered by intolerance? Are they based upon unwarranted conclusions and insufficient knowledge of the facts.

It is of course impossible to catalogue all the ingredients of a proper wholesome attitude, but we can point to a few positive qualities that should be a part thereof. They should be the result of careful thought, they should be tempered by moderation and tolerant understanding; they should be composed of the benevolence that readily concedes that practically every human problem has two sides and consequently at least two viewpoints. They should be permeated by morality and seasoned by the spiritual teachings of our religion.

On the other hand our attitudes are often a matter of indifference and complacency. They are steeped in the notion of luck as a substitute for industry of chance rather than planning. They often are influenced by the growing desire among us to cultivate the idea of getting something for nothing. They are influenced by the prevalent notion that it is necessary to eliminate the struggle from life to acquire happiness. When we reflected that, as exercise is necessary to the muscles to acquire physical strength, struggle or degrees of it are strengthening influences in the development of personality and character. Strength and struggle go together physically and spiritually. In that connection it has occurred to me that we are attempting to a greater degree than is good for us to eliminate struggle from life. There is a continued notion now apparently gaining ground that it is the business of Government to provide prosperity for all.

While the attitude of average individuals may not change the course of great events, they are greatly important. A great many examples could be cited to show that the attitude of one man or woman has changed not only the course of that individual's life, but the course of life for his fellowmen for his or her state or nation.

Attitudes defy description, they are as varied as the thoughts of men; yet they are ever present and determinative of our actions. The assertion or expression of an attitude no matter how worthy of attainment sometimes is delayed for years while it takes roots in the hearts of men. But an individual attitude if pervaded by conviction, born of truth, based on morality and right will ultimately prevail.. History points to hundreds of examples. We are most fortunate in this country that the great leaders who laid our foundations, were men whose attitudes were sound and founded on great truths, moral principles and cognizance of the worthiness of the humblest of men. Their attitudes were founded first in the grace of God, and second in the inevitability of human progress. The early leaders of this fortunate land assumed that a part of God's divinity actually resulted in man and that he and he alone was fit to govern itself. We gained early the idea of Government by contract and consent, and that is still the basic premise upon which we proceed in all our Governmental actions. Eventually these attitudes implied and expressed under the democratic way of life, have become an integral part of freedom and we enjoy Government by the consent of the governed. How many peoples of the world yearn for that today?

Who can say in this country that the attitude of equality is not progressing? Wealth is no longer an indication of undue prominence. The wealthy and the average individual may wear identical clothes, the wealthy man drives the same type of automobile as the ordinary citizen. There is a tendency among our people, observable all around us that distinctions of wealth and class are fast disappearing. People in our land treat each others on the basis of equality whatever their station in life. It is the result of a continuing attitude which we inherited and are carrying on. We should thank God for its presence and do our utmost to preserve and further it. We have come as close as any people have ever come to a classless society.

I know of no more important job in our lives than developing attitudes. The moral and spiritual aspects of these attitudes not only influence us individually but they affect our marriage, our business successes, our ability to rear families and influence our friends and our neighbors. Let's look at our attitudes, they are much more important than we think. The attitudes we develop as we proceed through life can either become stumbling blocks or great building materials. Which shall they be? With God's help we can make them wonderful building materials.

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Last modified: March 22, 2014