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more light #321
by Ed Halpaus
Dear Masonic Student
Mehr Light was begun as a way for me to pass on to other Masons information that I come across in my activities that I think other Freemasons might be interested in reading. With that in mine I’m reproducing a short article titled “Prejudice,” which is from Brother Leonard Wenz, and which was previously published in the March 1970 issue of the “Square & Compass”; it was recently republished in “The Northern Light” – the magazine for the Northern Jurisdiction of the A.A.S.R.: ‘The Northern Light is an excellent magazine for the Masonic Student to read, fortunately it is on-line going all the way back to the 1st issue – January 1970. Here is the link to the site for the magazine (all past issues can be downloaded in PDF.) I think The Northern Light is one of the better Masonic Publications available, and I’m sure if you download some issues to read you will enjoy them as much as I do. I will also say that members of the Southern California Lodge of Research are sent the magazine along with some other great Masonic reading through the SCRL’s monthly newsletter. Actually it’s much more than a newsletter and well worth the $20 annual dues, here is the link to the SCRL’s web site
The meaning of prejudice is apparent in the word itself. It signifies what it says, "to prejudge," to make a decision before hand.
An English sociologist, Dr. Samuel Lowery, writing a book on this subject affirms, as Freud does, prejudice is a mild form of paranoia, of the persecution mania, and is caused by the projection of stored- up resentments against some object other than that which caused them. Individuals then must have a scapegoat on which they can release these tensions. It is usually a group, a race, or a religion and usually there is little realization of the fact. He also makes the observation that critical approval or disapproval of prejudice affects not only the conscious but also equally strongly the deeper mental processes. It is another way of saying that if children were taught to regard prejudice as undesirable socially, and evidence of an unbalanced mind individually, they would logically seek other outlets for their hidden aggression.
Dr. Lowery points out that there are four ways in which the problem can be attacked: (1) from the intellectual standpoint as being unreasonable, (2) from the emotional or ethical standpoint as being immoral or socially disapproved, (3) from the psychological point of view which tries to discover the motives of prejudice in the individual and deals with them by psychotherapy, and (4) from the social point of view, as manifestations of some inadequacy in the social structure.
These ways for combating prejudice sound reasonable, but they will not be easy to realize. We cannot psychoanalyze a whole population. We would all be eligible for treatment, for all of us are victims of this aberration more or less. To appeal to reason naturally fails where prejudice already exists and rational arguments are strenuously resisted. Prejudice is never reasoned into anyone; therefore, it cannot be reasoned out. It is noticeable that our great writers and thinkers are not making any great attempts to solve the problem.
Our colleges and universities, where we would expect some action, are negligent or uninterested. The world may be waiting for that rare individual who may be entirely free from prejudice to lead the crusade.
Most of us are always compelled to draw conclusions from insufficient evidence. These conclusions, at best, are tentative, but we make the mistake of accepting them as final, and so our minds become littered with prejudices of which we are of times unaware.
— Leonard Wenz, Square & Compass, March 1970
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Last modified: March 22, 2014