Sunday, August 30, 2009

What is Force? It can be many things depending on which way you choose look at it




FORCE, unregulated or ill-regulated, is not only wasted in the void, like that of gunpowder burned in the open air, and steam unconfined by science; but, striking in the dark, and its blows meeting only the air, they recoil and bruise itself. It is destruction and ruin. It is the volcano, the earthquake, the cyclone;–not growth and progress. It is Polyphemus blinded, striking at random, and falling headlong among the sharp rocks by the impetus of his own blows.

The blind Force of the people is a Force that must be economized, and also managed, as the blind Force of steam, lifting the ponderous iron arms and turning the large wheels, is made to bore and rifle the cannon and to weave the most delicate lace. It must be regulated by Intellect. Intellect is to the people and the people’s Force, what the slender needle of the compass is to the ship–its soul, always counseling the huge mass of wood and iron, and always pointing to the north. To attack the citadels built up on all sides against the human race by superstitions, despotisms, and prejudices, the Force must have a brain and a law. Then its deeds of daring produce permanent results, and there is real progress. Then there are sublime conquests. Thought is a force, and philosophy should be an energy, finding its aim and its effects in the amelioration of mankind. The two great motors are Truth and Love. When all these Forces are combined, and guided by the Intellect, and regulated by the RULE of Right, and Justice, and of combined and systematic movement and effort, the great revolution prepared for by the ages will begin to march. The POWER of the Deity Himself is in equilibrium with His WISDOM. Hence the only results are HARMONY.

It is because Force is ill regulated, that revolutions prove fail-tires. Therefore it is that so often insurrections, coming from those high mountains that domineer over the moral horizon, Justice, Wisdom, Reason, Right, built of the purest snow of the ideal after a long fall from rock to rock, after having reflected the sky in their transparency, and been swollen by a hundred affluents, in the majestic path of triumph, suddenly lose themselves in quagmires, like a California river in the sands.

The onward march of the human race requires that the heights around it should blaze with noble and enduring lessons of courage. Deeds of daring dazzle history, and form one class of the guiding lights of man. They are the stars and coruscations from that great sea of electricity, the Force inherent in the people. To strive, to brave all risks, to perish, to persevere, to be true to one’s self, to grapple body to body with destiny, to surprise defeat by the little terror it inspires, now to confront unrighteous power, now to defy intoxicated triumph–these are the examples that the nations need and the light that electrifies them.

There are immense Forces in the great caverns of evil beneath society; in the hideous degradation, squalor, wretchedness and destitution, vices and crimes that reek and simmer in the darkness in that populace below the people, of great cities. There disinterestedness vanishes, every one howls, searches, gropes, and gnaws for himself. Ideas are ignored, and of progress there is no thought. This populace has two mothers, both of them stepmothers–Ignorance and Misery. Want is their only guide–for the appetite alone they crave satisfaction. Yet even these may be employed. The lowly sand we trample upon, cast into the furnace, melted, purified by fire, may become resplendent crystal. They have the brute force of the HAMMER, but their blows help on the great cause, when struck within the lines traced by the RULE held by wisdom and discretion.

Yet it is this very Force of the people, this Titanic power of the giants, that builds the fortifications of tyrants, and is embodied in their armies. Hence the possibility of such tyrannies as those of which it has been said, that “Rome smells worse under Vitellius than under Sulla. Under Claudius and under Domitian there is a deformity of baseness corresponding to the ugliness of the tyranny. The foulness of the slaves is a direct result of the atrocious baseness of the despot. A miasma exhales from these crouching consciences that reflect the master; the public authorities are unclean, hearts are collapsed, consciences shrunken, souls puny. This is so under Caracalla, it is so under Commodus, it is so under Heliogabalus, while from the Roman senate, under Cæsar, there comes only the rank odor peculiar to the eagle’s eyrie.”

It is the force of the people that sustains all these despotisms, the basest as well as the best. That force acts through armies; and these oftener enslave than liberate. Despotism there applies the RULE. Force is the MACE of steel at the saddle-bow of the knight or of the bishop in armor. Passive obedience by force supports thrones and oligarchies, Spanish kings, and Venetian senates. Might, in an army wielded by tyranny, is the enormous sum total of utter weakness; and so Humanity wages war against Humanity, in despite of Humanity. So a people willingly submits to despot-ism, and its workmen submit to be despised, and its soldiers to be whipped; therefore it is that battles lost by a nation are often progress attained. Less glory is more liberty. When the drum is silent, reason sometimes speaks.

Tyrants use the force of the people to chain and subjugate–that is, enyoke the people. Then they plough with them as men do with oxen yoked. Thus the spirit of liberty and innovation is reduced by bayonets, and principles are struck dumb by cannon-shot; while the monks mingle with the troopers, and the Church militant and jubilant, Catholic or Puritan, sings Te Deums for victories over rebellion.

The military power, not subordinate to the civil power, again the HAMMER or MACE of FORCE, independent of the RULE, is an armed tyranny, born full-grown, as Athenè sprung from the brain of Zeus. It spawns a dynasty, and begins with Cæsar to rot into Vitellius and Commodus. At the present day it inclines to begin where formerly dynasties ended.

Constantly the people put forth immense strength, only to end in immense weakness. The force of the people is exhausted in indefinitely prolonging things long since dead; in governing mankind by embalming old dead tyrannies of Faith; restoring dilapidated dogmas; re gilding faded, worm-eaten shrines; whitening and rouging ancient and barren superstitions; saving society by multiplying parasites; perpetuating superannuated institutions; enforcing the worship of symbols as the actual means of salvation; and tying the dead corpse of the Past, mouth to mouth, with the living Present. Therefore it is that it is one of the fatalities of Humanity to be condemned to eternal struggles with phantoms, with superstitions, bigotries, hypocrisies, prejudices, the formulas of error, and the pleas of tyranny. Despotisms, seen in the past, become respectable, as the mountain, bristling with volcanic rock, rugged and horrid, seen through the haze of distance is blue and smooth and beautiful. The sight of a single dungeon of tyranny is worth more, to dispel illusions, and create a holy hatred of despotism, and to direct FORCE aright, than the most eloquent volumes. The French should have preserved the Bastile as a perpetual lesson; Italy should not destroy the dungeons of the Inquisition. The Force of the people maintained the Power that built its gloomy cells, and placed the living in their granite sepulchers.

The FORCE of the people cannot, by its unrestrained and fitful action, maintain and continue in action and existence a free Government once created. That Force must be limited, restrained, conveyed by distribution into different channels, and by roundabout courses, to outlets, whence it is to issue as the law, action, and decision of the State; as the wise old Egyptian kings conveyed in different canals, by sub-division, the swelling waters of the Nile, and compelled them to fertilize and not devastate the land. There must be the jus et norma, the law and Rule, or Gage, of constitution and law, within which the public force must act. Make a breach in either, and the great steam-hammer, with its swift and ponderous blows, crushes all the machinery to atoms, and, at last, wrenching itself away, lies inert and dead amid the ruin it has wrought.

The FORCE of the people, or the popular will, in action and exerted, symbolized by the GAVEL, regulated and guided by and acting within the limits of LAW and ORDER, symbolized by the TWENTY-FOUR-INCH RULE, has for its fruit LIBERTY, EQUALITY, and FRATERNITY,–liberty regulated by law; equality of rights in the eye of the law; brotherhood with its duties and obligations as well as its benefits.

You will hear shortly of the Rough ASHLAR and the Perfect ASHLAR, as part of the jewels of the Lodge. The rough Ashlar is said to be “a stone, as taken from the quarry, in its rude and natural state.” The perfect Ashlar is said to be “a stone made ready by the hands of the workmen, to be adjusted by the working-tools of the Fellow-Craft.” We shall not repeat the explanations of these symbols given by the York Rite. You may read them in its printed monitors. They are declared to allude to the self-improvement of the individual craftsman,–a continuation of the same superficial interpretation.

The rough Ashlar is the PEOPLE, as a mass, rude and unorganized. The perfect Ashlar, or cubical stone, symbol of perfection, is the STATE, the rulers deriving their powers from the con-sent of the governed; the constitution and laws speaking the will of the people; the government harmonious, symmetrical, efficient,–its powers properly distributed and duly adjusted in equilibrium.

If we delineate a cube on a plane surface thus:


we have visible three faces, and nine external lines, drawn between seven points. The complete cube has three more faces, making six; three more lines, making twelve; and one more point, making eight. As the number 12 includes the sacred numbers, 3, 5, 7, and 3 times 3, or 9, and is produced by adding the sacred number 3 to 9; while its own two figures, 1, 2, the unit or monad, and duad, added together, make the same sacred number 3; it was called the perfect number; and the cube became the symbol of perfection.

Produced by FORCE, acting by RULE; hammered in accordance with lines measured by the Gage, out of the rough Ashlar, it is an appropriate symbol of the Force of the people, expressed as the constitution and law of the State; and of the State itself the three visible faces represent the three departments,–the Executive, which executes the laws; the Legislative, which makes the laws; the Judiciary, which interprets the laws, applies and enforces them, between man and man, between the State and the citizens. The three invisible faces, are Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity,–the threefold soul of the State–its vitality, spirit, and intellect.

Continued in the Morals and Dogma

Gavel. The common gavel is one of the working tools of an Entered Apprentice. It is made use of by the Operative Mason to break off the corners of the rough ashlar, and thus fit it the better for the builder's use, and is therefore adopted as a symbol of Speculative Masonry, to admonish us of the duty of divesting our minds and consciences of all the vices and impurities of life, thereby fitting our bodies as living stones for that spiritual building not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.

It borrows is name from its shape, being that of the gable, or gavel end of a house; and this word again comes from the German gipfel, a summit, top, or peak, - the idea of a pointed extremity being common to all.

The true form of the gavel is that of the stone-masons hammer. It is to be made with a cutting edge as in the annexed engraving, that it may be used "to break off the corners of rough stones," an operation which could never be effected by the common hammer or mallet. The gavel thus shaped will give, when looked at in front, the exact representation of the gavel or gabel end of a house, whence, as I have already said the name is derived.

The gavel of the Master is also called a "Hiram" because, like that architect it governs the Craft and keeps order in the Lodge, as he did in the Temple.

Gebal. A city of Phoenicia, on the Mediterranean, and under Mount Lebanon. It was the Byblos of the Greeks, where the worship of Adonis, the Syrian Thammuz, was celebrated. The inhabitants, who were Giblites or, in Masonc language, Giblemites are said to have been distinguished for the are of stone carving, and are called in the first Book of Kings "stone squarers."

Giblim. A significant word in Masonry. It is the plural of the Gentile noun Gibli, (the g pronounced hard,) and means according to the idiom of the Hebrew, Giblites, or inhabitants of the city of Gebal. the Giblim or Giblites are mentioned in Scripture as assisting Solomon's and Hiram's builders to prepare the trees and stones for building the Temple, and from this passage it is evident that they were clever artificers. The passage is in 1 Kings v.18, and, in our common version as follows: "And Solomon's builders and Hiram's builders did hew them, and the stone-squarers; so they prepared timber and stones to buld the house," where the word translated to the authorized version by stone-squarers is, in the original Giblim. It is also in that translation known as the Bishop's Bible. The Geneva version has masons. The French version of Martin has tailleurs de pierres, following the English; but Luther, in his german version, retains the original word Giblim.

It is probable that the English translation followed the Jewish Targum, which has a word of similar import in this passage. The error has, however, assumed importance in the Masonic ritual, where Giblim is supposed to be synonymous with a mason. And Sir Wm. Drummond confirms this by saying, in his Origines, (vol.iii., b. v.., ch. iv., p. 129,) that "the Gibalim were Master Masons who put the finishing hand to King Solomon's Ttemple."

Twenty-Four Inch Gauge. A rule two feet long, which is divided by marks into twenty-four parts, each one inch in length. The Operative Mason uses it to take neccessary dimensions of the stone that he is about to prepare. It has been adopted as one of the working tools of the Entered Apprentice in Speculative Masonry, where its divisions are supposed to represent hours. Hence its symbolic use is to teach him to measure his time so that, of the twenty four hours a day, he may devote eight hours to the service of God and a worthy distressed brother, eight hours to his ususal vocation, and eight to refreshment and sleep. In the symbolic language of Masonry, therefore, the twenty four inch guage is a symbol of time well employed.

Masonic Encyclopedia