The Law Of Silence Essay

2933 words - 12 pages

The Law of Silence

By Constant Chevillon. Translated by Paul Freeman

Egyptian priests personified silence with the symbol of the god Harpocrates. He was all eyes and
ears, but his mouth was closed. This attitude is evocative: it is necessary to see, to listen, to
understand, but, among the truths discovered, nothing should be revealed thoughtlessly. Later,
Apuleius would write in the Golden Ass: “No danger could ever force me reveal to the layman
what has been confided to me under the seal of secrecy.” And so it was with all esoteric
teachings of the ancient mysteries - for those of Isis and the Pyramids, for those of Eleusis where
were celebrated the mysteries of Demeter, ...view middle of the document...

Too often, these detractors look upon the Masonic
vow as a childish bit of the arcane, like the need all superficial beings have to give themselves, in
their own eyes, a fundamental importance that veils their own emptiness. They know nothing of
the Masonic doctrine. It is their only excuse, but their ignorance ought to incite them to probe the
profound reasons such an interdiction imposed upon the recipient, before his admission into the
antechamber of the temple.
So let us examine the problem in its entirety, without allowing stray thoughts not pertaining to
the topic to distract us. Indeed, the simplest reflection will create them.
First of all, an affirmation must be brought to mind: all laws imply constraint, a clear obligation
to submit to its content. But, here, a distinction must be made. Civil laws: political, economic or
social, are the expression of a necessity, temporary or permanent, noted by the legislator and,
most often, applicable to society without having previously consulted with her subjects. There is,
therefore, a real and absolute constraint, and this constraint includes submission to the letter of
the law, rather than to their spirit, until the day when the law will be retracted either by the
strength of things or the reaction of the worn out masses. The Masonic law of the silence offers
nothing similar to these reflections. In the first place, as we shall see in a little while, it is
imposed by reason and not by the will of a man or a collectivity. Then it is presented to each
adept before his admission into the order and freely accepted. He submits willingly, in full
knowledge of the reason and consequences of the law; what’s more, he seals this acceptance with
a vow thereby consciously aware of any ulterior motives of rupture or derogation. The constraint
is, therefore, quite effective, but of another essence; it is transcendent to the individual and rests
upon the initiate. Civil constitutions govern people, outside of their wishes and desires, they are,
“perinde ac cadaver”, in the hands of the state and judicial powers charged with applying the
law. In Masonry there is, on the other hand, will and the joy of self-discipline and the vow to
persist “sine die” in this freely agreed-upon discipline. So, the constraint of silence does not
engender a state of servitude vis-à-vis the law, it is an adherence for which necessity, based on
reason, leaves nothing to spontaneity. It is an initiatic norm without which no asceticism is
possible; which we shall try to demonstrate.
The law of the silence, as we have said, proceeds from reason. Reason is a specifically human
faculty, it coordinates applied or intuitive information, elaborated by understanding, into notions,
concepts or ideas, and transposes them into judgments, affixing the repercussions of them onto
our lives. And, in light of this reason, Masonry is the art of pursuit, the method of discovery, the
science of integrating,...

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