By Christopher Sicurella
I would like to quote two passages from the Philosopher Slavoj Žižek’s book “Trouble in Paradise” (first published by Allan Lane in 2014):
“The public space of the ‘world civil society’ designates the paradox of universal singularity, of a singular subject who, in a kind of short-circuit, bypasses the mediation of the particular and directly participates in the Universal. This is what Kant, in his famous passage of his “What is Enlightenment?” means by ‘public’ as opposed to ‘private’: ‘private’ does not mean one’s individual as opposed to communal ties, but the very communal-institutional order of one’s particular identification; while ‘public’ is the trans-national universality of the exercise of one’s Reason. We see where Kant parts with our liberal common sense: the Kantian sense of the ‘private use of Reason’ in state administrative and ideological apparatuses, while individuals reflecting in general issues use reason in a ‘public’ way.”
”We often hear today that democracy can only be renewed from the grass-roots level of local communities, since state mechanisms are too ossified and insensitive to people’s pressing concerns; however, the problems we are confronting today also call for global organizations and forms of activity – the good old nation-state is simultaneously too large and too small. The ideal counterforce to the state would be a direct short-circuit between the two levels: local civil-society organizations forming trans-national networks.”
The big question
Now ask yourself:
- Do I want to become an active member of a ‘world civil society’?
- Am I prepared to bypass mediation in order to directly participate?
- Do I grasp how my private interest must be tied to public interest and common good?
- Am I prepared to embrace Enlightenment and Reason even if it means to have to let go of obsolete principles?
- Do I want to become an active member of a global organization?
- Am I prepared to short-circuit between local civil-society and a trans-national network?
‘Prepared’ might have to be substituted by ‘willing and able’.
While I enjoy the beauty that rings in (the definition) “Freemasonry is a peculiar system of morality, veiled in allegory, illustrated by symbols” I further find Freemasonry to be a state of mind.
It is the obsolete that will have to be chiseled off to lay bare the Universal within. Chiseled off by whom? By you. Who else would you want to do it?
Are you ready?
The wise man is content
With an enlightened mind
With which the value of all things
In true light he will find.
(Translation of Christoph Martin Wieland’s original poem)
Dem Weisen genügt an sich
Ein aufgeklärter Geist
Mit dem sich der Dinge Wert
In Wahrem Licht weist.
Christoph Martin Wieland