Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Freemasonry - The Shared Experience of Initiation

In Freemasonry, one of the first things we are taught is that we are all equal as brothers; every brother in the lodge has undergone the initiation ceremony, and we have all experienced the same event. We are all brethren sharing a similar past experience. This binds us together, as shared experiences are valuable to the group. There have been many recent studies into this 'shared experience' by psychologists, some studies suggesting that shared experiences are amplified and are thus more powerful (Boothby et al. 2014).

Of course, the experience of initiation into Freemasonry is a good experience, a powerful, moving and celebrated experience, one to be valued, and it is this shared aspect of it that creates the bond of brotherhood, a brotherhood that breaks down barriers of age, social background, nationality, and cultural background. For example, a study discussed by the British Psychological Society that was published in the Journal of Consumer Research puts forward that 'the first impression an individual has of an event has a greater impact when they share this experience with somebody else'. Of course there is a bit of a difference between being initiated into Freemasonry and consumerism, but as the overall study looks at the shared experience in a social context, then one can see how powerful and memorable the shared experience is.

Of course, initiation as a process of entry into societies has been with us for thousands of years; the value of shared experience that creates bonding on a powerful level being known by our ancestors. It has been used in various religions, tribes, in the military, in street gangs and in social groups, to create that bonding and that sense of being part of a family. Masonic initiation also involves an obligation and as a society it teaches us moral lessons and above all, that we are all equal. Being forbidden to talk about religion and politics in lodge helps us, as brothers, to transcend our cultural and national differences, and this is what helps to make us all equal. 


Erica J. Boothby, Margaret S. Clark & John A. Bargh, ‘Shared Experiences Are Amplified’, Psychological Science

1 comment:

  1. Accepting value of shared experiences, certain peculiar best well under the supervision of 'inner light'