“Milk for children and meat for men”

About Dan Brown’s book, ‘’The Lost Symbol’’
By SGC of SC for Latvia

I would have liked it better, if Dan Brown had not written this book. This was my first thought. I do not approve the public display of FreemasonryTemple rituals.

But the book has been published, and I cannot ignore this. Millions of people, all over the world, are receiving their impressions about freemasonry from Dan Brown’s, ‘’The Lost Symbol’’. I would also venture to say that because of this book, many freemasons throughout the world, are increasing and expanding their existing knowledge about their freemasonry.

Are Freemasons ignoring their oath?

Are Freemasons discovering their secrets from a millions-sold, bestseller?

Has Dan Brown revealed Freemasonry’s secrets?

Typically this type of question gets responded to in a general fashion, and answered with one and the same cliché : this and this author has revealed a number of irrelevant  details, but the main meaning and its significance has remained unrevealed.  If we would like to attest a similar logic to ”The Lost Symbol’’, then I would like to add two important additional thoughts. 

Firstly, secrets typically can be revealed via details.

Secondly, the meaning behind the secret may not actually be the secret itself.

If Dan Brown himself were a Freemason, then he would certainly be one that has broken his masonic  promies - not to reveal that what occurs in the Temple.  

This would have been by describing details and not about describing the meaning of the secret.

It occurs to me that Dan Brown is not the first, and won’t be the last, that reveals individual, isolated details about Freemasonry. It also readily apparent that Dan Brown, in the name of instigating controversy for the casual reader, has taken a pinch of this and a pinch of that from a number of Freemason rituals and has mixed all of this into one big cocktail, so that the reader can fantasize his or her own conclusion about rituals and Freemasonry.  It is also clear, from the context of the book, that Dan Brown’s knowledege of Freemasonry, the Masonic rituals and inner workings of the Temple, have not gone without the assistance and blessing of Freemasons’ themselves. Hence, it seems that the book has received the acceptance of Freemasons. The discussion is no longer about - have Freemason secrets been revealed in part, or in totality. The discussion is about the fact that individual Freemasons, assisting in, and accepting the publication of the inner life of Freemasonry, through Dan Brown’s book, have severely violated and broken their Freemason oath. Of course, I will be reminded that in this day and age of information, it is inevitable that the works of Freemasons are seen and can be found in the public domain via the internet, photographs, video, etc. 

I do not want to fight against the current. However, I would like to draw attention to the notion of the very important question of the meaning of taking the oath, or making the promise, not to reveal that which occurs inside the Temple.  I believe, for example, that most Freemasons have accepted the appearance of empty temples in photographs appearing in specialized Freemason Magazines. 

Unfortunately, we are currently beginning to witness action photographs and even films of our actual rituals. Freemasons themselves are providing interviews to the yellow press and secret signs are being described in books and magazines. At times like these, I am puzzled that the brethren have not kept their promise to the Brotherhood.  I can also assume that, over time, the Information Society will force us to edit our assumptions about our secret. 

The meaning of Freemasonry

Dan Brown does not stop at revealing the details of Freemasonry’s symbols. He also, in a number of passages in ‘The Lost Symbol’, attempts to describe the meaning of Freemasonry. I judge this more positively than revealing the meaning of separate details of different symbols and rituals. Dan Brown’s explanation of Freemasonry’s meaning is quite simple, and at least it is not shallow. 

I am not speaking about the predictable thriller web of intertwined events causing suspense and intrigue, which,  if course, is Dan Brown’s success formula.  That would undoubtedly scare away any serious reader or person interested in Freemasonry. They would even snicker.  However, as it pertains to ‘The Lost Symbol’, in some way we can empathize as Dan Brown cites Pavels 1. Letter to the Corinthians with regard to that what his main characters have to say about the Bible: 

‘...the spoken word has two meanings: ‘milk for children and meat for men’ -  with the word ‘milk’ meaning diluted reading material for an infantile mindset, but ‘meat ’ is the true gospel which is only accessible to mature minds’’.

Although a cynical reader would also be critical in this sense, as the ‘milk for children ’ can overflow , but from time to time one can also experience ‘meat for men’, e.g. the attempt to expose the reader to some concepts of Freemasonry. 

Firstly, that is a question of civilization’s, the universe’s total conscience. Ordo ab chao, or how reason is born out of chaos, then is a question of the joining of mysticism and science. Newton, Bacon, Einstein, Heisenberg, Durer - Dan Brown reminds us of these monumental personalities. Also noteworthy are Dan Brown’s descriptions of the commonality of the basis of different religions.

In any event, Dan Brown can provide the drive for a fresh reassessment to veteran freemasons, who have the courage to admit their confusion about the true meaning of freemasonry.

Critical thoughts about freemasonry

An honest and courageous freemason is accepting of criticism about the state of current freemasonry, a theme which prevails in ‘The Lost Symbol’.  Mal’akh, an evil person with evil ambitions, has managed to reach freemasonry’s highest level. Evidently, he has donated a lot of money to freemasonry.  In simple terms, Mal’akh has bought freemasonry’s highest honor. Unfortunately, this practice is not anathema  to some current masonic  lodges, notwithstanding the fact that it is in complete conflict with that what is explained during initiation, namely climbing freemasonry’s ladder has nothing to do with one’s financial status or position in society. 

Granted, Mal’akh does not remind us of a typical con-man, whose simple objective was to purchase freemasonry levels. Mal’akh is very knowledgeable and well-versed in freemasonry, albeit with fanatical and perverse needs and urges. But this may also imply a possible ‘double standard’ existing in today’s freemasonry.     

‘You revere the ancient truths, and yet you are cowards’. 

Without a doubt, Dan Brown’s best seller formula does simplify a number of serious questions. For example, symbolic language is consistently reduced to ‘puzzles’, seemingly with twists and turns, to startle and to maintain he reader.  At times, this so intensifie, that it becomes pointlessly boring. 

It could be worse

All in all, one can conclude that for a mass audience, Dan Brown’s ‘Lost Symbol’, provides a positive image of freemasonry. Within the book’s bulk of volume , therein also lies a number of worthy considerations for freemason’s themselves. 

I must correct my initial statement that it would have been better had not this book been written.  I am not a supporter, nor an advocate of the current state, that the symbols of freemasonry are provided to the public for display and are used as elements of pop culture. However, I am aware that this tendency cannot be obstructed. At this point, then it seems, that Dan Brown’s book is not the worse hazard of this disheartening trend. 
Translated by Br. J. U.