In September 2021, a group of Masonic researchers at the Quatuor Coronati Lodge asked me to give a University-type, 90-minute lecture. The topic of my presentation was Reputation from a masonic perspective. In the following, the readers will find some thoughts about the recognition of Freemasonry and the acceptance of Freemasons.
There is a Masonic rite, in which, when a new master is inaugurated, the Installing Officer gave the next advice to the new master of the Lodge: “Be as careful of the reputation of your Lodge as that of your family”
The Installing Officer tell a warning to the new Master of the Lodge:
“The honor, reputation, and usefulness of your Lodge will materially depend upon the skill and assiduity with which you manage its concerns, while the happiness of its members will be generally promoted in proportion to the zeal and ability with which you propagate the genuine principles of our Institution.”
This warning, calling for the importance of reputation, confirmed my intention to look at the Masonic Reputation and the issue of Corporate Identity associated with it.
What does reputation mean?
Organizations want to be successful, and this requires that their environment be known, recognized, understood, accepted, valued, and supported. In summary, organizations need to have a reputation.
The term derived from the Latin verb reputo (think, consider) means several things at once: it also means recognition, acceptance, (good) reputation.
The desirable goal for organizations is to achieve optimal status, the highest degree of reputation, this is the public esteem. BUT! Public esteem is never achievable, but it must be pursued.
The steps of the reputation
Everybody has to go up the reputation ladder.
Steps of the stairs:
Know your organization and your environment. This requires them to have correct information about each other.
It is necessary to mutually understand the information obtained from each other. The organization and its environment understand each other’s goals.
Building trust requires that the organization and its environment agree to the fullest extent possible.
- Support and cooperation
In the optimal situation, a consensus can be formed between the organization and its environment, in the situation that the organization wants to achieve, where the parties who understand each other support and cooperate with each other.
Reputation, therefore, means the expression and appearance of the public’s value judgment.
Of course, reputation is not necessarily positive, as there is also a negative value judgment. Reputation, that is, the knowledge, experience, image that appears in our consciousness about the set of general characteristics of a given organization, person, or thing.
What can all come to mind when we think of the name of a particular organization, object, or person?
How do we judge when we hear the name?
For example, does a particular person have a reputation in our eyes that means respect, recognition, or when we are considered a liar or disrespectful person?
We consider a positive reputation when a person, organization, or thing is generally valued by the public.
In this case, we have favorable, benevolent assumptions about the organization and person, so we also judge its reputation favorably. This is when we usually say that a person or an organization has a good name and a good reputation.
The Definition is: “Reputation is, on the one hand, the totality of everything we think, behave, act, and, on the other hand, the totality of what is generally assumed, considered, or taken into account in the way we are judged and manifested.”
Reputation must be aroused, kept alive in the collective memory of the whole or parts of society. This “arousal and survival” is the building of fame, the management of fame.
This management and action process must be implemented in both the internal and external environment of the organization. After all, achieving respect for the external environment begins within a house, that is, within an organization.
Within the organization, it is necessary for this management to recognize that building a positive reputation is a management task.
One area of management, called public relations, is able to initiate a dialogue with both members of the organization and the external environment.
Reputation management means creating mutual understanding in the internal and external environment of an organization. Of course, it is essential, but not enough, to manage the image of the organization, to develop a common way of thinking, to have a good sense of belonging to the organization, to cultivate an organizational culture, to apply an organization-wide communication thinking and activity that includes all members of the organization.
Reputation management in practice means using someone else’s positive reputation for myself or my organization to enhance my own reputation.
Related Elements of Reputation Achievement
- Organizational philosophy is the totality of all the principles of the organization that motivate and activate the members and groups of the organization in order to achieve the goals set by the organization.
- An organizational mission statement is a set of principles in which an organization lays down what the organization has finally created. It includes a precise description of the goals the organization wants to achieve.
- The organizational concept describes the long-term interests and goals of the organization, as well as all the efforts required to achieve them, which define all the activities and manifestations of the organization.
- Organizational strategy is a collection of concrete long-term visions based on the organizational concept and all the efforts that determine the future of the organization. It includes the formulation of specific goals for a set period of time and the path required to achieve them.
- Organizational tactics are the concrete formulation of the short-term efforts that are essential to the implementation of an organizational concept and strategy.
Value judgments, behavior, and “attitude” of the members of the organization and the management
Due to the organizational culture, all members of the organization contribute to the perception of the organization and the development of its reputation.
Organizational culture, values
Organizational culture is the totality of values defined by each member of the organization individually, separately, and collectively, and accepted by all members of the organization.
That is, collectively all the norms, ethics, forms of conduct, knowledge, experience, and together with the values that the organization as a whole and each of its members individually deserve to be preserved, inherited, and renewed.
It is easy to see that the level and content of the organizational culture will be different if all the members of the organization are all graduates, and again if the organization is made up of uneducated members.
Reputation can therefore be affected in both negative and positive ways by organizational culture and values.
The basic element of the development of the reputation is the conscious identification of the organization, the building of the image and the image formed in this way, and the image
By definition, “is the totality of all the actions of an organization that are determinant of the organization as a whole. It identifies the organization with itself and distinguishes it from other organizations. ”
Among the elements of identification, one of the best-known “measures” is called the organizational or corporate image.
The consciously formed image that the organization wants to display about itself, what it wants to achieve, is judged by its environment in the way it wants it. The image of the organization that appears in the environment.
A corporate image is an image that is visually displayed about an organization in the awareness of its environment.
The visual appearance, image, and form of an organization. These concepts are closely related to the concept of corporate identity.
To use an analogy: while a corporate image is like a description of a person’s external qualities (as seen by others), a corporate identity is a set of external and internal characteristics that characterize a person, including, for example, his or her dress, speaking style, and so on. is. For example, in the case of a company, part of the corporate identity is the name, the trademark, its visual representation, but it also includes the negotiation style of the employees and part of how the porter or call center manager greets the guest or the calling partner.
Reputation and Identity by masonic perspectives
After the theoretical thoughts, let’s look at how this can be seen in the case of Freemasonry. Masonic reputation and corporate identity are made up of different elements, the masonic values. These values must be known to Masons.
Mission Statements and Values of Freemasonry
We must first examine the mission statements of Freemasonry.
There are numerous mission statements on the Internet, I would like to give some important examples.
“Our Creed & Mission Statement
Human progress is our cause, liberty of thought our supreme wish, freedom of conscience our mission, and the guarantee of equal rights to all people everywhere our ultimate goal.”
The Mission of Freemasonry “to improve its members and enhance the communities in which they live by teaching and emulating the principles of Brotherly Love, Tolerance, Charity, and Truth, while actively embracing high social, moral, and spiritual values, including fellowship, compassion, and dedication to God, family, and country.”
“The Mission of Freemasonry is to promote a way of life that binds like-minded men in a worldwide brotherhood that transcends all religious, ethnic, cultural, social and educational differences; by teaching the great principle of Brotherly Love, relief and truth; and, by the outward expression of these through its fellowship, its compassion and its concern, to find ways in which to serve God, family, country neighbor and self.”
“Freemasonry is a philanthropic, philosophical institution dedicated to the search for truth, the study of morality, and the exercise of solidarity: it works for the material and ideological progress, spiritual and social perfection of mankind.
Freemasonry stands for universal brotherhood.
His principles are patience, respect for others and ourselves, perfect freedom of spirit. ”
“Freemasonry aims to “become the center of unity and a means of making true friendships between persons who would have been inherited from it without it.”
I found – I think a typical – definition on a Masonic website:
“A Freemason can be any reputable, free man who has reached the age of 24, according to any religion, but believes in the existence of God, feels the basics of Freemasonry, and who, of course, is accepted as a brother by Freemasons.”
The important term I would like to draw your attention to is “reputable”. What leads to being reputable about someone? We need to look at when we can say about someone that they meet the criteria of reputation.
The number one condition is the question of “attitude”. This is influenced by the way of thinking, the internal motivation. And this depends on the values that the individual accepts, owns, and considers absolutely necessary for the preservation and so-called “inheritance”.
So the question is, what are the Masonic values that the Masons accept and reveal in general?
A survey of Freemasons that looked at the order of values revealed that morality, human values, are the most important Masonic values. Members of the Abravanel lodge, among others, participated in this survey. The evaluation of this research was a big part of my lecture in Budapest. I’ll talk about that another time.
However, I would like to say that as a result of the research, the most important Masonic values were the following (Order of value among American Freemasons. The European order of values is partly different.):
- Morality, human attitude,
- Trust, Honor, Truth, Brotherly Love,
- Integrity, Relief, Confidence, Hope, Tolerance,
- Independence, Support, Donation, Philanthropy, Philosophy
Summarizing the question of the reputation of Freemasonry:
Acceptance of Freemasonry is divided in the world. It is partly surrounded by recognition, but since there are many misconceptions, many Masonic opponents take advantage of this and try to arouse resentment.
Internal acceptance, reputation
I think we need to talk about the issue of “internal” acceptance. It must be clear, the reputation begins at home! External recognition, acceptance, esteem is only possible if it is complete at home, within the lodges. So we need to strive for in-house consensus so that external social acceptance is appropriate.
The Freemason must manifest himself not only inside the house but also externally. As a representative, like an ambassador. To represent is to assert the interests of someone instead of someone. Representation is the embodiment and validation of a person or a cause in the minds of others.
A Mason is a representative of the profane world, a follower of a cause, an attitude, and as such he must be a role model in one person. Freemasons need to work to fulfill the idea that “Not just a man. A Freemason. The common goal of Freemasons is to make good people better. ”