I would like to make something absolutely clear at the onset of this presentation. I do not wish to or infer from any of the following definitions that I make fun of any of the following types or look down on any on them. In many ways all masons have small parts of all of the types presented. We are all familiar with some labels, i.e., speculative, operative.
Though out history we have been called by different names such as the “sons of the widow” and “moral builders”. Even our name “freemasons” is a label.
The word free in the name is often interpreted as meaning something like “freethinking”. Also, it has been known to refer to the notion that we were born “Free” men and owe no allegiance to someone or to some entity. From the beginning of recorded time people have attempted to label people in an effort to explain quickly how that person is perceived (mostly by them).
As with all efforts to be descriptive in communication to others, there are good and bad perceptions created. Sadly, most labels are not meant to be complimentary. Labels also have a secondary nature. To some it is a tool for wielding power or control. To others it is a tool for instilling pride or motivation. Labelling can diminish as well as build up a person.
Through out history, to label someone was to plant in the minds of the audience a perception that must be overcome if the individual in question wanted to portray something different. I think most of the Brothers here assembled can sympathise to that notion. We all have been called names and have had to struggle to overcome some labelling in our past.
In its worst form it constitutes bullying, abuse, harassment, discrimination or a host of other unsavoury aspects of human behaviour. However, as with all things, there is a good side to labelling. One that promotes the individual and help build up the person in the minds of others. It comes in the form of praise, recognition, honour, tributes, admiration, respect, reputation, status as well as a host of desirable observations. Everyone is different.
The level of involvement in any endeavour in life can run the gambit of mere interest to the extreme level of obsession. Labels attach themselves rather quickly as a person shows more than a passing interest in any aspect of life. We all have our basic need to learn and in so develop areas of interest that drive us to explore them more fully. When this interest becomes noticeable to others, labelling is a natural outcome. Within the Masonic order, we begin at the onset to label ourselves. Rank, achievement, status are portrayed in our titles. The “candidate” becomes a “Brother” after receiving the “entered apprentice” degree. The “Master” runs the Lodge and the “Past Masters” are his counsel. Don’t even let me get started on Grand Lodge titles… So it should come as no surprise that from the beginning, we as a group are already Label conscious.
I have divided all types into two major categories. There are behaviour types and Brand types. I want to re-empathize that each type here has roots in all of us. The Following list outline types of Freemasons I have read about, noticed or heard from others.
Super nova/Blazing Star (Fast start / Excited / Burnout)
Socialite (Politician) Comedian (Humor to a fault)
Lifestyle (Again the less I say about GL, the easier my Masonic career will be.)
Controller / Dictator (Need for perfection)
Mentor / Student (Need to Teach and/or Learn)
Pious (Serious, Reverent)
Exhibitionist / Admiral / Christmas tree (Proud / Rewarding / Accomplished)
Academic (Umbrella – more of a focus)
Historian Local (Personally Known)
General (How Masonry started / Origin of Ritual)
Current Events (That affect them / Masonry)
Individuals (Presidents / Grand lodge / Famous)
Parrot (aka. Bright) (Words, Not meaning)
Purist (Seeing that Degree message is conveyed correctly)
Philosopher (Seeking Hidden Knowledge)
Solver of “Puzzle” of Pictures
Collector Stamps, Books, Pins, Knickknacks, etc.
Surprisingly, what becomes readily apparent is that we all have parts of these types of traits. We as a group thrive on distinguishing ourselves among our peers. Some labels seem more appropriate than others. But in the end, we joined the fraternity for the same end result. That we are associated with people who we see as we see ourselves. Men we have no problem calling “Brothers” because of the bond we have established from association with them. To me it seem funny that I can differentiate all of us into this many categories and labels, but in the end the first label I think of when I see any one of you is “Brother”.