Intellectual elite and spiritual aristocracy
by Athos A. Altomonte
© copyright by Esonet.it – Esonet.com
Question: Dear Athos, do you think that the process, either
Masonic or initiatory in general, is or should be of an elitist or aristocratic
Answer: I know that the initiatory path is an extraordinary
one. I know that it leads to extraordinary goals. I know that a true initiate
is not an ordinary person, but an extraordinary one, able to manage extraordinary
resources with generous wisdom. And these resources
cannot be found in the common man, not even if he’s educated and refined.
One needs to understand all these differences before saying: I can recognize
I know that an initiate is part of an elite of inner intellectuality founded
on a spiritual aristocracy. But, except for rare occasions, I refuse to admit
that masons are part of it.
Q: Who can understand (and how) when the step from common
man to wise initiate is finally made?
A: When what you’re saying brightens the listener’s
face. And whilst you’re giving him the answers he needs, a grateful smile
will beam across his face… Then you can start considering yourself a wise
But if your interlocutor doesn’t let you finish your thought, if he wants
you to tell him only what he wants to hear, if he uses words to fascinate his
audience like a juggler,… be sure, he’s not a wise man.
Q: What ability and possibility have others to perceive this
state in us?
A: It depends on what you mean by “others”. Many
nod only because they’re waiting their turn to talk and receive your approval.
Others nod because they don’t understand what you’re talking about
and don’t want to admit it. Others nod only because they are bored and
doing so they hope to shorten the bother.
Then there is the one who understands what’s missing in our talk. He adds
the missing part to our thought and doing so he completes a perfect construction.
What you want is the approval from the latter.
Q: I might think in my conscience, that I have done good steps,
even if it isn’t entirely true.
A: A rule is that self-diagnosis is not possible.
We tend to self-absolution and self-satisfaction when judging ourselves. It
is better to find a judge that is less partial than ourselves if we want to
Q: I agree with what you say even if I still have many personal
doubts… I have learnt that the state of illumination is very difficult
to attain and those who have achieved so much often keep this state secret ….
A: Entering the Freemasonry is an experience within the reach
of everyone, accessible, I might add, to common people. It’s enough to
want it and have enough money to pay the toll.
The chances for entry are so many that being denied the access is only a rare
exception. Therefore there’s no elitism in being a Mason. It is very difficult,
in fact, to distinguish a Mason from a common citizen.
Furthermore, in the Freemasonry, even at high levels, you won’t find
any signs of the presence of a spiritual aristocracy.
Especially considering how a crowd of ex Grand Masters and Sovereign Grand Commanders
do and undo Masonic communions according to their convenience.
Freemasonry should be looked at as if it was a primer, a container in which
we find many different stories stuck together, all from different periods and
developed in different conditions to each other. Therefore Freemasonry is mainly
a collection of memories which have been elaborated and lived outside of it.
They can become a guideline, though, to a researcher able to find a common denominator
that is their “guiding thread”.
Freemasonry initiates only in a symbolic way. And symbolically initiate someone
is unsubstantial like trying to feed someone through the smell of food.
As we said, though, in Freemasonry there is a guide line, a common denominator
which we find in all the “lived experiences”.
I think that the secret to be revealed is this denominator, which is hidden
to a superficial look.
It is necessary that a careful observer becomes a willing and stubborn researcher,
so that the common element, that we can find unchanged in every lower tradition,
can reveal once again the point “where the initiation is known”.