In the time when we when we were starting a new semester, when we were opening a new page of our masonic life, not only Christianity, but Europe as a whole, marked one event that was of global, civilization importance – creation of Edict of Milan, by the Roman emperor – Constantine. As it is known, this document, after a few centuries of bans and persecutions, gave the right to freely, without any limits and consequences practice their religion, which was acknowledged not only for the Christians, but for all the members of other religions. However, the further course of events, as well as the age in which we live, has confirmed, and is constantly confirming that this act had much broader meaning, that it represented one of the milestones in the history of human society. This act created an access for one new group of questions, that were present throughout the whole history of humanity, and which defined themselves in different ways, in accordance with the circumstances of certain periods in human history, and today they are defined as human freedoms and rights. It is the group of questions that represent the foundations of human civilization, which „Magna carta libertatum“ speaks about, the Declaration of Independence of the USA, Declaration of Human Freedoms and Rights from the time of the French revolution in 1789, the UN Charter, the Constitutions of all essentially democratic countries and the ones in whole, symbolically and factually, can be placed in one sentence that says ‘’All people are born free and equal’’. This message, only formulated differently and used in different ways, is sent by every religion, warning us and encouraging us to look at all of the people around us as brothers, to be aware that our individual freedom ends where another person’s freedom begins, based on the fact that all people are different according to nationality, religion, social background, place of residence, education, political beliefs, way of life, which represents the richness of the humanity and richness of our personal lives. That is the life path and the system of moral values that we chose when everyone of us individually were neither naked nor dressed, neither barefoot nor booted, without wearing any metal, blindfolded, entered the world of Freemasons. By being accepted into Freemasonry and by self-improving, one more group of questions was permanently opened; the relation of the profane and Freemason world. One could ask the question in a more concrete way – how to accomplish those eternal moral and humanitarian values, on which Freemasonry was created and based, today in the everyday life, how to transform those values onto the profane world and life, by seeking stronghold in a vast number of people who are equally honorable, responsible and moral as us, but, for various reasons, do not belong to the brotherhood of Freemasons. The fact of the matter is that the age that we live in has created the whole spectrum of new questions, dilemmas, moral and other challenges, that seek your daily and total civilizational responses. That, of course, is not the case only with our age. Every epoch in the history of humanity opened to its contemporaries the key questions of that epoch. However, the success of every generation in the human history, the mark of how much progress that epoch had is only given by the teacher – history, depends only on how successful each generation is in giving answers to the core questions of their epoch, how much have those answers upgraded the economic, social and moral strength of the society. That historical, still present question could be asked in a different way – as a question of what we have left for our future generations. The contemporary age is the age of incredible economic, technological, social and cultural changes. This is the age of the development of science, the development of new technologies and its usage, which, in other words, means the constant increase of the creative power of human hands and mind, and that it creates the increasing amounts of material and spiritual goods, the creation of new human needs, new style of life, new system of social and individual values. In front of our eyes the old worlds is tearing down and the new one is created. All of us are, willingly or unwillingly, taking part in that process, and there was a lot of them who got the short end of the stick, ‘’stuck’’ in time and space, which inevitably questions the human essence and the core of that process. Because, the vision and the goal of Freemasons is that every social process, not only in our surroundings, but globally, is positive, that it brings joy, tranquility and hole, that is based on our belief that we cannot be happy if those around us are unhappy. We are familiar with some of these challenges, and they are an integral component of our everyday lives. Those are new technologies that demand new knowledge, but change the perception of our life completely, the electronic communication via cellular phones and the Internet, via social networks, that help us to get to know other cultures and civilizations, different systems of social values, to create a different picture of the world in which we live. However, the stated changes, and especially the dynamics of those changes, confront us daily with the ever-growing moral challenges. The global crisis that the world is facing today, that is not just economic, but also greatly social and political, is conditioned by the drop of the moral. Simultaneously, it is more and more obvious that the permanent step out of the crisis and the step onto the road of technological, economic and social progress is not possible without moral restorations. The fall of moral is visible in every step and in every aspect of our life, in the confrontation of science and religion, separation of reason from faith, logic from intuition, material from spiritual, or, more precise, the complete neglect of spiritual comparing with material. This is shown in economic and political part of a society in form of an imposed, several decades long dominance of material, and the striving to establish the teaching of the absolute dominance of the market and the capital as the sole regulator of the social relations. The response to all of the challenges of the contemporary age can be found in the reaffirmation of the eternal moral values and the defining of the new philosophical vision of the contemporary world, where the brunt should be represented by the basic postulates and principles of Freemasonry.
Br. Vladimir S. Markovic, PGM