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venerdì 20 maggio 2011

Grand Orient of Austria

CLIPSAS contribution 2011, GM Bernhard M. Neumayr, GOÖ

50 Years after the Appeal of Strasbourg: Account and Perspective

Economy and Society

50 years ago eleven obediences came together here in Strasbourg, amongst them our newly formed Grand Orient of Austria, in order to sign an appeal for mutuality and to reunite what had been separated within the Masonic world.

Based upon this principle the association CLIPSAS developed in its changeful history from the original eleven European signatory members to more than sixty associates world wide.

According to Kondratieff 50 years also correspond to the long waves of economic cycles.
His research proved that around every fifty years innovations bring on economic changes.
(1900 electrical engineering, chemistry, 1950 petrochemistry, cars, 2000 communication technology…?). The current situation in the countries of the Maghreb induced me to examine the cycles of social changes since the middle of the 20th century. In intervals of 21-22 years major incisions became obvious. (The 1946 generation of rebuilding after the second World War, the 1968 generation of protest against the saturation of the establishment, the 1989 generation inducing the change in Eastern Europe and 22 years onward, the 2011 generation bringing about the change in the countries of the Maghreb, what dare we expect of the next generation of 2031, at the 70th birthday of CLIPSAS?)
The question arises whether it is feasible to deduct universal rules from the seemingly regular intervals of such changes.

This perception is certainly useful for monitoring and planning. We need it as well as freemasons, since it is our duty to recognize the roughness of life, which misses humaneness, tolerance and enlightenment in small issues around our neighbourhood as well as in major events all over the globe in order to find the best way to smooth the roughness.

The current events in the countries of the Maghreb show the breaking open of such roughness in a very unusual form.

At the 50th anniversary of the Grand Orient of Austria in January 2011, I held a Masonic speech with the title „Individuality in Plurality“ from which I would like to quote:
“…when in times of social upheaval, of commercial and political chaos, identification does no longer provide support, …unstableness and unrest spread in society… these are times of collapse and birth of identity…”

In North Africa we witness new and extreme individualists: They are highly educated, far more so than their parents. They live in smaller families and have fewer children. Many of them are unemployed. Thanks to internet they are very well informed regarding international events and thanks to face book, twitter etc they are linked-up internationally. Their aim is a better life in the sense of freedom and democracy and they have no role model.
They react as plurality of human beings, as groups, pooling of interests and have to find their way to new and democratic structures.

Which implications does this have for the transformation process? The protesters are nearly not politically organized; they have no leader – a revolution without revolutionary spearhead.
This is an absolute novelty in history, as is the communist capitalism in China on an economic level, or the union of 27 democratic but inhomogeneous countries to form a European Union.
The message is, freemasonry derives its strength from tradition and can only transfer its moral concept through this tradition – at the same time Freemasonry stands confronted with these utterly new forms of rapid social changes in recent history and therefore must question its position and find new possibilities of communication and interaction.

The reciprocal dependence of economy and society must not be underestimated. Strong strain between economical organisation and emotions, traditions and human values can, instead of bringing major parts of social energy to the development of human progress, lead to protests for or against the change, for or against denial of reformation, to strike and other forms of inner or outer opposition.

Ethical basics of conduct are immensely important in this context. Max Weber (political economist of the 19th/20th century) said: “Ethics of society define in the long run the system of economy.” And I would like to add: “…and creates the background of livelihood for everyone…”

I am ending here with some up to date examples concerning us all. The confrontation with world wide occurrences, reciprocal information regarding regional developments and special incidents within obediences will encourage the feeling of coherence within CLIPSAS.
In the beginning I talked about waves and cycles in economy and society, do we think CLIPSAS is not also subject to those waves and cycles?

It is a special concern of the Grand Orient of Austria as founding member of CLIPSAS to actively and continuously support the development of our brotherly chain.
In this spirit the Grand Orient of Austria confers CLIPSAS the best wishes for the future –
May our labour at the temple of humanity succeed.

Vienna, 28th March 2011
Bernhard M. Neumayr, GOÖ
Großmeister / Großorient von Österreich
Grand Master / Grand Orient of Austria