Nothing personal

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Nothing personal

Postby kimosabe » Sun Dec 03, 2017 12:40 pm

How fast is too fast to speak in a ceremony?

I was recently a guest at a lodge where the candidate was not a native English speaker. The WM, although of the dark blue variety, wasn't a great speaker and stormed through the whole ceremony at a pace I could barely follow or even comprehend. I suspected that he hadn't presented to a critical audience either for some time or ever and that the result was a burble of often mispronounced and rushed words. Much of the ceremony had to be repeatedly re-mispronounced, because the WM didn't understand some of the words he was saying himself and because the candidate had tried to say what he thought he had heard said to him but stood no chance of getting it right! Tragic.

This is not the first time I have endured a ceremony where the key players were not connected to their script, let alone familiar with some of the words used and I was wondering if any of you had encountered anything like this and what, if anything you had said or done about it. As this was not my own lodge, I did not feel comfortable enough to correct the Provincially ranked WM but felt that a great disservice to the candidate had taken place. Okay, it's unlikely that he'd recall much about what had been said to him a minute after he had repeated it but all the same, I thought it a great loss.

One last point i'd like to raise is regarding the wording of rituals. I think it's about time rituals were updated (again) to meet our current version modernised English.

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Re: Nothing personal

Postby Trouillogan » Sun Dec 03, 2017 1:03 pm

Taking your last point first, my personal view is that by the use of eighteenth century language (this was the language of the educated and respectable gentleman of those days), full gravity can be given to the ceremonial; modern English does not carry that cachet. In-depth study is needed in order fully to understand the true import of the messages being inculcated. That study is an advance in linguistic as well as masonic knowledge; both of considerable benefit to those who wish to learn.

As to your first point about delivery; unfortunately that is all too common an occurrence. I fully agree with you and it shows what happens when that study and understanding is lacking. Parrot learning creates nothing but confusion - in the minds of both the speaker and those on the receiving end. In short, the whole exercise of trying to learn something that is not understood, becomes a futile waste of everybody' time and effort. The effect on a candidate can only be negative, leading to a short experience of the lodge.

A quiet and diplomatic word to the DC and/or lodge mentor could be appropriate. But if they hadn't noticed or weren't willing or capable of admonishing the gold braid, even that would be pointless. How sad.
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Re: Nothing personal

Postby admin » Sun Dec 03, 2017 9:43 pm

It is usually nerves that makes people speak quickly. That eases off after time with most people.

I remember when I first joined all the members followed a similar patern set by the preceptor. They used a timing mechanism , it s bit like you can probably remember words to a song that you could not just say those words from memory you would have to sing them.

I started to nag about the speed and the motions or noises they used. One guy used to tut after each line. Another swished his foot to create a rythm. It took a while and I think I influenced proceedings when I got into some of the officer positions, having done some theatrical work I used that to make the story line a bit more interesting.

But in the end you can only control yourself not others.

As for the 18th century words, I like them, it makes us different from everyday language.
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Re: Nothing personal

Postby Richard George » Mon Dec 04, 2017 10:22 am

admin wrote:
As for the 18th century words, I like them, it makes us different from everyday language.


Me too. I also used to do Amateur Dramatics and I regularly get comments on how I do the ritual - to the effect that people discover something they'd missed before, or just listened for the first time in years - and this from senior Provincial and Grand Officers who've been round the block a few times. As I tell my 9 & 12 year old sons; slow it down, pronounce each word, and speak to the person at the other end of the room and not the guy in front of you (but don't shout) .. if the ones at the back of the room can hear and understand you, so can the guy next to you. And know it well enough that you can tell the story, not just recite it.
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Re: Nothing personal

Postby The Uninitiated » Mon Dec 04, 2017 10:54 am

kimosabe wrote:The WM, although of the dark blue variety, wasn't a great speaker and stormed through the whole ceremony at a pace I could barely follow or even comprehend.


I've seen this a few times - usually it is a demonstration that the speaker has learned the words off by heart, without particularly understanding what they mean. They then merely regurgitate the memory, in a mono-tone and without punctuation, because that is all that they have in their head.

Richard's post is sound advice!


That said, I find the Ritual Book awful for learning, because of the lack of punctuation and paragraphing... so I tend to type it into Word (with the file passworded, before anyone comments) with appropriate pauses and "stage directions"
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Re: Nothing personal

Postby Nathan » Mon Dec 04, 2017 2:20 pm

Whilst i have very little experience of the ceremony carried out at my lodge (I've only completed my 1st), it was very clear that the Brothers of said lodge put a huge amount of effort into learning and practising what they were saying. All apart from one had memorised the words and didn't have a piece of paper to prompt them, they also spoke clearly and at a suitable speed so that all of the words were heard. The brother that gave the Charge was exceptional and said the words with feeling and clearly understood what he was asking of me. I found it very humbling that these men, the majority of which i don't know well, were willing to put the effort in to ensure i enjoyed the experience. I am also confident that when it comes my turn to take part on the other side of the ceremonies, I shall endeavour to apply the same effort for the candidates involved.
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Re: Nothing personal

Postby Trouillogan » Mon Dec 04, 2017 2:40 pm

Well said Nathan. Your efforts will undoubtedly be greatly appreciated. To look the candidate in the eye while charging him with these significant ideas is a reward well worth aiming for. Your good example will encourage others to follow suit.
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Re: Nothing personal

Postby Nathan » Mon Dec 04, 2017 3:27 pm

Trouillogan wrote:Well said Nathan. Your efforts will undoubtedly be greatly appreciated. To look the candidate in the eye while charging him with these significant ideas is a reward well worth aiming for. Your good example will encourage others to follow suit.

That's exactly my point Trouillogan, the very fact the current brethren have made the effort they did, makes me want to follow suit. The respect shown to me by the effort put in is a perfect example of what I believe Freemasonry to be.
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Re: Nothing personal

Postby kimosabe » Wed Dec 06, 2017 3:43 pm

The Uninitiated wrote:
kimosabe wrote:The WM, although of the dark blue variety, wasn't a great speaker and stormed through the whole ceremony at a pace I could barely follow or even comprehend.


I've seen this a few times - usually it is a demonstration that the speaker has learned the words off by heart, without particularly understanding what they mean. They then merely regurgitate the memory, in a mono-tone and without punctuation, because that is all that they have in their head.

Richard's post is sound advice!


That said, I find the Ritual Book awful for learning, because of the lack of punctuation and paragraphing... so I tend to type it into Word (with the file passworded, before anyone comments) with appropriate pauses and "stage directions"



I've read several Craft ritual workings over the years the punctuation, in all of them was appalling to the point of being totally wrong English has never been written with the sort of paragraph-sized sentences we have in our books so I wonder why such basic grammar and syntax has gone unchallenged for so long and without a proper update being issued by whomesoever doth owneth it; as for protecting our ritual books from non-masonic eyes why bother? The books are all freely available either from Masonic shops or online or from antiquarian bookshops to the point that nobody needs ye olde password in order to buyeth them the wording in ritual books is not historically accurate and does not correctly reflect the words which would have been used back when men wore britches and wigs as seen in one of W Hogarth's seminal works.

McKimosabeth - who is currently rehearsing the Scottish play!
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Re: Nothing personal

Postby eckywan2 » Sat Dec 09, 2017 5:14 pm

As a Scot its may hurt to say this , but Shakespeare is much easier to read than any ritual.
Concomitent is maybees the in word today but when its read again noeone will ( again) know its meaning
Much as Rangers board have been slagged off for their use of such language thereby disrespecting the ordinary fan
so we must be aware that our ritual is not easy for modern man to comprehend.
Good words from Trully and Bill !
To the young brother who initiated this thread keep on asking questions !!

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merry Christmas and a Guid New Year to yin an a'

Note no spoilers re ending of Scottish Play !
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Re: Nothing personal

Postby JohnXRV » Sat Dec 09, 2017 8:54 pm

eckywan2 wrote:Note no spoilers re ending of Scottish Play !


The butler did it


Sent from my GT-I9505 using Tapatalk
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Re: Nothing personal

Postby MrBenn » Mon Dec 11, 2017 12:41 pm

Latest version of the Logic Ritual includes advice on delivery and pause/punctuation
"The fear of death is the most unjustified of all fears, for there's no risk of accident for someone who's dead."

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Re: Nothing personal

Postby Peter Taylor » Mon Dec 11, 2017 12:53 pm

Of course, getting out and about visiting and learning from the Masters is a much better way of learning than from any book.
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