On The Road to Civility

Written by Bro. Steven Hood, Senior Deacon, Conejo Valley Lodge 2019

Civility, so long defined by what it is NOT, now has a well-written page on Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civility).

Most Worshipful Russ Charvonia, Past Grand Master of the State of California, has spent around five years laying the groundwork for Freemasons to understand how civility is a part of our Craft.

There are so many ways in which our Masonic tools are intended to foster such behavior on our parts that one can find hints in each and every one, beginning with our Compass; in learning to circumscribe our desires and subduing our passions, we model the very first aspect of what civility is: to allow to each other their right to their own beliefs. What we as Masons can bring to our communities and, by extension, the world, are those great virtues by which we live.

One hallmark of civility is the allowance of disparate viewpoints to, quite simply, be spoken and listened to without interruption for the sake of rebuttal alone. In our modern world, we so often spend our time crafting a response to a person speaking, that we fail to hear the most salient points that speaker wishes us to understand. Instead of listening to respond (or trying to engage in debate, where one side must win and the other, lose), we should listen with a mind to add that speaker’s comments on the subject to our own knowledge and points of view. The more we know, both about the topic under consideration as well as the various viewpoints surrounding it, the better able we are to have open and patient dialogue, from which can often come constructive deliberation.

https://www.masoniccivility.org/ offers us a number of resources and links to further reading and a good deal of research on the topic.

Other Civility Resources

The Urgency of Civility conference is an opportunity to engage in productive dialogue the Civility Movement.

The Masonic Family Civility project shares free resources and ideas for restoring civility in our society utilizing the Masonic values, tenets, language and working tools of Freemasonry.