WORDS AND WORSE,MOTS ET MAUX Arturusrex
Orators are common in Continental masonry. Not so in English. Orators, appointed as such while not necessarily experienced masons, in the Continental systems, soon learn the perils and chaos out of order their ill-chosen words can cause. Their duty to achieve exactly the opposite effect, order out of chaos, eventually brings them to a better mastery of their tongues and pens. Perhaps even of their minds, or at least, their ways of thinking and expressing themselves.
Oratory is a discipline calling for a basic apprenticeship such as one can acquire in a continental lodge and which cannot be received as a gift of the local PGM or even of the GM himself if that training has never been acquired from the hard nitty-gritty of having to deliver “Orator’s” welcomes, conclusions and other spontaneous but well founded remarks in open lodge over the years. An inexperienced orator is likely to be a disaster to his lodge. An inexperienced orator boosted to the level of G Orator or even PG Orator is a serious disaster in the pending.
Words can be powerful and dangerous, because they overheat their hearers, or they can be weak, and, so, equally dangerous, because they under-heat them and leave them frustrated.
Words, when not used in totally banal, mundane conversation, call for a specific sensitivity that not all of us possess.
Lawyers are reputedly clever players with words and verbal forms. The amount of money they can earn, and correspondingly the number of clients they can save is reliant on their verbal dexterity.
But we know of one, the ex GM of the “Obedience” who systematically gets all his forms of expression wrong (in French, as he knows no other form of speak). (FMR and Myosotis have legal assistance way above these abysmal inadequacies of the ex GM, thank goodness, and thanks to Me Taitgen and our other lawyers)!)
But when words are translated from one language, i.e. from one culture, to another, their dangerosity is multiplied exponentially.
The historically notorious example is of the French, during the negoatiation of an international treaty “demandant” something, translated as “demanding”, when it simply meant “requesting” and was nearly the cause of a breach in international relations!
In today’s jargons, we are up against several of these dangerous words. Masonic rituals are full of such disastrously bad translations when not indigenous and not translated by bilingual native speakers. But this is not the place to examine such (and laugh at them).
But when masonics are reduced to purely administrative jargon, then we can and should look at the possible pitfalls involved when translated.
These last few days have again churned up some of the old chestnuts: the French words “ordre”, “obedience”, “rites”, “juridictions”, to name but a few. The WHITE BOOK dwells on some of these questions, but only in French.
We will not go back over the difference between “Obedience” and “Order”. This has been thrashed out many times in recent months.
Brethren of English Masonic up-bringing need not worry about this. But they do need to appreciate that the word “Obedience” refers to both the legal form of association under which a Masonic body is registered and its Masonic identity as, for example, a Grand Lodge. In our context, Obedience is therefore usually synonymous with GLNF or any other Grand Lodge. It consequently has a plural form, the “Obediences”, referring to several such Grand Lodges, whereas the dictionaries have never heard of such a plural! Why should they have!
The GLNF will continue to be referred to as “Obedience” in all its texts and in our translations.
For practitioners of English masonry, the word “rites”, in a Craft context can have little meaning, because none of the English Craft workings lead on automatically to an extension in a numerical form and in the corresponding “Rite”. As for “Jurisdictions”, the word is banal and applies to every Masonic body.
The latest (and constant) misuse of language, again out of the mouth of the ex grand crocodile, is “Administrateur ad hoc”. Maître Legrand was appointed by the Court with the title “Mandataire ad hoc”. Just a word wrongly chosen, but in the mouth of one who is taking us to court for the wrong use of language, a lawyer himself, (and with our funds to pay for his petty, puny, humours), one more word wrong is one too many.