Tomorrow sees the release of Dan "Da Vinci Code" Brown's long-awaited new novel The Lost Symbol. Apparently, one big theme of the book is the influence Freemasonry had on American history. (In fact, one of the Boing Boingers is a Freemason. Can you guess which one of us? ANSWER: IT'S MARK!) Pegged on the book's publication, Mitch Horowitz wrote a brief essay for US News And World Report about the "real" impact of Freemasonry on this country. Of course, Mitch is the author of his own new book, "Occult America: The Secret History of How Mysticism Shaped Our Nation." In a couple of weeks, he'll be guestblogging here on Boing Boing and I can't wait! From US News And World Report:
(George) Washington and other early American Freemasons rejected a European past in which one overarching authority regulated the exchange of ideas. And this outlook is found in one of the greatest symbols associated with Freemasonry: The eye-and-pyramid of the Great Seal of the United States, familiar today from the back of the dollar bill. The Great Seal's design began on July 4th, 1776, on an order from the Continental Congress and under the direction of Benjamin Franklin (another Freemason), Thomas Jefferson, and John Adams. The Latin maxim that surrounds the unfinished pyramid–Annuit Coeptis Novus Ordo Seclorum–can be roughly, if poetically, translated as: "God Smiles on Our New Order of the Ages." It is Masonic philosophy to the core: The pyramid, or worldly achievement, is incomplete without the blessing of Providence. And this polity of man and God, as Masonry saw it, required a break with the religious order of the Old World and a renewed search for universal truth. In its symbols and ideas, Masonry conveyed a sense that something new was being born in America: that the individual's conscience was beyond denominational affiliation or government command.
Masons and the Making of America (US News & World Report)
Buy "Occult America: The Secret History of How Mysticism Shaped Our Nation" (Amazon)
Buy "The Lost Symbol" (Amazon)