We call ourselves a Philosophical Society or at least more of us would like us to be more philosophical and less social and charitable as in Instutionalized Charity. But we can't do that unless we discuss some basics of life that starts with ourselves.
Take #1 -
"You must be the change you want to see in the world."
My Masonic business card has this saying on it: "Populi quidem accipio lumine fieri apparuit mater lumen" - That is >> "They who have been given light, must be the light."
Isn't Freemasonry all about changing or bettering the inner person? This is where all that community/charitable work which should be an outward expression of inner development has overtaken the primary purpose of what Masonry is, thereby obscuring its original purpose. In other words the charitable aspect of Freemasonry should be a by product of its more central focus - making good men better.
How do you do that- make good men better - asks many a Mason. Obviously those who ask belong to Lodges where the Child ID Program, the fish fry and the ladies night dinner and dance is what practicing Freemasonry is all about.
But stop a minute and think about what Freemasonry and the study thereof can do to change you to be a light unto the world.
But that doesn't mean that Freemasonry is to be a study that is a monastic withdrawal. There is to be a marked sense of giving, not only within the brotherhood but also to the world at large. It's just that it is a way of life that is genuine not a giving expecting something in return, not the Institutionalized Charity which has as its goal buying publicity and recruiting membership. Freemasons should not be in the business of bribing people or purchasing recognition.
"And when you see the good in people it becomes easier to motivate yourself to be of service to them. By being of service to other people, by giving them value you not only make their lives better. Over time you tend to get what you give."
A Freemason gives, then, because his heart has been stimulated or stirred by the study of the Craft and internalizing its lessons and virtues. Most of what he does is one on one assistance which is not only seldom seen by others but never bragged about by him.
Gandhi's Ten Fundamentals have a lot to say about focusing on ones self. Instead of pointing the finger of blame at others, instead of being a victim, Freemasons are in control of their own destiny AND THEY BRING THE WORLD ALONG WITH THEM.