Frimureriets medier: Om 1700-talsfrimureriets mediering av hemligheter i tal, handskrift och tryck
Masonic Media: On Mediation of Secrets in Speech, Handwriting and Print within Eighteenth Century Freemasonry.
This article deals with 18th century Freemasonry as a platform for mediation of secrets. First it discusses different theoretical aspects that can be applied when studying the phenomenon of initiatory orders with communication in focus. But it also uses different masonic sources in order to investigate some of the techniques used to mediate secrets, most notably ciphers and hieroglyphs. Aligning myself with Linda Simonis’ system theoretical view of masonry, I show that masonry depended on a distinction between secret and disclosure in order to make new candidates pass from profane to initiate. In order to distribute – but also in a sense create – secrets, the masons made use of several techniques such as vows of silence, locked archives, ciphers and hieroglyphs which were used either to enclose information (at the level of the medium) or encode it (at the level of meaning). Through use of such techniques the masonic organisations – with their sharp borders between inside and outside – can itself be conceived as mediums for the “secret of masonry”. This in turn put masonry into opposition to the transparency ideal of the Enlightenment.
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