Clausen’s Commentaries on Morals and Dogma by Henry C Clausen, 3rd printing of the 1976 second edition hardcover, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.
“Mankind has progressed or retrogressed to our current and critical problems. These involve the things with which the Scottish Rite deals—human behavior. For example, how can we contain our population explosion, end the threats of war and nuclear holocausts, forfend against world famine, control the misery of physical disease and environment, improve the lot of our poor in home and purse?
There is also the problem of whether civilization, even with knowledge, will act to save itself. Walter lippmann wrote perceptively that not only is ‘the supreme question before mankind how our culture can save itself from catastrophe, but also that we must do more than find the answers.’ We must also discover how men can ‘make themselves willing to save themselves.’
Truly, ways must be found to motivate men to be not only able, but willing. We must activate the knowledge. Even if there are at hand the physical, biological and behavioral technologies adequate for the purpose, people still must be persuaded to use them. In other words, how do we induce members of our culture to work for survival?”
“The earnest and perceptive Scottish Rite seeker of truth can learn from our degrees, for example, the futility of dependence either upon persons or things, or upon approval or disapproval. Independence leads to self-reliance. The truly self-reliant is not subject to adverse manipulation or undue influence. He is in control of himself and enjoys freedom and dignity. This induces, in turn, more effective moral and modern behavior.”
“Emmerson, in his ‘Essay on Self-Reliance,’ points the way:
‘A man should learn to watch that gleam of light which flashes across his mind from within, more than the lustre of the firmament of bards and sages.‘
After Buddha attained his own enlightenment, he said to his followers:
‘Be a lamp unto your own feet; do not seek outside yourself.‘
Jesus expressed the same opinion and said:
‘Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.‘
What is needed first, therefore, is an increase of self-understanding—a discovery of your inner selves and of your own essential natures. Where better can this be learned than through your Scottish Rite? You learn there is no need to lean upon others. You are first-rate, front rank—in the forefront, not second-strong. The Scottish Rite Degrees develop full trust in your own innate capacities so that you are never overwhelmed, not overcome by helplessness, nor the desperate victim of despair. When man has faith in himself he learns to reject unreality. Like Alice in Through the Looking Glass, the mirror reflects competitive unreality in front; but behind is found reality—the folly of competitive success and failure, approval and disapproval. You can learn to be self-realiant, to stand upon your own feet—not dependent leaners upon persons or things outside yourselves. Then, in essence, you shall be free and possess initiative and confidence and live in the present.”
“Our degrees drive home with dramatic impact the teaching of great truths. There you will find your own directive approach and the satisfactions and benefits and enrichments you will enjoy as a self-reliant human being. As such, your life also will show to the world the behavioral solutions that can cure the ills of our day.
Hence, you are asked to use your mind to the fullest. Think through the meanings of each degree as suggested in these summaries and commentaries. Apply them to yourself. Supplement your studies with further research. Let your actions then bespeak that you are in fact as well as in name a Scottish Rite Mason. This, you will discover the true secrets.” — excerpts from the preface