What do the five senses mean in a Masonic context?

In the Fellowcraft degree of Freemasonry, there is a lecture that follows that includes discussion of the five senses. They are so described as to their pertinence to Masonry and Masonic recognition, but have a much deeper meaning.

The five senses are seeing, hearing, smelling, touching, and tasting. These faculties assist the person in experiencing and understanding the world around them. They frame our experience of the world in a way that our brains can interpret our surroundings and make sense of all that we experience. These five senses, along with the reasoning of our minds helps us to receive data and produce feedback to our surroundings.

The five senses is only one point of many made during the lecture, but it may be the most important. As the student of the Craft learns, as they move along, the Three Degrees are a progressive science. It is this point in the Masonic education that the student becomes aware of the importance of letting go of the strong grasp of the material world and embracing the importance of the spiritual world. Our five senses are the bridge between the known of the material world, and the unknown of the spiritual world.

It is these five senses that are our bodies Graphic User Interface with reality, but just like a computer, the GUI is only part of the equation. The GUI is how the person interacts with the whole of the computer and is able to navigate usage of the machine. This is what our five senses are for our body. As materialism has a strong hold on our bodies, senses and therefore our minds, there is much more to the world and universe that cannot be understood by these five senses. This “beyond” is what the student of the Craft is tasked to explore.

The lecture of Fellowcraft degree uses a winding staircase to represent the ascent of our minds and spirits as we advance in knowledge. The five senses are explained as part of these steps. The part that may not be evident to the casual observer, is that these steps are discussed, but then passed on by. It is not so much the importance of the five senses that is the key, but the overcoming of their grasp on our consciousness. Just like our body is tethered to the earth, our minds are on in the highest point in our physical body. Like an antenna between the earth and the heavens. If we are continually held down by our attachment to the material, it is impossible to advance spiritually.

Check out the following excerpt from the book Symbolic Masonry, by H.L. Haywood for more:

The Five Senses

 

Five Senses in Freemasonry

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