This is the first guest editorial for the Beacon of Masonic Light. The author, Br. Peterson is a member of the Grand Lodge of North Carolina.
Culture Shock: a state of bewilderment and distress experienced by an individual who is suddenly exposed to a new, strange, or foreign social and cultural environment.
When I was in the military we would have to attend long periods of instruction before deploying to a foreign land. The instruction covered the customs, traditions, languages and other aspects of the cultures we were sent to destroy... I mean sent to operate in. This was done to prepare the military members in a way that reduced culture shock.
Culture shock is a very powerful mental state. It causes unwarranted aggression, depression, and a host of other illnesses. Awhile back I realised I was suffering from this state of mind from an unlikely source, the internet. Logging on to the internet I traveled to foreign lands where Masonry is conducted a bit differently than in the comfort of my home land. I witnessed Masonic cultures that did not fit into my limited world view.
No one gave me a class to be prepared for this new and challenging environment. No one hinted that there were other ways of doing things. I jumped in unprepared and under the effects of this illness I lashed out at the very foreigners I chose to interact with. I have since regained control of my own mind, and now happily speak the language eat some of the food (some I can't stomach, but I won't judge them for enjoying it), and join in their activities.
By conquering my culture shock I gained a greater appreciation for the wonderful differences the world has to offer. So the next time you see a Newbe, fresh from his third degree and rampaging through our village, remember that he may be ill and in need of assistance. This assistance may mean forcefully restraining him, but more especially it means he needs education of OUR culture and time to adjust to it.
Br. Arthur Peterson
May the Blessings of heaven rest upon us and all regular masons. May brotherly love prevail, and every moral and social virtue, cement us.