Geometry (Wilmshurst)

W.L. Wilmshurst on Geometry

Now Geometry was one of the “seven noble arts and sciences” of ancient philosophy. It means literally the science of earth measurement. But the “earth” of the ancients did not mean, as it does to us, this physical planet.

It meant the primordial substance, or undifferentiated soul-stuff out of which we human beings have been created, the “mother earth” from which we have all sprung and to which we must all undoubtedly return.

Man was made, the Scriptures teach, out of the dust of the ground, that earth or fundamental substance of his being, which requires to be “measured” in the sense of investigating and understanding its nature and properties.

No competent builder erects a structure without first satisfying himself about the nature of the materials with which he proposes to build, and in the speculative and spiritual or “Royal” art of Masonry, no Mason can properly build the Temple of his soul without first understanding the nature of the raw material he has to work upon.

Geometry, therefore, is synonymous with self-knowledge, the understanding of the basic substance of our being, its properties and potentialities.

Over the ancient temples of initiation was inscribed the sentence

“Know Thyself and thou shalt know the Universe & God”

a phrase which implies in the first place that the uninitiated man is without knowledge of himself, and in the second place that when he attains that knowledge he will realize himself to be no longer the separate distinctified individual he now supposes himself to be, but to be a microcosm or summary of all that is to be identified with the Being of God.

Masonry is the science of the attainment of that supreme knowledge and is, therefore, rightly said to be founded on the principles of Geometry as thus defined.