Particular writers about the annals of Freemasons emphatically declare that Masons were actually contractors, or men who have been skilled at fashioning rock for the builder's use. For them, the expression operative masonry describes men from the specific time in history who, presumably understanding nothing in regards to the religious significance of our Masonic symbols, caused pieces, compasses, mallets and degrees to erect buildings. On the other hand, speculative masons are defined by those same authors as present-day Masons - guys who've abruptly discovered the religious significance of the equipment our blue-collar ancestors seemingly realized nothing about. Some help for that argument is believed to get from Masonic practice itself, which ostensibly provides the choice a variance to think about between operative and speculative Masonry. We're knowledgeable our ancient brethren wrought at the creating of Master Solomon's Temple and different stately edifices, but that we nowadays are just speculative Masons.
The history of the English guilds also has an additional schedule for concluding that operative Freemasons were formerly competent builders who saw no religious significance in the equipment with which they worked. For them, the secrets of masonry solely pertained to the different skills connected with stonemasonry. However, without respect to whether Freemasonry leapt from those guilds, or is clearly the heir to the old mysteries found in the initiatory rites, if today's Builder is merely told that his Masonic ancestors were simply formerly builders, he is deprived of the more substantial lessons in esoteric symbolism made available from evaluating and contrasting operative Masonry and speculative Masonry on a spiritual level.
On a single stage, all Masons, past and present, are both operative and speculative. The speculative area of man discovers the philosophical, theological and religious classes that Freemasonry shows, as the operative side of man sets these classes in to action. In that Freemasonry has used the Hermetic routine of synthesizing opposite or competing methods, it is important that the Builder understand how he is to create the classes he's learned in to the planet where he lives.
Albert Pike wrote that the meaning found in the Emerald Desk related to the Good Egyptian Hierophant, Hermes Trismegistus - equilibrium is achieved following the retention of different concepts - is the truly amazing training Masonry imparts to humanity. For example, Pike seen that knowledge, as described in the Kabbalistic Publications, Proverbs and Ecclesiastes is nothing less compared to Creative Representative of God. Whilst the Creative Representative, wisdom is productive, perhaps not passive - it's in today's, perhaps not of the past. Creation is a continuing sensation by which all mankind participates to a greater, or reduced level depending upon each man's state of enlightenment. Hence, Freemasonry can be as operative today because it was when our historical brethren wrought at the developing of stately edifices.
Pike, in addition to other Masonic writers, prompted Masons to develop both their operative feeling, as well as their speculative curiosity. For Masonry to share any such thing of lasting price to mankind, Masons should think then act. One can not occur without one other, if person expectations to contribute any such thing to his brethren. In therefore doing, those writers have variously invited people to each synthesize three antitheses or antimonies: (1) idealism - realism; (2) realism - nominalism; and (3) religion - scientific science.