The Power of Ritual: How Freemasonry Builds Brotherly Love
Join Lucas Root on Elements of Community as he explores the power of ritual and symbolic language with Freemason Kris Wilson. They discuss how practices like initiation and titles like "brother" help create tight bonds and shared meaning. Kris explains how the Freemasons use memorization, repetition, and adherence to tradition to achieve their aim of
The Freemasons are one of the oldest fraternal organizations in the world, using ritual and tradition to bring together members in a quest to better humanity. In this episode of Elements of Community, host Lucas Root is joined by Freemason Kris Wilson to explore how their practices build strong bonds of brotherly love.
They discuss how the Masonic initiation rites and use of titles like “brother” create a sense of meaning and belonging, despite members’ diverse backgrounds. Kris explains how the memorization and repetition of symbolic language and rituals allow Masons to connect through a “common dance” and shared experience. This provides an entry point to unite in their mission of mutual growth and lifting humanity up.
Discover how principles of universality, inclusion, and service have allowed Freemasonry to thrive for centuries. Tune in to learn how ritual and tradition can transcend divisions and provide the foundation for a committed community.
Other subjects we covered on the show:
- The Masonic emphasis on moral virtues like tolerance, justice, and fortitude.
- Balancing individualism and collectivism.
- The contextual nature of rules.
- Relationships as opportunities for mutual “smoothing” and growth.
- The curveball question—what does it mean to perfect humanity?
AND MORE TOPICS COVERED IN THE FULL INTERVIEW!!! You can check that out and subscribe to Youtube.
If you want to know more about Kris Wilson, you may reach out to her at:
Lucas Root: Welcome to the show, Kris. Thank you so much for joining.
Kris Wilson: Thank you for having me.
Lucas Root: It is a pleasure. So for those of you who don’t know, I’m really excited about this. I’m excited for a couple of reasons. Kris and I have actually worked together in a professional context. So we have a relationship that we’ve had a chance to develop over the last several months.
But much more importantly to me[00:01:00] in the process of understanding community, one of the most powerful, let’s call it gems, that a person could uncover in their dig might be a community that has been successfully running and even growing for more than a century. And what we’re going to talk about today is one such community Kris, you refer to them as the Co-Masons.
you like to introduce yourself and introduce the community we’re going to talk about today.
Kris Wilson: Sure, yeah, thanks Lucas. So I’m Kris Wilson-Slack. I have been a co-mason, which is a masonry group that allows men and women together for over 27 years, and I’ve.
Lucas Root: For the record.
Kris Wilson: I’m sorry.
Lucas Root: Just from my perspective, for the record, if you can’t have both men and women, I’m probably not going to be interested. So, you know.
Kris Wilson: I think that’s true for a lot of people. I think that’s true for a lot of people. So [00:02:00] co-masonry and particularly the group I belong to is called Universal Freemasonry, and we’ve been around for about 150 years. No, I’d say that’s about right. In Europe and here in America, but there are thousands, literally thousands of Masonic groups worldwide.
Some are men only, some are women only, and our particular group has men and women together. And it’s a ritualistic organization that’s built on a structure, rules, regulations, but also ritual and the whole goal of the organization is the perfecting of humanity.
Lucas Root: I love it. I also love ritual. So I think people have some weird ideas in their head about ritual and let’s definitely clear that up real quick, I personally have a morning ritual that I engage in every single morning that helps me kick off the day and make sure that as I move into the day, I’m moving into the day with the momentum that I want.
It’s ritual. I engage with it [00:03:00] not just as a habit, but with deep intention. And to me, that’s really important to making sure that the day is the day that I want it to be. Now, because it’s a ritual, take it or leave it. It’s not just a habit. It’s a ritual. So there are days when just life takes me in a direction that doesn’t allow me to engage in it.
And that’s fine. Cause it’s a ritual, not just a habit.
Kris Wilson: Yeah, I think ritual in the context that we use it is it’s a repeated event. So think of it like a religious ritual in that respect. Like you’re talking about with ritual, that it’s something that you do every day. It is more than a habit because the intention is to actually invoke an outcome.
Brushing your teeth, yes, that invokes an outcome, but that’s a habit, right? A ritual. Yeah, a ritual is something that is participatory. I mean, there is a mental, emotional, spiritual aspect that goes [00:04:00] into ritual, whatever it is. Right? And I would say Masons, Freemasons do ritual every day, but we also have context of the ritual within a meeting environment where we get together to perform certain things like what you’ll hear as an initiation. Right?
Lucas Root: And you know, there are plenty of other organizations that have initiation in corporate America. We call it onboarding.
Kris Wilson: Exactly. Yeah, exactly. You know, you can think of it again. Like, I mean, if you think of christening or baptisms or confirmations, those are all types of initiation. And in this particular organization, we’re bringing people into the structure and idea and goals of Freemasonry.
Lucas Root: Love it. Yeah. Thanks for going down that little side tangent. You want to
Kris Wilson: Sure, yeah.
Lucas Root: About you and co-mason freemason.
Kris Wilson: I’m sorry, what was the question again?
Lucas Root: You want to finish introducing yourself?
Kris Wilson: Yeah. So, the [00:05:00] co-masonry that I belong to, the universal Freemasonry all Freemasonry is built really on three aspects of brotherhood or fraternity relief and, well, we call brotherhood, we call that brotherly love and then relief and truth.
So brotherly love is about the fraternity and supporting each other in that context where you would support your family. The relief piece of it, we also refer to a solidarity, but the idea that all humans are need relief at some point, and we are there to provide whatever that relief is not financial, you know, charity work specifically, but that solidarity that helps lift people up.
And then the third piece is the piece. I think our organization focuses on the most, which is, the truth and it’s truth with a capital T rather than truth with a small t. I think we’re all looking for truth with the small t, but when we’re looking for truth with the bigger T, it’s about the large [00:06:00] questions, like, why are we here?
What are we doing? What is the perfecting of humanity? What does it take to lift us all up? So that’s, I would say, that’s where we spend a great deal of time. And where our particular group differs from other Masonic groups.
Lucas Root: Wow. Thank you. And tell me about you.
Kris Wilson: About me, like I said, I’ve been a mason for 27 years. I became a mason. I was always interested in spirituality, religion, mysticism, mythology, you know, I was a kid remembering that I was, you know, I would be a teenager and my afternoons would be spent in the library reading all of the pretty books on mythology that were in the children’s section.
But then as I got older, I started exploring that idea of what happens when we die, and that led me on a lot of different wormholes and different things, but I discovered the idea of [00:07:00] mysticism, the idea of something beyond my own little bubble of Christian upbringing in America and learned a great deal.
And it wasn’t until I had moved out of country and then moved back that I discovered co-masonry. And I was like, Oh my God, I can belong to this group and a group of people of like minded people. So I joined my grandparents were part of the masculine only groups. So, I knew that they were, but I didn’t have any experience with, we never talked about it.
It wasn’t something they actually physically talked about. And so when I joined this particular group, it was amazing to me and several, I mean, the thing that I’ve liked about it has been that. You know, this path is my path. I can choose to be here or not be here, I can do what I need to do.
There’s a structure and a context and everything else around it, but I have a perfect freedom, I think, to be able to do it, and that’s really important to me to be able to [00:08:00] search on my own and think for myself.
Lucas Root: I love that. Is that what led you to being a leadership consultant?
Kris Wilson: It is I would say that’s probably a balance of two things. One was that I was I didn’t really before I became a Mason, I would say, I don’t know that I really had confidence in myself. And I think that’s again, one of the unique things about universal Freemasonry is that there is a really an emphasis on my individual path in this group setting.
And so my path led me down to leadership and where I never thought that was even possible, you know, for me and I became a manager before I became a Freemason. I want to make sure that’s true. I think that, that might not be true. It may actually been about. No, it was true.
That’s true. But at the same time, and I was learning these principles of how to work with people, how to build that [00:09:00] community, how to become supportive of each other, how to treat people in right ways, you know, with right thoughts and at the same time, I’m becoming a manager and I feel like it kind of helped propel me into both of those pieces.
They’re almost interchangeable now, because in Masonry, you have the opportunity to be a leader in your local groups. And I think I’ve been next year, it’ll be 20 years. I’ve had different groups that I’ve been leading. So, it’s all been such an interesting journey there, and it’s been an interesting journey in the corporate world.
They kind of overlap. It was like, for some reason, they just needed to both happen at the same time.
Lucas Root: Amazing.
Kris Wilson: Yeah, I think I’ve actually learned probably more in Freemasonry that’s applied to the corporate world than I think the corporate world applies to Freemasonry. And one of the things that I’ve learned is that [00:10:00] you can use Masonic concepts when I’m doing leadership coaching. I do that all the time. I use those Masonic concepts. I can give you an example of one if you’d like.
Lucas Root: Yeah.
Kris Wilson: So, a concept. I’m sorry.
Lucas Root: It’s story time.
Kris Wilson: Oh, I love story time. So you and I are sitting down. I’m sitting across the desk from you. We’re having this conversation about work and you’re telling me about this problem that you’re having and I have a different perspective of the problem than you do.
So you tell me your side, I listen, I have my open ears going on and you’re listening and I’m telling you what I see and what I think. And what I call this is the whole story, but right now, like, for example, if you were be sitting at the desk for me now, I could tell you, your wall is an off white color.
Your shadow is leaning to the left. You can’t see any of those concepts, but you can see behind me. And you can tell me about my window shades and the forest and everything [00:11:00] else. So if we actually sit and talk and give the whole picture of everything, we get the whole picture and then we can make a better informed decision about what needs to happen in whatever we’re discussing, whatever that is.
To me, that’s a Masonic concept of being able to create that whole picture and make a better understanding of what it is that the problem concerned or conversation is even the debate and we get a really well informed answer.
Lucas Root: That’s fun. That’s like taking teamwork to the next level.
Kris Wilson: I think so. Yeah, I, wait teamwork is it’s funny because I think of masonry is in itself teamwork, you know, that, my concept of the organization and the way that, it’s all about working with somebody, you know, in any particular large meeting, you’ll have, you know, upwards 15, 20 people, you know, depends on how many what’s going on.
And [00:12:00] you all have a part to play and everybody has a role to fulfill. And there’s partly information about staying in your own role, but there’s also about being in that solidarity with everybody else about working together, making it effective. We all have the same goal, the perfecting of humanity.
So we all have to keep that in mind while we’re working together. To me, that’s ultimate teamwork.
Lucas Root: Yeah. It’s like, one of my fun concepts of being a human is this idea that we can define what it means to be an adult from the perspective of skills because humans as an animal are a skill based animal rather than an ability based animal. We don’t succeed because we can spit poison or because we have really powerful claws.
Rather, we succeed because we learn how to be effective through skills and actually teamwork. And teamwork is actually one of the core skills that humans need to learn and perfect in order to be [00:13:00] effective adults.
Kris Wilson: Yeah, exactly. Yeah. And cooperation and yeah, you know, I think for me as a co-mason, you know, what I attempt to do is you kind of strip away all of the outside ego and all of that other thing. And it’s about really, the humanity of somebody that you’re working with, how can you relate to that person be what needs to be there in the moment.
What your skill is, like you said and incorporate everybody’s else’s skill and lift it up. Right? When you can do that, it’s magical. It’s truly magical.
Lucas Root: Yeah. So you mentioned three core pillars to the community of masonry.
Kris Wilson: Yes.
Lucas Root: And see if I got this right. They were brotherly love. What was the second?
Kris Wilson: Relief.
Lucas Root: Yeah. And then the third was pursuit of truth.
Kris Wilson: Yes. [00:14:00] Yeah.
Lucas Root: I that’s fantastic. In the elements of community we actually lean into both of those. We don’t lean into the pursuit of truth specifically or rather the pursuit of truth would be the purpose. The purpose of the community.
Now let’s talk about brotherly love. Cause my guess is you guys have a lot more common language because language is one of the elements of community. You have a lot more common language built into the idea of brotherly love than I have been able to assemble inside the idea of the common heart. The sixth element of community.
Kris Wilson: Yeah, I think that brotherly love, it’s a complicated and I think sometimes misunderstood concept, you know, I think that there is a huge language. I mean, we’ve had, if you include not just co-masonry, but all free masonry, and then. We derive our comp, you know, our nature from the mystery schools.
So we’re talking [00:15:00] thousands of years of common language. Sometimes that language has been forgotten and then re-brought up in Freemasonry when it started, you know, officially about 300 years ago, or re-emerged if you want to call it that. And that common language I think has changed.
Lucas Root: I don’t consider the six elements of community to be my concept. Specifically that they’re coming through me not from me. So the you know, the notion that an idea that’s important to humanity would re emerge periodically makes perfect sense to me.
Kris Wilson: Oh, yeah, absolutely. I was thinking about the language when, you know, prior to us speaking and, you know, the language is almost codified in a lot of ways. And, you know, when I will just use the term brother, okay, because we refer to each other as brother. I don’t care that I’m a woman. I don’t care that, you know, whatever happened, we’re all brothers because we’re part of a brotherhood because we’re part of a fraternity.[00:16:00]
We are all, it’s not, there’s not this gender sort of thing that goes on. And we all understand that, you know, it’s, I forget how odd it is sometimes to people who hear me call brother Katie or brother Matias or, you know, something like that. And I’m like, and they go brother. And I’m like, yeah, brother, cause we are the same.
And we understand what that concept is because we’ve been through it enough and have the language that goes along with that.
Lucas Root: Yeah. I was a member of a coed fraternity in college.
Kris Wilson: Oh, awesome.
Lucas Root: It was not masonry, But shoot, why not, right? And, I think the idea that we’re all brothers makes sense. And, you know, okay, sometimes I’m going to call my female brother’s sister instead. That’s fine. No problem with that. But yeah, like, are we pursuing universal truth?
Are we pursuing the perfection of humanity or not? And if we are, why can’t we do it together? Why can’t we do it shoulder to shoulder? And then, why can’t we be brothers?
Kris Wilson: [00:17:00] I would say we almost have to, we have to do it together. We can’t segregate. You know, somebody asked me a while ago, what’s my definition of evil? And I think my definition of evil is that which segregates us.
That’s which divides us. Anything divisive to me tends to be of that negative nature, you know, you want to call yourself something different. You’ve just separated yourself from the group from the togetherness.
Lucas Root: Yeah, I had an amazing conversation recently about duality. It was four hours long. It was a lovely conversation. But the conclusion that we had at the end of this four hour conversation, and the one I was hoping for, was that there is only one acceptable duality. And that is that there are no acceptable dualities.
Kris Wilson: It sounds like a conversation, a deep conversation about hermetic principles.
Lucas Root: Yeah.
Kris Wilson: Yeah. You know that there’s a discussion. We have this [00:18:00] discussion off because Freemasonry is really kind of built on some of those principles as well. And that, you know, there’s a law of polarity, you know, and people think, well, the what’s the opposite of hot, cold, right?
Well, what’s cold, what’s hot. It’s actually a continuum. Right? And there’s hot and cold and it’s all dependent upon.
Lucas Root: Experience.
Kris Wilson: Yes, exactly. It’s the experience in the individual. That’s one other reasons why I think, you know, when we talk with each other, we’re really engaged in finding out what is your experience.
Tell me what you say. Tell me what you feel and think, because if something’s hot to you and cold to me, we can understand that, right? We can get to that togetherness again, that helps go toward the goal.
Lucas Root: My good friend and I solved an argument just yesterday with one question, and the question was, wait a minute, hold on, slow down stop. For you, if a tree falls in [00:19:00] the woods, is there a sound? Because, I mean, people think it’s just a joke question, but it’s really not.
Kris Wilson: Oh, no, it’s not.
Lucas Root: Has nothing to do with sound. It has to do with whether or not you’re willing to accept that Some things in life are defined by experience, and some things in life are not.
Kris Wilson: Yeah.
Lucas Root: And so, we have to ask that question of ourself. Inside this argument, am I taking the side where there is a sound, or am I taking the side where there is no sound? Both sides are right. You have to approach one side or the other from a definition perspective.
Kris Wilson: And maybe be able to accept that both sides, plus maybe any other sides are true.
Lucas Root: Nope, that’s a duality.
Kris Wilson: Oh, well, there goes coming together.
Lucas Root: Yeah.
Kris Wilson: Back to your comment about language, I think is really important and we do all [00:20:00] use that same language with each other. And it’s very important to us. Language is very important to us.
Lucas Root: How do you as an organization pay attention to language and use the attention and intention to build each other up through language?
Kris Wilson: I think it’s, you know, a lot of the things that we have and structurally wise in the organization is, you know, there are certain rules that we follow, right? It’s of any organization, there are rules and there’s protocol and procedure, all of those sort of things that happen. And I think that the way that we keep it in line is really by the fact that we all adhere to it.
It’s nobody strays off and goes, you know, when you stand up to say something to somebody, you don’t address them directly. Actually, it’s very interesting. We address them in a different way and it kind of goes [00:21:00] through, there’s a process, how it goes through anybody who goes outside of that process is kind of said, no, you need to stop.
You need to go through this process. If you referred to somebody by their outside name, or didn’t use the word brother when you’re speaking to them, that’s actually considered inappropriate and we all know that. And so when you’re speaking to somebody use word, brother Kris or brother Lucas, right?
It’s codified to the point of, you know, it’s in, we talk about it. We’re trained in it. We use it in ritual. We repeat it and it becomes part of who you are, you know, I would be hard pressed to it. It’s funny, I would be hard pressed to think of anything where it’s actually, you know, like, no, this will happen, but it’s accepted, it’s part of the nature of the structure that goes along with it. I know that might be a little bit vague, but, yeah.
Lucas Root: So my wife just became a doctor. And she also visits doctors and [00:22:00] sees doctors and their practices because she’s also a human. And that’s kind of what we do is we go to the doctor. She also goes to the doctor. She turned to me as she was receiving her degree and she said, what do I call my doctor?
And I said it’s perfect because this is exactly what you just said. I said, well, while you’re in the practice, and your doctor in the room is performing in, her doctor happens to be a man. So is performing in his professional capacity. He is Dr. Sullivan.
That’s not going to change. And she’s like, okay, I mean, she knew this. It was just a point of clarification, right? That’s not going to change. And when you see him on the street. You’re still gonna refer to him by his first name.
Kris Wilson: Correct, yeah.
Lucas Root: Because when he’s on the street, yes, he has doctor, and sure, it’s fine for you to give him the honorarium of calling him Dr. Sullivan, even when you see him on the street, that’s acceptable, but not expected.
Kris Wilson: Right.
Lucas Root: [00:23:00] She’s like, so none of that changed when I became a doctor. Nope. None of that changed.
Kris Wilson: No, yeah, it’s like, none of it changes when, you know, if you become a Mason, none of it changes, you know, I wouldn’t necessarily, if you became a Mason, I wouldn’t necessarily call you Lucas in this kind or brother Lucas in this kind of context, but in the context, or virtual context.
Lucas Root: It will be out of context.
Kris Wilson: Yeah, you’d be writing when we’re talking about Masonry, we’re talking about brothers. It’s a title. It is a title. Yeah.
Lucas Root: Yeah. I get that. And I think when you help people see it, like when you’re in the doctor’s office, it is doctors, it is Dr. Sullivan, or whoever your doctor is when the screen.
Kris Wilson: Yeah, I have people that I’ve coached in the leadership realm who have been in masonry. And when I speak to them, it’s, you know, Ted or John or whatever it is. It’s not brother Ted, brother John, right? It’s that because there is a line, there are boundaries. Right.
That you still go through and masonry in many parts [00:24:00] of the world, especially co-masonry it’s not something that’s commonly known and it also can be frowned upon in some parts of the world people can be in trouble for still be in trouble for being Freemasons. So you wouldn’t take that out of the context of when you’re getting together and having that Masonic interaction.
Lucas Root: Here’s why I think we have a problem with that. It’s going to be fun. Just came to me and we’re going to have some fun with this.
Kris Wilson: Okay.
Lucas Root: Or, choosing not to, I mean, you could call your parents by their first name, if that’s the relationship you want to have, most people don’t. But inside the context of that, it never goes away.
My father will never be Gary to me. Now, don’t get me wrong, when I introduce him to someone else, he’s Gary but I’m never gonna call him on the phone and be like, Hey, G, what’s up? That’s not, I could. It’s a choice I can make, but the choice that I do make is he’s Dad.
In culture that we carry [00:25:00] over into all sorts of places, and in some cases that’s very healthy. For example, when you’re a manager and you go out to drinks with somebody who works for you, carrying the hierarchy with you is helpful. That’s a very healthy thing to do you need to remember you’re a manager and the person who works for you needs to remember that you’re the manager. So that the two of you won’t cross those lines because as a human when you cross those lines the repercussions carry over into your work. It’s appropriate.
Kris Wilson: Yeah.
Lucas Root: So we’ve built this ideology of permanent hierarchy. We’ve created this permanence to it, which is weird. Here’s the alternate context I’ve got a very good friend who’s a dog trainer and he came to me and he and I were having a good conversation about it, and I don’t remember how it came up and he goes all rules are permanent for all dogs, and I said, [00:26:00] no they’re not.
Every rule is contextual for dogs. And it didn’t occur to me in that moment that’s true for all living animals. Like, when you’re in the room, the dog doesn’t get on the couch because he knows that he’s not allowed on the couch. But when you leave the room, that couch is his.
Kris Wilson: Yeah.
Lucas Root: Every rule is contextual. It’s actually very rare that you can create a rule that transcends the every rule is contextual truth. Even for a dog.
Kris Wilson: I would have to think about that for a bit, but I mean, it is true in the community of Freemasonry, in our community specifically, that, you know, the rules of Freemasonry apply to Freemasonry. The rules of the outside world do not apply to it, right? And vice versa.
Although, you know, it’s the result of that community and what we’re [00:27:00] working on, that should take out into the other part of the world, right? That solidarity that improvement of humanity the focus on, you know, bringing elevating people. But, you know, but not the rules of it, right? Not those that structure that goes around it.
Lucas Root: Yeah.
Kris Wilson: But I’m interested when you said about how some parts of the world frown on the idea of masonry, you said, but there’s something wrong about that. What did you mean by that?
Lucas Root: I don’t think I was saying it to that.
Kris Wilson: Oh, okay. Okay. Maybe it was something else. I misunderstood.
Lucas Root: Also, like, you know, every single expanding community bumps into the rules of the society inside which they live. Like, it’s normal, it happens, that’s just life. And some geopolitical [00:28:00] organizations have decided that they want to learn specific lessons and codify that learning as law.
Kris Wilson: Right.
Lucas Root: Whether we agree with it or not. I mean, there are probably places where Christianity isn’t allowed, and there are certainly places where Buddhism isn’t allowed. Partly because as the community of Buddhism expands, it bumps into the culture of that space in a way that the culture says, no, we’re not okay with that. That’s probably true of Masonry too?
Kris Wilson: Oh, I’m sure. Yeah. Well, I know it is. Yeah. Sometimes its own Masonic culture, you know, with other masons, you know, there’s, you know, there are groups of people who do not believe that women should be Freemasons. That’s part and parcel. We don’t agree. And that’s okay. All both of those are okay. There’s room enough for everybody.
Lucas Root: Yup. I mean, you know, we approach truth from first of the expectation that our [00:29:00] experiences are different.
Kris Wilson: Yes. And that they’re both. Like I said, you know, whatever for whatever right is for the individual.
Lucas Root: Cool. How else do you use language to build community inside masonry? And like specifically what I’m looking for is like codifying the language or building more inclusivity because of the use of specific language in specific ways. Brother is a great example, but how else do you do it?
Kris Wilson: With masonry. So the ritual is identical, you know, the words that go along with the ritual that we use, let’s say, for an initiation are identical for every single person that comes in. Right?
Lucas Root: That’s true in corporate too.
Kris Wilson: It’s true.
Lucas Root: And anyone says when you onboard in corporate is drinking from the fire hose. The ritual is identical.
Kris Wilson: It’s [00:30:00] true. It is drinking from fire hose. I think the difference is in the human, right? The difference is that, you know, I may say a phrase one way and somebody else may say it another. And they’re both right. They’re both exactly the same words, but the person that is receiving the words may hear it differently, may take it differently, may create a different thought from it, it may create an aha moment for them.
It may just completely lose them. It doesn’t matter, what we believe is that, those words are the right words for that particular person for that particular moment for that particular ritual, even though they’re the identical words, I might say them, and I really meant him. For some reason, it was the way that I said it or that’s the thing that came to mind because we do a lot of memorization, a lot of memorization, because it’s important to deliver that with authenticity.
And I think. [00:31:00] You know, when you say the words and the person hears them, it’s also very interesting because people don’t always hear the same words. Right? But the language is the same. I think the other thing that’s unique about Freemasonry is that some of the language seems archaic to people who hear it, but it’s old English.
And I’ve talked to somebody who’s listened and done rituals in Spanish and it’s old Spanish. The language is something that evokes certain feelings and they’re very purposeful. I think the words are very purposeful. And when we talk about it after the ceremonies are over, when we’re talking with people, we have study groups, we work together, we use that same language repeatedly when we’re talking about concepts, we even like, somebody will say, well, I had an argument with my sister and we’ll bring that into the context of the conversation. Then we talk about it using Masonic language. And when we use Masonic language and use the symbolism that we have, that is [00:32:00] what creates that.
I think it not only creates a same understanding, but it creates a bond between people, you can use that language over and over again and have a conversation that, you know, is understood. Right?
Lucas Root: It’s like a whole bunch of, I can’t help myself. It’s like when all the old people get together in the town square and do Tai Chi together, and it doesn’t matter if they know each other or if they speak the same language, they can start the dance and work together from that place because they all know exactly how the first 10 minutes of Tai Chi workout works.
Kris Wilson: Yep, I love that analogy. I love that because that’s really what we aim to do. I think, you know, for us.
Yeah. It’s an interesting, it’s a beautiful dance. It’s just bigger than that, but yeah. We know where everybody’s supposed to be and you can slip into that ritual at any time and know where it is and what’s next. Right? [00:33:00] And you can work to coming together and creating that synergy that comes together.
Lucas Root: That’s so cool.
Kris Wilson: Yeah. I like that analogy. I’m going to have to use that too.
Lucas Root: I mean, it’s inside the lens of, again, I mean, my approach is community, but then I’ve got this nice little story of Tai Chi and it really helps me step into the notion that the combination of the language and the social contract working together in such a codified way, that’s what we’re talking about here is language plus social contract equals. An easing of the community into brotherhood.
Kris Wilson: And I think there, you know, I think for us and ours, there’s also a mental state that goes along with it too. You know, we work to achieving harmony and tolerance and, you know, we use the four cardinal virtues quite often, you know, that prudence, justice, tolerance fortitude, will. We were talking about that earlier.
[00:34:00] You know, I think that those are the things that, using those mental states that help put us in a position of using the words, using the physical, it kind of ties the whole package together and whatever we’re creating it together. Right? I love that.
Lucas Root: That’s cool. So we’re going to start wrapping up in a minute. This has been amazing. Would you like to tell us a little story about one of the big truths that has become very apparent to you as a result specifically of working within the structure?
Kris Wilson: I think the biggest truth that has come from Freemasonry for me is this in the community? Okay, how do I put this? Let me put this. I am an individual and I am one with the community and the biggest truth for me is that what my skills, you talked about skills earlier, right? My skills are important the way [00:35:00] I think is important the way that I do things is important, but it’s not so much more important than that transcends the unity of the community in so much is that’s all great.
I have this individualism, but my goal isn’t to be the shining star on the top of a pyramid. My goal is to be working together for that goal of perfecting humanity, which uplifts everybody. And I think that’s the biggest thing that I’ve learned is that it’s helped me in leadership as well, is that my goal is to serve, not to aspire, you know, conquer or whatever it might be. Right?
And that for me, that was like that’s the whole purpose. One of the whole purposes of being here, being human is to learn to work with each other.
Lucas Root: That’s a beautiful truth. Now, were [00:36:00] you a sixth degree black belt before you got to that truth or after?
Kris Wilson: Oh, I think that was probably yesterday, no. I think, you know, I think it’s a constant, I think it’s been building. It’s like, it builds on itself. Right? You learn a little truth here and you learn a little truth here. And then all of a sudden you go, holy cow. That’s what it’s about. Right?
So I don’t know that I can say when I got it, but it’s a path. It’s a journey, right? It’s a journey of self discovery and humanity discovery at the same time.
Lucas Root: You were probably on last week when I did the collaborative blueprint summit and I talked about Lone Ranger.
Kris Wilson: Oh, yeah.
Lucas Root: So Caitlin and I have the, of course, you know, Caitlin. Caitlin and I have this idea that we bat around between each other that we call the 200 percent theory. And it’s the same idea as what I was talking about for the Lone Ranger.
And this is simply for those of you who weren’t there, [00:37:00] the Lone Ranger is a fallacy. It’s a myth. It is an impossibility. Most people sit there thinking about the Lone Ranger and they’re like, how do I step into that degree of independence? But it’s absurd because he probably didn’t capture and train his own horse.
He almost certainly didn’t make his own clothes, particularly his beautiful Stetson hat. There’s virtually no chance that he mined, and forged his gun. The ideal of the Lone Ranger is something that we’re creating in order to perpetuate a duality and we talked about dualities already. This is an unacceptable duality because it’s not there are no acceptable dualities.
So I take this notion of the Lone Ranger and the truth that we humans cannot have a Lone Ranger. It’s not a possibility. He is dependent. He’s dependent on the people that supply his weapons. He’s dependent on the [00:38:00] people who supply his clothing. In a very real sense, in order for the Lone Ranger to be as exciting as he is, he’s also dependent on the strife that two different cultural conflicts are creating for him to be exciting.
Otherwise he’d be boring. Some guy hiding out in the middle of the desert on a horse doing nothing. Like, who wants to be that? The whole notion is actually a story about independence inside a story of dependence that’s much larger, much more powerful and much more true. And so, I’ve extracted this into the 200 percent concept.
So we have this notion of individuality and theoretically you can become 100 percent you and 100 percent powerful within you. And I don’t want to take that away because sure. Yeah, that. You. Power to you. And we cannot be independent. That is not a thing. And so if 100 percent is me, then there must be a [00:39:00] 200 percent where I can become the best that I can become within me and also the best that I can become within us.
Kris Wilson: You know, my analogy is of that is the rock tumbler. You have a rock tumbler and you put a stone in it. Does it get all smooth and shiny by itself? No, you need the other rocks, you know?
Lucas Root: If you have a really long time to tumble.
Kris Wilson: It’s true, but you got to get in the, I think of life as the rock tumbler, right? And you come in as the rock, you need to bump against other people and you both have jagged bits and they’re both going to catch on each other and it’s going to hurt, but you got to keep doing it. Otherwise you don’t get smooth and shiny.
And if our goal is to get smooth and shiny, to be able to be a beautiful piece in the end, we have to go through that. We have to do that with people. You have to jump to in to.
Lucas Root: Are you telling me you don’t like my beard?[00:40:00]
Kris Wilson: I’m sorry.
Lucas Root: Are you telling me you don’t like my beard?
Kris Wilson: Your beard is fine. You’re still smooth and shiny.
Lucas Root: Right.
Kris Wilson: We’re all on the way to getting smooth and shiny.
Lucas Root: I love that analogy. Yes, we need each other.
Kris Wilson: Yeah. And we need the rough bits. You know, the one piece about the rock tumbler that I find funny is that somebody will come out and say, well, you know, I’m pretty good now. I’m pretty smooth and shiny, but I don’t like that person over there. They irritated me. I’m like, you think a smooth and shiny thing doesn’t have a piece sticking out still?
Because if you get caught on somebody, you still have a piece sticking out. Yeah. You’re not as good as you think it might be.
Lucas Root: I mean you’re perfect for that moment so that you can get caught so that you can smooth that bit out.
Kris Wilson: Exactly. We all have to do this, right? That’s the [00:41:00] individuality and that’s why working together is making that work.
Lucas Root: Awesome. That is a beautiful truth. I like to you know this you’ve heard a few of my episodes. I like to close my interviews with three questions the first, of course, is what’s the one best way for the people who want to hire you as a leadership consultant or just want to chat and get to know you? What’s the one best way for them to find you?
Kris Wilson: I’m very active on LinkedIn, but the best way I think would be through my website, Managers2Leaders.com.
Lucas Root: Managers2Leaders.com with the number, right?
Kris Wilson: Yes. Yeah. There’s a phone number. There’s a lot of links. Again, I’m very active on LinkedIn and links there will also get them to me.
Lucas Root: Awesome. Thank you. Second question. It’s my curveball. It’s my favorite question. You’ve heard it a few times. What is the one question that you wish I had asked you, but I have not? [00:42:00] No skipping it. Just because you know who’s coming, you still have to answer.
Kris Wilson: I know, and I was thinking about that earlier. I was thinking the only one is the one question. Although this could have been another 4 hour question would be a, what does it mean to perfect humanity?
Lucas Root: Ooh, yes. That is, I’m not sure four would be enough.
Kris Wilson: It’s probably not. It’s probably days. And not even then, maybe.
Lucas Root: Yeah. Even between you and me, my guess is that we’d arrive at 42 and still wonder.
Kris Wilson: And yeah, we’d still need a towel.
Lucas Root: Yeah. Yes. What does it mean to perfect humanity? Can you tell us a little bit about what that means? Can you answer that question for us a little bit?
Kris Wilson: A little bit. I think that, in my opinion perfecting humanity means [00:43:00] working together to bring everybody to their highest and best self and repeatedly doing that over the course of however many lives we get.
Lucas Root: Somewhere between one and many.
Kris Wilson: Yes, exactly. Whatever you believe.
Lucas Root: Beautiful. Thank you. I like that answer. Yeah.
Kris Wilson: I’m telling you 4 days minimum.
Lucas Root: True. And that means no sleep and like someone else is cooking for us.
Kris Wilson: Yeah, we’re getting coffee. Yeah.
Lucas Root: Yeah. Thank you. Do you have any parting thoughts?
Kris Wilson: I would say that I’m thinking. Yeah, there’s so many things to say that’s hard just picking just one. I would [00:44:00] say.
Lucas Root: You have to do that. I mean.
Kris Wilson: Yeah, I think the only way to be able to for people to achieve that goal and that perfecting of humanity, or to even just be better is to look for a community of like minded people and work, be active and work, whatever that is.
Lucas Root: Work, do the work. Yes.
Kris Wilson: Do the work, yeah.
Lucas Root: Do the work. No matter, almost no matter what the work is. I mean, you know, let’s make sure it’s building up humanity, but yeah, do the work.
Kris Wilson: Yeah. And it may be what you don’t expect it to be.
Lucas Root: Like washing dishes for your family.
Kris Wilson: Or raking leaves, or, you know, whatever it might be, it could be anything. It could be the most mundane task, but it’s the thing that needs to happen to make it successful.
Lucas Root: When I was in New York while I was on Wall Street I joined the New [00:45:00] York City Shaolin temple.
Kris Wilson: Oh, cool.
Lucas Root: And yeah, I loved it. I only did it for a year cause you know, Wall Street does not like it when you leave work for two hours to go work out at the New York City Shaolin Temple.
Kris Wilson: Yeah.
Lucas Root: But it was a wonderful year. And at the end of the workout and every single person there is dripping with sweat to the point that you can almost mop the floor. The end of the workout, we’re all finished. We’re done. Like everybody’s wrung out truly. And Sifu stands up and yells, All right, now cleaning meditation!
Kris Wilson: You’ll love it.
Lucas Root: Yup. And it’s just a different aspect of the worship that we are there to do. We’re not worshipping him, we’re not worshipping the temple, we are worshipping our own humanity in the temple through the activity.
Kris Wilson: Yeah. I like to think of it is that I wouldn’t be able to do what I do in masonry. If the people before me had not done the work that they did [00:46:00] and whatever that might be, and I’m eternally grateful for them to be, they have done it. And so I want to give that back to the people that follow me. I’ll never meet them, but hopefully it does something for them.
Lucas Root: Yeah. I love it. Thank you so much, Kris.
Kris Wilson: You’re welcome, Lucas, thank you for having me on and talking to me and I love talking about masonry. It’s a joy in my life.
Lucas Root: I can see that.
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Lucas is the host of Elements of Community. He is a community growth strategist and works with mega companies like The Pokemon Company to help build and foster community. This podcast is Lucas' way of giving back what he has learned about the magic of building and growing community.
Join Our Inner Circle
Like what you hear on the podcast? We have more secret recordings from every guest. We keep the microphone rolling after the podcast is done and get our guest to spill the beans on the best tactics for growing their communities profitably. You don't wanna miss this.