Freemasonry has many symbols passed along through a rich heritage. These symbols are a visual teaching aide for members, and many are related to the craft of architecture. The Level is one of the most important Masonic symbols of fraternal equality. The meaning of this symbol has several dimensions, with the foremost being that it is a reminder that all men are equal. They are on a level playing field with other members and with other men in general.
The concept of equality has been very important to the founding of the United States of America, as many of the founding fathers were active Masons, and the Masonic symbols and teachings are evident in many of the historical documents created by these founding fathers. The concept that all men are equal in the eyes of the Creator is a primary teaching that the ancient Level represents. Masons acknowledge that it is impossible for all men to possess equal gifts and talents, but that all men should be treated with equal respect and opportunity to thrive, in and out of the fraternal organization.
In architecture, the level is a useful instrument for determining and laying out horizontal planes. A building must be built upon a level foundation for best results. In Masonry, the level is used to remind members that they are all equal, in that everyone operates on the same level of time during their travels through a lifetime. Time is equal for everyone; what one does with his or her time is important, and when an allotted lifetime is over, that same time leads everyone to the same finality. The value of time is determined by the choices a person makes during their lifetime. For the Masons, the choices lie in being moral and fair to all.
Within the practice of Freemasonry, the Level also is an emblem reserved for the Lodge’s Senior Warden. It is an immovable jewel, a teaching tool that keeps the Senior Warden presiding over all members on an equal basis. As long as men live, each will be walking on the same plane of equal time until they pass away. During their time on Earth, Masons should use their talents and gifts and develop their natural assets. Within a Masonic Lodge, each Member is entitled to have an equally important voice, no matter how rich or poor they may be, or educated or uneducated. As such equals, every member has the same duties, privileges and rights as another member.
The Level remains horizontally balanced when all is at rest and peaceful. This is the way the Masonic Lodge instructs its members to live, to strive for balance and poise while reaching for high ideals and standards of living. Members are bound in a common quest to serve others and to stand up for equal rights of all men to live life to their fullest capacity. Each serves by using their personal gifts and talents to achieve a common goal that all will enjoy.