Over at the Original Version of this site, there were several short articles, really nothing more than observations, taking up their own Pages. Well, they really don't deserve pages of their own, but they're not quite bad enough, especially given a little light editing, to throw away. So here you go.
Is the Doctor a Freemason?
At the very least, the mythology of freemasonry is a part of Doctor Who. The Freemasons are an international secret society "having as its principles brotherliness, charity and mutual aid," (Websters) or, as stated by Colin Wilson in his history of the occult, seeking nothing less than "the regeneration of mankind." Wilson goes on to state that the freemason organization has become the home of "occultists, alchemists, astrologers, and so on," — in other words, an order of a very similar nature to the Time Lords of Gallifrey.
The Egyptian branch of Freemasonry was founded in England by the charlatan magician Cagliostro, and has as part of its mythology the following interesting claim (again from Colin Wilson) 'the pupils of the prophets never die... they have twelve lives, and after each, rise up from their ashes like the phoenix. Cagliostro began to drop hints that he was thousands of years old.'
Each branch or temple of the freemasons is governed by a Master -- and Cagliostro set himself up as the Master of them all. Perhaps a certain renegade Time Lord was attempting to create a rival group on Earth, one with similar powers that would, in time, grow to an extent that would allow it to challenge the Gallifreyan order? At least, this was my notion back in the days when I harbored the secret ambition to write a Doctor Who story of my own. My untitled story would have been set in Victorian England, and would have featured The Master (he was at that time being played by the great Anthony Ainley), in the guise of Cagliostro, using the order of Freemasons as a way of introducing dangerous futuristic technologies to certain Victorian ne'er-do-wells in an effort to create a force that would, given time, be able to challenge the supremacy of the Time Lords on Gallifrey.
Eh, well; I thought it was a good idea at the time.
At any rate: I do think it likely that, intentionally or not, Who writers Terrance Dicks and Robert Holmes borrowed from the concepts and history of Freemasonry when the time came to flesh out and establish the Doctor's backstory and that of his Home Planet. The similarities are too tantalizing.
As far as I know -- which is less and less -- I was the first person to suggest on a web page that
Who Is The Master
Over the years, hints have been dropped and guessing has been invited. "Do you not know me?" The Master has asked a time or two. "We were at school together," is the closest any writing team has come to giving us an answer.
The problem is, that clue covers a lot of ground and fits in with any number of totally different theories, including the one below...
Keep in mind that that, like many of the rest of us, the Doctor is often his own worst enemy... and when the different facets of his personality get together (as they do, from time to time) the chief thing that they do is bicker and complain at each other about what a bad job they are...
And so we hereby advance the theory that the Doctor and the Master are not rivals, not schoolmates, not professor and student, nor even brothers: they are one and the same person.
It's our notion that the Master is the twelfth regeneration of the Doctor: that the qualities the Doctor successfully repressed through 12 reincarnations (fear, anger, resentment, loneliness -- after all, his companions always leave him) are at last unleashed in a disastrous final regeneration.
Further, though suffering from repressed memories (otherwise he could always avoid defeat), the Master does have some degree of self-knowledge -- his frequent attempts to kill the Doctor amount to nothing more or less than attempts to bring about his own existence.
We like a happy ending as well as the next person, but this would seem to preclude a happy ending for the Doctor. Or would it? We have a notion that the Master has an enemy within, just as does the Doctor. How would it all end up? At the beginning!
This last bit was not a part of my original "article" if you can call it that... but in a circular rotation of time that SF writer Michael Moorcock used as a plot device a time or two, The Doctor/Master would have regenerated again: this time into Rassilon himself, OR one of the other two Time Lords who are established to have Started It All in the first place. My thinking was that only someone who had been both Good and Evil and had reconciled the two could have reached the state of Grace required to transcend Time itself. And so the very man who stole a TARDIS to escape the Time Lords would have, in so doing, set himself on the path to become their creator.
I pretty much think this is all old hat now, and anyway things have been done on the series since I first wrote this drivel that render impossible. So I include it here only as the ravings of a fanboy, conceived thirty years ago (or longer). We all have ideas that we outgrow with Time.