Some Incomplete Thoughts, Completely Worth Sharing
I start with Masonry being an Initiatic and orthopraxic tradition. As such the rituals aren’t for the candidate. The rituals are for the initiates. Lodges exist as a community, whereby the members arrange for a shared experience, a visceral encounter with the virtues – and in case of the MM degree the iniquities – built into the Degrees.
Lodges do this repeatedly, because Lodges know we are like children (in fact in the Webb work tells us to adopt a childlike attitude), and that we need to be told and reminded, time and time and time again. Even after the repetition has sunk into our subconscious, and even flowered into our mind and actions, we continue to re-immerse ourselves because discipline is how we overcome apathy, and discipline is how we train our hearts and minds to find something new in each encounter and cherish it.
Too many approach masonry orthodoxically. They want a lecture, or a sermon, or some other tidy bit of information that can be processed, or disposed of. They want that information to conform to their pre-existing conceptions of religion (what, non-christians can be masons), morality (what, gay men can be masons), politics (what, left/right people can be masons), esotericism/occultism (what, the the french post-napoleon school isn’t all there is), and so forth.
In short, many come to Masonry because they think Illumination is equivalent with becoming informed. Masonry works like an old school initiatic tradition, fake it until you make it. Or as Patton put it: if they start dressing and acting like soldiers, maybe they’ll start feeling like soldiers, and by god maybe they’ll even become soldiers.
This isn’t to say there isn’t information in Masonry. But it tends to be of a much more primal nature, somewhere at the point where our neo-cortex and parasympathetic nervous systems are well differentiated.