Originally posted by The 5th
reply to post by IslandMason
I don't understand why you think self-study is such a murky area, surely anyone who wanted to study it properly would find legitimate books on masonic
sites or libraries and go through the appropriate channels. I think even if you had no basis in what is considered an authority text, it wouldn't take
long to distinguish McKenzie from a Leo Taxil.
Again, I am not sure why you are bringing CT into what I was saying. There is of course going to be a different interpretation garnered from
experience of a ritual than reading it, but I wouldn't assume that because of a lack of direct experience wouldn't mean that the ritual and the
allegories couldn't be understood from reading and understanding why they were facing a certain direction and be why aspects of a ritual incorporated
this,that or the other etc.
I was simply saying that self study can be polluted or clouded by material that's less-than-truthful, and it's sometimes hard to tell the difference.
Of course, if the book you read contains any mention of Baphomet or Baal worship, riding goats, or shape-shifting reptilian aliens from Nibiru, it's
safe to assume that book is BS. OTOH, some of the misinformation out there is very well written and not outwardly outlandish, which sometimes makes
it difficult to discern what is an authoritative work, and what is fraudulent. I'm by no means an expert in Masonry, having only recently been
initiated, but I did quite a bit of reading before applying for membership, and because we have a family history in Masonry, I could spot much of the
(seemingly well-reasoned) falsehood fairly quickly, where perhaps some wouldn't. That's not implying any superior intelligence or skill on my part,
it's just saying that clearly, many can't discern fact from fiction, as evidenced by the sheer number of anti-Masonic works and CTs out there.
I bring CTs into the conversation only because they are the purveyors of much of the untruth that is out there. It's also why I used quotations
around the word "study" in my first response - there's a lot of misinterpretation and falsehood put forth by CTs and anti-Masons, and I've found that
many people who claim to have "studied" the Craft often get their material from those erroneous sources.
I think that "book knowledge" is wonderful, and if that knowledge is derived from the right sources, can be incredibly insightful. But it is also
lacking from a practical, "real world" perspective. You can know all the theory there is to know about a particular subject but without experience,
you still can't speak with authority. A music student may be able to quote music theory and history, but have no musical "ear" and can't play to save
their life (I know many like this). A graduate of Computer Science or Engineering, who may have been a straight A+ student throughout their
university studies still knows nothing compared to those who have been on the job for 5-10-20 years. In short, there's no substitute for practical
To me, the same applies to Masonry. You can learn all of the ritual, what each symbol means, why you face a particular direction, and so on, and yes,
then you will know the academics of it, but a large part of Masonry is the personal component - the spiritual journey, that can only come from
participation. Even as a new initiate I know this is true; I can only imagine what it's like further on...
edit on 25-5-2013 by IslandMason
because: (no reason given)