After a recent conversation with a close brother, I had an epiphany. While I am certain the thought has already occurred to many, like any new discovery, original or not, it inspired me--
One, if not the, reason the Craft has suffered membership over the past 40 years is directly because of its members lack of attention in esoteric or philosophical depth. Without the deeper thought, without fostering that spiritual and philosophical growth, the body becomes an empty shell. Without pondering deeper truths, without searching for "that which was lost," the Craft, much like unseasoned foods, becomes bland and unappealing to many beyond its initial novelty. Without the enthusiasm that accompanies self-actualized growth and nourishment, fewer are attracted.
The Craft seems naturally defended, over time, against the superficial diluting of its deeper truths. It has, in essence, a natural economy (an "invisible hand" so to speak) that guides its long, winding course. As in nature, natural selection wins over time. We may have simply experienced an influx of members joining for less meaningful reasons. Although it is understandable, the seeking only of comradeship, honesty, and good cheer does not provide the substance for longevity. They who desire only the most obvious and convenient soon grow tired. In a short amount of time, they wither like bad fruit. However, it is not the Craft that was experiencing loss; reality is the opposite. Pruning is a natural process demonstrated in nature resulting in a more wholesome and resilient harvest over time...
We are now in the observable stages of that wholesome harvest. We are raising brothers from their 20s-40s all across the country with an insatiable thirst for truth. These brothers seem less interested in the continuation of traditional social dogmas, and are increasingly open-minded in regard to spiritual belief, philosophy, and cultural diversity.
It is an exciting time, and I challenge brothers to dig deeper. In this age, we have ready access to such an incredible store of information and knowledge. The number of books cheaply available is mind boggling alone, and online access provides ability to read thousands of books for free. I challenge my brothers to look past the mere social aspects of our fraternity, look beyond family tradition, and see past the coffee and cake. There exists a replenishing spring of knowledge for the thirsty; it is woven within the rituals, preserved in writing, and dripping from the discussions among more enlightened men.
Ours is not intended as a mere social club. As we regain that passion for self-improvement and enlightenment among men, we will attract and grow the most fruitful harvest. We may even change the world.
pax et lumen,