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Maybe what others think, isn't nearly as important as being honest with ourselves.  If examining motives and intentions is 'a path to happiness', results hereabouts suggest it has become a bit overgrown with accumulated debris, that it requires concentrated effort to find it. Why? Why would anyone subject themselves to an existence of self-examination when cheating is so easy? Surely, we have all heard the logic; old men advise to stay healthy, avoid doctors and hospitals. It's a version of 'ignorance is bliss'.  Cloak this with language describing masonic function especially the part about 'higher moral standards, and we need to go no further to sort out the confusion and compromise that was spurred by 'local tradition'.  What is the truth? Is ignorance bliss? Before opening that door, reason tells us living to pursue a life of virtue is impossible without using navigational tools.  We were handing 9 of them after we got round to settling on that number, but we conveniently handed them back for safe keeping. Can you think why anyone would give up populist thinking to strike out on his own?  Surely the cynic within him would panic at the thought.  Ignorance comes out of chaos, easily.  Knowledge requires disciplined thinking and patience. Accordingly we live in a state of ignorance/darkness willingly but now are telling ourselves we have chosen to struggle to understand. Truth isn't pretty. Honesty isn't easy. What if we did subscribe to that effort, would motivate us? Let me present an answer and try to convince you it is obvious.  The motivation is the setting. It is rare to accomplish this feat alone alone. It is plausible when working alone in the company of like minded.  Universities were built on the idea. So, it seems was masonry.

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