Above the porch at the Temple of Apollo at Delphi were inscribed the words; Know Thyself. It is perhaps the oldest and most succinct description known to man of the purpose of Freemasonry.
It is said the phrase refers to the personal ideal of understanding human behavior, morals and thought, because ultimately, to understand oneself is to understand others. But it also means knowing one’s own habits, morals, temperament, ability to control anger, subdue passions, get along, and manage other aspects of our human nature that we, as men, wrestle with on a daily basis.
Masons believe the most significant personal task we will ever undertake as men is to overcome ourselves. This is the very cornerstone of self improvement and personal development. But it is also both an internal and an outward process. We have to learn how to be accountable for our own actions such as bringing responsibility to our work, our relationships, our behavior, and the choices we make in life. Living responsibly means that we must learn to think for ourselves.
But being a good man also implies that we are consciously aware of how we represent ourselves to others. Truthfulness, goodness, honesty, bravery, courage, purity, righteousness—by whatever name we give these traits individually, or collectively (integrity), our values define us because they also define for the outside world who we are.
This process of self development and spiritual improvement is what the “degrees” or stages of membership in Freemasonry are all about. It is what distinguishes Masonry from all other organizations. Becoming a Freemason is not an event, but a process.
Freemasonry exists first and foremost to transform men. Our stated purpose is “to make men better” and that commission takes place because one is initiated into a fellowship of men. Freemasonry’s strength lies in the fact that it offers the right model by which men can grow and achieve balance in their human and spiritual lives. It tenders a safe and private medium for meaningful dialogue in the ways of virtue and ethics. It offers the role of patriarchy to younger men. It facilitates the timeless, ethical and spiritual traditions that have always improved the status of men. Just as it has done for every generation of men for 400 years.
The men and fraternal brothers of Albert Pike Lodge #162 welcome you to our venerated and time-tested rebirth into manhood because our lodge believes that this is the main purpose of Freemasonry–to teach good men to subdue their passions, to become masters of themselves, and to become reborn as better men.
The “process” of the degrees is further discussed on this site by following this link and we hope you will find it educational and inspiring.