Degree XII — Questions

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Degree XII Lecture
The Master Key

"Evermore the human soul struggles towards the light, towards God and the Infinite. It is especially so in its afflictions. Words go but a little way into the depths of sorrow. The thoughts that writhe there in silence, that go into the silence of Infinitude and Eternity, have no emblems. Thoughts enough come there such as no tongue ever uttered. They do not so much want human sympathy as higher help. There is a loneliness in deep sorrow which the Deity alone can relieve. Alone, the mind wrestles with the great problem of calamity and seeks the solution from the Infinite Providence of Heaven, and thus is led directly to God." — Albert Pike.

1. Consider the above quotation, and ask yourself if merely sentimental attempts to alleviate suffering may not impede the sufferers' way to God.

2. "We seem never to know what anything means until we have lost it." — Albert Pike.

Review your own life and circumstances, and try to identify the people and amenities which contribute, or have contributed, to your well-being. Then, one by one, imagine that they no longer exist. How does this exercise affect your appreciation of life?

3. "A dim consciousness of infinite mystery and grandeur lies beneath all the common-place of life." — Albert Pike.

What mystery and grandeur can you identify underlying your personal life?

4. "Man is no bubble upon the sea of his fortunes, helpless and irresponsible upon the tide of events. Out of the same circumstances, different men bring totally different results. The same difficulty, distress, poverty or misfortune that breaks down one man builds up another and makes him strong." — Albert Pike.

Reflect upon the above and consider whether or not the political dream of a "welfare state" is truly in the best interests of the long-term development of the human individuals which comprise the race.

5. "Thorough, faithful and honest endeavour to improve is always successful, and the highest happiness. To sigh sentimentally over human misfortune is fit only for the mind's childhood; and the mind's misery is chiefly its own fault, and appointed under the good Providence of God as the punisher and corrector of fault. In the long run, the mind will be happy just in proportion to its fidelity and wisdom. When it is miserable, it has planted the thorns in its own path: it grasps them and cries out in loud complaint; and that complaint is but the louder confession that it planted the thorns." — Albert Pike.

Consider whether, to what extent, and in what circumstances (if any) the "natural" justice implied in the above may need to be moderated by legislation.

6. "...the mind and soul of man have a value which nothing else has. They are worth a care which nothing else is worth; and to the single, solitary individual, they ought to possess an interest which nothing else possesses." — Albert Pike.

Do you agree with what Pike affirms regarding the value of your own mind and soul? If so, consider how that value might be put to more effective use.

7. Can you imagine any cause for which you would be willing to sacrifice the life of your body?