Reflections on the Second Degree

That purely material gains can never represent the final goal in the progress and development of mankind must have been recognised as fundamental truth ever since primitive man first began to turn his thoughts from such considerations as food, shelter and physical comfort generally to that limitless and fruitful field of speculative thought which Freemasonry names the hidden mysteries of nature and science.

The Old Charges Revisited

Since 1717, this has been a subject of passionate concern to almost every Freemason. There remain a mass of competing views and theories, and this question has dominated research into Freemasonry.