Imagine not that you will become a thorough Mason by learning what is commonly called the work, or merely by becoming familiar with our traditions. Masonry has a history and a literature. Its allegories and its traditions will teach you much; but much is to be sought elsewhere. The streams of learning that now flow broad and wide must be followed to their heads in the springs that well up in the far distant Past, and there you will find the meaning and the origin of Masonry.
A few trite lessons upon the rudiments of architecture, a few ordinary maxims of morality, a few unimportant and unsubstantiated traditions will no longer satisfy the earnest inquirer after Masonic Truth. Let him who is satisfied and content with them, remain where he is, and seek to ascend no higher. But let him who desires to understand the harmonious and beautiful proportions of Masonry, read, study, reflect, digest and discriminate. The true Mason is an ardent seeker after knowledge; and he knows that books are vessels which come down to us full-freighted with the intellectual riches of the past; and that in the lading of these Argosies is much that sheds light upon the history of Masonry, and proves its claims to be regarded as the great benefactor of mankind.
--Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma, Chapter 4