Secret Societies
#1
I was rereading @Meredith's excellent thread The Path To Ultimate Power and most people are in agreement that to Win, there has to be some militaristic element, some monetary element, but also an element of a Secret Society.

In Meredith's spirit, there will be no long preamble, but rather we analyze existing and past Secret Societies; and answer the questions: What form do Secret Societies in general take? What form will "Our SS" take? Does it already exist?

My answer to the 1st: A secret society will in general have initiation rites, secret rites, rankings, hierarchies of those ranks and initiations, and some degree of separation between them based on some factor relating to the purpose of said rites--or rather, the understanding of those rites.

My answer to the 2nd: This is unique to my belief on what The Path To Ultimate Power is--where a high degree of networking is not necessary until a certain "stage of development" is reached. The "initiation rite" into the "Amarnite SS" or whatever it will be called, will be merely getting to the stage where you Find Us. Past that, I'm not so sure. In fact, that's the purpose of this thread.

My answer to the 3rd: It's in the process of forming currently.

I personally believe that Secret Societies will always exist so long as mankind exists in a state of development above the Longhouse. Also, discuss and analyze existing and past Secret Societies as said before, but it bears repeating.  I don't want this thread to be a shit-flinging contest of "who's Secret Society is better", but rather something constructive and interesting.  I would start discussion on this, but I don't know so much about various different rites and initiations besides what I've already said.


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Heil KEK
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#2
I have some experience with secret societies here, both how it operates after it has grown powerful enough to operate openly, and how it is formed. I suppose how it was done among Indians may not exactly translate to the west, but I will share what I know and hope it is of some use. Forgive me if it becomes a bit of a ramble, my English isn't very good. 

Primarily, a society must exist for material purpose. It isn't the case that people get together to form societies and then think of a purpose for them, that is just forming a cargo cult around being sneaky little schemers. Rather, the purpose exists before the society, and the society is formed by necessity or by accident, not just to escape political oppression or societal oppression, but because a group of similar men, who have realized their purpose to be in accomplishing a goal, prefer to operate without pollution. They don't want to be talked down by Those Who Don't Understand, they don't want there secret realizations and plans to be spread, because until they win, they would be laughed at, or given respect they cannot live up to. 

A Society is formed by accident, it is rendered secret by necessity. Until you win, you lose.

Most enduring secret societies do have rituals, but unless these rituals are something that creates mutual liability (sexual orgies, pedophilia, criminal acts in general, recording undeniable evidence of incriminating acts or information), you should avoid rituals for the founding members. Rituals are something for the next generation, and to some extent every single person outside of the founders, who may not be genuinely interested. A ritual is a mechanism that both enforces conformity, and creates incentive for rebellion at once. This is why initiation rituals are necessary beyond just interview sessions and tracing a recruit's life history and connections. Ideally, it also pushes the primary purpose intrinsically. Rituals are anti-intellectual, even making people chant a mantra is an action, not an intellectual affirmation of ideals.

As such, the aesthetic quality of the rituals become the most important aspect. If you create an embarrassing ritual, or have a powerful ritual but conduct it in an embarrassing environment, you will implant a feeling in newer generations, and sometimes even among founding members who have doubts, that maybe no one else is taking it seriously. Such people will always exist, and may not be discovered, so you don't want to purity spiral to discover them, because just doing that may create more skeptics. You should just assume they exist always and act to not push them away. 

The right kind of rituals become incentive for members to return and dedicate themselves further, and you can even add a lightly competitive nature to them if necessary. In the ones I was involved in, the daily rituals included physical games, like Kabaddi and Tennis, full contact fights, and debates on more general topics. There was even a competitive nature to the initiation ritual, since it included providing challenges to the recruit, I suppose you can think of it as hazing. This isn't done for entertainment or just to bully around the new guy, that happens later, the purpose of this, I suppose you can call it an offensive initiation, is that this ritual needs to have a feeling of being a set of natural circumstances, and to create a sense of belonging in the recruit. When he completes the challenge, or defeats the challenger in the argument, he feels like he's proved that he's just as good, or even better than people who are in the society, and thus feels like he belongs already. This is also why many smaller cults and third world criminal orgs use brutal punishment rituals, like whipping yourself or bleeding, btw. Being able to endure the punishment, without complaining, without resisting, becomes something else that makes initiates believe that they already belong, and that they may even be better than the others because they suffered better. From what I've heard of religious cults specifically, recruits may even ask for the opportunity to suffer even more than others normally do, to belong better.

The environment is important, and must match the intensity of the rituals and give them purpose. The aesthetic you choose must remain consistent in any location you choose, set decoration and architecture will be an important part of your secret society. A good example of where this was done with spectacular effect is in Lenz's cult, where he would use special effects to make it seem like he was filling the room with blinding golden light as he would exclaim that the audience were being enlightened, seeing true divinity, etc. 

However, they should also not attract the curious normie. The aesthetics of the society must both admirable, memorable, without arousing too much curiosity, while being just different enough for any fellow member to recognize each other, and to recognize any of their locations. For the exterior of buildings and on clothes, usually it's either symbols that are pinned or painted on, or maybe certain colours. A crest can work great. But in my experience, the most effective way was enforcing physical fitness with certain colours and certain innocuous but unique phrases that are repeated everywhere. I walk around the city, see a muscular man wearing black, orange, and red, I can know he belongs in a minute of casual conversation.

Rituals are adhesive. Bad rituals are repellents. Powerful initiation rituals make initiates feel they belong. Repeated rituals change the person forever.

Finally, hierarchy. This is the trickiest part about a secret society, because as I declared in the beginning, societies are formed naturally between men who've found common purpose. If you create a hierarchical structure right from the beginning, the little organization you already have will devolve into a status game. Even if the levels don't have any real value, you run the risk of someone feeling slighted, and later betraying you. 

The ideal hierarchy, in my experience, creates itself naturally. What usually happens is that the founding members act as equals, automatically creating temporary hierarchies to finish tasks. But when you bring in new people, they will be considered outsiders for a long time, simply because they don't share the history of the founders. So they becomes a lower level, and the names for the levels are essentially in-jokes. Eventually one of them may impress founders enough to make themselves part of the upper cadre.

So, when should you create a formal hierarchy? Only when you have some amount of real power (I define power here as amount of people who will obey you without question), or at least the ability to enact force yourself. Each level of the hierarchy will naturally have different amounts of this ability, due to lower financial or material resources, or lower prestige. When someone manages to get power comparable to a higher level, they must be elevated formally. By formal here, I mean in a way that makes their ascension clear to everyone else. This means you may have to create effective ascension, banishment, and demotion rituals as well.

Effective hierarchies are natural. Formal hierarchies must be enforced implicitly and explicitly. Formal ascensions and demotions must be clear and recognizable. 

These are my basic thoughts on forming and moderating secret societies. I may add more if more comes to mind.



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