Secret societies withhold knowledge which may be relevant to the solution of world problems. This knowledge encompasses human potential and, based on it, ways of organizing society effectively.
If there is even partial validity to claims of secret knowledge in some instances, the keepers are self-serving by its concealment in order to perpetuate themselves and maintain a base of power. They are elitist in their opinion of themselves and cynical concerning others.
These claims are not only encountered among minor sects and cults but are at the centre of the 'mystery' of world religions. Such secrets have little implication for societal development as they only exalt the selfish quest for a supposed personal holiness. Such societies will never reveal what they know to an impious and hostile world that exploits all knowledge for motives of profit and dominance over others, or to those who are numbered among the multitude of the dilettanti and the merely intellectually curious.