Forming secret societies

Esoteric cults
Magic rituals
Maintaining secret societies
Forming groups or organizations characterized by the use of secret initiations or other rituals, oaths, grips (handclasps), or signs of recognition between members.
Secret groups are a feature of all societies. These groups lie between the extremes of charitable brotherhoods and revolutionary or secret political conspiracies. The earliest known secret societies appeared over 2500 years ago. Originally only of a religious nature, they later served business, social or mutual aid purposes. In times of political and economic stress, societies may become the focus of major such insurrections.
The strategy of secret societies is used to gain some power over, or defence from, the surrounding social environment's pressures or ideas. At its mildest, the secrecy of rites and membership heightens the sense of identity within members of a group. Forming a secret society requires the establishment of initiation rites, means of protecting the secrets of the group, and usually involves degrees of membership, structures of authority and discipline, rituals and mythology. Generally the rituals and mythology are tied to the original cause or purpose of the society.
1. Psychologists have argued that secret societies filled a need of immature individuals as a stage on the development path toward free, open adult responsibility.

2. The intensity of secret society relationships can bestow a sense of purpose and direction and evoke creativity and commitment from its members.

3. In situations where the open espousal of particular values, ideas or causes may provoke repression from reactionary powers, secret societies may provide the only viable vehicle through which to work for social change and development.

4. Secret societies for moral and psychic training and spiritual development exist because the masses are incapable of understanding human potential and fear and attack what they suppose to be elitism.

Counter Claim:
1. Most opposition is directed toward the excesses and perversions of secret societies: the susceptibility to criminal infiltration, brutalization of members, authoritarian leadership, anti-social values and behaviour and blind obedience.

2. Where a cult is made of secrecy, when a group seals itself off from the outside world and open debate, where minds are closed, and where whole lives are swallowed up in the society and not simply a few secrets, then secret societies tend to accentuate and represent a negative contribution to society and history.

3. Even where the aims are worthy and the perversions warded off, it may be argued that secrecy becomes a habit, and the esoteric isolation of the society perpetuates itself after the historical need which required its formation no longer exists, such as when the leaders of a successful revolution are unable after attaining power to change their style of operation and refuse to allow the participation of the whole population in polity. The very existence of secret societies prompts antagonisms and fosters accusations of immorality, subversion and heresy.

Type Classification:
D: Detailed strategies
Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 12: Responsible Consumption and Production