In a recent moment of clarity an epiphany dawned upon me, one that I wish to share with you.
Perhaps epiphany is the wrong term … a better word would be realization, the culmination of several already known smaller epiphanies coming together to a greater understanding, to a greater acceptance of truth as it is rather than I might want or perceive it to be. And like all such realizations, it revealed itself as if someone flipped a switch, and all was peaceful and rather funny.
If you bear with me, I will try to outline it as best I can. The deconstruction is rather lengthy, the end result, as all truths is simplicity itself. And the truth, in generalized terms, is this:
Secrets Societies aren't created to keep secrets, secrets are created to justify the existence of secrets societies.
A couple of disclaimers before you protest …
1. When I say "secrets societies" I do not mean secret societies, I do not simply mean/include groups like the Masons or other "official" secret societies, nor do I exclude them. What I am referring to can be the underlying premise/dynamic of ANY group of people, in ANY social context, who collude/conspire to keep secrets from others.
2. The following realization is not applicable in every circumstance. As I explain further I hope to be clear that it is in fact this absence of absolutes which makes the thought that is to follow somewhat important. For in the end it will, as is always the case, be up to every individual to find their location relative to the truth. This is not a mathematical equation, this is simply a pointer that one could use, should they choose to, to separate what is true to them and what is noise.
We're stepping back from the forest to see the trees, but before we do and for reasons that will become clearer further down the line, a warning …
George Hanson: They're not scared of you. They're scared of what you represent to 'em.
Billy: Hey, man. All we represent to them, man, is somebody who needs a haircut.
George Hanson: Oh, no. What you represent to them is freedom.
Billy: What the hell is wrong with freedom? That's what it's all about.
George Hanson: Oh, yeah, that's right. That's what's it's all about, all right. But talkin' about it and bein' it, that's two different things. I mean, it's real hard to be free when you are bought and sold in the marketplace. Of course, don't ever tell anybody that they're not free, 'cause then they're gonna get real busy killin' and maimin' to prove to you that they are. Oh, yeah, they're gonna talk to you, and talk to you, and talk to you about individual freedom. But they see a free individual, it's gonna scare 'em.
- Easy Rider
What is a secrets society?
It is simply a group of people who's self worth is highly derived from seeing themselves as having information others don't. No matter what that information is and regardless of its worth. It is the egoic mind seeking superiority over others just to feel important. And it requires feeding from other ego based entities wanting to know their secrets simply because their egos cannot stand not knowing.
Never mind that knowledge and information have nothing to do with each other, the ego will casually interchange them to its benefit. For information is external and knowledge is internal … the latter being of no value to the egoic mind it will substitute one for the other as if they were the same thing. That is in fact the greatest "achievement" of ego.
To the group of egos that makes a secrets society, the greatest vexation to their existence isn't the discovery of the secret itself that inflicts the wound, but rather the fact that that which they value the most, the ability to keep secrets from others has been breached. For that is an affront to their very purpose and the grand egos which collude to achieve it.
Think of it this way, most who seek to find the secrets of others, do so primarily because their ego cannot accept that something is kept from them … the "something" is not material, it is simply an egoic vehicle itself. The driving force for their impetus is simply to know something simply because it is hidden from them. Not because they know its nature, its value, its importance … this is, in the purest sense, an egoic dynamic.
The relationship is simple … those who keep secrets and garner their self worth via keeping secrets, are empowered by those who seek to empower their self worth by knowing them. The secret could be an empty box, in fact often is, it simply doesn't matter because for most the very idea that a secret is being kept from them precipitates egoic panic, as much as for others who "know" something others don't precipitates egoic ecstasy.
If you bear with me, I want to share a story I wrote back in the day. The story is a byproduct of having spent the greatest part of my life working in the nightclub business. This allowed the benefit of many hours of human observation … the story goes like this:
The Velvet Rope Parable
A man walks towards the velvet ropes of a nightclub with both excitement an apprehension. He has heard that this club is where one wants to be, though he has never been there himself. As he draws neared to the ropes a sense of uncertainty overwhelms him for he doesn't want to be rejected, it will hurt him personally if he is, it will reduce him should he be thwarted by strangers. He gets to the bouncer and the bouncer tells him he can't come in. Deeply vexed after questioning the bouncer on whether he is aware of who and how important he is, he informs the bouncer as to why he is important enough to be let in. The bouncer of course loves this for he thrives on the empowerment, no matter how insignificant. The man bribes the bouncer $50 and the bouncer lets him in.
After spending half an hour in the main room, the man notices another rope leading to another room … a VIP room. Again he is drawn to it and again he is rejected. He cannot stand for this so he bribes that bouncer $100 and is let through.
Imagine his curiosity when he discovers that there's yet another rope, yet another more exclusive room just beyond one more rope which he needs to enter in order to feel whole. Another bribe and he is in.
At the very corner of that room there's predictably yet another rope to cross to another room. So once more he reaches in his pocket to get through. And as he crosses that last door he realizes that he is now in fact outside the club standing on the street on which he started.
Life abounds with little ego clubs … they all have their little secrets, their little VIP rooms, and they are for the most part totally meaningless and rather ridiculous at their core.
When the ego drives the quest there'll never be a satisfactory answer, there cannot be, the ego depends on trying to feed/complete itself with attaining something external and in the future. There will always be another roped door. That is how it sustains itself, for if an answer is found to a question that doesn't really matter, it will just add another question and perpetuate the dynamic. That is its reason for being, that is what defines it …not the honest inquiry, but the blind self-perpetuating search itself for its own empty sake.
Funny part is that although those who keep secrets organize themselves to often go to extraordinary lengths to keep them to sustain their ego trip, they do not resent those who seek to uncover their secrets … primarily because their egos depend on the outsiders' ego for their raison d'être. It is a mutually defining, codependent, symbiotic relationship founded on a zero sum premise … namely that the sum of the egos defining themselves by keeping secrets from others is equal to the sum of the egos seeking to know those secrets for no other reason than those secrets are kept from them.. Once again, not because they matter but only because they're secrets.
It is the the grandest expression of duality, the grandest expression of the two sides of the same coin dogma, the ultimate conditioning, the ultimate illusion, it is based on nothing but relativistic contrived abstractions, and it is all self inflicted.
You see, The Last Conspiracy is the unrecognized complicity of egos to define themselves and each other by separating themselves into two groups … those who have secrets and those who want at best to know them for the sake of ego gratification, at worse to be the ones having them for the same reason. No getting around it, the greatest divider and conquerer of you, is you … one's self imposed dichotomy between their mind perceived self (ego) and one's true self.
Yes humans are inquisitive by nature, but there's a difference between honest inquiry, and reactionary egoic inquiry.
And yes there is even a place for secrets, they have their practicalities, no more no less.
At its most simple, those egos who conspire to keep secrets from others do it only to sustain/gratify themselves and exercise power and authority on the egos who feel slighted that they're being kept out of the loop. But that power is small, self consuming, vicious, and most of all non-existent towards those who are indifferent to the dynamic. For those who's egos thrive at the prospect of knowing something/anything that someone else doesn't, It is a base approach of "Regnum Defende" or "defend the realm" … not by a small coincidence the motto of MI5.
There is only one approach to all this … and that approach is honest indifference. An indifference based in the inner knowledge that there's nothing you actually desire behind that velvet rope. Or at least nothing that should affect you personally if not informed of it and that the rope of denial doesn't define and isn't proportional to the desirability of that which it protects.
Keep in mind that there is a vast difference between apathy and indifference. Apathy is literally the absence of emotion and passion, it is often the result of resignation in light of being beaten down. Indifference, true indifference in the way I mean it, is the absence of a personal position, it is existing outside of egoic reactions to irrelevant circumstances after the realization of their irrelevance. But please note, one cannot act indifferent, one can only be indifferent. For to act indifferent is a willful exercise, and by definition if one acts willfully they are not indifferent. So the indifference has to come from within, it has to be true and pure, it has to be not applied.
Also please appreciate that this thought is an observation not a judgment. The degree to which this observation is unsettling or not is a matter for each person and the comfort level they share with their reflection. That is as always, the only real barometer.
Having said that, if one were to observe the nature of the participants in such a conspiracy and assign relative virtue or vice, one would observe that the egos of the secrets keepers, although equal in degree to the secrets seekers, are often more vicious and petty. This is primarily because most folks who seek secrets do it dogmatically and unaware, as a continuation of a momentum they have always sustained for reasons they do not know. For most of us it is a matter of unobserved habit, a built in inertia that doesn't solicit reconsideration until noted. Until recently this is indeed the way I myself proceeded.
But those who's egos and self worth is defined by the false empowerment of secret keeping, for the most part know and are aware of their disingenuous existence, mostly because knowing the secrets is to know that the secrets they are keeping are trivial and worthless. Hence their participation is willful and in full knowledge of the part they play and meaninglessness of their self identification. That is why they are often vicious, that is why they are small, that is why they are bitter, that is why they live in fear of discovery, and that is why their egos are violent and cruel. It surely has to be a misery to go through life that way, not to mention pitiful.
Most importantly this is why they harbor the greatest resentment to those who expose them through indifference. For an ego built upon a house of lies is by nature fragile, volatile, and vulnerable. And it sure as hell doesn't like the mirror of truth shining upon it. For it is in permanent panic of being discovered for the emptiness it is founded upon. I have seen this panic manifest, it isn't pretty, for it will lash out indiscriminately and scorch the earth around it, including attacking those in its own little group, to protect and sustain itself. There's a great deal of time and effort invested in living an egoic life, as in the above quoted dialogue from Easy Rider, may the universe help anyone who inadvertently or purposefully orients that light onto another's "precious."
… both sides of this coin are so easy to manipulate … in my more Machiavellian past I used to do it myself. Paying people with titles, and empty power, ego stroking, perceived stature, and secrets. For the most part I cannot assign any fault to those who will take advantage of others' egos to their own ends for those who make themselves available in this way deserve nothing more, in fact they all but beg to be fed and manipulated in this fashion.
Please note once more that this isn't an umbrella observation, to be blindly wagged by one's ego takes many forms and is an approach to life that will hitch a ride on the vehicle that drives the path of least resistance. To say that anyone who is part of such a "secrets society" is part of the above described dynamic would be a fallacious presumption. One can be part of any social structure and be driven by their ego but they can do the same coming from a place of truth. The clue is not the "thing" itself but knowing and being true to the source of one's behavior. The only catalyst is one's self not the behavior itself. It's just that some behaviors lend themselves more easily to the attachment of ego.
Now I understand that for many, what I have just expressed is the last thing they want to hear or consider … it is true that this mirror I put before you is unsolicited, you (or whatever is in charge in you) may indeed discard it at your leisure. There are many many many people who's lives, small and blind as they may be as a result of the above self-indoctrinations, are deeply rooted or in many cases defined, on these mutually dependent illusions of the mind.
As a result, many egos will thrash, protest, and curse the mirror for reflecting the image they do not wish to see … namely their true self. Insults will ensue, "who the hell does he think he is" and/or "you think you're better than me" syndromes will rise up … and like I said earlier, nothing will bring more resentment out of an ego than seeing another person not willing to participate in the quagmire in which it dwells.
That's fine, in the end I have no personal position towards any of this, mirrors are at their most fundamental, nothing if not indifferent. In this regard, I refer to the following thought by Albert Camus : "A taste for truth at any cost is a passion which spares nothing." This applies to all including myself … none of this is easy, these truths usually inspire but two reactions … violent mental rejection or the understanding that one cannot operate on those terms any more.
At its very essence this post, this expression, is written with a single ambition. To convey this realization which recently came upon me. It is not to suggest that there is no virtue in the pursuit of truths or that there are no secrets worth discovering. It is simply to suggest a pause in your momentum, a moment of true stillness … a moment to look within and be honest about who it is that is truly in charge, who is the seeker. Is it you or is it your idea of you … your ego. And when confronted with secrets and those who think of themselves as grand for holding them, when confronted with a velvet rope, who is it that is vexed? Do YOU really want to be beyond that rope for honest motives, do you fundamentally even care, or is it because it's chapping your ego's behind that someone put a rope there?
And should the above expressed realization ring true, should you allow for it … consider how it is true of everything … after all the universe has no problems, only egoic positions do.
The Last Conspiracy is the conspiracy of Egos, for if everyone in the world conspired to deceive you, they still wouldn't generate enough secrets to equal the truths we keep from our selves.
Many so called "enlightened" folk like to say that to be a person of said light one has to free themselves from their mind … that has always struck me as an odd thing to express and always felt to me as fundamentally missing the mark. I look at it this way … it is not about freeing one's self from one's mind, it is about freeing one's mind from one's sense of self (ego) so that everything comes from a place of honesty, kindness, and truth.
This thing we call life is too short to be controlled by velvet ropes, regardless on which side of the ropes one happens to be on.
That is all … to be.