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A secret society is an organization whose activities, events, inner functioning, or membership are concealed. The society may or may not attempt to conceal its existence. The term usually excludes covert groups, such as intelligence agencies or guerrilla warfare insurgencies, that hide their activities and memberships but maintain a public presence.[1]

Secret Society

The exact qualifications for labeling a group a secret society are disputed, but definitions generally rely on the degree to which the organization insists on secrecy, and might involve the retention and transmission of secret knowledge, the denial of membership or knowledge of the group, the creation of personal bonds between members of the organization, and the use of secret rites or rituals which solidify members of the group.

Anthropologically and historically, secret societies have been deeply interlinked with the concept of the Männerbund, the all-male "warrior-band" or "warrior-society" of pre-modern cultures (see H. Schurtz, Alterklassen und Männerbünde, Berlin, 1902; A. Van Gennep, The Rites of Passage, Chicago, 1960).

Spence also proposes a sub-category of "Elite Secret Societies" (composed of high-income or socially influential people) and notes that secret societies have a frequent if not universal tendency towards factionalism, infighting, and claiming origins older than can be reliably documented. Spence's definition includes groups traditionally thought of as secret societies (Freemasons and Rosicrucians) and other groups not so traditionally classified such as certain organized crime cabals (the Mafia), religious groups (Order of Assassins and Thelema) and political movements (Bolsheviks and Black Dragon Society).

The organization "Opus Dei" (Latin for "Work of God") is portrayed as a "secret society"[6][7][8] of the Catholic Church. Critics such as the Jesuit Wladimir Ledóchowski sometimes refer to Opus Dei as a Catholic (or Christian or "white") form of Freemasonry.[9][10][11][12][13] Other critics label Opus Dei as "Holy Mafia"[14] or "Santa Mafia"[15] as the organisation is connected with various questionable practises including intense "brainwashing" of its members to exploit labor force[16] as well as the direct involvement of members in severe crimes such as baby-trafficking[17] in Spain under the dictator Francisco Franco.

Many student societies established on university campuses in the United States have been considered secret societies. Perhaps one of the most famous secret collegiate societies is Skull and Bones at Yale University.[19] The influence of undergraduate secret societies at colleges such as Harvard College, Cornell University, Dartmouth College, Emory University, the University of Chicago,[20] the University of Virginia, Georgetown University, New York University,[21] and Wellesley College has been publicly acknowledged, if anonymously and circumspectly, since the 19th century.[22][23]

British universities have a long history of secret societies or quasi-secret clubs, such as The Pitt Club at Cambridge University,[24][25] Bullingdon Club at Oxford University,[25] the Kate Kennedy Club, The Kensington Club and the Praetorian Club at the University of St Andrews, and the 16' Club at St David's College.[26] Another British secret society is the Cambridge Apostles, founded as an essay and debating society in 1820. Not all British universities host solely academic secret societies; both The Night Climbers of Cambridge and The Night Climbers of Oxford require both brains and brawn.

Secret societies are disallowed in a few colleges. The Virginia Military Institute has rules that no cadet may join a secret society,[28] and secret societies have been banned at Oberlin College from 1847[29] to the present,[30] and at Princeton University since the beginning of the 20th century.

Confraternities in Nigeria are secret-society-like student groups within higher education. The exact death toll from confraternity activities is unclear. One estimate in 2002 was that 250 people had been killed in campus cult-related murders in the previous decade,[31] while the Exam Ethics Project lobby group estimated that 115 students and teachers had been killed between 1993 and 2003.[32]

While their existence had been speculated for years, Internet-based secret societies first became known to the public in 2012 when Cicada 3301 began recruiting from the public via Internet-based puzzles.[35][36] The goals of the society remain unknown, but it is believed to be involved in cryptography.[37][38]

Secret societies played a major role in Chinese affairs for centuries. They created and supported patriotism until they were disbanded by the Communist regime around 1950.[40] Examples of Chinese secret societies include:

The Catholic Church strongly opposed secret societies, especially the Freemasons. It did relent somewhat in the United States and allowed membership in labour unions and the Knights of Columbus, but not the Masons.[43][44] Some Christian denominations continue to forbid their members from joining secret societies in the 21st century. For example, the Allegheny Wesleyan Methodist Connection.[45]

Secret Society is a high temple to romance hidden in the Connecticut woods. The neoclassic pillared exterior houses a thrilling secret: a glass pyramid ceiling centered over the sleeping loft. Lie in the king-sized bed and look straight up through the towering pines to the stars as there are no blinds to cover this glass roof. Monumental architecture gives way to deep comfort including a gas fireplace and queen-sized sleeper sofa in the double-height living room and a marble steam shower, jetted soaking tub and radiant heat in the bathroom. No initiation required for Secret Society, an intimate and unforgettable getaway.

For the past 24 hours, a number of Republican lawmakers have been suggesting that a months-old text message between two FBI officials reveals a \"secret society\" of federal law enforcement officials clandestinely plotting against President Donald Trump.

This deadly challenge imposes upon our society two requirements of direct concern both to the press and to the President--two requirements that may seem almost contradictory in tone, but which must be reconciled and fulfilled if we are to meet this national peril. I refer, first, to the need for a far greater public information; and, second, to the need for far greater official secrecy.

The very word "secrecy" is repugnant in a free and open society; and we are as a people inherently and historically opposed to secret societies, to secret oaths and to secret proceedings. We decided long ago that the dangers of excessive and unwarranted concealment of pertinent facts far outweighed the dangers which are cited to justify it. Even today, there is little value in opposing the threat of a closed society by imitating its arbitrary restrictions. Even today, there is little value in insuring the survival of our nation if our traditions do not survive with it. And there is very grave danger that an announced need for increased security will be seized upon by those anxious to expand its meaning to the very limits of official censorship and concealment. That I do not intend to permit to the extent that it is in my control. And no official of my Administration, whether his rank is high or low, civilian or military, should interpret my words here tonight as an excuse to censor the news, to stifle dissent, to cover up our mistakes or to withhold from the press and the public the facts they deserve to know.

Its preparations are concealed, not published. Its mistakes are buried, not headlined. Its dissenters are silenced, not praised. No expenditure is questioned, no rumor is printed, no secret is revealed. It conducts the Cold War, in short, with a war-time discipline no democracy would ever hope or wish to match.

For the facts of the matter are that this nation's foes have openly boasted of acquiring through our newspapers information they would otherwise hire agents to acquire through theft, bribery or espionage; that details of this nation's covert preparations to counter the enemy's covert operations have been available to every newspaper reader, friend and foe alike; that the size, the strength, the location and the nature of our forces and weapons, and our plans and strategy for their use, have all been pinpointed in the press and other news media to a degree sufficient to satisfy any foreign power; and that, in at least in one case, the publication of details concerning a secret mechanism whereby satellites were followed required its alteration at the expense of considerable time and money.

Perhaps there will be no recommendations. Perhaps there is no answer to the dilemma faced by a free and open society in a cold and secret war. In times of peace, any discussion of this subject, and any action that results, are both painful and without precedent. But this is a time of peace and peril which knows no precedent in history.

By their very name, secret societies inspire curiosity, fascination and distrust. When the Washington Post broke the story last month that Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia spent his final hours in the company of members of a secret society for elite hunters, people instantly wanted to know more about the group.

The order is just one of many clandestine organizations that exist today, though the popularity of these secret clubs peaked in the 18th and 19th centuries, writes Noah Shachtman for Wired. Back then, many of these societies served as safe spaces for open dialogue about everything from academia to religious discourse, removed from the restrictive eye of the church and state. As Schatman writes: 041b061a72


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