Saturday, October 3, 2009

ASS--A Secret Society

If you seriously take the time to browse the bookstores near my home, i.e., the usual suspects of chain stores, you'll notice that entire shelves are devoted to secret societies. So much publicity on what is occult is odd, but to add fuel to fire, if you peruse the history shelves you'll find plenty of other books devoted to similar topics, e.g., there are usually a couple of books on that favorite topic of the role of Masonry in the founding of the U.S. Then there is the shelf on gnosticism in the religion section promising to reveal the hidden secrets of all reality, and the current events section is littered with books regarding all sundry of conspiracy theories.

On a different note, I offer an extra credit assignment in my Government class where students can read a book on several selected topics in politics, history and philosophy, and then write up an analysis of it. For the last few years I've had Robert Kagan's Of Paradise and Power on the suggested reading list. I thought that students post 9/11 might be interested in the topic of American foreign policy, international political affairs, and globalization. For the sake of fairness on this topic, I suggest writers as diverse as Andrew Bacevich, David Harvey, Walter Russell Mead, Francis Fukuyama, Niall Ferguson, Joseph Stiglitz, Chalmers Johnson (and others). Regardless of the politics of these writers, I suggest them because I have read them, and have found their arguments interesting and worthy of being heard.

Nonetheless, many students are attracted to Kagan's book (some of them for the sheer fact that it is short). Prior to reading it, they surely know nothing regarding his claim of a "Kantian" Europe and a "Hobbesian" America. These students do not follow foreign policy debates in detail. Rather, some are interested in Kagan's book (apart from its length) because the subtitle mentions the "new world order." These students tend to be males aged 18-25. They are interested in new world order (if they don't think it's about professional wrestling) because they have heard about the conspiracy.

Are they insomniacs who listen to Alex Jones or George Noory? Are these the students responsible for all the Larouchian flyers on campus? Have they been watching too many episodes of Lost in between bong hits? Do they regularly watch the Hitler, er, the History Channel? Are they Dan Brown fans? Whatever may be the reason for their interest, they know that the world is invisibly ruled by the secret society, and they think I'm in on it too because I recommend Kagan's book. It's the secret conspiracy, and it's as obvious as the nose on your face. It's hidden in plain sight. No doubt, after reading Kagan, they are sorely disappointed in that he speaks of no conspiracy. Perhaps they are also disappointed that I'm not in on it after all. Their poor professor must be a dupe.

Well in order not to disappoint any longer, I thought I may as well live up to the expectations of the general culture and start a secret society. Indeed I've always been somewhat cautious and private, and have been known on occasion to speak obliquely about delicate issues. There just might be things that are not for popular consumption. The vulgar have no experience with things beautiful, difficult and rare, so one must indeed wear camouflage. The question is not whether to start my own secret society, but rather--why have I waited till now to start one?

A Secret Society (A Parody)

A Secret Society (ASS) is a society of thinkers and doers. We include those who know what exists beyond mere convention, but we, unlike other secret societies, mean to do no harm to the conventions of the day. We consider ourselves poets and philosophers alike. Perhaps our society is more contemplative in inception than others, but we are nonetheless happy to see our members become movers and shakers in business, politics, medicine, education, and science. That being said, we harbor plenty of losers too, and all of us comprise the true Illuminati. This is our all inclusive-exclusive nomenclature.

A Secret Society serves the desire of those who want to be part of a secret society, but who wish not to be known as members of a secret society. You
may think--isn't this the case for all members of secret societies? We disagree. Secret societies from the Knights Templar to the Rosicrucians to the Stefan George Circle to Skull and Bones to the Bohemian Grove always give names to their societies. Exoterically their names may sound harmless, but their names provide an indicator for those who are on the outside--names which allow outsiders to impugn all sorts of evil motives to them. One can speak, for instance, of the Masons, and one knows one is speaking about some group which distinguishes itself from the rest. This is no simple trade union of masons. This is a secret society and there is something dubious there to behold.

From our perspective, the case of the Masons is most emphatically not a secret society, because we are truly A Secret Society. The Masons, et al., are child's play compared to us. Everyone knows we exist, but noone knows our name. They simply think we are a secret society. We members of A Secret Society know better. Let others speak of the Knights Templar--we know better regarding what it's really about. We don't read Rene Guenon and Julius Evola for the forgotten knowledge of Tradition which will save the world. The world needs no salvation in that way. We don't read Karl Marx, and hence we have no need for a popular front. We're truly hidden in plain sight.

We members of ASS simply belong to a secret society. When asked if we belong to a secret society we can honestly answer, "Yes we belong to A Secret Society." When asked the name of this group we answer that we are obliged to keep the name secret, but we can easily admit that it is A Secret Society.

Our purpose is as indefinite as the indefinite article suggests, and this gives us the distinction we crave. In one way we are similar in intent to other secret societies. As with all such societies, one must become a member to know the deeper meaning of the things of A Secret Society. However, only we know the true way of secrecy.

If you wish to join A Secret Society, there is no doubt a rite of initiation. It is not too taxing, but for now its details must remain secret. You must ask a member of A Secret Society for them.

With us it all appears to be up in the air, as it were. But believe me when I tell you, there is A Secret Society, we are it, and it is looking for you.

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