“There has always been considerable controversy over the need, advisability, and practicality of oaths of secrecy. Whether or not the 'secrets' being protected have any real need to be protected, the oath of secrecy serves other, less obvious, functions.” (HT Keith G. Flippin)

I think for me there are a couple main aspects to “secrecy” which aren't touched on very often in these conversations but that are important to me in my thinking.

First, the oaths of secrecy, especially as marked by tyling, are mental markers, NLP anchors if you will, for a particular ritual, liminal set and setting. To some extent I see this as an extension of Liber Jugorum, being intentionally more conscious in the mundane world; but, it's also about maintaining clear and quick access to liminality through that anchor. That liminality is in some ways a trigger for imprint vulnerability, a place where change can occur. The normal mode is suspended.

The second is that it is part of a culture of security. I think every radical group should think clearly on that topic, and oaths are part of an intentional practice which keeps security culture alive, and this in turn creates a space for change. It is about keeping other people safe as much as about information.

Third, is the principle of not being a spoiler of another's experience or one's own. I don't read the last chapter of a book, nor do I read spoilery reviews of movies. In the same way, the psychological effect of participatory theatre in which the plot and ending are not specifically known cannot be recaptured once the ending is known. I can always re-experience an event in retrospect again, but I can never experience it that first time from a place of unknowing again if I missed it the first time. There's only one time I'll ever get to have that, and I cherish it. It's the first kiss, and it's precious to me and a gift I can give to others by my secrecy.

As to the function of secrecy in maintaining uncertainty within the space of an initiation …

Well, I was even strange among the drama kids in that I liked improv, so that the psychological stress of not knowing mixed with performance is something I dig may be a character flaw … but, I think and feel how awesome it is when it happens is worth it. But, now as I say that, I'm all, to myself, “Be careful what you wish for!” Anyhow, it seems like a practice of being comfortable with uncomfortableness, which was big in my thinking about dialogue, but here it is again. It seems a chance to meet uncertainty with equanimity while still savoring a bit of imprint vulnerability.

society with secrets

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