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Secret Societies in the age of Facebook

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posted on Jul, 29 2009 @ 12:04 PM
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When Freemasonry officially started in 1717 it was a way for likeminded men to get together and exchange ideas, socialize, better themselves and contribute to their communities. The room above the tavern was a good place to get away from one's day job and find out about the news of the day.

Due to the private nature of such organizations, people became suspicious of them. Outsiders didn't know what happened behind closed doors, and the unknown is often threatening. Also, there's certainly truth that these men who spent time together might have helped each other out financially, or with employment. When jobs or contracts come up, it can be tempting to go with who you know rather than a complete stranger.

Now almost 300 years later, there are a lot more places for likeminded folks to exchange ideas. Heck, they don't even have to leave the comfort of their own home to hop online and post in a forum, SIG, blog, etc. So why is there still the stigma that Masons will only help Masons, when social networking is available to everybody through so many other channels?

What used to happen in the lodge room or the board room now happens on Plaxo or LinkedIn. I, myself, have more than 600 friends on Facebook, ranging from someone I met when I was 4 years old to someone I met last weekend. Because I have a relationship with these people—I know them, and they know me—I can get things done, or help them if they need it.

A guy I played D&D with in 1st grade is on the board of a local charity and came to my company for a donation of services because we reconnected via Twitter and Facebook. Another friend from college looked me up for assistance on another project he's currently wrapping up. These guys didn't come to me because I'm a Mason; they came to me because they know me and we've managed to keep in touch through social networking sites.

A few years back I read Keith Ferrazzi's book Never Eat Alone. It boils down to not thinking about what your connections can do for you, but what you can do for your connections. How can you help an old friend that will get you back on their radar? They'll be more inclined to help you out if you get in a pinch.

A lot of life IS who you know, but folks who complain they can't get a. because of Masons are missing the point. You don't have to join any secret society to network with people. You just have to reach out the people you already know. We're all connected.

[edit on 7/29/2009 by JoshNorton]




posted on Jul, 29 2009 @ 01:15 PM
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Good post and definitely something I think more people need to understand. A lot of people go through life asking themselves what they can get from other people, without ever taking a step back and contemplating what it is they are giving back to the community as a whole.

I've read a bit of literature published by masons, and it seems to me that one of the big "secrets" is simply that they are bound to their brotherhood; a like-minded group of individuals with common ethics and a strong sense of duty to their community.

In today's connected society, this seems like the logical thing to do, but I'm afraid so many people are too wrapped up in the distractions of materialism and the constant pressure for more, more, more. Gain, gain, gain... they never consider that in order for them to gain, someone else must give, and thus never bother to take time to give themselves.





posted on Jul, 29 2009 @ 01:45 PM
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I agree wholeheartedly with you OP that the Social Aspects of Secret Societies seems antiquarian and anachronistic when faced with the proliferation of Social Networking today.

However, there is more to most Secret Societies than communally working together towards the same goals.

Many Secret Societies are caretakers of wisdom that has been carefully passed down through the Ages. Although you could find that same wisdom posted online like a needle in a haystack if you took the time to look, there actually is a purpose in keeping it "secret" yet freely available to all those willing to strive for it. Something in the human psyche places value on something in direct proportion to how difficult it is to obtain, and whether or not it is commonly available. Generally, information is crammed in our brains and purged at the next convenient moment. However, "secrets" we cling onto and jealously guard and possess till our dying days. If you want to ensure that certain wisdom is revered and cherished, passed on through the Ages from generation to generation, you make it "secret" and make hard the trials to obtain it, while allowing anyone with sincere desire to attempt those trials to prove their worthiness. That is precisely what Secret Societies do, and something that Social Networks and the Internet cannot replace.



posted on Jul, 29 2009 @ 03:21 PM
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reply to post by fraterormus
 


Sure. I guess there's a dichotomy: While I would certainly place more value on something I earned (be it knowledge or material gain) than something that was freely given to me, a big part of my interpretation of Masonry is the value of giving freely. So while we know that going through the paces to gain knowledge is inherently appealing, we're also stressing charity. (How much of a difference does it make when the recipient of charity is in a situation where earning isn't an option? I don't know. And probably a topic for another thread before this one goes off in another direction.)



posted on Jul, 29 2009 @ 03:56 PM
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reply to post by nasdack24k
 


That is a great point. no matter what group or individual that is receiving the charity, somebody had to give. That goes back to the idea of "pay it forward". Besides the feeling of warmth you get from giving, sometimes you get to see first hand what your contribution does, and that is a feeling that is indescribable.

Great thread idea Josh.



posted on Jul, 29 2009 @ 11:56 PM
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Facebook is a the cia's or (insert sinister groupname here ) wet dream.

The amount of information and habits that are collected let alone all your relatives, friends and contacts and their habits and groups are all recorded and conneted.

Within ten years we will know where anyone is at any given time... manditory.



posted on Jul, 30 2009 @ 03:08 AM
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Plus nobody is telling you anything on Facebook.

If you don't know then you don't know, but I know stuff with direct and powerful effect on day to day living that I will not tell you on Facebook or in person because you may have childlike swordmanship and/or I don't need any more competition.

This future-primitive one-world open and transparent global village fantasy idea that is being fed to the youth is not beneficial to the masses. I don't ever want to slip back down into the mass of village idiots ever again.



posted on Jul, 31 2009 @ 11:25 AM
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Originally posted by CaptainAmerica2012
Within ten years we will know where anyone is at any given time... manditory.
No, I don't think it will be mandatory. It will be voluntary. The tracking stuff in Google Maps that's available to a pretty large percentage of phones in the US right now is a little disturbing. The younger people will embrace this technology as a way to know where their friends are all the time, giving up their privacy in exchange for social convenience.



posted on Jul, 31 2009 @ 11:34 AM
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Originally posted by THX-1138
Plus nobody is telling you anything on Facebook.

If you don't know then you don't know, but I know stuff with direct and powerful effect on day to day living that I will not tell you on Facebook or in person because you may have childlike swordmanship and/or I don't need any more competition.
You're right. Facebook isn't a model for the distribution of esoteric knowledge. But there are plenty of smaller online forums where such things are discussed openly. (Heck, even member-only Facebook groups where the secrets of Masonry could be debated, discussed and interpreted...)

I was really only looking at one of the four aspects of Masonry that I've often described (fraternal, charitable, esoteric, ritualistic) and seeing Facebook as an engine which could, for many people, supplement or replace the need for face-to-face bonding between individuals. I don't know how effective Facebook's Causes application would be for charitable work. I know some non-profits who use it to collect donations, but I don't think its been fully thought-out. Esoterics and ritualists could discuss the finer points of their work in closed chat or private FB groups, but I don't know that the ritualists would get much out of that... I always picture them as OCD types who need to practice to get the motions perfect, not talking on the meta-level ABOUT the work.



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