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Friday, January 8, 2010

January: Why Do Secret Societies Exist?












Frankie learns about a secret (all male) society at her private school called the Loyal Order of the Basset Hounds. E. Lockhart asks, "Why do you think secret societies exist? What's the point?"

10 comments:

Little Willow said...

Some people want to feel as though they belong to something -- they want to be a part of something. Others enjoy secrets, knowing something others don't know, having some knowledge or right or invitation that others don't have -- it can be a power-trip thing as well.

Shelf Elf said...

So people feel different and included all at once.

But I really think it's mostly about feeling special.

Angela said...

In some cases the group exists in secret because the mission goes against the social rules of the day / public laws. The secret exists to protect the members of the group as individuals and to protect the group's purpose.

Misty said...

I think also, especially for school aged people, they create a secret society because it makes they feel special and above everyone else. For new members to join, there maybe certain criteria or tests they have to pass before being aloud to join the order. This way the members hold someone desirable above the heads of the other students, in this case, girls are excluded and therefore, maybe, of lower value than the boys.

Lorie Ann Grover said...

I can't stand this part of human nature. I can't stand secret societies. Basically, they give me the creepout.

I do appreciate these thoughts though, and Angela's point. If we by law can't assemble, then I have a measure of toleration.

e-lockhart said...

One thing I was writing about in The Disreputable History was how secret societies are only really good fun if people kind of know something about them. It's no good if no one suspects, because then there's no cachet attached to membership.

Has anyone read Diana Peterfreund's Secret Society Girl? Very good fun.

http://www.dianapeterfreund.com/

Rhiannon Hart said...

I agree with Angela--they can function to escape prosecution or persecution. They've always seemed sinister but fascinating to me.

great.perhaps said...

Like Misty said, people love to feel special and superior. Who knows why? Maybe it has something to do with the fact that between grades, sports, writing, etc, we live in a very competitive world where being superior to someone is often thought of the best thing to be? No matter what, I've noticed teens especially love excluding people "beneath" them.

Dia Calhoun said...

I agree with E. Lockhart that Secret Societies only have real value if they are known to exist. I can however, see value in a secret society, if say you are living in a facist regime and most resort to secrecy in order to protect your religion or some other aspect of human rights. Also, on a whole other level, secret societies could be just plain good fun, so long as no one was hurt by them.

Rachel said...

People want to feel special and different, but at the same time they want to feel as if they are a part of something. If someone is a part of a secret society, they can feel as if they are above someone else. After all, there must be a reason that they were chosen instead of someone else. They have a reason to beleive that they are great. But, for this reason, secret societies thrive on people's insecurities. People who feel excluded, alone, or unworthy woulld all desire the aproval of a secret society. Secret societies exist as long as people feel insecure, and as long as they can feed off these insecurities, letting people feel accepted, but also letting them feel as if they are constantly tryin to prove themselves.