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Skull and Bones! Accept or reject?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by DrFrylock, Aug 30, 2010.

  1. DrFrylock

    DrFrylock
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    The White

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    I DVR a small number of shows that I like to watch. I love edutainment stuff. I think I got through all of FBI Files. New Detectives is OK, but it's too much forensics. My new favorite edutainment show is History's Mysteries. One episode they did focused on secret societies.

    Secret societies have always fascinated me a little, and given that they're doing History Channel shows on them, I'm guessing they fascinate others as well.

    There are a whole spectrum of secret societies all around us. I like this Wikipedia-linked definition; by this definition a secret society is a group who:

    • is exclusive
    • claims to own special secrets
    • shows a strong inclination to favor its own

    There is a whole spectrum of societies that fit this description. The one that comes to mind for me is Skull and Bones at Yale, whose membership includes three U.S. Presidents (Kerry was also a "Bonesman," meaning that we were going to end up with a Bonesman-President from 2004-2008 no matter what). Societies with powerful members are often linked to conspiracy theories. Others in this vein include, for example, Bohemian Grove (see what Richard Nixon thought about them).

    Fraternities and sororities seem to be "lite" versions, with less exclusivity and less secrecy (although they nearly all have their so-called "secret rituals.") The Freemasons seem like a grown-up version.

    All these organizations seem to me to be efforts for a bunch of people to get together and collude at some level, creating an advantage for the ingroup over (and possibly to the detriment of) the outgroup, which is everybody else. I am reminded of the Stanford Prison Experiment.

    When the "secret" parts leak out, it's usually nothing exciting. It never seems to be "secret knowledge" like the existence of aliens or the frequency of the brown noise; it's usually the details of a "secret ritual" that is no spookier than a Catholic wedding. As such, the secrecy seems to serve mostly to enforce the exclusivity and reinforce the ingroup bond to encourage the collusion.

    You don't specifically need the secret, I've even heard of "business clubs" that operate in much the same way - businesspeople meet every month at IHOP to exchange leads to generate more business within the club's membership rather than outside of it. The term "secret society" is even a misnomer, as the existence of the society and its membership are often well-known. I hear that the Freemasons prefer "society with secrets."

    What may be a little more sinister is the way that the societies get members to keep the secrets. It may be as simple as an oath. According to some dubious sources, Skull and Bones members masturbate in a coffin while telling the other members their deepest, darkest secrets - essentially exposing themselves to future blackmail in exchange for membership.

    FOCUS: Are you a member of a secret society (or "society with secrets?") If offered the chance to become a member of one of the really good "power-elite" ones, would you join - knowing that you might have to sacrifice your privacy and give special treatment to people you don't necessarily know well or trust?

    ALTERNATE FOCUS: Could you masturbate to orgasm in an open coffin surrounded by a bunch of other guys (and girls) the same age while revealing to them your deepest, darkest secrets?
     
  2. Nettdata

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    FOCUS: Yes.

    ALT-FOCUS: Yes. (But the joke would be on them).
     
  3. Now Slappy

    Now Slappy
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    Focus: Yes. I'm a Mason and a Shriner(You have to become a master mason in order to be eligible to join the shrine.) "To be one, ask one." I like helping kids so it suits me. Now I'm off to slaughter a fatted calf...opps, I've said too much. Move along, nothing to see here.
     
  4. Mike Ness

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    I would like to be in one.

    I was in a fraternity and I will tell you the ones with a difficult pledge program did seem to have a closer knit of men in them. Going to the state colleges where they couldn't get away with the sometimes outrageous (and dangerous) pledge acts the guys seemed different.

    The thought was always experiencing something awful made you closer, as well as nothing worth doing is easy.
     
  5. Kubla Kahn

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    I know a guy who is a Mason and has his FFL gun dealers license. I like to think these are connected in some way.
     
  6. Beefy Phil

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    See, this is the part I never understood about frats or secret societies or the like. We spent a semester together being abused by upperclassmen or blowing loads in a basement while talking about summer camp indiscretions, and now I call you brother? No, thank you. If I wanted a close-knit bond forged by mutual suffering, I'd join the military.
     
  7. Disgustipated

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    FOCUS: Yes, I'm a Mason. I haven't been to Lodge in a few years, but I still pay my dues. They mail me the goat.
     
  8. Blue Dog

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    Question for the Masons here:

    My senior year of High School, I received an "Honesty and Integrity" award from the local Mason lodge. I had no idea I was even up for an award, and the next thing I know, I'm being presented with a plaque and a $250 check at a banquet hall after watching some movie about the founding fathers (I don't really remember anything else about that ceremony- nor do I really know what exactly the Masons do).

    I'm still a little confused by the entire thing. I guess my question is this- was I being watched by these people or something leading up to the award? Was I deemed to be some kind of recruit? I was never contacted again after the ceremony, so I always just assumed that they had asked the school principal who would be an acceptable recipient. But I have always wondered if they secretly wanted be to get into a duel with Paul Walker or something.
     
  9. tweetybird

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    My dad is a member of the Bohemian Grove. It is a lot more intellectual and artsy fartsy, and a lot less about power and influence, than people think. They literally go up to a camp in Northern California and put on plays and talks and concerts for two weeks with no women in sight. That's it.

    That, and it's really fucking easy to get in. Know someone who is a member (there are thousands, most of them not particularly powerful or important - my dad is a retired small town banker). Go with them. Manage to not be an idiot, and maybe amuse a few drunk old guys. Voila! You're on the list. It might take 25 years to become a member (I think that's how they get the exclusive feeling, although as it turns out over half the people who sign up to be on the list actually decline for various reasons when offered membership), but there you are.

    Oh, and are you a professional performing artist or writer? Your ticket is written, you're in in six months - all the old guys need people to actually put on the plays and talks and concerts. Again, as long as you manage to not be an idiot when you meet members.

    My husband went with my dad this year and is now on the list. He absolutely loved being there - he said it's super relaxed, with great food and booze flowing freely, and no one talks about work, everyone just enjoys the intellectual stimulation and music. I'm just jealous it's an all boys club. Sounds pretty sweet to me.
     
  10. mad5427

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    I'm a mason and my father and grandfather are as well. Most lodges have scholarship funds for local high school students going off to college. I've never heard of one just being randomly handed out. We have the local high school students apply like any other scholarship and we put a committee together and choose the best qualified. Man or woman, it's whomever is best in our eyes. They get $1000 freshman year and $500 each year afterwards. So, we have 4 students at a time for a total of $2500. Not bad for a lodge as small as mine is.

    Do you think anybody in your family might have signed you up for that award? I doubt they would just be monitoring people.

    The mason's aren't so much a secret society as a society with secrets. Plus, you can find all of them out in about 5 minutes with a simple internet search. Most of it is symbolic and really only holds meaning to those in the group. Nothing sinister or crazy. If there is some deep dark secrets at the highest levels, I wouldn't know about any of that.

    As was mentioned, if you want to be one, ask. Simple as that. As long as you're of decent character, believe in any sort of higher power and are male(areas in Europe allow women to join but not here at this point), you can join. I was in a college fraternity and their rituals and secrecy were so much crazier and they, like most fraternities, are derived from the Masons.

    I joined to meet people in my area as I work from home by myself and don't have a lot of avenues to meet new people. The group was good for my dad and grandpa and so I stopped by a local lodge and met a few guys. I'm only 32 so I'm very young compared to many members in my lodge, but they are some good guys. A very large quantity of retired and ex-military and law enforcement. I'm not hard core into it, but enjoy the messages behind it all. I enjoy their company and love hearing some of their old stories.

    Plus, I had some health problems recently and they really stepped up to help me and my wife in that hard time without hesitation. We have a few fund raisers and do a lot of charitable work for local old folk homes and orphanages.

    I didn't join either my fraternity in college or the Masons before I met a bunch of members. I wouldn't join a group just to elevate my status or anything like that.
     
  11. Frebis

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    This isn't a joke- I watched a documentary about the Bohemian Grove once, and it claimed it was a big gay club. Like a bunch of Republicans go up there to sleep with male prostitutes. The documentary was pretty crapily put together, which made me take it all with a grain of salt. But still in the back of my mind I had to wonder what 2000 republican dudes were doing in the middle of nowhere for two weeks. Plus the theater thing has always been for the gays. Kinda makes you wonder.
     
  12. Maltob14

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    Does Costco count?
     
  13. tweetybird

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    One of my sister's favorite ways to piss my dad off is to speculate on what percentage of the club is gay and how many of them are doin' it during the summer encampment. As he is very square and oblivious, he insists that he's never seen anything. Common sense dictates that the truth is somewhere in between!

    Oh, and they're not all Republicans. By a long shot. Many of your favorite classic rock band members and actors are members and frequent guests, and those guys tend to be aging hippie liberals.
     
  14. Pink Candy

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    Sadly, women are not allowed to join the Stonecutters. I would've rocked the sacred Stonecutter underwear.

    [​IMG]

    Instead, I joined a sorority. I found myself singing "We Do" during our "secret" rituals duing initiation.
     
  15. Pinkcup

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    Focus: Joined a sorority in college, and a quick Google search shows me that a few of our "secrets" aren't widely known by non-members. So there's that. But all of the "secrets" are silly anyhow. Password to get into chapter meetings, handshake to get past the door, test files, rush strategies......not remotely as interesting as I thought they'd be.

    Anyhow. Yes, I would join the hell out of some Skull & Bones. I would have to stifle my rage at being around entitled manchildren all the time, but the career boosts might make it worthwhile.

    Alt. Focus: Are toys allowed? If they allowed buzz buddies, I wouldn't be able to spit out more than one secret at most before my turn was up. That would be waaaaay more beneficial for me than it would be for them. So......yes.
     
  16. Elset

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    Damn it. Beaten to the punch
     
    #16 Elset, Aug 30, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 27, 2015
  17. BrianH

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    I suppose where I work could be considered a "secret society" as I'm privy to quite a lot of stuff the average civilian isn't, but for the most part it is information that is known--but not confirmed--by the intelligent public.

    My great uncle was a member of Skull and Bones and graduated Yale 1929. He went on to become a very wealthy man, owned a minor league baseball team, and named the stadium after his father. He lived to the age of 97 and, before he died, discussed what membership in the Bones had meant.

    He told me, point blank, that there was no such thing as democracy in the US... it was only an illusion. He stated plainly that all major players were chosen by a consortium of the elite, and while candidates fight hard for position, whoever wins is totally irrelevant to the ruling elite. This was before the John Kerry/George Bush election, which openly pitted two Bonesmen against each other. I'll never forget that little chat; it was like learning about the Matrix or something.
     
  18. Sam N

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    Yeah, I agree with all that completely. When you take the end result into account, i.e. a bunch of people feeling (or actually being?) better/stronger/more powerful/more confident without actually having improved themselves in the least bit, that just puts it over the top. You joined a group. Don't confuse the power the group provides with your own power, because you are certainly not a better person asshole.

    Obviously, there is an exception in things like the military, where you actually do train and develop new skills, and you know... improve yourself individually.
     
  19. scotchcrotch

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    My good friend is a Mason, but keeps it "hush hush".

    Seriously? What could you possibly know that is so secretive? Are you out fighting crime at night? Do you have proof of aliens?

    Considering your current occupation, you are either a secret agent or completely full of shit keeping everything "hush hush" to build the illusion and appeal.

    Occam's razor?
     
  20. Dcc001

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    I could never join a secret society for the same reason I could never join a normal club, or for that matter a political party...I have a large anti-authority streak in me. I'm all for people doing whatever they want to do; live and let live. Any rule or ritual or whatever is fine, so long as it doesn't apply to me. My favourite sports to practice are yoga and running...not much of a team player.

    I kinda find the notion of wanting to be a member of a 'secret' society (let's face it...it's not really secret. They want people kinda sorta knowing, just to add to the mystique and perceived power) a bit disturbing. What is the psychology that goes behind surrendering your individuality to some degree so that you can be a member of the groupthink? I don't mean at a regular level; we all conform in some way. I mean going to extremes and putting yourself in danger just to be on the 'inside.' Of course, I realize that most organizations are quite mild and seek only to perform good work within a community. There's a vibe to initiation and exclusion that puts me off, though.

    Nope, not for me.