In a transition from one era to another, there is an enormous shift in the “value” of certain skill sets, behavior patterns and geographical locations. If, as I believe, we are shifting from an era of Catastrophic Abundance – an era so overflowing with wealth, cheap energy and positive social mood that hundreds of years of social norms and accepted behaviors once necessary to a successful life dissolved under the deluge of abundance – to an era of negative social mood, scarce resources and wide-spread violence, then it pays to revisit what types of behavior patterns will aid us to survive and thrive in such a world.
Specifically, we will address the role of “Secret” or Fraternal Societies and their value to individuals who will be caught up in the Coming Chaos of the upcoming Grand Supercycle correction.
Today, the most common view of “Secret” Societies such as the Freemasons or other fraternal organizations such as the Eagles or the Elks is that they are harmless bunch of old guys who get together and either wear funny clothes and conduct funny rituals or maybe just sit around, drink and play cards, hiding from their wives. While there may be some truth to this for some organizations, many of these groups evolved to fill a real and pressing need over the centuries.
In the past hundred years or so of Catastrophic Abundance, we’ve lost sight of the fact that the Welfare State and vast wealth most of us in the Western World take for granted is a very new development. For most of history, if you became sick, you relied on the care of friends and family. If you were injured, you needed others to help tend your crops or see to your shop. If you had no friends, family or a group there to help you – then suffering, ruin or starvation was your fate.
In addition, it’s only been in the last two hundred years or so (again, coincidently with the cheap availability of energy resources?) that what we call “freedom of religion” has become an operating principle of most governments. For thousands of years before that – you believed in the god that your ruler told you to believe in. If you didn’t, you were a heretic and subject to the many penalties that went along with that evil state of being. Obviously, there have been free-thinkers all throughout history who challenged the dogma of the day. Most learned early to keep quiet or circulate their views only through a select group of trustworthy associates.
So what does any of this have to do with the Coming Chaos? Well, let’s review a few trends that are building in severity every day:
- The coming bankruptcy of the U.S. Welfare State
- Peak Oil
- A house mortgage collapse that threatens the market value of many Americans’ houses
- A trend away from positive social mood to a wave of negative emotion that will saturate every institution in modern life, polarizing ethnic, political and religious debates – and possibly leading to wide-scale violence
Now, let’s postulate the very real possibility that either bankruptcy or hyperinflation wipes out or at least reduces government payments to the old and infirm in the next five to ten years in the U.S. Restrictions on movement due to gasoline shortages or high prices will radically localize most communities – no more zipping off to a city four hours away for a quick vacation or visit. No more hour-long commutes, or the big salaries that go with those jobs at the end of those commutes.
Let’s also postulate that human societies begin to move back towards the norm in history – despotic control over the masses through local warlords and religious leaders. It will initially be part of “emergency measures” or some sort of move to “remove enemy propaganda from the site of our children” or some such.
Now, in that hardened and polarized world, it is my opinion that being a member of a fraternal organization will pay you very big dividends.
These types of groups allow you to meet a variety of people in your community in a relaxed setting of shared values. You get the opportunity to broaden your network. You gain access to new lines of information. You’ll be presented with opportunities to help others when they suffer the coming slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. And… you get to plug into a network that can help you when you are the one on the receiving end.
In addition to strictly material benefits – for those of you with a spiritual or philosophic bent, such groups might become a safe haven for you to puzzle out your theories of the universe and conduct any “heretical” activities. For example, your community could pass a number of laws forcing everyone to belong to one or just a few protestant sects of Christianity. For those Catholics who want to perform the Spiritual Exercises of Loyola may have to go underground, meeting secretly, sharing their experiences, etc.
You may laugh at the thought of having to go back underground for such things, but remember – that has been the rule, not the exception, in history. Spiritual practices have motivated men and women throughout history. This yearning will be just as strong during the Coming Chaos, if not stronger. The material benefits of belonging to an elite group, hidden from the world, might also be the difference between hardship and ruin, hunger and starvation – a difference you don’t want to find out about first hand.
Secret societies may have to move back into the shadows, but in that movement, they may regain their power and hold on human motivation.