General Question

lloydbird's avatar

Esotericists : Without revealing any secrets, can you say why your secret knowledge has to be so?

Asked by lloydbird (8738points) August 4th, 2009

Answering this Q need not necessarily reveal you as such. You might ‘know someone’ that is.
I was shocked to discover that, even Buddhism has a secret side, that is reserved for the “select few”! Most other religions and traditions do as well.
Why is this?
Is there information that you “just have to be ready for”?
Is there information that would “blow your mind”?
Why the secrecy?
Are some ideas too much to handle, for an insufficiently developed mind or psyche?

Can’t say that I’m holding out much hope for a big response, but here goes.

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24 Answers

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barumonkey's avatar

- There are government secrets that are kept for national security reasons
– There are trade secrets kept to keep a company profiting as much as possible
– There are many reasons to keep many kinds of secrets. That’s why so many secrets exist!

patg7590's avatar

why would we tell you?

ABoyNamedBoobs03's avatar

because I’d have to kill you.

PerryDolia's avatar

It is really quite simple.

The group/sect wants to wait the student demonstrates they are ready to receive the special knowledge.

They don’t reveal the way they determine when the student is ready because they don’t want students knowing how to fake their readiness.

When the student is truly ready, the secret knowledge is revealed to them.

Fyrius's avatar

Maybe it’s to make it seem more appealing to get to the level where you’re “worthy” of the knowledge, thus making disciples more eager to learn the ways of whatever cult or tradition we’re talking about.

I know a number of aspects of the ancient Chinese martial art Tai Chi Chuan have been kept secret for centuries, reserved for those who learned the art to a certain level. But in that case, there’s also the simple factor of skill involved; some techniques and principles are just too advanced for the less experienced students to use at all. Tai Chi is pretty complicated.
And it was considered a privilege, reserved for the most determined, I think.

patg7590's avatar

@lloydbird lol I don’t know I was just going for cheap sarcasm lurve

mrentropy's avatar

In some cases I always figure it’s elitism. “I know something that you don’t, so I’m better than you.” kind of thing.

CMaz's avatar

“I know something that you don’t, so I’m better than you.”
Until you know also and if you still do not get it. Your problem not mine. ;-)

PapaLeo's avatar

Sorry @lloydbird I’m not an Esoterist. I guess I should have kept my mouth shut.

Garebo's avatar

I think you can find esoteric thought in the roots of Christianity, and amongst others. Most people can’t wrap their minds around valuable info, besides you could end up getting burned at the stake.

YARNLADY's avatar

The same reason you would not expect a two year old to know what the ABC’s really mean. To him an A is a shape that makes grandma happy when you say Aeeee. That’s all it means.

When so-called secret knowledge is discussed with people who have no sound foundation to make sense of it, they can easily misunderstand or simply be bored and dismiss it as unimportant.

Elle's avatar

Power. In a lot of corporations, you have these gate keepers of knowledge who have power by limiting that knowledge.

Harp's avatar

In the context of Buddhism, esotericism was an element adopted from older Hindu tantric traditions by some Indian Buddhists, and later spread to China and Japan. It’s now represented in the Vajrayana, Chin-Yen, Tendai and Shingon schools. The legacy of those ancient Hindu influences is a distinctly magical, shamanistic flavor that’s not present in other schools of Buddhism.

My understanding of the “secret” nature of the esoteric teachings is that in these schools, tremendous emphasis is placed on the role of the teacher in the spiritual path of the disciple. The teacher is really more of a guru, closely directing the practice of the disciple. Because of this, it’s considered important that the teachings be communicated directly from teacher to disciple as the teacher deems appropriate to the disciple’s level and need. The “secrecy” (which is actually over-hyped) is just to assure the teacher’s control over the process, presumably for the disciple’s own good.

In the exoteric schools (which is my tradition), there are no secret teachings, and the teacher’s role is much less active in the disciple’s practice.

Garebo's avatar

I think there is secret information that is handed down to a chosen few. There is accounts of hidden knowledge in Sufi sects, the Gnostics and many others that wasn’t wasn’t allowed to be transmitted, or widely presented to others.
Even with the Masons, supposedly once you attain a certain degree you are granted certain privileges and knowledge those below do not enjoy. My grandfather in the 1920’s achieved 32nd degree, then was being groomed for governor of the state, then died soon thereafter. My father always said that he was highly intellectual and felt he was holding on to something precious.

mammal's avatar

What if after years of dedication you were finally let into the inner sanctum of arcane knowledge…and it was like…‘Gee…is that it?.....

Zendo's avatar

With the Masons, it is 33rd degree where the secret knowledge is revealed.

The Biggest Secret by David Icke

CMaz's avatar

“Power. In a lot of corporations, you have these gate keepers of knowledge who have power by limiting that knowledge.”

Yes, because they know “The Secret”. That ability of knowing how to succeed and understanding how available it is to everyone.
Holding back that knowledge and keeping your employees busy. Keeps them from acquiring that knowledge. If you allowed them to understand “The Secret”. You would not have any employees to do the grunt work.

YARNLADY's avatar

@ChazMaz It sounds reasonable when you put it that way, but just for the sake of understanding, pretend you are the boss and your job is to make money for yourself, and any other owners of the company. How does that change your perspective?

Elle's avatar

@YARNLADY Yup. Gatekeepers add no value to shareholders. But if they’re in place, it’s really hard to oust them.

CMaz's avatar

I am the boss. It does not, change my perspective. Actually, it is just the way the world spins. Some/plenty are just not aware of it.
Being in a creative industry I have to be more creative with my intent, but still the same.
I nurture my people, I provide every opportunity to better themselves. But their “betterment” is for the better of the company. Otherwise I could eventually be out of a job and/or, I would eventually have no experienced staff on hand. :-)

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