Open Secret Societies (OSS) represent the container in which persons willing to be of service to a purpose greater than themselves can operate and be supported by others who have similar beliefs, but who they don't necessarily know. Fundamental to the idea of OSS's is that participants somehow passively identify themselves to each other as part of the OSS and have a introduction protocol which reduces the risks of being taken advantage of. For example, identification might consist of wearing a pin or scarf indicating what set of OSS beliefs you subscribe to. Risk reduction in one school of OSS's is that there is not money exchanged between participants.
These societies are open, because anyone who is willing to subscribe to the principals can join. They are secret because there is no centralized list of members and the self identifying markers are subtle and designed only to draw the attention of other members of the same OSS.
“Are you a patriot?” the subway rider said to the man with a small eagle pin.
“i love my country, but i am not from around here” he replied with a smile.
And the tumblers within the lock cylinder fell into place.
Neighboring riders ease dropping on the conversation would think little of their conversation except perhaps that it had gotten a bit too personal a bit too fast. And this is how it is supposed to appear, strangers meeting and sharing casual conversation, moving on.
But there is more here. There is a purpose to the conversation and a covenant the commuters are bound by.
They are the Dandilions. Members of an open secret society which is based on mutual aid and eschews money. As soon as the commuter confessed not being from around here, the purpose of their conversation had been determined. Inside of the time it took them to get to their first departing stop, they needed to help each other. The overly intimate conversation was about what of import was happening in each of their lives and the listener is not doing so casually, but with an ear of employing all the available resources to them, so as to change things for the better for their fellow traveler.
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