What could be sadder and lonelier than to retire from espionage? The initial relief at being able to relax vigilance must be followed almost instantly by a sense of isolation and loss. Even if you know people who are still behind the scenes, the code of conduct forbids you to share their inside knowledge.
Whatever secrets you possessed grow stale very quickly. And whatever truth you may have thought you possessed might have been manipulated by the even more secret society inside what you thought was the inner circle you inhabited.
In a world of nations, overtly warring or not, national interests are going to require covert operations. But covert operations are antithetical to democracy. One has to hope that the secret-keepers for a so-called free country really keep the best interests of the clueless citizens at the top of their priority list.
The only way for the outside world to learn inner secrets is for someone
on the inside to betray the confidence with which their fellow
secret-keepers entrusted them.
Secret societies really mess up the world.
Secret societies are everywhere. Every agglomeration of humanity has its inner mysteries ranging from inside jokes to downright arcane and creepy rituals of dominance and submission. For many, the secrecy is accidental, easily overcome by sharing a welcome packet of essential starter information. Others require indoctrination and promise special rewards for loyal service. Insiders get to do things based on their perception of superiority.
Secrets make you special. Revocation of them demotes you to ordinary. And ordinariness just isn't cool.