Esoteric teachings form a body of knowledge whose dissemination is severely restricted. These restrictions are meant to carefully filter the listening public in the case of oral transmission, and to impose limits on copying and circulation, and later on the printing, of the written word. As a result of these restrictions, complex strategies of encoding and double speech and writing were developed, which enabled the transmission of secret information to the worthy elect, without preliminary filtering of the congregation of listeners or readers. Esotericism as a general attitude, in distinction from actual esoteric practice, is a tendency to view canonical texts, social phenomena, or even individual behavior as a form of coded manifestation that intentionally conceals something deeper and more meaningful that only the few can decipher. In that respect esotericism as an interpretative outlook reflects a consciousness of the existence of something concealed and hidden, whose knowledge or experience is of decisive or even redemptive import; this consciousness is expressed through a wide variety of conceptions. What the variations of esoteric consciousness have in common is the assumption that, behind what is revealed, there exists a purer, deeper, and truer level of meaning.
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