Arch Stanton Guest Post: Episode 16 in Today I Learned – The Illuminati

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DID YOU KNOW THE ILLUMINATI CONTROLS THE MEDIA AND THE PRESIDENCY AND CONGRESS AND JAY-Z AND BEYONCE? It seems unbelievable, but that’s only because its so real. But seriously – why is this a thing? Why do you see an eye in a pyramid and think ‘Illuminati!’? How is this so well known that Taco Bell made a commercial about it, and Charlie Daniels had to issue an outraged tweet about how “the Illuminati is not a frivolous subject”? (THE IRONY of a dude famous for dueling the devil in a fiddle contest preaching about the frivolity of another quasi-entity is delicious, almost as much so as a chicken quesarito from Taco Bell with hot sauce. ALMOST.) I was thinking about how this group obviously came from somewhere, and their deification as the antithesis to every and anything in the modern world, but how? Or why even? Let ignore Charlie Daniels’ serious statement and get frivolous about the Illuminati!

Like all good conspiracies, the Illuminati was born out of a shred of truth and blossomed into something hilariously opaque and conspiratorial. The “real” Illuminati was founded in 1776 by philosopher Adam Weishaupt as, no joke, a secret society in Ingolstadt, Germany, which sounds exactly like the noise I shoehorn in when I am forcing my offensive German on strangers at the grocery store. Hilariously, the original purpose of this iteration of the Illuminati was to fight superstition, “obscurantism” (the practice of airing deliberately imprecise information with the intention of confusion its audience, which definitely is no longer a thing), religious influence over public life and abuses of state power. The group Alex Jones screams about when declaring a New World Order was originally founded to fight idiots spreading misinformation, because those who do not understand history are doomed to repeat them apparently. This iteration of the Illuminati spent most of their time infiltrating local Freemasons (aka the neighborhood-dad-garage-band of secret societies) and recruiting them to their own group.

Because it was the late 18th century, states panicked about the possibility of someone undermining their control, especially in German which still hadn’t been consolidated into a single state at this point. Rumors of the Illuminati and Freemasons undermining state authority reached Bavarian ruler Charles Theodore, who outlawed secret societies in 1784 with assistance from the Church, who definitely didn’t have an interest in fighting the people fighting religious interference in public life. Under penalty of death, the Illuminati predictably fizzled out immediately by all accounts… until the French Revolution. By the time the French Revolution had gripped France and paralyzed the other European rulers suddenly now under the threat of guillotining, culprits were needed to blame for this sudden shift in political winds, and the Illuminati made an excellent subject. No evidence was found linking them to any revolutionary activity, but “lack of evidence” has never been a hindrance to good ol’ fashioned outrage. After this period, the Illuminati was replaced as the conspiracy of choice by the Jews and Catholics.

Here’s where the next step into the modern version of the Illuminati we all know and love splits into three competing theories according to the internet, which has never been wrong ever. The first theory of modern Illuminati involves the window between World War I and World II where fascist propagandists and revisionist historians claimed it existed to serve the Jewish elite as well as Soviet Communism in order to divide and rule the world. This seems like the most probable avenue because of course the Jews were behind it. American socialite Edith Starr was a large proponent of the Illuminati conspiracy at this time in addition to her role as an anti-Mormon agitator, which is a fascinating concept in its own right. This version of history led to fundamentalist Christians pushing the Illuminati-as-anti-globalists and secular/modern humanists ruining everything. How the Illuminati shifted from “keeping the world’s powers separate” into suddenly being all about a “New World Order”, I have no idea; you’ll need to scour YouTube on your own time for that.

The second, and most entertaining version involves a group of anarchist hippies printing and distributing “the Principia Discordia”, which was a type of parody religious text written to praise the goddess of Chaos, Eris. The basic premise is civil disobedience, hoaxes and practical jokes were totally hip now, or whatever hippies said to describe things as cool. Groovy, probably. One writer, Robert Anton Wilson, embraced these truisms and wanted to fight the man via his job as the editor of Playboy. He began sending letters to his employer about the elite secret group called the Illuminati, and then would send more letters contradicting his previous claims about the group. The idea was readers would see the different claims and think critically about how information was presented to them – what a wacky hi-jink! Eventually, he wrote a series of books called “The Illuminatus Trilogy” addressing cover-ups, which became a cult classic. Somehow a terrible joke crossed over into legitimate conspiracy shortly after. This seems too stupid to be the actual cause, but I know better than to consider anything or anyone “too stupid” to avoid defying expectations.

The third, and what I consider the least plausible, is the hip hop game somehow decided the Illuminati was going to be the thing they rapped about in their serious tracks not about drug dealing or being in gangs, like mid 90’s artists were wont to do. According to the Daily Beast, between 1995 and 1998, Mobb Deep, LL Cool J, Goodie Mob, AZ, Ras Kass, Wu-Tang Clan, Canibus and Dr Dre all mentioned the Illuminati in their songs. Before long, the genre turned on itself and started proclaiming other artists were part of the Illuminati because they were more successful then them. Jay-Z was the first person targeted, because the only way to make it in hip hop is to sell out to the Illuminati allegedly. In 2011, apparently every major record label had at least one, if not multiple artists, referencing the Illuminati or refuting their link to the group on a track. Since then, anyone who has slapped a rhyming verse over a beat has been linked to the Illuminati. OH NO, THE SPIN DOCTORS ARE PROOF OF THE ILLUMINATI AND THE NEW WORLD ORDER! I don’t see this as plausible because there’s no really link between a bunch of black guys in the 1990s got to reading texts from a bunch of Enlightenment-era thinkers from Ingoldstadt, Germany – it seems far more likely the jumped on the bandwagon forged by an “anti-Mormon agitator” or the lamest practical joke of all time.

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Recently, Dan Brown sullied the concept of a modern novel with “Angels and Demons” about an Illuminati hitman and Pat Robertson insulted the concept of written communication with “The New World Order”. From here, however you choose to disseminate the information in your own worldview is up to you. If you view a lack of evidence disproving a fictional entity as proof of its existence, or the endless “proof” of the existence of a supposedly super secret group based on edgy, popular or common symbols, well that’s on you. If the Illuminati was really as all-powerful as YouTube seems to think, wouldn’t their videos have been removed by now?

/sees video about Blue Ivy and the acrostic symbolism of her name as “Born Living Under Evil Illuminati’s Very Youngest”

//does not discern that, if this group was to survive, she wouldn’t be the youngest for long

///uploads my own video about how “Two Princes” is absolute proof of the Spin Doctors allegiance to the unholy New World Order

DON’T KNOCK IT UNTIL YOU GET ALL THE FACTS GUYS!

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