First Published at ConspiracyArchive.com on Aug. 5th, 2005
A Metaprogrammer at the Door of Chapel Perilous
In the literature that concerns the Illuminati relentless speculation abounds. No other secret society in recent history – with the exception of Freemasonry – has generated as much legend, hysteria, and disinformation. I first became aware of the the Illuminati about 14 years ago. Shortly thereafter I read a book, written by Robert Anton Wilson, called Cosmic Trigger: Final Secret of the Illuminati. Wilson published it in 1977 but his opening remarks on the subject still ring true today:
Briefly, the background of the Bavarian Illuminati puzzle is this. On May 1, 1776, in Bavaria, Dr. Adam Weishaupt, a professor of Canon Law at Ingolstadt University and a former Jesuit, formed a secret society called the Order of the Illuminati within the existing Masonic lodges of Germany. Since Masonry is itself a secret society, the Illuminati was a secret society within a secret society, a mystery inside a mystery, so to say. In 1785 the Illuminati were suppressed by the Bavarian government for allegedly plotting to overthrow all the kings in Europe and the Pope to boot. This much is generally agreed upon by all historians.1 Everything else is a matter of heated, and sometimes fetid, controversy.
It has been claimed that Dr. Weishaupt was an atheist, a Cabalistic magician, a rationalist, a mystic; a democrat, a socialist, an anarchist, a fascist; a Machiavellian amoralist, an alchemist, a totalitarian and an “enthusiastic philanthropist.” (The last was the verdict of Thomas Jefferson, by the way.) The Illuminati have also been credited with managing the French and American revolutions behind the scenes, taking over the world, being the brains behind Communism, continuing underground up to the 1970s, secretly worshipping the Devil, and mopery with intent to gawk. Some claim that Weishaupt didn’t even invent the Illuminati, but only revived it. The Order of Illuminati has been traced back to the Knights Templar, to the Greek and Gnostic initiatory cults, to Egypt, even to Atlantis. The one safe generalization one can make is that Weishaupt’s intent to maintain secrecy has worked; no two students of Illuminology have ever agreed totally about what the “inner secret” or purpose of the Order actually was (or is . . .). There is endless room for spooky speculation, and for pedantic paranoia, once one really gets into the literature of the subject; and there has been a wave of sensational “ex-poses” of the Illuminati every generation since 1776. If you were to believe all this sensational literature, the damned Bavarian conspirators were responsible for everything wrong with the world, including the energy crises and the fact that you can’t even get a plumber on weekends. (pp. 3-4)
That short excerpt is perhaps the most honest and succinct introduction to the Illuminati as you’ll ever come across. So it is more than a bit ironic that Wilson, throughout the rest of the text, proceeds to perpetuate and expand upon similar myths, and in the process manages to take it to a whole new level.2 In the end, the Illuminati had mystified Wilson as much as anyone in the preceding centuries.