This article was updated on 07/06/20.
Secret societies have always held a special place for the curious. Whether credible or not, who doesn’t love hearing about a good conspiracy theory about powerful figures lurking in the background and plotting world domination. As far as secret societies go, the Illuminati looms large. There is even recent speculation that social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter have been working with them as a method for evoking social engineering.
Origins of the Illuminati
Like most things conspiratorial, there has been much theorizing, speculating, and downright exaggeration of the origins of the Illuminati, giving it something of a cult status. There are no shortage of conspiracy theories in the digital age; the current one involves deaths involving COVID-19.
The generally-accepted facts are these–the name usually relates to the Bavarian Illuminati which was an Enlightenment-era secret society thought to have been founded on May 1, 1776. The society’s stated goals were to oppose superstition, obscurantism (opposition to the increase and spread of knowledge or deliberate obscurity or evasion of clarity), religious influence over public life, and abuses of state power.
The organization wrote in their general statutes, “The order of the day is to put an end to the machinations of the purveyors of injustice, to control them without dominating them.” The Illuminati along with Freemasonry and other secret societies were outlawed through on the order of the Bavarian ruler Charles Theodore with the encouragement of the Catholic Church, in 1784, 1785, 1787, and 1790. In the several years following, the group was vilified by conservative and religious critics who claimed that they continued underground and were responsible for the French Revolution.
Many influential intellectuals and progressive politicians were members, including Ferdinand of Brunswick and the diplomat Xavier von Zwack, who held the post of the Order’s second-in-command. It also attracted literary men such as Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Johann Gottfried Herder and the reigning dukes of Gotha and Weimar.
The Mystique of the Illuminati
What would a secret society be without a rumored conspiratorial agenda? The lore of the Illuminati is rich with these rumors. It has been said that they conspire to control global affairs by masterminding events and planting clandestine agents in government and corporations, in order to gain political power with the likes of Vladimir Putin to influence and to establish a New World Order.
They are said to have influenced a number of novels, films, television shows, comics, video games, and music videos in order to achieve their notorious agenda. These are much cleverer ways to change society rather than the thug groups today like Antifa.
Their Rocky Relationship with the Rosicrucians
The Rosicrucians can be described as a rival secret order and the Illuminati did their best to keep their distance. The goals and beliefs of the two societies were at loggerheads with each other.
The Rosicrutians were against the church, pro-monarchic, and held a world view conflicting with the Illuminati’s vision of a rationalist state run by philosophers and scientists. Also, the Rosicrucians were not above promoting their own brand of mysticism with fraudulent seances.
The Illuminati continues to be a fertile breeding ground for all sort of conspiracy theories such as subverting national soverignty. U.S. presidents are frequently thought of as being in cahoots with them to influencing world events such as when President Bush the Elder made his famous “New World Order” comment.
They are also rumored to have had a hand in the Battle of Waterloo, the French Revolution, and the Kennedy assassination.
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About the Author:
Kelly R. Smith is an Air Force veteran and was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation, financial, and energy-trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at I Can Fix Up My Home Blog where he muses on many different topics.