The Illuminati

In spite of what many people seem to think, the Illuminati doesn’t secretly run the world. It never has and it never will. In fact, the Order hasn’t even existed for 235 years, as of the time of this writing. Well, at least not the real Illuminati that is. Those who now claim to be part of the group are either misinformed or lying. Regardless of what someone like Jay-Z might suggest, the modern organizations that call themselves “Illuminati” have no real connection to the historic Order. More to the point, they never really amassed any political power. Those kinds of outlandish claims are all just the result of fear-mongering propagandists and conspiracy theorists, dating as far back as the year 1800.

The question is, who were the real Illuminati and what happened to them? Well, as it turns out, the answer to this is surprisingly well-documented. You see, it all started in Bavaria in 1776 with a little-known law professor named Adam Weishaupt. He was a secular philosopher who desperately wanted to teach people about rationalism, religious freedom, and universal human rights. He was brilliantly tapping into the zeitgeist and wanted nothing more than to chase after those sensibilities with gusto. However, the Catholic church had a powerful stranglehold on public affairs which prevented him from spreading those progressive notions. So, Weishaupt decided to establish a secret society that would allow him to shine a light on the shortcomings of the establishment.

The original name for the Order was the “Covenant of Perfectibility”. It began in May of 1776 when Weishaupt and four of his students became the first “Perfectibilists”. They were then instructed to use aliases within the secret society in order to protect their identities. As such, Adam Weishaupt became “Spartacus”, named after the famed leader of the Roman slave revolt. Following suit, Massenhausen, Bauhof, Merz, and Sutor became “Ajax”, “Agathon”, “Tiberius”, and “Erasmus Roterodamus”, respectively. Then, in April of 1778, the group finally became known as the Order of Illuminati, which is the plural form of the Latin word Illuminatus, meaning “Enlightened”.

In line with all of this, Weishaupt wished to keep the existence of the Order secret from the Rosicrucians who had a considerable foothold in German Freemasonry at that time. Moreover, given the great success of the Freemasons leading up to the Age of Enlightenment, Adam Weishaupt modeled many aspects of his secret society on theirs. In 1777, of all years, he had become a Mason himself, being admitted to the “Prudence” lodge of the Rite of Strict Observance. Months later, he began recruiting from their ranks. This wasn’t all that hard since he was a deeply admired man among the freethinkers of Bavaria. Of these, a diplomat named Xavier von Zwack became Adam Weishaupt’s second-in-command.

Zwack then persuaded Weishaupt that the Order should enter into friendly relations with Freemasonry, and obtain the dispensation to set up their own lodge, dubbed Theodore. Along with this, some of the early members of the Illuminati became the ruling council, known as the “Areopagus”. This was important because the Order attracted a number of prominent men such as Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, as well as the reigning dukes of Gotha and Weimar. More importantly, the Freemason Baron Adolph Knigge became Adam Weishaupt’s most influential recruiter. With his help, the Illuminati expanded their numbers, gained influence within several Masonic chapters, and incorporated Masonic rituals. Then, a number of Freemasons from Prudence lodge, joined lodge Theodore and set themselves up in a gardened mansion that contained their library of liberal literature.

By 1784, there were at least 650 members of the Illuminati, including influential politicians and professors. As such, the Order did have at least some social significance at one point in time, but it didn’t last for very long. Nonetheless, while it was active, the Illuminati became increasingly more important in a very short period. They became the beacon of hope that they were intended to be, if only briefly. Thomas Jefferson even drew inspiration from Adam Weishaupt and the Order. So, as the Illuminati grew in Bavaria, the American Revolution gained momentum across the Atlantic. At the same time, European monarchs and clergy grew fearful of similar revolts.

Meanwhile, the existence of the Illuminati had become an open secret, much like that of the Freemasons. Unfortunately, many of the officials in the government and church believed that both groups were determined to undermine people’s religious faith. So, the suspicious Bavarian government started keeping records on any alleged members of the Illuminati. Then, to make matters worse, in 1784, a decree by the Duke of Bavaria banned all secret societies. So, less than a decade after it was founded, the Illuminati dissolved, their records were seized, and the founder was forced into exile.

A decade after the Illuminati disbanded, in the aftermath of the French Revolution, conspiracy theories about the Order began to abound. Between 1797 and 1798, Augustin Barruel’s Memoirs Illustrating the History of Jacobinism and John Robison’s Proofs of a Conspiracy popularized the theory that the Illuminati had survived and represented an ongoing international conspiracy. Similarly, in America, a preacher named Jedidah Morse promoted the idea of an ongoing Illuminati conspiracy against the government. In continuation of this, modern authors like Jim Marrs make the same kinds of claims in books such as The Illuminati: The Secret Society that Hijacked the World. As a consequence of this, someone like Beyoncé has to defend herself with words like these:

“Y’all haters corny with that Illuminati mess”

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that groups like the Bohemian Club don’t run much of the world. It’s just that the Illuminati isn’t responsible for the power grabs that people tend to talk about. The “New World Order” does exist, but the Illuminati has nothing to do with it. How could they? As I said, the group basically ended before it ever even really began. The bottom line is that there’s just no evidence to support any claim that the Illuminati still exists or that they are in charge of anything, let alone everything. The Order is really just an idea, and it’s one that has changed a great deal from its inception, becoming a full-blown delusion.

Simply put, the Illuminati was factual but it is fictitious.

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store