Every one of us loves secret societies and conspiracy theories. One of the most common facet of any conspiracy theory is the fantastical notion that our world is run by shadowy secret societies whose evil machinations are geared towards creation of a new world order. Illuminati is one such famous and widely discussed group who really came into prominence after being heavily featured in Dan Brown’s “Angels and Demons”
One can trace the origin of Illuminati to 18th century Bavaria where it was founded by AdamWeishaupt at the University of Ingolstadt in 1776. Heavily influenced by the ideas of Enlightenment the society tried to oppose religious bigotry and encouraged rational and liberal thinking. Illuminati were in all likelihood an offshoot of the Freemasons. The group practiced the same system of newly inducted members taking pledges and swearing their fealty to their superiors. The order was called the Bavarian Illuminati and it attracted numerous intellectuals and influential politicians within its fold. The illuminati members held important stations in their respective nations and it is speculated that the group masterminded and controlled numerous geopolitical events of enormous significance. The group’s aim was to infiltrate various governmental organizations and shape the course of future events of import. However, in the latter half of the eighteenth century the entire society got dismantled because of factional infighting that broke out because of leadership and ideological tussles. However many conspiracy theorists believe that a remnant of the original group has managed to persist for all these years and is striving continuously to establish a new world order.
Do They Still Exist ?
Despite the original groups ie the Bavarian Illuminati’s abrupt end , conspiracy theorists are bullishly certain about the group’s existence in modern times , whose shadowy imprints, they claim, can be seen everywhere. The theorists believe that this society is responsible for leaving clues and secret signs on the US dollar. These signs are evident on the opposite side of the Great Seal, which is employed for official legislation. Both the obverse and reverse designs were incorporated in the dollar bill in the nineteenth century. Many wrongly interpret the Latin phrase “Novus Ordo Secrolum” as New World order (when it actually means New Age.) But it is enough “evidence” to fuel the conspiracy theories that a grand plan was at work for two centuries. The ubiquitous pyramid and eye symbol have been relentlessly linked to Freemasons who were believed to harbor an Illuminati faction. Even if this sketchy evidence proves conclusive the purpose of leaving a secret sign on a nationally circulated dollar bill will confound even the staunchest of the group’s believers.
Conspiracy theorists have tried desperately to link various geopolitical as well as historical events like the Waterloo or the French revolution, JFK assassination as definite signs of the Illuminati’s meddling in global affairs. They believe that the Illuminati’s ultimate aim is to infiltrate every level of our society and to create a new world order by this insidious approach.
It is noteworthy that the concept of Illuminati only gained traction with the modern day conspiracy theorists post the publication of Illuminatis trilogy in 1970 where the two authors Robert Shea and Robert Anton Winston tried to sensationalize the Illuminati’s modern day existence and their plans of a grand global coup by subjugating the masses by mind control and mass identification techniques. Apparently as per the authors, when the entire political order collapses (something which will obviously be orchestrated by the Illuminati) the group will be there to pick up the pieces and establish a new world order. Modern proponents have even put forth outlandish ideas that the group is orchestrating global recessions and mass unemployment. They are encouraging the proliferation of drugs and pornography and also they are actually responsible for all the major armed conflicts that have occurred in the last two hundred years, including the two world wars.
The nexus between Hollywood and the Illuminati is considered to be an undisputable fact by modern day theorists, with many powerful stars speculated to be active members of the group. Political issues like presidential campaigns are also said to be the masterminded by the secret group , who as per the conspiracy theorists have assumed total control of the fourth estate. People like JFK and Michel Jackson were actually influential members who got murdered because they did not toe their master’s wishes. The global paranoia and panic about the doomsday prophecy is also said to be induced by the maneuverings of the Illuminati.
The mysterious and sinister world of secret societies , assassination plots, establishment of a new global order have found a new refuge in the form of internet, where such bizarre theories get bandied around without any credible proof. Despite tons of theories and suggestions, there is nil empirical evidence that could conclusively substantiate the group’s present day existence and modus operandi. They exist only in the mind of conspiracy theorists , who are now routinely linking every global event of significance, to the Illuminati.
As The New England Skeptical Society's research into the Illuminati and conspiracy theorists concludes:
"They are responsible for every evil and every unjust act that ever occurs anywhere; the fact that absolutely no evidence of their existence can be found only serves to make them stronger and more frightening."