The theories of today’s ‘Illuminati’ conspiracists have little to do with Adam Weishaupt and resemble more some sort of reactionary, Gnostic version of Marxism on steroids. Take Marxist rhetoric a step further and replace ‘the bourgeoisie’ who only appear to control things with ‘they who secretly control things’ and ‘the proletariat’ with ‘those of us who know better but aren’t quite sure what to do.’
In conspiracist language, Weishaupt’s Bavarian Illuminati is only one small eventuation of some colossal omen that has been brewing since the birth of Sumerian theology, which has something to do with the secret marriage of Jesus to Mary M., which has something to do with The Knights Templar and their public allegiance to Christ and private allegiance to Satan, which then has something to do with The French Revolution, both World Wars, every genocide and every economic shift this side of Shoal.
The Enlightenment view of history as a chain of benevolent Progress is, for the conspiracists, perfectly inverted so that history is a chain of malevolent Enslavement.
Conspiracy is a perfectly real thing. In the midst of a legitimate conspiracy, all the whispering, nudging and searching makes sense. Conspiracy talk, however, gets off its rails a bit when it tries to tell us that it isn’t necessarily The Holocaust in itself that is bad, but the fact that it is only one power maneuver in a game of mass control by unknown forces that we somehow know about anyway—as if there exists something abstractly worse than the worst we know.
The teleology of the illuminati myth, starting from the top, quickly leads to something like an Abbot and Costello routine. It goes like this:
‘Don’t believe what you hear.’
‘Because the information you hear isn’t true.’
‘How do you know it isn’t true?’
‘Because that’s what someone told me.’
Violence, wars, ghettos, gentrification, suppression—they’re all maneuvers of power by unseen villains. Why are they villains? Because they want surreptitious control over us regardless of our conscious cooperation. We don’t know where these villains are but they secretly control everything. And why do they want to control everything? Apparently, so that they can keep on controlling everything or control even more, even though they seem to control everything already. It is then our duty to watch carefully and connect the dots. We can’t trust statesmen or public intellectuals to do this because they’re just puppets for the powers that be.
Since the bourgeoisie can’t be blamed as the immediate villains, it is unlikely that the eschatological Illuminati usurpation would resemble anything like a Marxist Revolution. And well, since the politicians are just smiling puppets, it seems unlikely that anything like The French Revolution will take place either—with the last president being hung by the guts of the last stockbroker. We’ll just have to sit around and wait some more and develop some more conspiracy theories. Watch technology. Watch social media. Make the connections. Trace the dots but try not to follow the hypnotic bouncing ball.
In the meantime, we have bands like Muse encouraging us not to let them control us by writing pop songs about it which gross millions of dollars for corporate record companies.
Ideally, the theory that a few people are secretly controlling everything in the world should lend us some comfort. There’s no need to worry about the collapse of western capitalism. We’re way ahead of you, Mr. Marx. So capitalism isn’t conscious of the mechanisms of its own commodity-fetishism, and thus, unable to handle industrial production? Don’t worry. The Illuminati secretly replaced the barter system with commodity-fetishism thousands of years ago as a ruse just so we didn’t have to think too much about it.
But wait a minute … How in the blue blazes did this Illuminati earn its surreptitious authority in such a way that it stands outside of commodity and traditional forms of sovereignty? There’s always an answer for conspiracy theorists. How does one group control the world forever? Inheritance, inheritance, inheritance. But isn’t there a system of inheritance that happens right under our noses as it is in the visible governments? Well, the illuminati know how to pull all the marionette strings.
The conspiracists have a tremendous amount of faith in human ingenuity if they think that it is at all possible for a small handful of people to, not only inherit the archaic goals of power from a previous generation of secret villains and refresh them for a new generation of slaves, but to execute their plans in such a clever way that there will be no accidents on the job, no wrenches in the machine, and no photographs of anyone in action, whatever in God’s name that ‘action’ could possibly be.
One starts to wonder what the ontological point of a disembodied governance is if no one can rightly say who they are, what their precise motives are and why they’re worth more of our worry than the people in this world with the bombs who are quite vocal about their intention to use them on innocent people.
Since the conspiracists are constantly urging us to ‘open our eyes’ and ‘connect the dots,’ I’d like to take out a little pencil and connect my own dots to trace a picture that, I’m sure, will appear like a Mickey Mouse to their Charlotte’s Web. If everyone is simply a pawn in someone else’s game, there is no one to blame, even in situations where there is a definite, admitted culprit. We can’t take them to be the arbiter of their actions if there is someone else pulling the strings, can we? If everything is always some maneuver of power by unseen forces, then we always have bigger fish to fry than what is in front of us, even though we don’t know how to fry that fish since the villains are always unseen. So what happens then? We don’t have to do anything.
That’s right. If there is always an unseen enemy doing unseen things with unseen motives and if that is always the most important evil to consider, then we don’t really have to concern ourselves much with famine, wars, diseases or racism. If there is no one specific crime by which we can charge them, we can never (don’t have to) officially indict them and can, thus, chase them forever.
Forget about ethnic cleansing in Africa. Never mind, for now, about starvation and pollution. Forget Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s denying the holocaust. We have darker shadows to shine light on and ever infinitely distant dots to connect. We have only to sit on our hands and talk about all of history as though it were a difficult level in a videogame.
No one likes to feel like he doesn’t have control over his life. For some, the cure was simply moving out of the house to evade Daddy. For others, it was moving away from The Divine to evade the even Bigger Daddy. And now, neither of those are enough. To get away from history itself, in some solid form, is the final plan of evasion for those who just want a little autonomy.
It’s disheartening that people are trying to combat Big Daddies and Big Brothers in an age when we most certainly do have more visible fish to fry which can be found and caught in more transparent water. Unfortunately, the evil societies we should devote our attention to these days are quite unsecret.