THE “ILLUMINATI”: A SECULAR SATAN FOR IRRELIGIOUS NUTS
By rights, al Qaeda really should have a leg up in interest. It has the advantage of really existing, after all.
Why the preoccupation with an imaginary villain over a real one? Well, I might not be qualified to speculate. But it could be that secular minds need their devil myths too.
And as it turns out, this particular imp is an American tradition.
Satanic San Francisco’s new logo is the reason this is on my mind in the first place. See above.
Not gonna lie, I think it’s a real beauty. If you stare at it for too long, you might never look away. That’s not black magic, it’s just good design. Our artist Aisha really came through.
Now, I’ll admit that the old Eye of Providence isn’t usually employed as a Satanic or occult symbol. In fact, much of the time artists interpret it as the eye of a watchful god.
But these days people just associate it with “the Illuminati.” That Google search earlier turned up almost nothing but eyes on pyramids for images.
What’s the Illuminati really? Historian Vernon Stauffer says it began as a revolutionary secret society in Bavaria, founded in 1776.
(Lot of that going around that year, it seems.)
Hopped up on French enlightenment essays, the conspirators wanted “to circumvent and overwhelm the advocates of supernaturalism and the enemies of reason.”
Sounds like a pretty solid plan to me. Not sure what the fuss is about. The Bavarian government busted them all up nine years later anyway. Unless you’re a big fan of Steve Jackson games, there’s nothing else to see here.
But Stauffer’s 1918 book is actually about how political cranks in America whipped up fears that the Illuminati was somehow running off with American democracy.
That was over 200 years ago. Apparently it was a rumor with legs. Alex Jones, connoisseur of industrial-grade paint fumes, is still trying to rumble Thomas Jefferson as a secret Illuminati conspirator today.
And he’s not alone. You can’t throw a rock without hitting an Illuminati conspiracy nut. And it takes a lot more rocks to shut them up.
For example, the shaky silo of paranoid delusions called “Hera’s Blog” insists that the Simpsons and Taylor Swift are both Illuminati mouthpieces that “predicted” Hurricane Irma years ago.
“Swift is a human persona of the Illuminati leader and sits at the Throne of the Church of Satan,” says Hera.
It must be tough for Hera to type with mittens pinned to her jacket all year round. But she’s a trooper.
Criminally undermedicated “truth soldier” Dan Towsey claims via his WordPress blog Occupy Earth that the Olsen Twins (of all people) are “Illuminati Vampires.” Also, secretly behind Pizzagate.
If that were a Netflix show, I’d watch the fuck out of it. Any chance they’ll can season two of “Fuller House” for this instead?
My favorite is an app that uses free association to link anything you name to the Illuminati.
For example, my full name has 15 characters. Fifteen is an odd number, like seven. And the iPhone 7 starts with an “eye.“ Well, the story checks out.
A lot of these nuts have religious agendas. They love to tie Satanists and/or actual Satan to the alleged Illuminati. But this particular myth also works just as well for secular minds.
So why do people believe conspiracies? Maybe because it motivates them. Back in 2016, Cambridge psychologist Anglia Ruskin warned NPR about “the use of a conspiracy narrative as a means of mobilizing people.”
Like the devil, a conspiracy is an elastic belief that can conform to whatever you want and sustain on the thinnest of non-evidence. A secular Satan for irreligious believers.
Increasingly, conspiracy theories are every bit as superstitious as devil myths. The two ideas may be functionally interchangeable.
So I feel it’s entirely appropriate for a Satanist group to steal a page from “Illuminati” nuts. If they can use it to mobilize lies, maybe it‘ll work just as well for the truth.