The “illuminati” is a group that has been greatly debated and spoken about in current culture. Interestingly, this group dates back to the 1700’s when the idea was first formed. Weisnaupt was a Baverian man that decided to form a group in hopes of some illumination. The group started off small and decided members should consent to membership, have strong reputations, have a well-established family, good social connections, and be wealthy. This group grew and pulled in many influential members and was thought to have impactful contributions. The group came to some disagreements within power and people spilling secrets about the group. This led to the downfall of the society. Conspiracy theories blamed the group for various crimes and in turn was seen by the government as conspiring against religion. Membership within the group was said to earn one the death penalty after these accusations. The belief now is whether this group remained underground and is secretly controlling our society as we speak. Some believers believe the illuminati is still real and very powerful. Believers think influential members of society have secretly banned together to create a new world order, including totalitarianism and brainwashing. Members of this alleged society include politicians, celebrities, and other powerful and influential people. This is an extraordinary belief because it would go against all we believe in the order of society. It would be extraordinary to find out a secret society was carefully and strategically controlling the order of life as we know it. It is an important belief to note because if it were to be true, we could assume many inside jobs and secret motives were behind events from the past. It may be important as well because it may be scary to individuals who do not trust why things happen and the order of society. Additionally, information can be found on the internet regarding the history of this group to articles now trying to explain and give proof that the group exists. The internet can spread information very rapidly, especially about this conspiracy. This spread of information can lead to greater growth of evidence or support and in turn more fears and skepticism about world order.
This belief is still popular today but has had some peak time periods for its believers. There is said that there is an LSD influence for the 60’s on the beliefs regarding the illuminati. During this drug revolution, the book “Principia Discordia” came out and made an influence on people’s beliefs. The book spoke on concepts of anarchism, disordianism, and civil disobedience. Some believe these themes in society may have been the reason for suspicion in secret societies that were controlling and brainwashing citizens. A peak in the popularity for the concept of illuminati like groups connects to the political situations in present day as well. Both political parties have conspired theories that underground groups from apposing parties are the blame for negative outcomes and situations within the political world. Many claims have been made that can worry citizens where inside jobs are occurring and it the world’s order is really what we think.
Facts that prove the existence of this secret society lie within the symbols assumed members use and represent. The first symbol is the triangle and has come up numerous times by suspected members of the illuminati. A great example is Beyoncé and her use of this symbol. Costumes and hand signs have sported this triangle which connects back to the original illuminati group. Her husband Jay-Z has a record label whose symbol is a triangle as well. The triangle symbol can also contain an eye within it, again another symbol connecting back to the illuminati. One strange connection is the fact that the dollar bill has this mysterious symbol on it. Some people believe that this is proof that even long ago, there were secret groups controlling society. Additionally, some influential people have spoken out saying it is indeed real. Some people also connect the illuminati to major events such as 9/11. When facts don’t exactly make sense to some, the perception may be that events such as 9/11 was an inside job and that the illuminati designed this to happen. The presence of the illuminati fills in blanks for some and gives reason to certain events. Some evidence against this belief is that if one go around of the illuminati failed, why wouldn’t it again? The smaller group in the 1700’s fought over disagreements of power and struggled with keeping secrets. If the illuminati is as large and powerful as we think, wouldn’t the same issue potentially arise? Why is there not a tell all book about it that would make someone millions to learn about. Like many extraordinary beliefs and conspiracies, secrets like these are almost impossible not to leak. This belief extremely challenges the order of the world as we know it and it interesting to think we maybe have never picked up on it.
Some cognitive contributions have been written about regarding this specific belief and are quite interesting. It is thought that in the crazy would around us, our brains try to piece together order. People want to give meaning to things we are not sure of or people to blame for negative things occurring in society. An insider group that controls society secretly can give some the understanding of “why”. It can confirm skepticism, when allowing confirmation biases to occur. Going along with celebrities and the elite using symbols, there is a chance people are misinterpreting things. There may be no real connection to these symbols being used and may be coincidental. Additionally, celebrities may find it fun to poke at the idea that they are a part of this secret cult and purposely wearing symbols to get a rise out of fans. Many music videos have explicitly used the word “illuminati” which seems odd to advertise if the group is so secret.
The social context of this belief ties into social medias growth in today’s world. Before social media, it was harder to blast out information to many people but now information from anyone is accessible to almost everyone. People can share opinions, beliefs, and experience that can sway others to think similarly. Social media definitely has played a role with how many articles are available on this topic and how much evidence people put forth to persuade others. The community of believers I see as coming from anywhere. Any individual who is skeptical and suspicious can we drawn into this belief because it confirms something more is going on that we are not told. The ongoing social media growth is giving skeptics more and more fuel to keep this belief alive.
All in all, this belief ties into psychological explanations for its existence. Anxiety and fear are normal emotions that are felt by many. These emotions can lead an individual to become skeptical and look for explanations for what we do not understand. We may seek information to confirm our beliefs (confirmation bias) to comfort ourselves that we are not puppets being controlled by higher powers. As humans we seek to understand what we don’t know and the illuminati may serve the purpose of giving reason to just that.
Baggini, Julian. “Does the Illuminati Control the World? Maybe It’s Not Such a Mad Idea |
Julian Baggini.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 14 Feb. 2018, www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/feb/14/illuminati-running-world-not-mad-idea-questioning-hidden-power-elites-sane.
Fotostock, Maria Breuer/ImageBroker/Age, and Karger-Decker/Age Fotostock. “Meet the Man
Who Started the Illuminati.” National Geographic, 1 Nov. 2016, www.nationalgeographic.com/archaeology-and-history/magazine/2016/07-08/profile-adam-weishaupt-illuminati-secret-society/.
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