Introduction to Adam Weishaupt’s Diogenes’ Lamp
by Robert Anton Wilson
Rarely is the question asked: Is our children learning? –George W. Bush
The only book you’ve got to read is The Godfather. That’s the only one that tells how the world is really run. –Roberto Calvi, President, Banco Ambrosiano; stretched, London, 18/6/1982
Adam Weishaupt founded — or revived — the secret Order of the Illuminati on May 1, 1776; that much seems like Historical Fact. All else remains disputed and heatedly controversial.
Most historians believe the Illuminati originally recruited only high degree Freemasons, and every generation since 1785 — when the Bavarian government discovered and outlawed the Illuminati — Freemasons have faced the charge that they remain “under Illuminati control.”
They all deny it, of course.
Well, not all of them; a Scotch Freemason, John Robison, in his Proofs of a Conspiracy , claimed the damned Illuminati had taken over Continental European Masonry; he wrote chiefly to warn the lodges of England, Scotland and Ireland against a similar coup.
Ever since Robison, the Masonic/Illuminati debate has included those who think the Weishauptians have taken over all Freemasoic lodges, those like Robison who think they’ve only infiltrated some, and those, including the Encyclopedia Britannica, who see Illuminism as a “short-lived movement of Republican free thought” which never had a major influence on Masonry — or on anything else.
But the Illuminati debate covers a lot more ground than that.
For example: Kris Millegan in his Fleshing Out Skull & Bones presents that Yale society as a branch of the Illuminati. In case you don’t know, some prominent Bonesmen have included Bush I, Bush II, Henry Luce of Time, Justice Potter Stewart, an all-star cast of the Captains of American banking, publishing and politics, and most of the directors of the C.I.A….. oh, yes, and John Kerry.
Sure you really want to know more about this?
From another angle, Akron Daraul, in his History of Secret Societies, argues that Weishaupt did not invent but only refurbished the Illuminati, which he relates to earlier movements known as the Holy Vehm (Germany), Allumbrados (Spain),Roshinaya (Persia) etc.; while the more exuberant John Steinbacher in Novus Ordo Seclorum traces them all the way back to the Garden of Eden! They were founded, he says, by Cain, the son not of the holy marriage of Adam and Eve but of an illicit and Satanic coupling between Eve and the Serpent.
How’s that for Hot Stuff? Bestiality, Satanism and all the themes for a new X Files movie……
Meanwhile, Eliphas Levi’s History of Magic traces the Illuminati back to Zarathustra and claims its secret doctrine came down to Weishaupt via Manichaeism, the Knights Templar and Freemasonry. This places them as part of the same occult tradition as Giordano Bruno, Dr. John Dee, Aleister Crowley and the Sufis of Islam.
But on the fourth or fifth hand, a British researcher named Nesta Webster sees the Illuminati as the brains behind socialism, communism, anarchism, and the Prussian government from 1776 to 1918. [She wrote shortly after England’s first war with the latter.]
On the sixth hand, J.F.,C. Moore argues that the Illuminati, a secret source of fascist occultism, inspired such odd birds as Aaron Burr, Adolf Hitler and J. Edgar Hoover; but Philip Campbell Argyle-Smith clams they are extraterrestrial invaders from the planet Vulcan. They call themselves “Jews” on this planet, he adds.
Whether that means all Jews “are” Vulcans or only some of them seems unclear to me, but the most famous Vulcan, Mr. Spock, “is” Jewish insofar as being performed by a Jewish actor makes one at least partially “Jewish,” whatever that means.
Maybe Argyle-Smith has looked at too many Star Trek movies.
He also credits the Illuminized Vulcans with managing the Thugs of India, the Zionists in Israel, the Rothschild banks, the Communist International, the Theosophical Society, Freemasonry and the Assassins of medieval Afghanistan. I don’t know why he left out George Bush and Al Qaeda; probably he just wrote too soon.
Another Cosmic Illuminati theory appeared in the East Village Other June 1969; it included Skull & Bones, the Rothschilds, the Nation of Islam [“Black Muslims”], Richard Nixon, the Black Panthers, the Bank of America, the Rosicrucians, the Holy Vehm, the Federal Reserve and the Combine’s Fog Machine. That one must contain some hidden jokes [I hope].
According to the RogerSpark, a radical Chicago newspaper [July 1969] Weishaupt actually murdered George Washington and served in his place for his two terms as president.[Then who wrote Weishaupt’s books? Hegel maybe; they sounds like him at times……]
The John Birch Society, of course, has a different slant on all this. According to Gary Allen, the editor of their news magazine, American Opinion, Adam Weishaupt “was” a “monster” but the Illuminati only got really monstrous after its capture by English adventurer/billionaire Cecil Rhodes, who used it to establish British domination of the world. The Council on Foreign Relations acts as its most important “front” in the U.S. today, according to Allen.
Sandra Glass, however, thinks of the Illuminati as a group of clandestine pot-heads [cannabis abusers] which included the medieval Assassins, Weishaupt, Goethe, Washington, the first mayor Richard Daly of Chicago and Ludvig van Beethoven.
“Beethoven?” you may gasp. Well, oddly enough, a recent, scholarly and non-conspiratorial biography of the great Ludwig van, by Maynard Solmon, says Mr B wrote some of his music under commission from the Illuminati and had many friends in the Order itself. Solomon doesn’t mention the pot, though; maybe Ludvig, like a recent president with a perpetual hard-on, didn’t inhale.
Then again, Adam Gorightly in The Prankster and the Conspiracy claims that all recent Illuminati research [post-1960s] has become confused and chaotic because of a hoax conspiracy, also called the Illuminati, founded by one Kerry Thornley, a man accused of involvement in the JFK assassination by New Orleans D.A. Jim Garrison. According to Gorightly, this neo-Illuminati aims only to bedevil and mock the efforts of sincere conspiracy researchers, and he even accuses the author of this essay [me, R.A.W.] of involvement in this Fiendish Plot!
I, of course, refuse to dignify this absurd charge with a denial, which nobody would believe anyway. Besides, as Rev. Ivan Stang of the Church of the Sub-Genius says in Maybe Logic, “Well, if I was a member of the Illuminati, I wouldn’t say so, would I?”
We are not victims of the world we see, we are victims of the way we see the world.
— Dennis Kucinich
I think God is sending us a message: “If you can’t take a joke, go fuck yourselves.”
What does this book reveal about the “real” Adam Weishaupt and the “real” Illuminati?
A book works like a mirror, somebody said once: when a monkey looks in, no philosopher looks out. I can only tell you what this book seems to me; others, I feel certain, will find other things in it — including coded references to Vulcans, Skull & Bones, Zarathustra, the Holy Vehm, communism, Mary Magdalene, the Federal Reserve, the Combine’s Fog Machine et.al.
To me, this book seems to support the most cautious and conservative of my sources, the Encyclopedia Britannica, and old Adam looks much like a weary defender of “Republican free thought,” 18th Century style. In other words, he seems a distant relative, philosophically speaking, of Adam Smith, Hume, Voltaire, Jefferson, Franklin, Tom Paine — i.e. of all those libertarian ideas currently as unfashionable in this country as in the Bavaria in Weishaupt’s day. I know why he seems weary to me: trying to teach liberation to people who feel reconciled to their slavery can really grind you down, in 1804 or 2004…
I also think I see an influence of Kant, and perhaps a foreshadowing of Hegel, in the semantic structure used continually by Weishaupt — “X seems true; not-X also seems true; we’ll have to think more about that.” Aquinas did the same trick, but always comes down on the side of safe orthodoxy, Papist flavor. Weishaupt throws the ball back to the reader,although you may not always catch him doing that.
I do not see any conclusive proof that the Illuminati plotted anything nefarious or even illegal, except insofar as free thought itself remained illegal in southern Europe. But I also don’t see any conclusive proof that they wouldn’t and couldn’t and didn’t do nasty things. As a secret society hidden inside the secret society of Freemasonry, the Illuminati will always remain somewhat mysterious, and pedants and paranoids will argue about it until the last galoot’s ashore.
Perhaps Tom Jefferson got it right, when he said that secret societies seemed necessary in Europe, haunted by monarchy and Papism, but not in the United States. Certainly, when the Constitution remained the law of the land [i.e. before the Supremes (s)elected Bozo] no sane person would feel the need for secret societies here. Do I dare add “But now with the Constitution in cryonic suspension –“?
No: I better not….better safe than sorry….
On the other hand, not just secret societies but secrecy itself or even privacy seem increasingly impossible under the reign of George III.
They have hidden cameras everywhere.
They bug our phones.
If they want to, they can “read” every keystroke on my computer, including this one:
They can even pry into the contents of our bladders, in random tests explicitly forbidden by that wonderful, moribund Constitution. Sweet grieving Jesus, there’s no place we can escape or hide or feel alone, is there?
Sometimes, tossing and trying to sleep in the wee hours, I explore the ideas rejected by my skeptical waking mind. Maybe the most paranoid fantasies about the Illuminati contain some truth. .. maybe….
Maybe the All-Seeing Eye on the dollar bill does represent the totally fascist state those bastards want.
Maybe all those Internet rants about Skull and Bones serving as a recruiter for the Illuminati have some foundation in fact, after all.
Maybe we should really worry when the choice in the next election remains limited to two rich Bonesmen…What is it Weishaupt wrote?– “Whoever is rich — very rich — can do anything….”
Maybe we should regard “Illuminati” as a generic term, or a metaphor?
Maybe every Power Structure acts a lot like the most paranoid fantasies about the Illuminati, especially when it feels threatened.?
No, no — that way lies madness, schizophrenia and Usenet trolls. After some sound sleep, I wake, the shadows flee, and I remember that “all’s for the best in this best of all possible worlds.”
Voltaire didn’t intend that as sarcasm, did he?
Robert Anton Wilson
Somewhere in Occupied U.S.A.
23 February 2004
Recommended Reading and viewing:
Argyle-Smith, Philip Campbell — High IQ Bulletin, Colorado Springs 1970, IV, 1
Bauscher, Lance — MaybeLogic, http://www.maybelogic.com
Daraul, Akron — History of Secret Societies, Citadel Press NY, 1961.
Ellul, Jacques — Violence, Seabury Press, NY,1969.
Glass, Sandra — “The Conspiracy,” Teenset, March 1969.
Gorightly, Adam — The Prankster and the Conspiracy, ParaView Press, NY, 2003.
Gurwin, Larry — The Calvi Affair, Pan Books, London, 1984.
Knight, Stephen — The Brotherhood, Grenada, London, 1984.
Levi, Eliphas — History of Magic, Borden Publishing, Los Angeles, 1963.
Millegan, Kris — Fleshing Out Skull & Bones,Trineday, Walterville, OR, 2003.
Moore, J.f.C. — “The Nazi Religion,” Libertarian American, August 1969.
Morals, Vamberto — Short History of Anti-Semitism, Norton, NY, 1976.
Robison, John — Proofs of a Conspiracy, Christian Book Club, Hawthorn, CA, 1961.
Solomon, Maynard — Beethoven, Schirmer Books, NY, 1977.
Vankin, Jonathan — Conspiracies, Cover-Ups and Crimes, IllumiNet Press, Lillburn,GA, 1996.
Webster, Nesta — World Revolution, Constable, London, 1921.
Wilgus, Neal — The Illuminoids, Sun Press, Albuquerque NM, 1977.