Monday, 22 December 2014

Illuminati, Madonna and Me

“I think there are some people who don't mind being referred to as that, but I know who the real Illuminati are, and where that word came from. 

The root of the word is “illuminate”, and that means “The enlightened ones”, and it came from the Age of Enlightenment, when a lot of arts and creativity flourished, from Shakespeare to Isaac Newton, to Leonardo Da Vinci, Michelangelo: the philosophers, artists, scientists were all engaged in a kind of high level of consciousness through their work, and they were enlightening and inspiring people around the world. 

And those are the true Illuminati. So the purpose for writing that song was really in a way, 'So, if you think I'm the Illuminati, then thank you very much, a compliment, because I would like very much to be part of that group, the real Illuminati, and this is what it’s not.'"

Gee thanks, Madonna. 

I am off my meds today, and in the perfect position to write a rambling, incoherent post about conspiracy theories. Strap in tight, because I have researched this.

The Illuminati have been one of the more comprehensive conspiracy theories of the past few decades: unlike, say, The JFK conspiracy theories (who shot him? was it the CIA? et c), the ones involving the illuminati involve long histories - they started in the post-enlightenment era - and cover everything. Their aim is generally said to be something along the lines of ushering in the apocalypse or, as Robert Anton Wilson put it, 'to immanentize the eschaton.'

(First psychedelia sidebar: RAW's Illuminatus Trilogy probably popularised the illuminati in the 1960s, leading to their ubiquity in contemporary whack-job conspiracy theory. This massive novel was cobbled together from RAW's database of conspiracies that were sent into Playboy when he was an editor there. There is a bit of serious history in there, somewhere, and plenty of William Burroughs inspired oneiric interludes. It is worth a holiday read, but isn't an academic text, kids.)
Gaga's one of them. Because eye.

(First Jesuit sidebar: immanentize the eschaton means to bring about the kingdom of God on earth. Guess which order has this as their slogan outside their school in Glasgow?)

Back to the illuminati... 

I'm incline to call bullshit on any theory that needs to invoke the illuminati: not because I doubt the existence of secret societies (man, the Masons exist, and any coherent definition of conspiracy can double up as an effective description of political activity in general), but because the mythology associated with the illuminati has been built up not through rational analysis of history, but through a series of correspondences that would shame a preliterate society. Basically, the history of the illuminati has been slapped together by individuals who are adept in noticing the continuity of symbolic systems. Every time a supposed illuminati-related image or phrase appears, these scholars shout that it is just like that time...

Man, my meds make it hard to follow this argument. Back after these messages...

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