“Should you seek might, power, false honor, excess — seek that we would work for you to provide your temporal advantages — we will bring you as close to the throne as you wish, and then turn you over to the consequences of your folly, but our inner sanctuary remains closed to such. But should you want to learn wisdom — want to learn to make mankind more clever, better, free and happy — then be thrice welcomed by us.” — Adam Weishaupt

For all of you conspiracy theorists out there, I present the Ultimate, the One, the Only  – oh wait… Never mind, there have actually been several of them.

Okay, then, today is the anniversary of the founding of the Bavarian Illuminati by Adam Weishaupt in, well, Bavaria, in 1776. Founded with what would seem to have been very good, very solid, Enlightenment-era ideals, they were quickly vilified by the clergy that dominated most of Europe at the time. Like many other non-clerical groups of the time, they were a secret society. And since secret societies were banned by royal edict in Bavaria beginning in the late 18th century – with the full weight of Rome behind the bans, they were officially banned through much of Europe, as well – they began to take the blame for most of the ills that befell royal Europe. And their alleged reach drove deep into the heart of the enlightenment-inspired founders of the fledgling United State of America. And that pesky eye in the pyramid on the dollar bill.

And the conspiracy theories grew, and multiplied with many, many fictional, and non-fictional, organizations laying claim to ties with the original Bavarian Illuminati. And, although it is questionable whether the group even survived its own internal issues, let alone the repression of the Bavarian rulers, no one really can say for sure precisely how large they got, or whether some groups might actually be able to lay claim to a lineage that traces directly back to Weishaupt. But it would seem to be unlikely that an organized conspiracy of enlightened elitists has exercised quite as much control over world events over the past 200 years as they have been given credit for. But it is sometimes is fun to think about.

But perhaps the world would be a better place had Weishaupt succeeded…


Image courtesy of Wikipedia https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Illuminati