Obscuras, Illumino

My already paranoid, hypochondriac little sister has come into an anti-illuminati kick as of late. At first, it was funny; my cousin and I laughed it off as another of her weird phases (like astrology and vegetarianism), but it’s starting to get kind of annoying since she’s begun bringing up online discussion boards that point out how artists like Rihanna and Lady Gaga are agents of a Satanic cult and fill their videos with subliminal imagery designed to corrupt souls. I’m not a staunchly anti-religious person, but my skin crawls a bit when she crosses herself after a perceived slight against the man upstairs. After I tricked her into taking a personality quiz that told her she was in the Illuminati (sort of a sorting hat deal for this online action game), her reaction convinced me to check out one of these sites denouncing Gaga and the Illuminati. As I’d expected, it was pretty much bunk that was simply bashing on Gaga for being weird for weirdness’ sake. In my opinion, there’s nothing wrong with striving to be different from everyone else; it’s the people who’ll do anything to be normal that cause more trouble, the way I see it. If Gaga wants to wear horns or push the “All-Seeing Eye” in her videos, that’s her business; it isn’t hurting anyone, nor does it have the capacity to hurt anyone. “All art is at once surface and symbol” says Oscar Wilde and even if these supposed masonic or Illuminati images have seeped into our culture, whatever symbolism they may have held in the past is up for grabs now; they may suggest completely different concepts to people that view them now, in which case, even if someone were trying to get them out there as much as possible, whatever their original plan was is all but washed away now.

And, while I don’t particularly believe that there is any such thing as the Illuminati anymore, so what if there were? People’s fear of such an organization would essentially be an extension of their hatred for elitism and I think that hatred is a mistake to begin with. There’s hardly any difference between a secret society and a religion – either concept can be used to do good or do harm, a secret religion would just not go around injecting itself into every conversation (like those annoying born-agains do).

And, in any case, wasn’t the original Illuminati a society that endeavored to push radical concepts of art and science instead of just blindly following the tenets of a church that outright refused to see reason? That sounds to me like something that even the modern world could use, with all the religious intolerance and backward-mindedness running rampant across the globe.

I mean, I’m not really much of a conspiracy theorist, but I’ve always liked the idea of a secret society, either as a serpentine enemy to be stamped out by an underground resistance or as a powerful movement trying to force positive change through surreptition (I don’t care; surreptition SHOULD be a word) and I feel like the Illuminati – if they did exist – would be the latter. If that’s the case, I’d want to be a part of it – contribute to moving the world toward enlightenment. Such a concept is beyond religious tenets, beyond concepts of Satanism or sin – it is the ideal we should have been striving for ever since our inception as thinking beings. If public societies keep us down, then perhaps secret societies are necessary to move forward. I mean, at worst, the Illuminati is a group of high-powered bankers funding wars to fatten their own wallets and, honestly, that’d be one poorly-kept secret.

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