Sunday, December 14, 2008

Secularity is religion too


Founded in 1776 by a Bavarian professor named Adam Weishaupt, the Illuminati joined radical politics and Jesuit-style hierarchy to fanatical secrecy. The aims of the order were ambitious, all right: They intended to change the world and had a plan to do it. The means were not to be by violent revolutions. The idea was to form a cadre of enlightened men who would steathlily infiltrate governments everywhere and slowly bring them to a kind of secular-humanist Elysium under the guidance of a secret ruling body.

Said Adam Weishaupt: "Princes and nations shall disappear from the face of the earth peacefully, mankind shall become one family, and the world shall become a haven of reasonable people. Morality shall achieve this transformation, alone and imperceptibly."

For every Illuminatus, the perfection of society started with the perfection of one's own moral character.

{ snip }

For all the moony mysticism, the Illuminati had a high-Enlightenment agenda, rational, humanistic, and universal. They published a monthly magazine, Contributions to the Spread of Useful Knowledge, which was partly Enlightenment cheerleading, partly practical items relating to husbandry, housekeeping, and the like. Duty was the essence of Illuminati teaching, but it was an Enlightenment kind of duty: duty not to God or to princes but to the order and to humanity.

In practice, the Illuminati amounted to a kind of activist left wing of the Freemasons, from whom they drew most of their members.

Slate


The Illuminati are a vastly successful meme: they don't even need to exist for reactionary elements to start crusading against them, encouraging others to act like Illuminati and, by the fact of thinking they're not as cool as the Illuminati but wish they could be, spread the virus further.

A great example of secular "religion" -- morality in secular hands is as self-rewarding as it is in religious hands, telling the victim that he is now of the enlightened because he is moral, and that everyone else is wrong, and that it's right for him to wage war against them because he, a rarity among multitudes, has the moral right.

Mysticism has little to do with it. Morality is in-group, out-group logic.

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Subvert the dominant paradigm, don't be a solipsist.

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