*I’m going to add an early note about the use of the term ‘Illuminati’. Today that term is often used to describe any occult or esoteric group including Satanists, Luciferians, Rosicrucians, Freemasonic groups, plutocrats, Jewish capitalists, or really as an all-encompassing term for global elites that may also be engaging in the use of symbolism in media and for propaganda, as well as engaging in nefarious acts from blackmail to murders, human sacrifice, rituals, pedophile rings, etc. The term, however, can be said to be misapplied when describing those things, and the purpose of the original group to adopt the name Illuminati could be completely different. The Owl of Minerva and light (as to illuminate) were used as symbols for knowledge and wisdom. The below is, in part, to differentiate the knowledge passed down through the study of philosophy – the pursuit of gaining and spreading scientific knowledge devoid of, and in opposition to, any nefarious agenda – from attempts to control society for the accumulation of wealth and power while concealing actions or identity.
This will be a brief point. I’m not an expert on secret societies by any means. This will not be history, documentation, or discussion, of any of the related topics, ideas, symbolism, etc. I just would like to address one point regarding historical context.
Context usually always matters. In certain cases, a lack of context could prevent something from even making sense, if not just creating a misunderstanding on the issue at hand. With history, it is often the case that the more historical context is taken into consideration and the more the ideological disposition and physical institutions and events of a specific time are understood, the more can be understood about the overall history and related matters.
In the case of secret societies, particularly those connected to Freemasonry and ideas and groups that have in whatever way gained association or connection today, it is very important to understand the transition that took place into present-day society, as well as the implication of that transition.
After the fall of Rome (even prior), during what is broadly considered, today, as the Middle Ages, there were social relations built up and eventually events that took place that shifted society from the political-economic and religious reality of those times into modern times. The major events that took place representing a shift from those times included the Great Enlightenment and the Scientific Revolution.
This is important because, with these events, there was a clear change in the political, economic, and social realities. There was a shift from monarchy and aristocracy to republican political structures, feudal economic relations to capitalistic relations, and conservative to liberal social ideologies. There was also an extremely significant shift with regard to religion loosening to scientific and philosophical reasoning.
Bringing this back to secret societies, the significance of these shifts is very important with regard to the purpose of the organizations and their relationship with regard to the political, social, and economic structure.
During the Middle Ages, Christendom, and feudal aristocracy, there was a suppression of ideas opposing the king and church, thus any opposition by individuals would benefit from secret societies that allowed sharing ideas that were occult, esoteric, and potentially, in opposition to establishment positions.
With the Enlightenment and advancements in philosophy, there was an open breaking down of ideological positions and power of state and religious institutions. This not only allowed for eventual bourgeois revolutions that saw a change in the political-economic structure, but the very advancements in philosophy, science, and technology, itself allowed for the obtaining of higher-level knowledge.
Now, there is still a level of cryptic language used in the scientific and philosophical works of modern times. This is especially a criticism directed at of the works by individuals like Hegel; but, it was even an issue going back to Descartes and Spinoza, who were attacked for being atheists, although expressing an ontological argument for the existence of God. Spinoza was especially targeted by being excommunicated from his community for his views on religion and philosophy. However, with the works and contributions of individuals like Copernicus, Kepler, Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Hegel, Marx, Freud, Einstein, and others, the level of knowledge advanced tremendously.
Although there was an alignment from religious persecution to scientific ideas, that did not translate to a power structure. We know, for example, that things changed from a time when God could be used as a justification, to a need for scientific evidence. Today, there is no longer the strong religious element related specifically to Christianity; however, as there is a relation between Christian doctrines and the states of previous times, there is a connection today between what is accepted as scientific, viable, and official opinion, and the current state structure. This current state structure, which controls this opinion and science, is itself controlled by capital/white supremacy.
So, when doing any analysis of secret societies, this is something to keep in mind. There was, to a certain extent, a difference with those that carried out a radical enlightenment out in the front for all to see, sharing and spreading philosophical and scientific wisdom to all people willing to read, learn, listen, and educate themselves. This is represented by the kinds of individuals I’ve listed above.
There were, also, however, groups representing capital, Big Business, industry, finance, banking, etc., on one hand, and on the other hand, religious institutions and religious individuals. In all these groups had concern for power, wealth, and their own advancement in those regards.
These latter individuals and groups are the ones who would have benefited most strongly in their use of secret societies in challenging others that came from a position of either power or dissent while maintaining their own power. And, as time moved forward, with more and more righteous and intellectually interested individuals openly advocating and advancing higher-level thinking, analysis, and criticism of society, through philosophy and science, there is created the context that exists today for any discussion of secret societies, esoteric knowledge, and mission of the elites and ruling classes.