Discordianism and conspiracy theories

In his follow-up to the Illuminatus! trilogy, The Illuminati Papers, Robert Anton Wilson contemplates:

My crystal ball, however, seems to have been cloudy on the subject of Intelligence Increase. Despite all the people using the “smart drugs” mentioned above, the majority, at least in the U.S., has grown steadily stupider. I attribute this to a deliberate policy of “dumbing down” the population, instigated by our ruling Elite after the donnybrooks and katsenjammerei of the ’60s taught them that too many educated people represented a real danger to the status quo.

It is interesting to see a notable number of people, at least on the Internet, believe “conspiracy theories so insane that nobody would ever believe uncritically in conspiracies again.”

Conspiracy theories linking the Illuminati secret society to presidents of the United States and financial elites, plotting to create a New World Order. Wilson did not invent the Illuminati, the Bavarian order of the Illuminati was a 18th century secret society of advocates of free thought, secularism, liberalism, republicanism and gender equality. although there is no evidence they survived prosecution after 1785, conspiracy theories around them have existed ever since. Wilson used them to tie together a bunch of conspiracy theories in his Illuminatus! books, the first of which “The Eye in the Pyramid,” ties the mystical Egyptian Eye of Horus symbol to the Illuminati.

If you haven’t heard of Discordianism, it’s supposedly a satiric religion, although any discordian you ask might (or might not) tell you it’s all real:

In theory, Discordians are devoted to Eris, the Greek goddess of chaos. In practice, they’re devoted to a worldview that mixes anarchistic politics, a general disdain for dogma, and an interest in the illusions that emerge when the mind tries to find order in a disorderly world. They are especially intrigued by the mind’s capacity to imagine vast conspiracies, which helps explain their fascination with the Illuminati.

In the late 1960s, Discordians launched a project dubbed Operation Mindfuck. Robert Anton Wilson:

I saw Discordianism as the Cosmic Giggle Factor, introducing so many alternative paranoias that everybody could pick a favorite, if they were inclined that way. I also hoped that some less gullible souls, overwhelmed by this embarrassment of riches, might see through the whole paranoia game and decide to mutate to a wider, funnier, more hopeful reality-map.

As part of Operation Mindfuck, they sent a letter on Bavarian Illuminati stationary to Robert Welch, saying they (the Illuminati) had “96.5% of the entire world now under [their] collective thumb”. Welch was the founder of the John Birch Society, a conservative group who focused on communist conspiracies but also believed the Illuminati conspiracy.

They took over the leftist Chicago paper rogerSPARK and filled with anarchist politics and surrealist satire and put in ads like this one: “paranoids unite; you have nothing to fear but each other! Send for the informative booklet ‘How to Start Your Own Conspiracy’. Free from the Office of the District Attorney, New Orleans.” They even accused the Chicago mayor of being part of the conspiracy with the front-page headline ‘DALEY LINKED WITH ILLUMINATI’. A letter from a reader, actually written by Wilson, in Playboy Advisor column asked if was true that “Illuminati have existed throughout history, own the international banking cartels, have all been 32nd-degree Masons and were known to Ian Fleming, who portrayed them as SPECTRE in his James Bond books—for which the Illuminati did away with Mr. Fleming” and linked them to the John Kennedy assassination. Operation Mindfuck took off and “New exposés of the Illuminati began to appear everywhere, in journals ranging from the extreme Right to the ultra-Left. Some of this was definitely not coming from us Discordians.” according to Wilson.

In 1969 Wilson and another Playboy editor, Robert Shea, began to write what would become the Illuminatus! trilogy, a novel “perched midway between satire and melodrama, and delicately balancing between ‘proving’ the case for multiple conspiracies and undermining the ‘proof.'” Or as Amazon describes it: “Filled with sex and violence–in and out of time and space–the three books of The Illuminatus are only partly works of the imagination. They tackle all the coverups of our time–from who really shot the Kennedys to why there’s a pyramid on a one-dollar bill.”

I am unsure whether it is amusing or disturbing to see how many people nowadays actually seem to believe the Illuminati conspiracy and see the pyramid showing up in rap video clips as proof that they are part of the secret society.

Discordian mindmap v2 english version

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