Spirituality * Culture * Self-Expression

Month: July 2014

Who Are the Illuminati?

The Illuminati is a name given to several groups throughout the centuries, both real and fictitious. The name refers to the supposed enlightened or spiritually evolved character of the members of the group – the word itself means “enlightened ones.” The most influential Illuminati group was called the Ancient Illuminated Seers of Bavaria or more simply the Bavarian Illuminati. This was a secretive organization founded on May 1, 1776 by Adam Weishaupt to oppose superstition, prejudice, religious influence over public life, abuses of state power, and to support women’s education and gender equality.  The professed goal of the Bavarian Illuminati was to teach people to be happy by encouraging them to be good – by illuminating the mind and freeing it from prejudice and superstition. More modern goals in line with these sentiments would include total gender equality (including LGBT), racial equality, spiritual tolerance, and the promotion of literacy, prosperity and peace.  A key difference between the Illuminati and many spiritual organizations with similar aims is that the Illuminati were/are more militant and prepared to take strong action to achieve their goals. They are activists and their activism was geared towards educating the masses and influencing the powerful to support the elevation of the masses. With such an agenda, it is no wonder the group was outlawed along with other secret societies by the Bavarian government leadership with the encouragement of the Roman Catholic Church, and continues to be vilified today.



In subsequent use, “Illuminati” refers to various organizations claiming or purported to have unsubstantiated links to the original Bavarian Illuminati or similar secret societies, and often alleged to conspire to control world affairs by masterminding events and planting agents in government and corporations to establish a New World Order and gain further political power and influence. Central to some of the most widely known and elaborate conspiracy theories, the Illuminati have been depicted as lurking in the shadows and pulling the strings and levers of power in dozens of novels, movies, television shows, comics.illuminati2

The Bavarian Illuminati did in fact try to infiltrate educational organizations, religious and metaphysical groups, and government institutions with the plan to convert key members to their way of thinking. They were advocating the establishment of a new kind of society – one based on the concepts known at the time as “Liberty, Equality and Fraternity.” These were ideas dangerous to the status quo. How successful they were is a matter of dispute. It is clear, however, that their activism scared the ruling classes in their own time and continues to scare people today.

So how does a group whose stated goals include: ending superstition; limiting the oppressive powers of government, the established religion of all denominations and state backed institutions; elevating the status of women; raising up the poor and disenfranchised; promoting worldwide education; and eliminating economic disparity and war come to be seen as some sort of demonic society bent on enslaving the world? Well, maybe an evil organization has taken to calling themselves the Illuminati but they actually have a completely different agenda. Or, maybe the people who vilify the Illuminati are the ones who want to spread superstition, maintain the oppressive elements in the government and religions, and want to deny people an opportunity to learn, grow and advance. After all, if you happen to be a despotic ruler and you know that there is a group plotting to kick you off your throne, you probably would consider that group to be the biggest threat to social stability on the planet.


Or perhaps it is the Illuminati themselves defaming their own reputation in order to divert attention from their true agenda. The real Illuminati, if they exist, must always function in opposition to the current power elite since it is impossible to be both Enlightened (illuminated) and at the same time seek to dominate the world. Therefore they must operate in secret, behind a variety of masks. The people currently accused of being Illuminati – the financiers, industrialists and politicians – are clearly NOT enlightened. Look instead for groups that oppose government attacks on personal freedom; oppose religious domination of society; promote gender and racial equality; and promote literacy, prosperity and peace.


Adam Weishaupt described preferred members of the Illuminati this way:

“Whoever does not close his ear to the lamentations of the miserable, nor his heart to gentle pity; whoever is the friend and brother of the unfortunate; whoever has a heart capable of love and friendship; whoever is steadfast in adversity, unwearied in the carrying out of whatever has been once engaged in, undaunted in the overcoming of difficulties; whoever does not mock and despise the weak; whose soul is susceptible of conceiving great designs, desirous of rising superior to all base motives, and of distinguishing himself by deeds of benevolence; whoever shuns idleness; whoever considers no knowledge as unessential which he may have the opportunity of acquiring, regarding the knowledge of mankind as his chief study; whoever, when truth and virtue are in question, despising the approbation of the multitude, is sufficiently courageous to follow the dictates of his own heart, – such a one is a proper candidate.”

“The tenor of my life has been the opposite of everything that is vile; and no man can lay any such thing to my charge.”

Master – Less


bruce lee pose


This weekend is the anniversary of Bruce Lee’s death (July 20, 1973). Bruce Lee is one of the most influential martial artists of all time. Many people, including myself, began martial arts training as a direct result of hearing about him and seeing his movies.

So it was that I found myself studying Tae Kwon Do at one of the largest schools in Toronto taught by one of the best known instructors in the world.

I wasn’t a particularly good student physically – but I thought I had a good grasp of the philosophy. One night, after a late class, I was sitting alone in the small break room having a Coke (that’s how long ago this was – a health club offering Coke as primary refreshment). My plan was to just chill out for a few minutes before getting on the subway and heading home. As I sat there, sipping my Coke, the Master came into the room. He looked at me and I felt like I was caught in a trap. I really didn’t want to engage – I just wanted to finish my drink and go. He looked at me intently and then opened a closet and pulled out a mop and bucket. He then proceeded to mop the floor.

I have said many times that I don’t really have any masters. There is no individual or group that has influenced me to the point of guiding me along any particular path. I take knowledge and inspiration from many sources and I admire the teachings and systems of many schools. But on the whole, I walk my own path. This tendency does not seem to be something I worked out over time. It does not appear to be a well thought out strategy. I think I just don’t have that urge to discipleship. And I see the first recognition of that tendency way back then in that martial arts school.

Philosophically, I believe I should have jumped up and said “No, Master, let me mop the floor.” I think a part of me even wanted to. But another part of me thought, “hey, this guy’s rich why doesn’t he pay someone to do this.” I remember even thinking back then that this might be part of some test – a test I would fail – because I did not get up and offer to mop the floor. I quickly finished my drink and beat it out of there.

And I’ve often wondered how different my life would have been if I had mopped that floor. When I was younger I speculated that I might have been made a favorite and given special training. Or maybe I would have been introduced to some new martial art way of life. Would my reaction have been different if it had actually been Bruce Lee mopping the floor instead of just some highly trained teacher that I paid for lessons?



Today I wonder if maybe allowing myself to be a disciple then I would have more easily accepted other masters. Perhaps I could have specialized in some religious or spiritual path and grown to become a leader of some school or system. I’ve certainly been part of many valid paths, and I’ve been offered many opportunities to commit to some powerful people and organizations. Occasionally I’ve even felt as though “This is it! This is the way.” But the feeling never lasted. All the schools and teachers I’ve encountered have shown themselves to have clay feet – at least in my estimation.

And so I walk alone. And follow my own path – one that is hidden until I reveal it to myself.

Bruce Lee said:

“Absorb what is useful, Discard what is not, Add what is uniquely your own.”

“Always be yourself, express yourself, have faith in yourself, do not go out and look for a successful personality and duplicate it.”

“When one has reached maturity in the art, one will have a formless form. It is like ice dissolving in water. When one has no form, one can be all forms; when one has no style, he can fit in with any style.”




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