First Thoughts about “The Secret School of Wisdom: The Authentic Rituals and Doctrines of the Illuminati”
A SCHOOL OF HUMANITY
I am highly satisfied with my copy of “The Secret School of Wisdom: The Authentic Rituals and Doctrines of the Illuminati.” I cannot believe how much error exists regarding this historical order, and so fail to understand the reasons the Bavarian Illuminati Order is demonized, as if it was a ploy to avert common man from discovering and exploring these histories and ideas.
Weishaupt, choosing to discard his initial idea of a ‘School of Humanity’ early on, for an unknown reason, chose to create his new secret society with the features and structure of Freemasonry and the college fraternity put into it; and whose members were to be called the ‘Perfectibilists,’ meaning believers in the possible, in the constant improvement of human nature and society (Markner and Wäges 15).
Weishuapt’s fragmentary work, written circa 1775 and entitled ‘A School of Humanity’ had been rediscovered after more than two hundred years. In this fragment, Weishaupt’s idea showed his study of Freemasonry and other secret and occult philosophical associations. The aim was initially to be towards graduates from university, rather than fellow students, and he mentions the idea of lodges and orders. However, Weishaupt had much early on in his student years, made efforts to ‘strengthen the bonds between men and to gather their dispersed forces.’ Weishaupt’s idea, to me, immediately read like a Western Ruist and Daoist philosophical conception about man in the natural order. It can be comprehended in a secular (not in an atheistic) sense, but its implications of “what is education” reaches further, given the philosophical works and authors accompanying the study of Weishaupt’s disciples.
A full biography of Weishaupt remains to be written, the footnote in the beginning section, The Making of a Secret Society tells us, pointing in the direction of great sources, although in the German language. Adam Weishaupt brought with him a knowledge both of college fraternities and of Freemasonry, and through this combined formula, founded a secret society himself, that in its later phases was strictly hierarchical. Its mission was an unaccomplished one. A secret society that would become the chief source of many conspiracies, that affect the work and perception among humanity of other orders, schools, and movements. There is at the present-time, no such serious schools and movements like this to come, nor have any such orders succeeded in their missions to rightly impress on the minds of mankind, their loftiest principles and philosophy. The brothers of the school we are told were encouraged to keep a journal recording their thoughts, feelings, and insights; establish a collective library comprising all the members’ books together; the promise of meritocratic advancement in society; free of charge access to medical and other services and mutual insurance against catastrophic losses; earned free travel and accommodations when serving the school in an official capacity; access to charitable assistance and capital for investment, and the promise of meritocratic advancement in society (Markner and Wäges 15†).
“When Weishaupt, then a young professor of canon law at Ingolstadt University, first set out to assemble his most ardent students in a secret society, the organisational structure he envisioned was far less elaborate, while the stated final purpose was just as grand, with no less than the felicity and enlightenment of all mankind supposedly being at stake.”IBID 14
The concept of an ancient theosophist describes one considered an adept in theurgy and thaumaturgy, but the “true theosophist” is also considered to be a philanthropist of action, involved in the welfare of mankind. He or she may or may not be an occultist, or proficient. An occultist signifies one involved in the actual practical, empirical, and scientific study into the realities of the higher mysteries, or that knowledge that is the source of the work of the philosophers of old — in their “theophania” (Θεοφανια), or that condition of the actual presence of the daimon in man’s lower self, or of man as a Power. Weishaupt was interested in this knowledge, and studied it. When Weishaupt was but a young professor of canon law at Ingolstadt University, he first attempted to assemble his most serious students in a secret society, with the goal toward the happiness and enlightenment of all mankind. Weishaupt recounts, that in 1790, a student who arrived from Protestant universities, brought with him a knowledge of college fraternities and of Freemasonry, which made him think of founding his own secret society. Most importantly, he appears very interested in the notion of moral fitness and virtue, which is preliminary in the unfolding of the inner senses. It is not sufficient that one Apollonius of Tyana or another sage, philosopher, or hero existed walking and teaching among the rich and poor. It is that we may have hundreds of Apollonius’, Suhrawardīs’, and Pythagoras’ among ordinary, upright, advancing citizens, good statesmen, and democratic representatives, caring for, dying with, and living among the people — each inspiring and lifting up man and in turn lifting each other up. Weishaupt’s vision of enlightenment was connected to his ideas for secular education.
The Illuminati Order’s aim was to be more of a fraternal association of men, teaching men:
- Virtue; and
- Investing economically (i.e., financial responsibility) —
In the hopes of building a successful fraternal association, that will develop teachers of humanity for generations and generations.
† Singh-Anand, Jeva, translator. The Secret School of Wisdom: The Authentic Rituals and Doctrines of the Illuminati. Edited by Wäges Josef and Reinhard Makner, Third ed., Lewis Masonic, 2015.
This post was updated 6/20/2020