Remember when 911 occurred and how numerous people believed in a “conspiracy theory” involving the government planning the entire event? Or how about the conspiracy theory that the landing on the moon never happened? We have all mostly heard of these theories. Our society has made movies about it and our professors have even lectured and criticized such theories. One major “conspiracy theory” that has suddenly sparked campus interest is a term called “illuminati,” which Urban Dictionary defines as a “secret organization of the most powerful and influential elite in the world.” Sounds rather boring doesn’t it; what’s so interesting about it? Well, did you know that numerous celebrities within the hip-hop culture have not only accepted this theory but are even implying their affiliation with it in their song lyrics? Maybe campus should be well aware of what their favorite artists are saying in some of their songs.
“Illuminati-want my mind, soul, and body.” These lyrics are the beginning of Jay’z song entitled “D’Evils.” With songs titled “D’Evils,” “Lucifer,” the “Take Over,” and “Empire State of Mind,” one can only wonder who Jay-Z feels is the leader of the world, especially as he refers to himself as “J-Hova,” meaning the “God” of rap according to Urban Dictionary. Yet, how are these findings related to illuminati? Western English Professor Dana Andrews clarifies the definition of illuminati and the research he has gathered from studying it.
“The idea is that those who are in power are apart of a much larger organization of people,” Andrews said. “Illuminati is a term that encompasses all of those who are in power. The theory is that there is some sort of puppet master. The master pulls the strings for everything that goes on in the world in order to keep the elite in power. Though it is unlikely that Jay-Z is apart of the illuminati, he could possibly be used as an instrument to control the masses.”
Student rumors have also associated “illuminati” with devil worshiping and satanic ritual. Andrews responds to these associations.
“You can’t just reduce [illuminati] down to devil worshiping,” Andrews said. “It has less to do with God and the devil. [However], there are theories that their practice is ritual and that they have ritualistic meetings. Are they taping the forces of the universe for bad? Maybe they are.”
Andrews then gives his own personal belief when dealing with this conspiracy theory.
“There are a lot of elements within the illuminati including BilderBergers, Tri-lateral Commission and Free Masonry,” Andrews said. “The illuminati are all apart of the ruling class. Do I believe in all of this, not necessarily. I believe that the world is run by corporate interests. Politics serves that.”
Western Sociology Professor Dr. DJ Champagne also adds input to the illuminati theory.
“Illuminati” is the term for a European enlightenment era ‘secret society’ and now a New World Order ‘conspiracy’,” Champagne said. “It is both fact and fiction that business, industry and government are purposely working to influence the downfall of certain governments or perhaps all governments.”
Champagne also added an interesting perspective.
“I am a Catholic,” Champagne said. “Historically there is Jesuit influenced thinking connection with ‘illuminati’ society development and a connection of recruitment among Freemasons
Wordnet defines freemasonary as “a member of a widespread secret fraternal order pledged to mutual assistance and brotherly love.” Though illuminati has been related to members believing in themselves as a higher power, maybe they simply are a brotherhood waiting to achieve more power and wealth. This aspect seems seemingly innocent as we all want some sort of power and money.
History Professor Daniel Trifan also gives input and addresses why illuminati is a term usually guided away from the church.
“The illuminati tended to resist Church influence on the government,” Trifan said.
Looking at the student side, music lyrics have had substantial evidence of artists being their own leader and wanting to take extreme control with a growing fan base and a growing income. After researching the Internet about hip-hops artists associating themselves with “illuminati,” Western Freshman Caresse Owens gives her reaction.
“I think it shocked a lot of students to draw back from music; especially music from Jay-Z,” Owens said. “But people can also be looking into it too much. You can’t believe everything you hear and see on Youtube.”
Whether illuminati is merely a mythical theory or something very real in society, it has certainly sparked Western with numerous students writing about it on Facebook, watching Youtube videos and debating about it in their classes. Regardless of fact of fiction, illuminati just might allow a student to truly evaluate what they listen to, what they believe and who they represent.
“People are easily influenced,” Owens said. “This is why what you hear everyday or what’s in your Ipod is really important.”