On page 591 of Illuminatus!, the “chart of the Illuminati conspiracy” (previously displayed on page 97) is referenced in relation to Robert Anton Wilson’s Discordian persona of “Mordecai the Foul” who is included among a group of Primus Illuminatus overseeing a vast conspiracy that includes Playboy (where Wilson and Bob Shea worked as editors during the 60s and 70s) and Bank of America where Discordian co-founder Greg Hil (Malaclypse the Younger) was employed from 1977 until his death in July of 2000. (A total of 23 years.)
In Illuminatus!, Joseph Malik describes this chart as “half-accurate and half deceptive” which, of course, was always the Discordian Society’s M.O.—or as the old Discordian saying goes:
“All statements are true in some sense, false in some sense, meaningless in some sense, true and false in some sense, true and meaningless in some sense, false and meaningless in some sense, and true and false and meaningless in some sense.”
It’s unknown exactly who cooked up the “Current Structure of Bavarian Illuminati Conspiracy and the Law of Fives” chart. I suspect Robert Anton Wilson (RAW) had a hand in it, although it may have been a collaboration between RAW, Shea and other Discordian conspirators—including Hill and Thornley—all part of Operation Mindfuck, the Discordian Society’s clandestine campaign to illuminate the opposition.
It appears that the “Current Structure of Bavarian Illuminati Conspiracy and the Law of Fives” chart was modeled after a “Chart of the World Revolution” which I discovered in the Discordian Archives; a chart that associated Communism with Illuminism, occultism, anarchy, and other diabolical turn of the century movements—the type of stuff Nesta Webster got her panties all in a twist about.
The “Current Structure of Bavarian Illuminati Conspiracy and the Law of Fives” chart first appeared in the June 4th, 1969 edition of the East Village Other (EVO) with no editorial explanation whatsoever. But as EVO catered to dope-smoking drug-dropping degenerate hippie types who entertained conspiratorial ideas from a sometimes satirical and psychedelic viewpoint, it wasn’t out of the ordinary to see such strangeness in its pages.
Many of the key players at EVO became steeped in the conspiracy culture of the period, such as EVO co-founder and publisher Walter Bowart.
After leaving EVO, Bowart went knee-deep into research about the CIA’s MK-ULTRA mind control program which led to his landmark tome Operation Mind Control (PDF), published by Dell Books in 1978 and—as legend goes—all copies were shortly after bought up by the CIA (or some other unspecified alphabet soup agency) then taken out of circulation and destroyed to suppress the story.
Another key player at EVO was Ishmael Reed who went on to author Mumbo Jumbo which in many ways resembled Illuminatus! in its unorthodox stylistic approach and depiction of conspiracies run amuck. As Reed wrote in Mumbo Jumbo, “The real history of the world is a history of competing conspiracies.”
In the mid-70s, Reed relocated to Berkeley (where RAW was then residing) and taught at UC Berkeley until his retirement in 2005. UC Berkeley—as we’ve noted previously here at Historia Discordia—was home to a campus version of the Bavarian Illuminati that included Discordian Louise Lacey (Lady L., F.A.B.) in its ranks.
In a 1977 interview in Conspiracy Digest, RAW was asked if Reed’s Mumbo Jumbo was an inspiration for Illuminatus!, to which he replied:
“I didn’t read Mumbo Jumbo until about three years after Illuminatus! was finished. The same is true of Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow. The astonishing resemblances between those three books are coincidence, or synchronicity, or Higher Intelligence (take your pick). I love everything Ishmael Reed writes, and I once sent him an official Discordian certificate making him a Pope in the Legion of Dynamic Discord.”
In an interview from James Draper’s Black Literature Criticism, Reed confirmed this by stating that he “was made an honorary pope by the Savarian Illuminati, for the writing of Mumbo Jumbo…”
As Jesse Walker recently pointed out over at RAWIllumination.net, Reed’s reference to the Savarian Illuminati (as opposed to Bavarian) was probably a case of misremembering the name, or perhaps a typo. Hail Eris!
For more Discordian knowledge as fiction that is fact but fiction contained within Illuminatus!, point your browser to the book’s group reading page at RAWIllumination.net.
ADDENDUM: Just as we were going to press—as synchronicity would have it!—I came across the chart below which was posted at a facebook JFK Assassination forum. According to the poster of said post:
“This is something JFK wanted to show everyone (I believe so that we could find our way out of the current deflationary economical situation). I found it online whilst data mining. It explains quite a lot about the leadership we have had since. Please seed!”
It just goes to show that—after all these years—people are still cranking out these silly charts.