Last Saturday I gave an interview for my friend George Ann Hughes of The Byte Show. As usual she called a little early to go over what we'd be talking about, and she said "I want you to talk a little about the University of Oxford." Thinking she just wanted me to give a few impressions of the place, I agreed, and she began recording the show. Boy, was I in for a surprise, for George Ann began the show by informing me that one of her listeners had emailed her with the accusation that I was a member of the Illuminati - yes, that's right, I'm a fully-fledged Illuminatus! - simply because, according to her listener's 21 years of careful research, anyone who goes to the University of Oxford has to be "sponsored" and is ipso facto a member of the sinister cult out for world domination. The conclusion of her twenty-one years' of research led to the inevitable conclusion: I am an Illuminatus.
You can listen here, scroll down to the series called Alchemy and the Magic of Social Engineering, episode 12:
Well, needless to say, I was floored. You can hear my reaction in the show as I was informed of my lofty status as a high-ranking servant of the devil.
Later in the show, George Ann informed me that the listener in question - who had done such assiduous research and come to the conclusion that a son of Sioux Falls, South Dakota had achieved this lofty status - was a "Christian."
If it weren't so laughable, it would be tragic. Indeed, it is tragic in a way, that a religion supposedly about love and redemption and forgiveness has so many adherents with nothing better to do than hurl accusations against people they don't know, who don't fit into their narrow systems, and conclusions and accusations that are...well...just plain silly. What disturbs me here is that this "well-intentioned" person is a classic illustration of what happens to people when they put their system ahead of their heart and head, for the mentality induced by such fundamentalisms - be it those of Christianity, Communism, Socialism, Nazism, or even atheism(yes, there is a "fundamentalism of atheism" Gertrude) - is that such people seem programmed into one of two responses to people who are outside their chosen system or matrix by which they view the world: (1) they are searching always for converts to it, and (2) they are always in search for enemies of it. This is particularly true for those systems claiming to be an all-encompassing philosophical and social truth (such as Communism), or claiming to be the result of divine sanction and special revelation(such as the three monotheistic religions). The consequence of seeking converts or enemies is an inevitable logical result of such claims, and hence, an inevitable part of the social engineering, of the perception management, built into such systems.
The result? In this particular instance this servant of the religion of love and compassion has managed to turn one of my life's accomplishments and all the anguish that went with it, into an insult, an ugly smear. The result? an absurdity: accusations based on "research" and "conclusions" about people one does not even know! In this case, the result is so silly that I could only laugh, for the Illuminati indeed have fallen on hard times if they need to recruit a hack from South Dakota. I'm waiting for her to produce my membership card and badge number.