German philosopher and founder of the Illuminati (1748–1830)
- Since the number of men is large but the earthly realm is not inexhaustible, one man can no longer profit from the labour of twenty. Moderation, contentment, and frugality must become the general morals of mankind. […] The whole earth becomes a garden, and nature has at last completed her day’s work here below, bringing permanent enlightenment, peace, and felicity together with the greatest possible number of men : she has anointed every man as his own judge, priest, and king; has turned the often-ridiculed tale of the golden age, mankind’s favorite idea of old, into a reality by discreetly removing the eternal inequality of wealth, which has been ineffectively combated by all lawgivers and has always has crept back in, and which is the source of the decay of all nations, and the root of servitude, tyranny, and disunity among men, of venality and moral corruption, making it forever impossible through the excessive growth of the human population.
- Philosophy degree (1783), in: The Secret School of Wisdom: The Authentic Rituals and Doctrinces of the Illuminati, ed. by Josef Wäges and Reinhard Markner, Lewis Masonic 2015, p. 364.
- I myself brought Deism no more to Bavaria than to Rome or Italy. I found it there already; and I shall give the reasons below, just why in the most fanatical countries, and more under Catholicism than Protestantism, this sort of person is found in such a measure and multitude.
- Einleitung zu meiner Apologie (1787) p. 39.
- Do you realize sufficiently what it means to rule—to rule in a secret society? Not only over the lesser or more important of the populace, but over the best of men, over men of all ranks, nations, and religions, to rule without external force, to unite them indissolubly, to breathe one spirit and soul into them, men distributed over all parts of the world?
- "Greeting to the newly integrated illuminatos dirigentes", in Nachtrag von weitern Originalschriften vol. 2 (1787) p. 45.
- Should you seek might, power, false honor, excess — seek that we would work for you to provide your temporal advantages — we will bring you as close to the throne as you wish, and then turn you over to the consequences of your folly, but our inner sanctuary remains closed to such. But should you want to learn wisdom — want to learn to make mankind more clever, better, free and happy — then be thrice welcomed by us.
- Die neuesten Arbeiten des Spartacus und Philo in dem Illuminaten-Orden (1794) pp. 9-10.
- In the stage of manhood alone does the human race first appear in his dignity; only there are his principles fixed, his connections appropriate, he sees the full circumference of his sphere; there alone — after we have already learned through many detours, through long, repeated, sad experiences, what a calamity it is to arrogate the rights of others, to raise oneself over others through mere external advantages, to use his size to the detriment of others — there alone one recognizes, believes, feels what an honor, what a joy it is to be a human being.
- Die neuesten Arbeiten des Spartacus und Philo in dem Illuminaten-Orden (1794) p. 20.
- This first stage of the life of the whole race is savagery, raw nature:… a condition in which man enjoys the most exquisite goods, equality and freedom, in full abundance, and would also enjoy them forever, if he would follow the hint of nature and understand the art of not abusing his powers and preventing the outbreak of his excessive passions.
- Die neuesten Arbeiten des Spartacus und Philo in dem Illuminaten-Orden (1794) pp. 20-21.
- In this time, when the games and abuses of secret societies were without end, I wanted to make use of this human weakness for a real and worthy goal, the welfare of mankind.… I wanted what the heads of the ecclesiastical and secular powers should do and want by virtue of their offices.
- Die Leuchte des Diogenes (1804) p. 329.
- Wishaupt [sic] seems to be an enthusiastic Philanthropist. He is among those (as you know the excellent [Richard] Price and Priestley also are) who believe in the indefinite perfectibility of man. He thinks he may in time be rendered so perfect that he will be able to govern himself in every circumstance so as to injure none, to do all the good he can, to leave government no occasion to exercise their powers over him, & of course to render political government useless.
- As Wishaupt lived under the tyranny of a despot & priests, he knew that caution was necessary even in spreading information, & the principles of pure morality.… He proposed to initiate new members into his body by gradations proportioned to his fears of the thunderbolts of tyranny. This has given an air of mystery to his views, was the foundation of his banishment, the subversion of the masonic order, & is the colour for the ravings against him of Robinson, Barruel & Morse, whose real fears are that the craft would be endangered by the spreading of information, reason, & natural morality among men.
- It has been claimed that Dr. Weishaupt was an atheist, a Cabalistic magician, a rationalist, a mystic; a democrat, a socialist, an anarchist, a fascist; a Machiavellian amoralist, an alchemist, a totalitarian and an "enthusiastic philanthropist." (The last was the verdict of Thomas Jefferson, by the way.)
- Robert Anton Wilson in Cosmic Trigger: Final Secret of the Illuminati (1977).
- The one safe generalization one can make is that Weishaupt's intent to maintain secrecy has worked; no two students of Illuminology have ever agreed totally about what the "inner secret" or purpose of the order actually was (or is …).
- Cosmic Trigger: Final Secret of the Illuminati (1977).