The Story So Far

Being a History of the Invisible College from Its Foundation to the Present
Version 1.2 - 13 May 1993


We start in Sumer. The Sumerians had nearly a thousand years of uninterrupted cultural development. Even if they did not steal the arts of civilization from someone else (as the myth of Inanna and Enki would seem to imply), this gives them plenty of time to attain what in Zadig Voltaire calls the ``old Chaldean philosophy'' (i.e., old Sumerian natural science); he specifically mentions heliocentricism, a realization of the vast size of the universe, atoms and an accurate astronomy.

After the formation of the Persian Empire, there were a series of international conferences among the scholars who had inherited Sumerian science, beginning with the meeting of Thales (the first Greek philosopher) and Jeremiah in Egypt. (Bertrand Russell has preserved Conspiracy traditions of this epochal meeting in several passages of his Autobiography and his Collected Stories.) The Conspiracy proper, however, was inaugurated at a conference held in Balkh under the auspices of Zarathustra (Greek Zoroaster) in his native city of Balkh (Greek Bactra). The aging Thales attended, as did Pythagoras (fl. -532), the prophet Daniel, Lao Tzu, whose Tao Te Ching was written while waiting for customs inspectors to handle his baggage on the way tither, and the Indian scholar-prince Gautama Siddhartha, who later repudiated the project and specifically refused to teach natural philosophy. The putative reason was probably a convocation of ``wise men'' to interpret some passing omen.


The original goal of the Conspiracy was the complete understanding of nature, for the betterment of mankind.


The Indian branch of the Conspiracy was prevented by Gautama Siddhartha's anti-conspiracy of Buddhism from playing any decisive role in history. It nonetheless persevered and endured, and was responsible for numerous advances in alchemy, mathematics and neuroscience.


The Greek branch made great mathematical and theoretical progress. Little is known of the supposed founder of atomism, Leucippus; were it not for his dates (fl. -440), we would take him for an alias of Pythagoras; given that some techniques of life extension were probably known to the Conspiracy even at this early date, it cannot be ruled out. His pupil, Democritus of Abdera (fl. -420), wrote three highly important works - the Lesser World System, an exposition of Newtonian mechanics, On Irrational Atoms, on quantum mechanics, and the Greater World-System, including relativity and quantum gravity. His On Magnets explains classical electrodynamics.

Beginning with Plato, the Greek school took more of a cybernetic turn, becoming concerned with intelligence-augmentation (disguised as the ability to ``see'' the Forms), pattern, and self-moving and self-organization. (Plato's statement that Democritus' books should be burnt has been greatly misunderstood, which is curious, as almost everyone has said similar things about books they were forced to read as students.) The trend continued with Plato's student Aristotle, a biologist strongly interested in teleology. (The modern "beginning" of cybernetics is a paper by Wiener, Rosenbleuth and Bigelow entitled ``Behavior, Purpose and Teleology;'' Rosenbleuth is a cardiologist.) It is not insignificant that Alexander, Aristotle's pupil, sought to extend the Greek world to India and China.

The cybernetic branch reached new heights with Archimedes, who employed CAD and CAM techniques in his design of military and astronomical hardware. This brought on the wrath of Rome, always hostile to the Conspiracy, perhaps because Romulus and Remus themselves were failed or rebellious experiments of the Conspiracy. Apparently some of the Romans wished to appropriate Archimedes' talents, and the decision to execute him was not unanimous. Similarly, the reason nothing came of Heron of Alexandria's invention of the steam engine is that it was repressed by the Empire.


The Chinese branch of the conspiracy passed from Lao Tzu after his return from the West to Confucius (K'ung Fu Tzu, -552 to -479). Admittedly, it is written that ``The subjects on which the Master never talked were: extraordinary things (natural prodigies), unnatural strength, disorders (in Nature) and spiritual beings'' (Analects 8:20), which would be a fair description of what the Conspiracy is about. However, we know that Master K'ung had a secret as well as a public doctrine (Analects 11:11), probably only transmitted to favored pupils such as Yen Hui, and the classic known as the Ta Hsueh, ``The Great Learning,'' enjoins ``the investigation of things'' and the ordering of the knowledge thus gained as the basis of a properly human life. From these disciples the Conspiracy passed to Mo Ti (-479 to -381), an inventor and moral prophet who established a religio-military-scientific order, and perhaps more importantly to the Chi Hsia academy of the state of Ch'i. This was founded by Tsou Yen (-350 to -270), the inventor of the ``five element'' theory. This does not actually refer to elements, but rather to processes or powers, and it is, in fact, an encoded description of the four fundamental forces and the second law of thermodynamics; the first law is encoded in the doctrine of the mutual production and absorption of the forces.

The influence of Tsou Yen and the Academy was immense. In the words of biochemist and historian of science Joseph Needham, ``If Tsou Yen had had the `know-how' of the atomic bomb in his possession he could hardly have faced the rulers of the States with a steadier eye.'' Academicians included the greatest of the Confucians, Meng Tzu (the Latin Mencius, -374 to -289); the Taoist Chuang Chou, an authority on biology, feedback, expert systems, binary arithmetic as exemplified in the I Ching (on which see below) and a poet of no slight skill; the logician, atomist and minister Hui Shih, who was Chuang's verbal sparing partner, the Mohist scholar Sung Hsing and the Confucian Hsün Ch'ing (-298 to -238), who advocated the perfection of both humanity and nature through the application of knowledge and learning.

Among Hsün Ch'ing's pupils were Han Fei (d. -233) and Li Ssu, the founders of the brutal and totalitarian philosophy known as Legalism. Under their direction the semi-barbarian state of Ch'in undertook a campagain of conquest which ended with the unification of China in -221. (In fact, the name ``China'' derives from that of Ch'in.) It seems probable that these renegades sold to Ch'in some secret of immense military importance. Needham's quote above gives us a clue to what it was: Tsou Yen did know how to build atomic bombs, though given the difficulties of obtained enriched uranium in the fourth century B.C., probably only very small ones.

Ch'in rule was brief but devastating. Under Ch'in Shih Huang Ti (roughly: ``Mr. Ch'in, First Divine Autocrat''), books, except for a handful of agricultural manuals judged useful to the state, were burned. So were scholars. Revolt was inevitable, and indeed Ch'in fell in -207, in rebellions in which Confucian, Taoist and Mohist scholars played major roles. Taking advantage of the chaos of the period, the Conspiracy confused many of the books which might otherwise have broadcast their knowledge wholesale, such as the Tao Te Ching and the I Ching, and simply removed from circulation others, including the completely works of Tsou Yen. They then went more or less underground, though they appear to have had some sort of understanding with the Han and T'ang dynasties.

It may be asked how Joseph Needham, FRS, Master of Caius College, knew that Tsou Yen mastered nuclear physics millennia before Curie. The answer is, of course, that Needham was a member of the Conspiracy, as his book Man a Machine admirably proves. Indeed, his Science and Civilisation in China is essential to a proper understanding of the Conspiracy, especially volume two. Needham has shown - or rather, revealed - that Tsou was the founder of alchemy, a technique requiring deep insight into nuclear physics (for transmutation), biology and thermodynamics. Given the close connection between entropy and time, it is not at all surprising that, as Needham shows, and is independently confirmed by Mircea Eliade's The Forge and the Crucible, alchemy is intimately involved with the control of time, and the replication of the original condition of the universe - precisely what is attempted in particle accelerators.

(The Chinese drug ling-chih, identified with the Vedic soma and hence the Zoroastrian haoma, is generally admitted to have been influential in the origins of alchemy. We can now see that this was not, as is commonly thought, a hallucinogenic, but a nootrophic; or perhaps both a hallucinogenic and a nootrophic.)

Needham presents a compelling case for the ``Hyperboreans'' of the Greeks being the Chinese; but there is equally strong evidence (involving the European amber trade, etc.) that the Hyperboreans were also the Britons. This is not a contradiction; either the Britons as a whole, or perhaps merely their upper classes, were emigrees from China. (The Irish diaspora is thus the Yellow Peril in action.) The various henges and standing stones of the British Isles and Armorica are not aligned for the astronomy of -2000 or -1000, as is commonly thought, but for thousand years into the future. In this remote northern wilderness, members of the Conspiracy created these vast devices which even now bide their time, waiting to fulfill their unknown purposes in strange aeons when the stars are right. Is it coincidence that with the accelerator ring at Fermilab there stands a replica of Stonehenge, and that it was completed under budget? Some would object to this on the grounds that the Britons were painted savages. Anyone familiar with academic politics, however, knows that burning rivals in wicker cages is positively tame by the standards of some institutions, and while head-hunting may not be the most effective way of establishing tenure, it cannot be much worse than current systems. It is worth noting that the Irish were, with the Italians, almost the only inhabitants of western Europe to preserve some civilization after the barbarian invasions, and that the Catholic and Celtic churches were implacable rivals.


After Tsou Yen's time, owing to a number of unsuccessful attempts to establish what Needham refers to as the ``rule of the saints,'' the Chinese branch of the conspiracy was forced to go underground and rely on methods of misdirection, concealing their discoveries in an elaborate mystical code. Thus, alchemy travelled to the west, there to join with the fruits of the atomists and the Platonists - or, as we now know them, the cyberneticians. (The text on alchemy attributed to Democritus is probably a fragment of a festschrift, perhaps contributed by Tsou Yen himself. It is known that Democritus travelled extensively, but exactly where is unclear. It can hardly be ruled out that he was one of Tsou Yen's teachers.)


The Hebrew branch of the Conspiracy flowered at this time, becoming highly active in alchemy, and, with the Kabbala, in the information-theoretic aspects of the Conspiracy. Indeed, in Science and Civilisation in China Needham has numerous references to the services ``Israel'' rendered to the cause.

In this connection, it may be noted that the Crucifixion was a student prank. We know from the Gospels that young Joshua ben Joseph was educated. This implies that his family was, too. One of the classic early works of European alchemy was written by one Mary when she was in Egypt; recall the improbability of a prole learning to read, much less becoming a rabbi. In all probability it is as misleading to say that Joseph was ``only'' a carpenter as to say that Epictetus was ``only'' a slave or Spinoza ``only'' a lens-grinder.

We also know that Joshua was something of an enfant terrible, fond of confounding his teachers, among others. We suggest that the Crucifixion was a practical joke perpetrated by Jesus and his fellow students - Simon Peter, Judas Iscariot, Mary Magdalene and the rest. It was Passover; they were feeling festive; they went to Jerusalem and saw Pontius Pilate (perhaps at some sort of awards ceremony). They demanded that he impose as the official truth the story that Joshua had been crucified, died after only a few hours, and arose three days later, etc. - a story compounded of narrative improbabilities and borrowings from pagan mythology.

Pilate was understandably incredulous. Joshua and his fellow students threatened dire consequences if he didn't do as they asked. His famous question has been misrepresented. It was not Quid est veritas, ``What is truth?'' (as satirized by Voltaire in his _Philosophical Dictionary_, sub ``Truth'') but Quid est probitas, "What is the proof?" - note that there are no articles in Latin. He did not stay for an answer because he saw it. The Sermon on the Mount was the detonation of a very clean and man-portable nuclear weapon. (We did mention that Joshua et al. were part of the Conspiracy, didn't we? No? Oh well.) No doubt the traditional text was far more effective coming from someone who had just demonstrated how effectively one could be smitten upon one cheek. Consider the words of St. Paul: ``Now we we see as through a glass, darkly; but then, face to face... Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.'' This is entirely accurate, provided one remembers that the dead will be raised into the stratosphere, and that vapor and plasma are entirely incorruptible.

Pontius Pilate agreed; indeed all Jerusalem agreed. Rarely has a student prank been more successful. In fact, it is unlikely that anyone involved thought as many people would fall for it as eventually did.

What became of Joshua is unknown; He may, perhaps, have departed with the Three Wise Men to study supernova astronomy in the East. In any event, His tomb is still shown in a very pretty valley in Kashmir. It may be significant that there are number of confessions from +I, supposedly written by Peter, Paul, or even JC Himself, explaining everything away.

The way in which Christianity made the transition from student prank to world religion is curious. Around the beginning of the modern era, there were many similar cults floating around the Near East, and the Roman empire in general. At the time all were fairly small. But in +III, there were massive plagues. Much of the empire was depopulated, allowing the barbarians to move in. Shortly thereafter, Christianity came to power. Obviously, Christianity rode the first version of virus which inspires millenarian religious madnesses. Somehow one strain got loose in the Mediterranean basin somewhat before the birth of Christ; it proliferated; a mutant version killed lots of people before being brought under control; the surviving strains were potent enough to swell Christianity - especially among the armies, always an important vector - and at the same time to produce numberless heresies. (For obscure reasons, most focused on the nature of the trinity.) As the virus subsided, the dark ages ensued. We may at this juncture mention that it was a clone of Hypatia, and not the actual last librarian of Alexandria, who was seized by a mob in the streets, carried into a church and there torn apart with clamshells, an act for whose organization (and other, similar services to the Faith) Archbishop Cyril was canonized. Had the ecclesia not been bugged as a matter of course, things would no doubt have been different.


Muhammad was at least a sympathizer if not a member of the Conspiracy. The organization and perfection of nature account for a clear plurality of the verse of the Koran, and his injunction, ``Seek knowledge, even if it be as far away as China,'' is distinctly suspicious. The Islamic empires were always generous in their patronage of science, which they acquired from Jewish and remaining pagan sources - which is to say, they were lavish supporters of the Conspiracy. (This allows us to realize that Hassan-i-Sabbah, the epynomous founder of the Assassins, was not a member of the Conspiracy, since he killed their patrons. In fact, since Omar Khayyam was part of the Conspiracy, and Khayyam and Sabbah were friends at the university, it seems likely that Sabbah was actively opposed to it. Given his admiration of Sabbah, it is clear that William S. Burroughs is a member of an anti-conspiracy, insofar as his limited supply of neurons allows him to be part of anything.) The Knights Templar were derived from these Islamic conspirators, though they were a splinter group with only the most foggy understanding of the goals. (This was still understanding enough for them to be suppressed by the Holy Roman Catholic Church, which inherited the Imperium's hostility towards the Conspiracy.)

It was during this Islamic flowering of the Conspiracy that the ambitious ``Cthulhu Project'' was begun at Iram, the City of Many Pillars. Among the spin-offs of the project was that strange and fascinating volume, the Kitab al-Azif; but a proper discussion of this fascinating topic would take us too far afield, and the reader is referred to the appendix.

In all probability it was the increasing success of hostile forces within Dahr al-Islam, such as the Assassins and theologians, and without, such as Temujin, better known as Genghis Khan, that prompted the conspiracy to pull up stakes and return to Europe, a move aided by the existence of European scholars with a sound Moorish (i.e. Conspiratorial) training. Some, such as Roger Bacon, were even admitted to the Conspiracy. (Bacon's "brazen head" is an obvious misunderstanding of a computer with advanced natural language capabilities.)

Italy was chosen as the best place to start. The Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II ruled large portions, was fully conversant with Islamic science and nearly defeated the papacy. The Islamic and Jewish presence helped, as did a Latin conspiratorial tradition, lingering from the days of Pythagoras, Empedocles, Archimedes, Lucretius, and Virgil the sorcerer. The Renaissance which followed was distinguished for its excellence in science, technology, Pythagoreanism and other forms of encoded science, and game theory. (The Medici, as their name indicates, were originally a medical family, and thus easy targets for Conspiracy influence. That Niccolo Machiavelli dedicated his treatise on the more applied and technological aspects of game theory to Lorenzo the Magnificent is not without interest.)

The late middle ages and Renaissance were an extremely fertile period for schism, heresy and general affronts to orthodoxy. Some of these movements, such as the Homines Intelligentiae, were cloaks, tools or allies of the Conspiracy. Others, however, were spawned by the Black Death. This dreaded disease originated in Central Asia, and was not, as is commonly believed, a version of Pasteurella pestis, the bubonic plague, but of the millenarian virus, breed to renewed virulence by the Conspiracy in its hidden Central Asian strongholds, known to some as Leng. The disease came to Europe when corpses killed by it were catapulted into a Genoese trading post on the Black Sea by marauding Kipchak Turks. (This is the oldest recorded instance of biological warfare.) The initial result was massive carnage, often accompanied by outbreaks of St. Vitus' dance, which has many parallels among the Cargo Cults (see below).

As the survivors came to grips with the catastrophe, and - equally important - adapted to the virus, the effects became more subtle, but no less important - schisms, heresies, blasphemy, political and social chaos and a demand for labor-saving machinery. Europeans have continued to adapt to the virus, until now its most overt manifestation is schizophrenia. (Others include fundamentalists, Theosophists and other pop occultists, William Blake, admiration of Napoleon and oracular philosophy, and a general tendency to ideological infatuation.) When introduced to previously unexposed populations, it helps reduce the population, along with such diseases as smallpox, and leads to such collective madnesses as the Cargo Cults, the Ghost Dance and the famous movement among the Xhosa.

Ecclesiastical efforts to crush the heresies and Renaissance were unsuccessful. The Inquisition was instituted to combat heresy, Jews and Moors - the Church new who its enemies were - but found itself hopelessly overwhelmed, especially when it broadened its scope to include all the wizards, witches and scientists it could lay hands on. The witches were not, of course, true members of the Conspiracy, but a splinter group and a fragment, descending from those members of the Conspiracy who, trapped by the barbarian invasion, muddled through as best they could. It is thus evident that the number of true witches caught by the Conspiracy was vanishingly small. Indeed, of all the hundreds of thousands, if not millions, handed over to the secular arm to be killed mercifully, and without the shedding of blood - which is to say, at the stake - it is unlikely that more than a hundred were genuine witches, let alone Conspirators. The Church is understandably embarrassed about this, and it is not surprising that the Holy Office today keeps a very low profile indeed.


The Renaissance and Conspiracy moved north, with the Jews, to Holland, and to central Europe, having first prudently instigated the Reformation, beginning with Professor Wycliffe of Oxford, followed by Huss in Bohemia, and culminating in Dr. Martin Luther in Germany. Luther was a strong proponent of alchemy. (The millenarian virus did not make the Reformation's work any harder.)

It was in Germany - in particular, Bavaria - that Rene Descartes (1596-1630) had his central philosophical insights, including those on treating living things as automata. It was in Prague that the Emperor Rudolf encouraged the sciences and practiced alchemy; in Prague that Rabbi Low, the collaborator of Rudolf, made his Golem. That revenants are especially well-reported from the empire of Austria-Hungary; that the word ``robot'' was coined by the Czech write Capek, whose War with the Newts is about the replacement of humanity by another species, one initially augmented by H. sapiens; that John von Neumann, Leo Szilard and Edward Teller were all Hungarians, cannot be coincidence.

But meanwhile Holland, a miniscule country lacking in natural resources, was enjoying an astonishing increase in material wealth - no doubt through the clandestine use of such conspiracy techniques as mass production. Here Spinoza, the biological descendant of Spanish Jews and the philosophical descendant of Descartes, waged his theoretical battles against superstition and for a metaphysic uniquely adapted to the findings of science. (His views were latter to exert great influence on the Romantics; Shelley quoted him in extenso). Holland in this time served as the intellectual hub and refuge of Europe. Leibnitz, undoubtedly a conspirator, interested in mathematical logic, calculating machines and monads (an early sort of cellular automata) went there to study under Spinoza; John Locke helped Holland export its capitalism and science to England, then in the throws of a revolution undoubtedly engineered by the Conspiracy (as Needham himself hints).

Newton did not himself visit Holland, but was in extensive correspondence with Dutch scientists, and in any case Francis Bacon was without question a member of the Conspiracy - among several others. (On balance, it seems unlikely that William Shakespeare, who ghost-wrote for Bacon, was a Conspirator, merely the greatest poet in the English language.) In addition to his mathematical and physical research, Newton was intensely interested in alchemy and the decoding of sacred texts, seeking to recover knowledge he was sure the ancients had possessed - and he specifically mentioned the Chaldeans.

The Newton-Leibnitz split probably accounts for the lack of an overt Conspiratorial presence in eighteenth century England. Highly significant, however, is the fact that Voltaire went to England and absorbed Newtonian physics, Lockean philosophy and an admiration for the English revolution. (His mistress of several decades was a physicist who translated Newton's works from Latin into French.) Voltaire was probably the most effective propagandist for the conspiracy since Martin Luther. His classic Candide presents its vision of the ``best of all possible worlds,'' and his efforts against the Church succeeded in breaking its power even in the most powerful Catholic country of the time. That one of the industries he encouraged on his estate at Ferney was clock-making is not without symbolic significance.

The English Romantics were a direct out-growth of the eighteenth century Enlightenment, of which Voltaire was the embodiment, if not the controlling intelligence. (A churchman said of him, ``The devil has given all the powers of Hell into his hands.'') Shelley's favorite authors were Benjamin Franklin (a scientist, a friend of Voltaire, and a Mason) and Lucretius, both, undoubtedly, members of the Conspiracy; he was strongly interested in science and industrial development. Keats was an ex-pharmacist, and his poetry displays a suspicious knowledge of the orbital chaos of Hyperion. Mary Shelley, the wife of the poet, wrote extensively on the subjects of artificial intelligence, artificial life and biotechnology. (It is no doubt significant that Shelley's play Hellas contains an astonishing display of applied psychology and cognitive science by a Jewish Cabbalist.)

That the Romantics moved to Italy can only indicate that they were seeking access to some hidden, perhaps abandoned, resource of the Conspiracy. Now, from the classic text on alchemy, the Nei P'ien of the great Ko Hung, it is clear that from +320 at the latest nanotechnology has been available to the Conspiracy. (The English translation, Alchemy, Medicine and Religion in the China of 320 A.D., by Ware, is published, significantly enough, by the MIT Press.) This has two important implications: First, the powers now available to the Conspiracy are beyond anything we can imagine. Second, the higher ranks of the Conspiracy are no longer humans pur sang. At the very least, they will have purged themselves of such ills that flesh is heir to as cancer, senility and dandruff. It would be foolish to conjecture what more profound transformations they have effected in the last seventeen centuries. Bearing this in mind, and remembering that the descendants of the Romantics, including Friedrich ``Man is something to be surpassed'' Nietzche, the Anarchists, the Fascists and to some extent even the Bolsheviks with their ideal of the ``New Soviet Man,'' eagerly anticipated and sought to produce a new, perfected variety of human, or super-human. The Romantics, then, were a movement of ``transhumanism for the masses,'' who desired to throw open the gates of evolution and let people make of themselves what they would, free of restraint and convention. Perhaps they met their end at the hands of anti-conspiracies; or were silenced by less radical branches of the Conspiracy itself; or, perhaps, they met their untimely, if not outright mysterious, ends through mere coincidence. The extreme pains Mary Shelley took over the publication of her husband's poems show that they are intricately constructed allegories for the knowledge and goals of the conspiracy, probably involving multiple ciphers.

Exactly what the Romantics sought in Italy is unknown. In addition to being the birthplace of the Renaissance and modern humanism, it was in Italy that Virgil worked his sorceries and prophesied the Golden Age, when the liabilities of the body would trouble humanity no more; in Italy were born Romulus and Remus, whose strange story practically reeks of genetic experimentation; where Empedocles, too, prophesied the Golden Age, and claimed to have become more than human, and to similarly enhance others; where the mysterious Etruscans settled after their migration from an unknown part of Asia; where, according to tradition, the Cyclopses, monsters and technologists of divine skill, had their haunts; where Circe lived, who turned animals into men, and men into uncanny things; and it was in Italy that Daedalus, creator of the Minotaur, who when forced to fly gave himself wings, sought asylum from the wrath of King Minos. (In 1924, J.B.S. Haldane wrote a book called Daedalus, or, Science and the Future, in which he predicted bioengineering and transhumanism, and took Daedalus as the patron of these movements. He pointed out that, despite crimes ranging from murdering his nephew through usurping numerous divine prerogatives to the treacherous killing of a son of Zeus, Daedalus did not go to Tartarus, or even Hades, and Socrates, teacher of Plato, claimed him as an ancestor.) Clearly, Italy's association with these matters is neither new nor shallow, nor, as Umberto Eco, Primo Levi and Italo Calvino are unquestionably part of the Conspiracy, over.

(Goethe was a Romantic too, of course, though he later gave that up. Before then he had studied alchemy extensively, and written ``The Sorcerer's Apprentice,'' which was to so fascinate Norbert Wiener. Goethe's ambivalence about the Conspiracy found such outlets as his attack on Newton and his Faust (``two souls war within my breast,'' etc.), who, significantly enough, finds salvation in a flood-control effort in the Netherlands. Cf. Needham on the importance of hydraulic engineering, and Freeman Dyson on Goethe's influence on him.)


Despite this set-back, the British branch of the Conspiracy remained vigorous. The Empire was not acquired ``in a fit of absentmindedness,'' but as a calculated policy of acquiring the research of scattered colleagues.

The Industrial Revolution was more problematic. The Conspiracy had encouraged James Watt and the other early inventors, but it soon had doubts. No doubt because of the miniscule size of the Conspiracy they had not considered the possibility that technology might spread and grow exponentially. By the mid 1800s the means were being put in place to derail industrialism if it was deemed necessary. The American Civil War showed the tremendous carnage which even relatively primitive mass production made possible. Marx, a member of the Conspiracy, whose time in the British Museum was certainly not spent in solitary study, readied the proletariat. Darwin and Huxley demolished what lingering power the churches possessed.

The Analytical Engine was in part a challenge to Babbage and Byron's daughter Ada Lovelace - could they make a computer with the primitive ``technology'' of the laity? - and in part a test of industrialism. Evidently it was decided that Lovelace and Babbage had come (in Wiener's phrase) ``too damn close,'' and that technological progress would have to be squashed.

The chosen means was the Great War. If matters had gone according to plan, it would in fact have been over in a few months, as everyone thought in 1914, and Europe would have been reduced to slag. The generals, however, were simply too stupid. The Conspiracy therefore turned to their fall-back plan, engineering the October Revolution and the entry of America into the war. (Come now, you don't really think Wilson's stroke was only that, do you?)

But even this went awry. The Revolution failed to spread; Versailles was a disaster; the League of Nations was useless as a tool of the Conspiracy. At this point leadership of the British branch had passed to Bertrand Russell, a man intensely interest in mathematics, philosophy, science and the "best of all possible worlds," whose family had been influential in the creation of the Empire. It is no coincidence that he trained Wiener and the Logical Positivists of Vienna; was a partisan of Einstein and quantum mechanics; held political views which might serve as the archetype for those of a branch of the conspiracy discussed by Needham in his crucial vol. 2, taking as a motto the saying of Lao Tzu, ``Production without possession, action without self-assertion, development without domination.'' He went to Russia in 1920 but returned intensely disappointed by the experience and horrified by Lenin. Who can say what happened to Vladimir Illych on board that sealed train to the Finland Station? All that is clear is that the Revolution was hijacked by anti-Conspiracy forces at its birth.

On his return from the Soviet Union Russell travelled to China, probably to confer with the Secret Masters of the Conspiracy, and incidentally immerse himself in the traditional culture and learning. It is not clear what decision was reached - if any at all. Some of the Secret Masters are at least two thousand years old; they are patient people (if that is the right noun), as such projects as the henges and Cthulhu indicate, and for them to take a mere nine years to formulate and implement a plan is arguably hasty.

The Great Depression, like all speculative bubbles, was an exercise in human greed and stupidity. But the _reason_ humans were, on this occasion, so exceptionally greedy and stupid, was the early Orbital Mind Control Lasers employed by the Conspiracy. From there, of course, they could let matters take their own course, and offer their services to the Allies when they had no choice but to accept the Conspiracy at whatever terms They chose to offer.

The Conspiracy did not merely provide the Allies with beads and rum, but many useful tidbits of technological information, such as nuclear weapons and modern genetics. The price They exacted, however, was control over technological development, a measure of political power and unrestricted recruiting from the allies citizens. The Allies agreed; Heisenberg sabotaged the German bomb effort; Hoffmann unleashed LSD; the Manhattan Project and radar were born.

Of course, as soon as they had won, the Allies, with the exception of Britain, attempted to renege on their agreements. The Russians supported Mao and Lysenko; the Americans introduced McCarthyism; and the French refused to give up their Empire. Rosalind Franklin, a Conspirator and co-discoverer of the structure of DNA, was killed to prevent recognition of her work; Wiener grew apocalyptic; Oppenheimer was ruined; Einstein was the victim of a subtle poison. Russell became sufficiently frustrated to announce at an East-West conference of scientists that "Now is the time to drop the Bomb." In the end, however, the Conspiracy triumphed, though some might consider the means employed, which appear to have included everyone from Sakharov and the Non-Aligned Bloc through Mario Savio and LSD to Elvis Presley, a tad extreme. (Elvis is in fact alive, and is a staff physicist at Fermilab, when not writing under his pen-name of J. B. Priestly. See the Weekly World News of spring 1992. Timothy Leary never left Algeria; the current cybertwit may be either a human imposter or an android.)


The current century has witnessed an unprecedented degree of political activity on the part of the Conspiracy consists. It consists, in the main, of people whom, for want of a better word, may be described as technogeeks. It is hard to over-emphasise this.

It does not matter that the people who established the Conspiracy had high ideals. [i.e. the complete control of nature, for the betterment of mankind.] This fell by the wayside very quickly, given all the neat stuff that the Conspiracy became able to do. Knowledge for knowledge's sake - and technology for technology's sake - was the order of the day for centuries.

Technogeeks are not interested primarily in power over, or control of, people. They are interested more in questions like, "How does this work?" ``How can I attach device A to device B? What's going to happen if I do?'' ``Can we build a working starship? What's there to see out there?'' Francis Bacon admirably summarized the plan as ``the effecting of all things possible.'' Give a technogeek the choice between puttering around trying out something new, and having to deal with a raging mob outside, most will choose the lab... Except if the raging mob decides to go into the lab. The Secret Masters of the Conspiracy are the ultimate in tenured professors - if left to incubate their unimaginable projects in peace, they are content. When, in the past, they have used their power, it is largely to these ends.

There are exceptions to this. Some members of the Conspiracy have been highly political (perhaps ones who drew the short straws) - but for the most part, most of the Conspiracy couldn't care less about political power, about what the laity think, and so forth - just so long as they go unmolested (which is why they do things behind closed doors - if you allow any old idiot to wander in and look at your stuff, who knows what they'll do with it...)

Since the Industrial Revolution, however, it has become clear that keeping the laity out will become increasingly difficult. The science and technics of the ``proles'' are increasing exponentially, much faster than those of the Conspiracy. It is estimated that within no more than two centuries, if nothing intervenes, the Conspiracy's technological advantage will vanish, and with it, probably, their secrecy. Any solution to this (for the Conspiracy) knotted problem involves gaining political power, and substantial amounts of it at that. Viewed in this light, Marx's dictum that while hitherto the philosophers had merely tried to describe the world, their real task was to change it, assumes new significance. Russell would also seem to have belong to this school of thought,as a perusal of his works, especially The Problem of China, Power and Skeptical Essays makes clear. This faction seems to have been successful, though the use to which the Conspiracy intends to put its accumulating power is unclear.

It could attempt to halt industrialism at some safe level of ignorance and inefficiency, but such a situation seems dangerously explosive, liable to relapse into exponential growth at any time. They could attempt to sabotage or over-drive industrialism until, like the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, it rips itself apart - but the obvious danger is that the Conspiracy will be brought down with it.

The more secure alternative is a take-over. If the Conspiracy has secure political and economic control, its loss of technical advantage, or even secrecy, will be compensated for. Sometime within the next two centuries, then, the Conspiracy will, overtly or otherwise, assume power, and their tame Übermenschen will see to it that the Tenured Masters can return to their projects in peace. It seems not unlikely that Project Cthulhu will have a role in this, as will a new strain of the millenarian virus known, interestingly enough, as ``Calamari.''

Something of this may be gleaned from the list of current known members of the Conspiracy. These include K. Eric Drexler, who seems to have inherited the alchemical tradition; John Kenneth Galbraith and Milton Friedman, whose public squabbles over economics are a mere camouflage; Freeman Dyson; Stanislaw Lem; Fang Lizhi; Abdus Salam; Akio Morita; Karl Popper; Marvin Minsky and other members of the artificial intelligentsia (cf. the denunciation by ``Timothy Leary'' of ``engineer-philosophers like Marvin Minsky'' in Mondo 2000). If you or someone you know is an aspiring technogeek, Ubermensch or, better yet, Ubergeek, it behooves you to get in on the ground floor now by contacting the nearest Conspiracy recruiter as soon as possible. You may already be one of Them without knowing it.

The latest head of the Conspiracy is of course Feynman, whose death was - like those of many other leaders of the Conspiracy, from Democritus on - carefully faked; he has sailed into the West on an O-ring, to the secret strongholds of the Conspiracy in Inner Asia, for which Tannu Tuva is no more than a blind, but will assuredly return when his people need him.

Respectfully submitted, with a plea for Your Honors' favorable consideration,
The Campus Crusade for Cthulhu (Berkeley Tentacle)
Contact: Cosma Rohilla Shalizi

Last updated 1 November 1994