Secret History

One of my abiding interests is fringe science and history. Lately I’ve been reading a lot of Graham Hancock, one of the more down-to-earth secret historians. His earlier work was mostly on a hypothetical Ice Age civilization that bequeathed its legacy of astronomical knowledge in the form of megalithic structures all over the earth, and in the myths and legends of many cultures.

So when I saw that his latest, Talisman, written with Robert Bauval, ended up with Freemasonry, I was prepared for dissilusionment. Turns out I was dissapointed, but not in the way I had expected. The first half of the book is a history of Gnostic-alike religious movements, and attempts to link the Dualist/Gnostic thread from the ancient Egyptian religion through Gnostic Christianity, the Medieval Bogomils and Cathars, to the cult of Reason in the French Revolution. The historical links presented are weak, but not implausible, and we get the obligatory conspiracy theory from mentions of an “Organization” in the Nag Hammadi texts.

And then of course we end up with the Knights Templar and the Masons. Yawn. Hancock and Bauval demonstrate that the Sun King’s Paris, London after the Great Fire, and Washington D.C. were all laid out according to Masonic symbolism, spiced with the Kabala and Hermetic magic.

Unfortunately, this is as banal a discovery as they come. Everyone knows the American founding fathers were Masons, and it comes as no surprise that they would be all over Europe in previous centuries as well. So the designers of these cities were Masons, and they decorated the cities with the symbols of their club. So what?

The problem I have with theories of Masonic conspiracy is that if there is a grand conspiracy controlling the world, it’s not doing a very good job. Heck, if I was dictator I’d run the world better than it is run now — which in my opinion resembles exactly what it appears to be: a bunch of regular people running a bunch of countries according to their very human natures.