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What The Eye In Every Conspiracy Theory Actually Means

- [Narrator] What is this thing?

You've probably seen this eye

in a bunch of conspiracy theories and Masonic references.

It's the same eye that you see

on the back of the dollar bill.

And it's even part of the Great Seal of the United States.

No, not there, it's actually on the other side.

That's right, the seal has two sides.

But this symbol's meaning and creation

actually has nothing to do with any of that.

This is known as the Eye of Providence.

And it first popped up during the Renaissance.

It shows an eye, often surrounded by rays of light,

enclosed by a triangle.

Artists used this to represent the all-seeing eye of God.

The three points of the triangle represent the Christian

mythology of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

The rays of light are stand ins for holiness and divinity.

This painting is one of the first known appearances

of the Eye of Providence way back in 1525.

If you go back even further in history,

you can find an eye being used in ancient Egyptian times

but it's not exactly the same thing.

For example, the Eye of Horus belongs to Horus the sky god

who's often depicted as a falcon.

So it's a falcon's eye.

Fast-forward to the founding of the United States

and it ended up on the back of the Great Seal

on top of a pyramid.

Why?

- The pyramid is a sign of strength and of survival.

Of being long-lasting and that's designed to show

that the new nation is going to survive,

is going to last a long time and it's built

on 13 different steps meaning the 13 new states,

the 13 former colonies.

- It was a few years after that,

that the Freemasons starting using the eye for themselves.

Some think it was the Mason's way of projecting

their own watchful power but it's actually the opposite.

- I think the all-seeing eye of God for Freemasons

was designed to be a message to themselves.

To say, "We are being watched over and therefore,

"we need to live up to the standards of not only religion,

"but also of Freemasonry-ism."

- So the Freemasons were reminding themselves

to keep their own strict moral standards,

not push their values on the general public.

Of course other conspiracies say the eye

in the Seal of the United States and on the dollar bill

mean that the government is always watching us.

But again, its real meaning goes back to a higher power.

- It's supposed to represent America

being watched over by God.

America having been created underneath God's watchful eye.

- So how did this symbol get so tarnished?

Why is it tangled in the web of so many conspiracy theories?

- Well symbols are easy for people to digest,

they're easy on the brain.

You know, where as data and evidence is much tougher for us.

We have to digest it, and think about it,

come to new conclusions.

Symbols can be very powerful.

Here's the symbol, it's on the dollar bill,

you can attach a picture to it and it's much easier

to do that than it is to say:

Well listen, we have free markets and we have democracy

and both of the things are incredibly messy

and no one's really controlling it

but if I can give you a few symbols and

attach some names to it, all of a sudden you have

an evil villain that you can pin the blame on.

- OK, but throughout history it's clear.

Evil villains do exist.

Is it really such a stretch to believe that others like them

might be using symbols to signal their secret intentions?

- So there are all sorts of things that people see

that they believe are clues put out there.

So the dollar bill, the way the roads are made

in Washington, D.C..

There's a painting in the airport in Colorado

that people think was really an Illuminati base.

People think that there are secret messages

in the movies, in the music.

The truth is that if you are pulling off a grand conspiracy,

the idea is that you want to do this in secret,

you don't wanna be caught.

You're not going to put out clues.

So it doesn't make sense.

I mean, none of it makes sense.

- So instead of signifying a all-seeing power

that watches over all of us, and hints to greater

and more sinister plans ahead.

Maybe a simpler explanation is true.

It's just a symbol.

(light music)