Discordianism: The worlds most esoteric religion
Throwing a golden apple into religious discourse.
The Principia Discordia occurred to me in a recurring dream of mine called life. Discovered after sifting through countless scrolls of the internet, I was immediately grabbed by the opening sentences of its introduction:
“If organized religion is the opium of the masses, then disorganized religion is the marijuana of the lunatic fringe. Most disorganized of all religions, Discordianism alone understands that organization is the work of the Devil.”
When I first saw these words, I was carelessly ripped out of my recurring dream and found myself transported into the realm of reality ー awaking from a dream which I didn’t even know that I was having. Unfortunately, I wasn’t too impressed with reality (as it wasn’t how I had imagined it), and decided to go back to bed, vowing to never wake up again and keep reading this tome.
Upon returning to my dream, what I found was that the Principia Discordia, a work of Malaclypse The Younger (pen name of Gregory Hill), extols the principles of the worlds most esoteric religion: Discordianism. Describing Discordianism is like dissecting a frog, a process of gay and gleeful pleasure until someone points out that all you’ve done is chuck a bunch of frog organs around the room, inevitably ruining the fun you were just having. However, like any good disciple I shall endeavour to deliver the word of Discordianism in spite of this metaphor in the most pretentious and dogmatic manner that I can so as to appeal to the lowest common denominator, who is currently reading this right now, a parable.
“Eris Discordia will solve all your problems and She will expect you in return to solve all Her problems. In these very pages you will learn about converting infidels. Later on, you will be taught how to annoy heretics. You will also be required to resolve Zen-like riddles, such as: If Jesus was Jewish, then why did he have a Puerto Rican name?”
— Malaclypse the Younger, Principia Discordia
Discordianism was founded in 1959 by Greg Hill and Kerry Thornley when they both had a revelatory vision in a Southern Californian bowling alley (this is why bowling alleys are sacred in Discordianism). The vision was thus:
There walked into the room a chimpanzee, shaggy and grey about the muzzle, yet upright in his full five feet, and poised with natural majesty. He carried a scroll and walked to the young men.
“Gentlemen,” he said, “why does Pickering’s Moon go about in reverse orbit? Gentlemen, there are nipples on your chests; do you give milk? And what, pray tell, Gentlemen, is to be done about Heisenberg’s Law?” He paused. “SOMEBODY HAD TO PUT ALL OF THIS CONFUSION HERE!”
And with that he revealed his scroll. It was a diagram, like a yin and yang with a pentagon on one side and an apple on the other. And then he exploded and the two lost consciousness.
Whilst many sane individuals would be quick to declare this vision as complete and utter nonsense, Greg and Kerry were not so easily deterred. After a period of much research and meditation, they discovered that the ancient Goddess of chaos, known to the Greeks as ERIS, was the cause of this vision. From this, Discordianism was created in devotion to Eris: confusion, chaos, and all manners of disruption.
Before I was a Discordian, I took life much too seriously. When you take life too seriously you start to wonder what the point of it all is. When you wonder what the point is in life, you fall into a trap of thinking there is one. When you think there is a point, you finally realize there is no point. And what point is there in living like that? Nowadays I skip the search for a point and find, instead, the punch lines
— Malaclypse the Younger, Principia Discordia
With the parable over, and your minds converted, I could now go on forever about the many rules of Discordianism and how followers of Discordianism should not be expected to uphold any of them at any particular time, lest they give into the aneristic illusion (order, the creation of Aneris ─ Eris’s sister), to make you understand the universal joke that is Discordianism. I could go on about the rule of fives ─ that all things happen in fives, or are divisible by or are multiples of five or are somehow directly or indirectly appropriate to 5 ─ or the five cycles (Thesis, antithesis, synthesis, parentheses, and paralysis); or even how everyone is already a member of Discordianism and that everyone is also a saint; or how the Goddess Eris resides within your Pineal Gland; Or the universal equation (0 = 2) ─ describing how existence is the unreal resultant (0) of the imaginary conflict of two (2) non-existent forces (order and disorder); but I don’t think I will. Instead, put simply, Discordianism is about recognising that the inherit state of the universe is chaos and that what most other religions posit as the alleged ‘order’ of the universe is but an elaborate “debate over who to frame for creating reality.” By becoming a discordian (which you already are), the struggles, pain and sheer stupidity of the illusions of chaos and order that emerge from the human sensory system’s poor interpolation of reality is transformed into one big joke. Put even simpler-er, Discordianism asks us to acknowledge chaos as the default existory mode of the universe so that one might recognise your own freedom from any imposed order on it, and from there do as you please with it.
Arriving now at the end of my unfathomable sermon, we can now reconsider what to do with this recurring dream (life) that I keep having. How are we reminded that we dream? The world appears blurred, irregular of coherence and devoid of logic ─ dreaming is marked not by its difference from reality, but rather a failure to adhere to a perceived consistent experience of it. But even then, even when we aren’t dreaming, reality is still incredibly confusing and the more closely we look at our imposed order on it, the more we see Eris. In Discordianism, we are all called to use as little or as much of it as we like, we are called to live life intuitively and resolve the chaotic gaps that inevitably arise from any imposed order with a response more in common to Buddhism or Sufism than any given organised religion: enjoy the ride.
In some strange way the Principia can be best conceived of as being entirely antithetical to another popular religious text: Jordan Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life: An antidote to Chaos. Whereas Peterson proposes that Chaos is something to be confronted and fought against, Discordianism proposes the exact opposite thing in a much funnier way, thus making it superior in all aspects. Peterson does have one thing right however: Chaos is feminine, and her name is Eris. In conclusion, the Principia Discordia puts it best: “there is no conclusion. Things will go on as they always have, getting weirder all the time”.
P.S: From the next Thursday after this current one, the editors of Honi Soit would like to make notice that they do not endorse the universes’ entropy in any way and strongly oppose its views on climate change. Entropy, however, has been known to get quite touchy about this sort of thing, so it might be preferable to keep any reservations about it to yourself, lest you suddenly come down with an irreversible case of a long and prosperous life.
P.P.S: Any incorrect information, misspellings, hiccups and fuck-ups are entirely both by design and misdesign. The Goddess Eris works in mysterious ways.