In 1662, Sir Isaac Newton composed the Principia Matematica, setting forth the finest declaration of the laws of order, thus composing the crown jewel of the age of Reason.
In 1965 a couple of crackpots calling themselves Malaclypse the Younger and Lord Omar Khayyam Ravenhurst, mimeographed and began distributing primitive copies of the Principia Discordia, an exposition on the theology of randomness, and proclaiming the primacy of the Holy Joke.
Central to the myth is the Greek goddess Eris, the mischievous incarnation of Chaos, otherwise best known for starting the great War for Vagina between the Trojans and the Spurtans.
For those who slept through their Homer, the War began when Eris tossed a golden apple marked “Kallisti” (for the fairest) in a hall where the Goddesses of Marriage (Hera), Love (Aphrodite), and Strategy (Athena) all competed for primacy.
Naturally, Chaos won out.
Worshiping a troublemaking Goddess like this takes a lot of mind-altering substances and a yen for the Cosmic Laugh. The genius of the Principia Discordia is that out of the absurdities about hot-dog buns and flax, a cogent and fulfilling philosophy actually emerges, one that encourages reframing static ideas with dynamic ones.
Packed with zen-like contorsions and paradox-packed puns, this text is a genuine cult classic that influenced and interacted with the work of many great countercultural writers, most notably the late Robert Anton Wilson.
Some quotes from the text:
THE FIVE COMMANDMENTS (THE PENTABARF)
The PENTABARF was discovered by the hermit Apostle Zarathud in the Fifth Year of The Caterpillar. He found them carved in gilded stone, while building a sun deck for his cave, but their import was lost for they were written in a mysterious cypher. However, after 10 weeks & 11 hours of intensive scrutiny he discerned that the message could be read by standing on his head and viewing it upside down.
KNOW YE THIS O MAN OF FAITH!
* I – There is no Goddess but Goddess and She is Your Goddess. There is no Erisian Movement but The Erisian Movement and it is The Erisian Movement. And every Golden Apple Corps is the beloved home of a Golden Worm.
* II – A Discordian Shall Always use the Official Discordian Document Numbering System.
* III – A Discordian is Required during his early Illumination to Go Off Alone & Partake Joyously of a Hot Dog on a Friday; this Devotive Ceremony to Remonstrate against the popular Paganisms of the Day: of Catholic Christendom (no meat on Friday), of Judaism (no meat of Pork), of Hindic Peoples (no meat of Beef), of Buddhists (no meat of animal), and of Discordians (no Hot Dog Buns).
* IV – A Discordian shall Partake of No Hot Dog Buns, for Such was the Solace of Our Goddess when She was Confronted with The Original Snub.
* V – A Discordian is Prohibited of Believing what he reads.
IT IS SO WRITTEN! SO BE IT. HAIL DISCORDIA! PROSECUTORS WILL BE TRANSGRESSICUTED.
* The Hell Law says that Hell is reserved exclusively for them that believe in it. Further, the lowest Rung in Hell is reserved for them that believe in it on the supposition that they’ll go there if they don’t.
o HBT; The Gospel According to Fred, 3:1
* IT IS MY FIRM BELIEF THAT IT IS A MISTAKE TO HOLD FIRM BELIEFS
The Golden Secret
* NONSENSE AS SALVATION
The human race will begin solving its problems on the day that it ceases taking itself so seriously.
To that end, POEE proposes the countergame of NONSENSE AS SALVATION. Salvation from an ugly and barbarous existence that is the result of taking order so seriously and so seriously fearing contrary orders and disorder, that GAMES are taken as more important than LIFE; rather than taking LIFE AS THE ART OF PLAYING GAMES.
* If you can master nonsense as well as you have already learned to master sense, then each will expose the other for what it is: absurdity. From that moment of illumination, a man begins to be free regardless of his surroundings. He becomes free to play order games and change them at will. He becomes free to play disorder games just for the hell of it. He becomes free to play neither or both. And as the master of his own games, he plays without fear, and therefore without frustration, and therefore with good will in his soul and love in his being.