From the Et Cetera Discordia…
The Gods were annoyed.
To say the least.
But they had no choice ’cause we had rented the space fair and square. The ink on the contract was dry. The Gods’ job was to clear out and spend the week on an all-expenses-paid booze cruise through the Astral. Our job was to use their space to party like it’s 2012. Apollo, in his little white vacation shoes, flipped me off on the way out. They had just heard the news, that Limbo Peak had been rented out by Discordians.
When Triple Zero and I reserved the place, we wore these sweet masks. I was Hairacles and he was Kolonoskopos. We told them it was a masquerade ball, but we didn’t tell ‘em who was on the guest list.
When Zeus found out it was Discordians, he got all bitchtits. “Eris worshippers?” he thundered. “Aw Hera, they’re gonna foul the pool…” Someone whispered in his ear that skinnydipping was listed several times on the party agenda. That old windbag’s bitchtits practically burst out his beardhole. “I forbid the pool entirely!” Sure thing pops. Yeah, we’ll be good guests. Hey, where do you keep the towels?
Our Lady Eris is celebrating 49 or 50 years or so since she sent her penguin to freak out those spags Mal and Omar. It’s been more or less a constant party since then – like something Crowley would envision while balls deep in an ass trance. In a way we’re celebrating 49 or 50 years of constant partying with an even weirder party.
So 000 and I — I mean, Hairacles and Kolonoskopos — tried to contact as many “Discordians” as they could find for this bizarre masquerade bash. Weird people in their anybody suits. We’re all over the place like tossed cookies. And when the party started, they came in droves. They jibbered in Russian. There were mittens and win in every discussion.
Now there’s a lot of “Discordians” out there on the web, and obviously they’re not organized really well, so there’s no telling how much of the iceberg we crashed. But I think we got a good sampling. It was cool, because all these foreign networks collided. They swapped ideas and peed in the idea pot. And this book is the toxic soup that we squeezed out of it.
The idea, originally, was to produce a book really quickly. I had this idea for a booklet I wanted to write about why Discordia is actually pretty useful in dealing with this crazy decade. The Principia Discordia is practically 50 years old, but it keeps getting more relevant. Every day, my commute to work feels more like a stanza from Lewis Carroll. I think the Principia is a better guide to navigating the Madness than any of the other models stuck to my shoe like toilet paper. So I put together some of my thoughts, but I wanted more people to give their spin on things. So I had this idea for a shortlived one-shot internet forum.
To make a long story short, we set up the Internet Cyberspace Masquerade (also known as the Party at Limbo Peak). We got as many people as we could to put on made-up-identity masks and show up at this forum. It would only be open for one week, so there was no time for a culture to form. No time for in-group/out-group follow the leader in-joke/bad-joke memetics. Separated from their networks and social backup, people were forced to talk straight. It was an interesting experiment.
And that’s the energy which launched this book: A bunch of random factors coming together to form a social collage. I think that’s a good thumbnail of the Discordian society right there – there are artists, hackers, occultists, pranksters, the remnants of Norton’s Empire. They’re surrealist tricksters who live on the fringes, colorful iterations at the edge of the fractal. They’ve got all these great ideas, but those ideas are scattered all over the board. I say let’s cut ‘em up into kibble and assemble them, collage style, into a ransom note to reality. Let’s make a primordial stone soup.
And since the Masquerade, the book has continued to grow. If anything, I want it to stand as a signpost, reminding future generations that though many of our forefathers have fallen (rest in pieces Greg, Kerry, Bob et al), we’re still here. We’re still doing stuff. Are you?
This book is about some of the energy going on right now. It’s a rough sketch of the view from Limbo Peak. It’s not the whole enchilada. It’s like trying to get a sense of what a party was like by listening to a tape recording of it. Only a snippet. This book is a cutup, a collage, just like you. Take the parts of it you like. Rip out the rest.
The PDF for this book is free and kopyleft. That means you can make it yours. If you don’t like some of the stuff here, just tear it out. Print out your favorite pages, add your own. Sell ‘em for all I care. Make cutups. Make millions. Pull it out and make it happen.
Like a woman trying on a hundred dresses, the writings in this book love sexy new juxtapositions. They’d love to sneak into mailboxes, be stapled to trees, and handed to strangers. They like how the symbols on the page nuzzle the symbols in one’s head. They like how those heads nuzzle each other. It’s like a big freakin’ nuzzlefest from cover to cover.
For those of you who are reading this but have no idea what this Discordia thing is, maybe I should offer some brief, half-assed explanation. Discordia “is” a religion in some sense, a philosophy in some sense, a joke in some sense, a bunch of jerks in some sense and a recipe for disaster in some sense. What these five senses have in common is Chaos. The name at the center of the hurricane is Eris, the Greek Goddess of strife and confusion. She doesn’t take much seriously these days. We think it’s best to laugh.
Contemporary Discordia first appeared in 1958 or 1959 (depending on which part of the Principia Discordia you’re forbidden to believe). Discordians have infiltrated all parts of culture from summer blockbusters to the Planet Eris. They appreciate Chaos, which they see as a balancing act between Order and Disorder. They (read: you) think that society is too “serious business” right now (right?), and are pursuing a million and one ways to DO something about it. I don’t want to say too much because Discordia involves some very personal revelations and I don’t want to spoil the surprise. So read up on it. The symbols in your head will reflect off the symbols you read and give you a brand new correct interpretation of Grand and Glory Old Discordja gift wrapped with your own nervous system. We’re tricksters, and the person we want you to trick is yourself. Discordians observe no rules except those they make for themselves. This is actually true for every man, woman, child, and cabbage on this earth but barely any of them realize that. The Pope of Discordia (read: you) can grant you permission to do whatever the hell you want. So kiss his ass. Or kick it. It’s up to you.
Zarathud tugged at my leg. “Look at that,” he said, pointing to the ceiling. Above the front door, someone had painted big bright red letters which spelled out the word GOAT. What? Why did someone write GOAT on the ceiling? I never resolved this question, and it itched my brain like madness. For weeks afterwards, I would look up every time I entered a building. It was like a compulsion — I couldn’t go through a door without looking for the absurd.
St. Bacon Cone Nixon has another approach. She likes pranks that the victim might not even notice. “I like to plant products in people’s houses. I’ll replace their half-used jug of milk with a half-used jug of different milk, or put a handful of mayonnaise packets in their butter compartment. It’s subtle enough to make them question their own realities. You can add magazines to their bedside table or stuff a pair of socks under the blanket at the foot of the bed. Maybe try adding a pair of shoes in their size to their closet. I prefer things which really do fuck with people’s minds, making it a mindfuck and not just an irritating obvious prank.”
But sometimes it can be blaringly obvious. Like putting your e-mail address on a crazy poster and hang it out to cool. You’ll attract the sort of people that send e-mails to people who put up crazy signs. (I’ve met them, they’re good people) I’ve been leaving weird stuff on the train for years, and now I’m starting to see weird stuff that I didn’t even do. People have been cutting up the ads and reassembling them into surreal art. Now the train is a canvas. Brilliant stuff like this makes me want to explode into a flock of birds all singing.
Have you heard of the Retail Cabal? It’s every interesting person that works a boring retail job and made it into a living shrine to Our Lady Discord. When I worked for Lord Tayloron, I dedicated myself to writing FNORD on every single bill I could get my hands on. (FNORD YOUR ONES!) At a critical moment in an unrelated story, I’d get a FNORDed five-dollar bill as change. The handwriting was foreign, and there was no moustache on Washington, so it clearly wasn’t mine. If you love your weirdness, let it go. It’ll come back fivefold.
This is the energy which prompted Synaptaclypse Generator (the guy who operates poee.co.uk) to start the annual Day of Discord – August 23rd, when Discordians are encouraged to go out of their way to meet and beat each other. Us spags got together and we went a-postering in White Plains NY, then got pancakes. When we returned to my car, someone had put a big-ass poster on the windshield saying that they loved our posters and they wanted to hang out with us. An e-mail address was included. So even if they don’t know it yet, our people are out there. Way out there. So put your weird out there like weirdbait. Let it hang out of your spaggy pants. These things are signposts to the Others.
And this book is a signpost too, a signal flare, like secret hobo code. We’re here, we’re real, and you can be a real one too.
Zarathud, it turns out, is a big fan of the cutup method. You’ll notice he wandered through the book and made his own edits. He’s had a lot of fun rearranging stuff and making it “better”. He approached me at the party and said, “Hey, can I be in the book?”
“Sure,” I said, toweling off the ostrich.
He told me he was worried that since he’s the Apostle of the fourth season, Bureaucracy, people think he’s a total square. Well it’s true that he’s not very creative, and his sense of humor can be a bit morbid, but he’s got quite the knack for odd juxtapositions. For the Apostle of Laws and Red Tape, he sure loves to use his scissors.
For example, I had two essays I wanted to show you about cutups and collages. One from this book, The Art of Memetics, and one by old man William Burroughs. Zarathud liked the pieces, so during his lunch break at the Jade Emperor’s Bureaucratorium, (it’s in the food court of Chinese Heaven) he shuffled them together. Now I can’t tell if we’re reading Burroughs writing about memetics or Ed and Wes writing about cutups, but Zarathud tells me that he’s taking credit personally for the “new” piece.
Credit? I hadn’t even thought of that. If anything, we want to avoid notice. Zeus is pissed that we jumped on the beds and skinny dipped in the hot tub and my ass was all over the kitchen counter. And if mythology has taught me anything, you do not want Greek Gods all bitchtits at you.
After all, Eris hasn’t gone anywhere but crazy. Discordia, this weird neophilic irreligion, this bastard daughter of agnosticism and paganism and satire and flax, only ends in delirium and strife. If anything, this book should stand as a sign post saying “DANGER”. It’s an old crone, poised at the edge of Madness and Nothingness, crying “Go away! This place is cursed! Cursed I tell you, beware!” So turn back now. Save yourself from this postmodern nightmare: the ramblings of a nonexistent society which thrives in a nonexistent place in the umbra of the 21st century. THROW OUT your heretical humor and remove that troublemaker tongue from your cheek. Don’t you know that people worked really hard to create this straightjacket civilization? There’s centuries of work poured into these illusions. Don’t you know that the real world is cold and and you’ve gotta steel yourself to meet it? Armor your heart with ice and nothing will harm you ever again. Work is sacred. Laughter is for children. Grow UP already, grow UP.
Jeez, I can’t even write that trash with a straight face. This is part of what the Discordian Fractal looks like 50 years later. And with any fractal, you can see a hint of the whole shape in all of its parts. And maybe you’ll see some of your parts reflected in there too. And then you’ll be screwed because the Patriarch Deity is out to get those crazy people that are turning everything on its head and not buying into his system. If you see him, don’t tell Zeus that I’m the one who roasted hot dogs on the branches of the olive tree. But send along our warmest thanks for the kickass place to party.
Professor Cramulus, KSC, ASS