The previous “Principia Discordia” page was the actual cover for previous editions of the Principia, so this page likely served as the inside-the-cover title page.
Interesting stuff on this page:
- “Beginning Introduction to The Erisian Mysterees” – this line suggests that while this book is pretty important, it’s only a starting point. The Principia is not the “Bible” of Discordia, it’s just a primer. For the full bowel-exploding experience, you’ll have to consult your pineal gland.
- In the top right corner, we can see a weird string of characters. It says “ODD# II/2,xii;68Chs3136″. This is not gibberish! It is actually part of the OFFICIAL DISCORDIAN DOCUMENT NUMBERING SYSTEM, an arcane system of ordering documents enumerated in previous editions of the Principia.
- You know… the rest of the page.
- “The uproar of one hand clapping.” – This is a reference to the well known Hakuin Zen-tradition koan, “You know the sound of two hands clapping; tell me, what is the sound of one hand?” The answer given (“an uproar” with a hand inviting the reader nearer to it) leads one to believe that Kerry Thornely (Omar Khayyam Ravenhurst) had a hand in designing this cover page. As we will see below, Thornley goes into how one hand can cause an Uproar with his ‘Zenarchist’ philosophical and political musings.
The ODDNS was widely believed lost. Many modern references in Discordian corners of the internet theorize that it is simply using enough leading Zeros to make five decimal places any-time you write a number (as the page numbers in the Principia Discordia are thus writ). This we now know to be confused dogma. The roots of the Official Discordian Document Numbering System is described in older versions of the PD, but this text is not found in later editions, as the Disorganizationa Matrix went through radical changes before it got to the 4th edition Principia. Here’s what it says…
(from the 23ae Appendix)
THE OFFICIAL DISCORDIAN DOCUMENT NUMBERING SYSTEM:
The Keeper of Symbols, Emblem, Certificates and Such feels
that no organization should be without a system for numbering
its official releases. So here is ours:
It is composed of three sets of Numbers, each separated by
a dash. The first represents the Movement appropriate to the
document; the second to the sub-division(s); and the third is
the dates. Example: #1-2-4:11:64 would mean that it is Erisian,
that it pertains to The Legion of Dynamic Discord, and that it
was documented on April 11th, l964.
What to do with sub-sub divisions. In the above example,
there would be no way to differentiate between a Legionnaire’s
document and a Disciple’s document; so a Disciple’s document
would be two point one (2.1) whereas the Legionnaire’s would be
two point two (2.2), and when there are several more sub-catagories,
just add a period and another number.
To find the appropriate numbers for the catagories, check
your Table of Disorganization-which should have everything numbered
for you (Official Discordian Document #1-3.1-4:11:64).
About dates: Anything Any given thing is liable to be revised
without notice at any given time; so, if you have conflicting
information, check to see which is the latest–and follow it.
Anything that is duplicated from this office will have an Official
Document Number with the date. The reason that the date has
colons and not slashes between the numbers is to make it not look
like a date, which we thought would be nice.
The Archivists at the Floating Archive (Floating Republic of Mu, Left Coast, US) have used this to cross reference the current POEE Disorganizational Matrix, and ODD# II/2,xii;68Chs3136 breaks down like this:
II/2,xii indicates that this document was produced by The House of the Rising Collapse.
68Chs3136 means the document was written on March 9th, 1970.
On this page, Mal declares himself the head of POEE, which is one of the two classic Discordian factions.
The ODDNS was used for numerous early Discordian documents. For example, Discordian Metaphysics and the Five Realities begins with the following code: ODD#IV(c);biii;23DSC3155. Which translates to IV(c) – The Legion of Dynamic Discord, b iii – The Breeze of Beauty and/or The Wind of Outrages.
Certain letters to and from members of the Discordian society which have appeared in the works of Robert Anton Wilson also appear to have valid ODD#s. Finding them is left as an exercise to the reader.
At some point, these categories probably represented actual groups of people. I suspect that this nomenclature allowed these groups of Discordians to have wildly varying interpretations of Eris’ message. There’s little that unifies Discordians – to some, Eris is a metaphor, to others, she’s worshiped as a pagan deity. Members of the Discordian Society often get twisted up about who has the “correct” interpretation. A lot of infighting was probably prevented by compartmentalizing these different reality tunnels into equally valid factions.
As mentioned, “The Uproar of One Hand Clapping” is a riff on a zen koan, commonly phrased as “What is the sound of one hand clapping?” Again we see the Discordian twist is to amplify the koan into absurdity. That a single hand could cause an uproar is a suitably zen contradiction, in that it subtly invites the reader to drop their preconceived notions. As Thornley writes in his Zenarchy papers,
“ZEN is meditation. ARCHY is social order.
ZENARCHY is the social order which springs from meditation.
As a doctrine, it holds Universal Enlightenment a prerequisite to abolition of the State, after which the State will inevitably vanish. Or – that failing – nobody will give a damn. ”
Once one has connected mass individual ‘liberation/illumination’ with a greater social organism, one can see why the Zenarchist answer to the koan is “An Uproar”.
Above the slogan, there is an illustration of a left hand, which may also have symbolic meaning. In occult circles, the “Left Hand Path” is associated with a rejection of societal convention and the status quo. The left hand path can involve taboo breaking and sexual freedom. It questions dogma of both moral and religious varieties. 
It should also be noted that “KALLISTI” is misspelled on this page. It actually says “KALLICTI”. In another interview, Mal reveals that this was just an oversight and probably shouldn’t be read into too deeply. I’m sure many Discordians disagree.