The Purple Sage
The quote at the top of the page, from the Honest Book of Truth, is attributed to The Purple Sage. The Purple Sage is likely a reference to The New Riders of the Purple Sage, a San Fransisco based psychedelic rock band which formed in 1969. It included several members of the Grateful Dead. It may also be a reference to Riders of the Purple Sage, a novel written in 1912 by Zane Grey. Its themes include religious confrontation and explorations of moral uncertainty.
Heaven and Hell
Josh the Dill’s quote is another reversal of popular cosmology. First, it reverses the Judeo-Christian juxtaposition between good / evil and up / down. He also turns Greek mythology on its head. Edith Hamilton’s Mythology begins with the line “First there was Chaos, the vast immeasurable abyss, Outrageous as a sea, dark, wasteful, wild.” It is from this Chaos and uncertainty that the universe was born. In Josh the Dill’s image, things on earth are outrageous, budding with potential, hard to explain or classify. The heavens, which lack the gray areas and nuance of human morality and social culture, are predictable, orderly, and therefore hellish.
Is Order “hellish”? The Hell Law, found later in the Principia, insists that Hell is only for people that believe in Hell for fear that they’ll end up there if they don’t. Is this the same hell that Josh the Dill’s refers to? If the Christian afterlife is in the heavens, it is certainly not where Discordians would like to end up. They prefer the uncertainty and wild potential of everyday life in the material world to the suffocating clarity of traditional morality.
Ignotium Per Ignotius – The Meaning of this is Unknown
This is a cute pun because “Ignotium Per Ignotius” literally translates to “the unknown by the more unknown”. It refers to an explanation which is more confusing than the thing it seeks to explain. Ignotium per Ignotius is something you’d say to criticize somebody’s baffling argument. But here, it’s presented as a piece of wisdom.
It is My Firm Belief That It is a Mistake to Hold Firm Beliefs
This line is another paradoxical attack on dogma. It answers the question “With how much certainty do Discordians embrace uncertainty?” They seek freedom from rigid thinking and dogmatic belief systems. So do you have to firmly embrace Discordian Uncertainty, or should we be kind of wishy-washy about it? This line says no, take it to the wall. If you’re going to be a religious fanatic, be fanatic about your lack of religion.