It has been said time and time again throughout history that all jokes have a bit of truth to them. In some cases, however, the exact opposite can wind up being true. Something that starts out as a joke can very easily become a reality. In the case of Discordianism, it can even become a religion. To understand what this is all about, it might be a good idea to take a trip back to the 1960s and focus on a very interesting book that led to the creation of an entire religious movement.
In 1963, a book was published by Greg Hill and Kerry Wendell Thornley. The book was titled Principia Discordia, and it detailed the workings of a religion known as Discordianism. Scholars and historians have stated time and time again that the work was written as a parody from the start, but it has not changed the way that the public has received the book. Exploring the story and the movement that was created from it can be an interesting way to examine the fine line between parody and reality, especially when it comes to religious beliefs.
A Complicated Start
Though the main text of this religion is often referred to as Principia Discordia, the original title was far longer. The most popularized edition of the text was released in 1965 under the title Principia Discordia or How I Found Goddess And What I Did To Her When I Found Her: The Magnum Opiate Of Malaclypse The Younger, Wherein is Explained Absolutely Everything Worth Knowing About Absolutely Anything. The title is more than a mouthful yet somehow was able to attract many readers who were curious about what secrets were contained within.
The main deity worshiped in this religion is Eris, also known as Discordia, who was considered to be the goddess of chaos in Greek and Roman mythology. The main philosophy centers around the ideas of order, chaos, and the illusion of both. This religion is incredibly unique in that it allows worshipers to practice other religions at the same time. Because of this, many scholars over the years have viewed the movement as more of a series of ideas related to governing people. Whether a follower views it as a religion or political movement, there are specific principles involved.
The Main Beliefs
Since this religion is viewed as both a serious set of beliefs as well as a parody, the main ideas behind it can be read in multiple ways. In essence, followers of this religion believe in order, chaos, and the illusion of both. What this means is that the universe is governed by harmony and discord, though both are technically illusions. For those viewing the religion as a parody, it can be easy to see why this contradiction is amusing and telling of the complicated nature of most religions. Those who follow sincerely have a different take.
By acknowledging that order and chaos are both “fake,” so to speak, followers are able to transcend the limitations of their corporeal bodies. It is akin to the idea of self-awareness. The more that a person is able to understand about the self and the world around the self, the easier it is to grow and change based on the new concepts that emerge. As with any religion, it can be difficult to fully grasp the complexities. Since this religion is also considered a parody, it adds an extra level of confusion to the mix.
To Each Their Own
Discordianism is a religious movement with a lot of contradictory elements. Even the founders have stated that it began as a parody, though this has not deterred the movement from remaining on the fringes of the religious radar for decades. Religions offer a unique glimpse into the inner workings of the human mind, and Discordianism is a real trip down the rabbit hole.