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Discordianism has been described as both an elaborate joke disguised as a religion, and a religion disguised as an elaborate joke. It has also been described as a religion disguised as a joke disguised as a religion. Others view it as a simple rejection of reductionism and dualism, even falsifiability -- not in concept different from postmodernism or certain trends in the philosophy of mathematics. It has also been described as "Zen for roundeyes", and converges with some of the more absurdist interpretations of the Rinzai tradition.

Discordianism is said to have been founded in 1958 by Greg Hill (aka Malaclypse the Younger, or Mal-2) and Kerry Thornley (aka Omar Khayyam Ravenhurst). The foundational document of Discordianism is Hill's Principia Discordia.

Unlike most religions, which revere the principles of harmony and order in the Universe, Discordianism purports to recognize that disharmony and chaos are equally valid aspects of reality. Discordianism consists almost entirely of playful nonsense, but some feel it has a more serious underlying meaning.

The matron deity of Discordianism is Eris, the ancient Greek goddess of discord, whom the Romans identified with their goddess Discordia.

Table of contents
1 Philosophy
2 Chao
3 The Law of Fives
4 The Original Snub
5 Law of Eristic Escalation
6 The Pentabarf
7 See also
8 External links


A summary of the Discordian philosophy appears on page 00049 of the Principia Discordia. The following is a quote (All Rites Reversed).

"HERE FOLLOWS SOME PSYCHO-METAPHYSICS. If you are not hot for philosophy, best just to skip it. The Aneristic Principle is that of APPARENT ORDER; the Eristic Principle is that of APPARENT DISORDER. Both order and disorder are man made concepts and are artificial divisions of PURE CHAOS, which is a level deeper that is the level of distinction making.

With our concept making apparatus called "mind" we look at reality through the ideas-about-reality which our cultures give us. The ideas-about-reality are mistakenly labeled "reality" and unenlightened people are forever perplexed by the fact that other people, especially other cultures, see "reality" differently. It is only the ideas-about-reality which differ. Real (capital-T True) reality is a level deeper that is the level of concept.

We look at the world through windows on which have been drawn grids (concepts). Different philosophies use different grids. A culture is a group of people with rather similar grids. Through a window we view chaos, and relate it to the points on our grid, and thereby understand it. The ORDER is in the GRID. That is the Aneristic Principle.

Western philosophy is traditionally concerned with contrasting one grid with another grid, and amending grids in hopes of finding a perfect one that will account for all reality and will, hence, (say unenlightened westerners) be True. This is illusory; it is what we Erisians call the ANERISTIC ILLUSION. Some grids can be more useful than others, some more beautiful than others, some more pleasant than others, etc., but none can be more True than any other.

DISORDER is simply unrelated information viewed through some particular grid. But, like "relation", no-relation is a concept. Male, like female, is an idea about sex. To say that male-ness is "absence of female-ness", or vice versa, is a matter of definition and metaphysically arbitrary. The artificial concept of no-relation is the ERISTIC PRINCIPLE.

The belief that "order is true" and disorder is false or somehow wrong, is the Aneristic Illusion. To say the same of disorder, is the ERISTIC ILLUSION.

The point is that (little-t) truth is a matter of definition relative to the grid one is using at the moment, and that (capital-T) Truth, metaphysical reality, is irrelevant to grids entirely. Pick a grid, and through it some chaos appears ordered and some appears disordered. Pick another grid, and the same chaos will appear differently ordered and disordered.

Reality is the original Rorschach.

Verily! So much for all that."

And this from the Principia Discordia's very beginning, a Discordian koan:

"GREATER POOP: Is Eris true?
MALACLYPSE THE YOUNGER: Everything is true.
GP: Even false things?
M2: Even false things are true.
GP: How can that be?
M2: I don't know man, I didn't do it."


The word Chao was coined as the singular of chaos. In the Discordian religion the chao is a symbol of the pataphysical nature of reality; singular instances of chaos being at the center of pataphysical theory. The word is a pun that enables the following couplet in the Principia Discordia:

To diverse Gods do mortals bow
To holy cow and wholy Chao

The Sacred Chao is a symbol used by Discordians to illustrate the interrelatedness of order and disorder. It resembles a yin yang symbol with a pentagon on one side representing order, and a golden apple on the other side representing disorder. The pentagon relates to the Law of Fives, and the golden apple is from a story about the Eris.

The Law of Fives

The Law of Fives is summarized on page 00023 of the Principia Discordia:


The Law of Fives is never wrong.

In the Erisian Archives is an old memo from Omar to Mal-2: "I find the Law of Fives to be more and more manifest the harder I look."

As a relatively unesoteric example of this Law in action, a Discordian would consider it significant that the Law of Fives is described on page 23, because 2+3=5.

The Original Snub

The story of the Original Snub comes from Greek Mythology. Eris wasn't invited to a wedding feast at which all of the other gods were in attendance, so she showed up with a golden apple, which she hurled into the middle of the festivities. The apple was inscribed KALLISTI -- 'to the fairest' -- and it was immediately claimed by three goddesses: Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite. They fought until the Trojan prince Paris was chosen to judge among them. They each offered him a bribe, and he chose Aphrodite's - to be given the most beautiful woman in the world. This woman, Helen, was already married to the Greek king Menelaus, and her kidnapping was the cause of the Trojan War, said to be the first war among men.

The Golden Apple of Discord, with the word KALLISTI written on it in Greek, is one of the major symbols associated with Discordianism.

Law of Eristic Escalation

The Principia Discordia contains the Law of Eristic Escalation. This law states that Imposition of Order = Escalation of Chaos. This can be read as an argument against zero tolerance and hard security, or just a statement about the world.

The Pentabarf

The Pentabarf is the set of 5 holy laws which all discordians must follow. It is as follows:
  1. 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.
  2. A Discordian Shall Always use the Official Discordian Document Numbering System.
  3. 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).
  4. 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.
  5. A Discordian is Prohibited from Believing What he reads.
This is the most fundamental of all dicordian catma.

For those inclined to post Discordian thoughts, the Bad jokes and other deleted nonsense page might be an appropriate repository in some cases. In other cases further serious development of this article would be greatly appreciated.

See also

External links