Author Topic: How best to describe Discordianism to the unaware?  (Read 11374 times)

Patron Saint

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How best to describe Discordianism to the unaware?
« on: December 17, 2012, 05:59:09 am »
Being a devout discordian on days that end with q, I've found that from time to time I'm required to explain to the curious what discordianism is, which is like trying to tell an african child dealing with starvation what the internet is.

It usually doesn't go well.  I'll give my basic run through and see if anyone has a way to improve upon it because I've noticed some quirks.  I'm not trying to improve for the purposes of proselytizing, but just to satisfy those that are curious without them getting too quick an opinion and after that I'll explain the basic issues with this.

For starters though, I'll point out that it's not practical to just drop them the link since most people in the world have an attention span of squirrel! and can't be bothered to read words and stuff.  I'm trying to get a clear and concise message across with few words.

So here goes:

Prima: "Discordianism is an irreligion, which is to say it's not quite a religion at all in the usual sense."

Secunda: "So like flying spaghetti monster?" 

Prima:  "Sort of but not really.  Unlike FSM there is wisdom to be yielded one just needs to be insightful enough to separate the cream from the mixture."

Secunda:  "Like what?"

Prima:  "Well a lot of the teachings are rooted in Rinzai Zen, but I wouldn't say it's anywhere near as serious or drastic.  If anything it's a serious joke, jokingly serious... the concepts of paradox are kind of inherent in the teachings and one is instead encouraged to find their own way of being within the chaos of the world in a fashion that works for them."

This is usually where I run into problems, the term "joke" tends to automatically turn off the listener and they hear nothing else.  To some extent this can't be helped, some people won't think deeper than they are forced to, but I get the feeling it would be helpful I think to find a more eloquent way to explain that central concept without using a buzz word that will shut down their brains.

Thoughts?
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McMegaDeff

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Re: How best to describe Discordianism to the unaware?
« Reply #1 on: December 17, 2012, 06:11:10 am »
Sort of like proof of the pudding
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Re: How best to describe Discordianism to the unaware?
« Reply #2 on: December 17, 2012, 06:30:13 am »
I tell people it's a philosophy related to Taoism, that encourages us to question everything and not take ourselves too seriously.

They seem to accept that pretty easily and it allows me to be honest with my co-workers without coming across as too much of a kook.
“I’m guessing it was January 2007, a meeting in Bethesda, we got a bag of bees and just started smashing them on the desk,” Charles Wick said. “It was very complicated.”


Patron Saint

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Re: How best to describe Discordianism to the unaware?
« Reply #3 on: December 17, 2012, 06:34:24 am »
I tell people it's a philosophy related to Taoism, that encourages us to question everything and not take ourselves too seriously.

They seem to accept that pretty easily and it allows me to be honest with my co-workers without coming across as too much of a kook.

fair enough.  Still looking to see more thoughts.
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Re: How best to describe Discordianism to the unaware?
« Reply #4 on: December 17, 2012, 06:45:41 am »
I tell people it's a philosophy related to Taoism, that encourages us to question everything and not take ourselves too seriously.

They seem to accept that pretty easily and it allows me to be honest with my co-workers without coming across as too much of a kook.

fair enough.  Still looking to see more thoughts.

That was the only one I had

goodnight.
“I’m guessing it was January 2007, a meeting in Bethesda, we got a bag of bees and just started smashing them on the desk,” Charles Wick said. “It was very complicated.”


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Re: How best to describe Discordianism to the unaware?
« Reply #5 on: December 17, 2012, 12:35:20 pm »
The thing is, if you are talking to your averag every day joe, even referencing Taoism and Zen is going to get you in trouble.  They're going to start thinking about sage burning weirdos with Asian fetishes. 


That is what I loved about the BIP project and why I think it drew so much attention.  We didn't laden it with the "joke wrapped in religion wrapped in joke" stuff and we didn't laden it with mystical terminology.  It was written in language and used terminology that anyone could get. 
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Re: How best to describe Discordianism to the unaware?
« Reply #6 on: December 17, 2012, 01:12:10 pm »
The thing is, if you are talking to your averag every day joe, even referencing Taoism and Zen is going to get you in trouble.  They're going to start thinking about sage burning weirdos with Asian fetishes. 


That is what I loved about the BIP project and why I think it drew so much attention.  We didn't laden it with the "joke wrapped in religion wrapped in joke" stuff and we didn't laden it with mystical terminology.  It was written in language and used terminology that anyone could get.

I never actually read the finished versions, but I recall the drafts.  I remember them not sitting well with me because they seemed to take the ideas posed too seriously.  That has it's time and place of course, and plenty of value contained, but unless the content drastically changed I don't think I'd equate the text to the PD.  For me the joke is the part of it... the part that frees one from the pressure and what makes Discordianism different from any other religion that takes itself seriously.  I kind of feel like without that aspect I'm missing one of the things I value most from the mental exercises posed in the PD.  Plus as previously mentioned, getting someone to read anything is rough, even just a t-shirt.

Also I think your "sage burning" quote would apply less to those I traffic with and more to those I don't.  Being insulated somewhat by weirdos, I almost never encounter "normals" in social circles.  Most people I know are flippy in some way.  Burners, Circus performers, Fetish Artists, Internet Trolls, and other things not common among everyday Cul-de-sac Joe.  I accept that isn't likely the world for most people, but for me, encountering someone who is just a little bit weird is rare from the opposite direction.  As such most of them are sage burning hippies or in the case that they stealth as normals, have some incredibly fucked up weird shit about them that they don't let the rest of the world in on and have no space to throw stones in glass houses.

On a side note, I'm also thinking that I do recall that I do meet grey faced bores on occasion but tend to assimilate them to the dork side over time if they are chill.  Unrelated to the topic at hand, but a thought that popped up... I recall this happening somewhat recently (past 6 months) with a new co-worker.  After hanging around myself for a bit she later confided in me that her husband was starting to think she was going weird because she talked about poop at the table in some connotation of some internet thing I mentioned to her casually.  I cracked up at her story, but for all the wrong reasons and assured that indeed she was indeed edgy and cool, when really the thought made me wonder why the hell she would consider that story worthy.  Regardless I thought it best to encourage her having fun and cutting loose.  Turned out they had me over for dinner a few times and soon enough her husband cut loose a bit too and good times were had.

Kind of a bit off track there, but I think it brings home the point about the joke-serious paradox being crucial for me as part of Discordianism.
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Re: How best to describe Discordianism to the unaware?
« Reply #7 on: December 17, 2012, 02:00:55 pm »
Fair points. 


I am a firm believer in taking humor seriously, it is a needed balance in a very serious world.  And maybe that's a way to couch it.  As a sort of ballast or counter weight.  It isn't jokes for the sake of jokes.  It's jokes because the world NEEDS jokes.  It needs to not take itself so seriously all the time. Sometimes, you just need to step back and fucking laugh.
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Re: How best to describe Discordianism to the unaware?
« Reply #8 on: December 17, 2012, 02:16:13 pm »
There is humor in the BIP, it's just fairly grim.  And it's not meant to be a standalone, either.

Also, if you're genuinely interested, this has been tossed about more than a few times before.

http://www.principiadiscordia.com/forum/index.php/topic,17570.15.html
http://www.principiadiscordia.com/forum/index.php/topic,29998.0.html
http://www.principiadiscordia.com/forum/index.php/topic,30195.0.html

To get you started.

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Re: How best to describe Discordianism to the unaware?
« Reply #9 on: December 17, 2012, 04:06:35 pm »
The thing is, if you are talking to your averag every day joe, even referencing Taoism and Zen is going to get you in trouble.  They're going to start thinking about sage burning weirdos with Asian fetishes. 


That's not how it is on the West coast at all, even slightly. Not even in the country.
“I’m guessing it was January 2007, a meeting in Bethesda, we got a bag of bees and just started smashing them on the desk,” Charles Wick said. “It was very complicated.”


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Re: How best to describe Discordianism to the unaware?
« Reply #10 on: December 17, 2012, 07:18:47 pm »
Tomahawks.

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Re: How best to describe Discordianism to the unaware?
« Reply #11 on: December 17, 2012, 07:19:23 pm »
Tomahawks.

This.  Also, Samoan war clubs and stolen ipods.
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Re: How best to describe Discordianism to the unaware?
« Reply #12 on: December 17, 2012, 08:39:58 pm »
The unaware will be loaded into a Sol-bound rocket when The Time comes.

There'll be an educational video to watch a couple hundred times on the way.
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Re: How best to describe Discordianism to the unaware?
« Reply #13 on: January 15, 2013, 03:58:10 pm »
I've been thinking a lot lately (for a slug) on how to approach this issue more effectively. I think it's important to 'be the fish' before going fishing. There's so many aspects to Discordianism that it's easy to confuse/amuse people, but that's not going work as well as appealing to their fears/desires. Give people what they want to hear, and they'll pick up the rest later, in their own way.

Right now, in a general sense (it should be tailored to each fish if possible), I'm chosing to describe Discordianism as a means of increasing empathy, open-mindedness, expanding perceptions...partly through understanding/accepting strife and making it turn it's frown upside-down. In this way I provide some part of their unconscious a promise for betterment, and a cure for woes.
The method of fishing can change, because Discordianism has so many aspects at it's disposal that we just need to pull out what's appropriate to whoever we're targeting...tell the Hippies it's all about love and weed, tell the Christians it's a way to increase their relationship with Jesus, tell the Axe Murderers it'll increase their hunting skills...etc..etc...

Is any sense being made here?
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Re: How best to describe Discordianism to the unaware?
« Reply #14 on: January 15, 2013, 04:09:00 pm »
I've been thinking a lot lately (for a slug) on how to approach this issue more effectively. I think it's important to 'be the fish' before going fishing. There's so many aspects to Discordianism that it's easy to confuse/amuse people, but that's not going work as well as appealing to their fears/desires. Give people what they want to hear, and they'll pick up the rest later, in their own way.

Right now, in a general sense (it should be tailored to each fish if possible), I'm chosing to describe Discordianism as a means of increasing empathy, open-mindedness, expanding perceptions...partly through understanding/accepting strife and making it turn it's frown upside-down. In this way I provide some part of their unconscious a promise for betterment, and a cure for woes.
The method of fishing can change, because Discordianism has so many aspects at it's disposal that we just need to pull out what's appropriate to whoever we're targeting...tell the Hippies it's all about love and weed, tell the Christians it's a way to increase their relationship with Jesus, tell the Axe Murderers it'll increase their hunting skills...etc..etc...

Is any sense being made here?

"I don't practice what I preach because I'm not the kind of person I'm preaching to."
- JR "Bob" Dobbs

What THEIR Discordia is, is different from YOUR Discordia or MY Discordia.  MY Discordia has an actual set of parameters, none of which include indulging patchouli-stinking hippies who think the height of original thought is screeching "SMOKE EVERY DAY!"  Nor is it finding ways to kiss the pimply arse of people from those OTHER RELIGIONS who spend all day trying to think of faux-witty, cutesy "proofs" with which to convert me.

And I'm reasonably sure My Discordia doesn't involve empathy or "expanded perceptions", or any of that other touchy-feely claptrap.  I in fact shit on the very idea from a great height.  My perceptions are FINE, it's what I DO with those perceptions that I have to work on...And if someone hasn't got empathy, that person is a Goddamn sociopath and it's TOO LATE for me to help him/her. 

There is no need to dress Discordia up in a nice suit (unless it's to get close enough to do something you couldn't otherwise do) to make the Pinkboys feel more comfortable about their pot obsession.  There is no need to pretend it's something that it's not so that Christians or 7th Day Adventists or Pastafarians will feel welcome.  If they're MY kind of people, even if they belong to the above groups, they ALREADY feel comfortable, and everyone else can just SHUT UP. 

ETA:  That's MY Discordia.  Yours may be different.
« Last Edit: January 15, 2013, 04:21:46 pm by The Good Reverend Roger »
" It's just that Depeche Mode were a bunch of optimistic loveburgers."
- TGRR, shaming himself forever, 7/8/2017

 "Billy, when I say that ethics is our number one priority and safety is also our number one priority, you should take that to mean exactly what I said. Also quality. That's our number one priority as well. Don't look at me that way, you're in the corporate world now and this is how it works."
- TGRR, raising the bar at work.