Why Discordia is more relevant in 2008 – Discussion

Ripped this discussion, built on Cram’s earlier post and musings, from the forum.  Enjoy.

LMNO:  Because so far, nothing else seems to be working.  Because Discordia is about models, not absolutes.

Baron von Hoopla:  Bingo.

Cramulus: [to LMNO] that’s a great angle.  Could you expand on that a bit?

GA:  I don’t know about more relevant, because I wasn’t around 50 years ago.  It seems to me that the Cold War was in pretty dire need of some lightheartedness, even more than our current War on Terror.

It just seems relevant to me because I personally had (have?) a problem with taking things far to seriously.  And because many of the people around me have concepts like ‘mandatory’ and ‘forbidden’ and apply them to things that are really optional.

I makes me sad when people tell me that things like religion are to important to joke about, or old propaganda posters too offensive.  It bothers me when I get suspended from school or hauled before Loss Prevention for reasons like “I know that this is just a misunderstanding, but we must follow procedure.”  It hurts when I look around my infosphere and see nothing but advertisements, especially when those ads are meant to make people feel bad about themselves.

The world is ruled by an endless morass of strictures and convention, and no one wants to take responsibility for them.  People are perfectly content to let the train follow its own momentum down the tracks, even though they don’t like where it is or where it is going, because this is Policy, it’s what Everyone (the everyone in “everyone knows that…”) has Decided.  Rules and traditions might be annoying, but it’s Not In Our Power to do anything about them.

LMNO:  In today’s so-called “Information Age”, most of us are constantly bombarded with stuff.  Perhaps not with ideas, so much as pure input.  While for the most part this input is pretty much bias-neutral, an increasing amount of it is being supplied by people who have an angle.  What’s more, to get through to the growing population of Jaded Couch-Dwelling Fuckheads, there has been a new approach of making the stuff more-or-less self referential, as in, “we know you know we’re trying to manipulate you.  See how cool that makes us?”

So, what do you do when you are flooded by 50,000 points of view?  The old way was to have Rules and Tradition and Procedure and Black and White. To take that stuff and cram it into a narrow worldview, distorting what little information you actually notice.  Which only serves to hold you back, slow you down, and shut you up.

Our way, the Discordian way, is to make Temporary Models, make new Game Rules, to grab hold of the stuff and ride it out, making connections as you see them.  You do your best not to have your views manipulated by stuff, and you do your best not to manipulate stuff to fit your views.  Which serves to keep you on the Edge of What’s Going On.

At least, that’s the general idea.

Tempest Virago:  [to LMNO]  You think the input is “pretty much bias-neutral”? I think (almost?) all of it has an angle of some sort. Maybe we’re defining this differently. Can you explain what you mean by that?

[referring to the final two paragraphs]  Absolutely. I think this is also something that can be really hard to do, especially the part about not manipulating information to fit what you already believe. I think doing that is a pretty natural way of dealing with the world, and the best way to avoid it is to be conscious of yourself and how you’re reacting to new information. I certainly tend to subconsciously manipulate information to fit my (pinko hippie liberal) view – something I try to keep an eye on.

Verb:  I think the reason Discordia is relevant today is that these are times of change and the Discordian thrives on change. Tradition and static states of being can only hold out for so long when facing broad changes in the world around them. The pace of change has in many ways reached an all-time high and old, static models of dealing with change are becoming untenable. Discordia, which is generally dynamic, irreverent, and unafraid of change, is an increasingly good way to maintain your sanity and well-being (or whatever is left of them.)

Ratatosk:  I don’t know if it is ‘more relevant’. It seems to me that people act, pretty much, like people. People in 1959 aren’t all that different from us, they may have slightly different rituals and memes, sleight variations in clothing styles and slang, but the humans appear the same. Our society may be more open and more tolerant (at least the aspects of society that are very popular right now), but humans interact and follow the rules of that society, pretty much as they did in 1959.

The people who are cogs in society behave like they’re supposed to. The conservative cog grinds to the tune that their entire society is about to collapse, the liberal cog whirrs away at a Utopia that seems as far away now as it did in 1959 and the ‘rebel’ cogs turn to the tune of “I Did It My Way” (though now it might be the Sex Pistols version…).

If Discordianism was relevant ever, then it’s relevant now… in theory, if not in specific memes. To think that life now is DIFFERENT, is (in my opinion) to confuse the trappings of society with the functionality of humans. Even the best broadband available won’t stop an asshole from beating his wife and kids. It won’t stop the man who is not comfortable with his own feelings from bashing gays. All the information in the world, won’t necessarily make us elect a good president or change the basic selfish behavior of most monkeys on this planet.

However, IF the information is served on a platter, complete with trimmings and yummy sauce… some humans might eat it and change. Discordianism, I think, provides just such a platter. The concepts of general semantics, the limits of perception, the bias of our own reality and the ability to ‘STOP’ doing the things we don’t like, aren’t unique to Erisian Enlightenment. However, for at least some humans, Discordianism  seems to make the ideas palatable, digestible and useful.

So Discordianism was valuable then and is valuable now… because humans are human

Tempest Virago: [responding to Ratatosk] ‘m inclined to agree with this. I think every generation thinks they are fundamentally different than all of the ones before them.

Dr Payne:  Discordia will always be more relevant to me personally than in any kind of “cause” or “movement”.

Yes, things in society are fucked up, yes “everyone” thinks that “everyone” else wants things to be this way, and there is nothing that they can do about it as individuals. Yes, they are wrong.

But all of this means nothing to me.

I am not an activist, I don’t go out of my way to try and convert people anymore. I used to, but then I thought it was mandatory or at least expected. Since I decided for myself that it wasn’t, I don’t do it. I don’t expect people to wake up unless they want to do it themselves, I certainly don’t expect it to ever make sense for them unless they do it in the hardest and unfunniest ways, but that may be my jaded and bitter inner self talking.

Discordia is not a movement, it is not a purpose, it is not a cause. It’s a state of mind. A state of mind that connects a diverse group of people who wouldn’t give each other the time of day if they met socially in other circumstances and didn’t have the call signs Discordia offers, the “fluff” like 23, Eris or Principia Discordia.

I like that. I like talking to people who I normally would never talk to, who would normally never talk to me.

Discordia is at times an excellent way of tying some of us together to work on projects that normally would never be worked on, like Paths and Shrapnel, PosterGASM and some of the weird and wonderful art projects that have grown out of these forums.

I like that. I like working with people on plans and projects that may have some relevance to how I think about my life, or can help decorate it in a way that makes me question what decoration is.

Discordia will always be relevant to me in some way because of this. Its worth far outweighs the effort of getting anything back from it.

I like models, I like art, I like exploring the weirder aspects of our psyches, and the even weirder methods of exploiting what we find.

I like to laugh, hate, cry and love, as we as humans are meant to, not as we have been conditioned to. As I’ve only learned to do with some intense soul searching and some pain. Discordia has been the chair I’ve sat down in when I’m weary, the desk I’ve used to write some of the most personal and important things I’ve ever written, it has been the mirror in which I’ve seen what I am, what I was and what I want to be.

And I’ve learned to not care what others are thinking about it all, except in specialised circumstances, for example: when I feel like it.

I know what I’ve learned, I’ve learned to question what I know, and I’ve learned to learn more, always learn more.

For me, Discordia is a question, an answer and everything else in between, and it is so huge that I could spend a lifetime exploring it.

Is Discordia relevent? Certainly for me, maybe for you.

Dido:  discordia is a reason that makes a random group of people focus on something.
as stated above, it bypasses the usual reason for banding together in humans, which is affinity.
instead of feeling an affinity for others we gather around the concept, which is so fuzzy as to allow many different interpretations and therefore attracts a rather diverse group of people. affinity creates groups where the reality tunnels of the participants are safe from interruptions.
groups around a more abstract cause tend to suffer from the lack of basic emotional affinity. such groups develop hierarchical structures in order to keep from dissolving. structures determine the flow and shape of thought and ideas. in a hierarchical group any idea, no matter where in the group it originated will have to pass through the top in order to be accepted, which will restrict the possible output of that group dramatically.

a group that gathers around the idea of disagreeing with each other and still manages to find a modus operandi, however chaotic, is more creative than a group whose output is always in the shape of the head of whoever is at the top.

in my opinion the relevance of such a focus or group does not depend on it happening in one epoch or the other. if it exists it has the potential to change any epoch.

damn i am preaching.
look what you made me do.

YattoDobbs:  i think what will make discordian the most ordox religion yet is that it includes agree to disagree in most of its scriptures

plus we can talk to those science atheist about our lovely new planet: they are already in philosocial mode over what she really is… astrological boards are PRIME numberS
plus like below are also rich
[plus we need to make sure the poee symbol becomes the standard one vs an E or whatever]

Eris Mars through a square and the Aries location and Eris Saturn through a quincunx and the 10th house location. This suggests an issue of authority (Mars also in Capricorn ruler of Eris and the 10th)

I predict that awareness of this fundamental need of any modern society will become part of the collective consciousness when Eris transits through Taurus, if we manage to get through the rest of the Aries transit.

I believe that Eris has to do with stirring stuff up,controversy,ideology, civil/equal rights matters,standing up for self/others,advocacy, bigotry,racism,minorities,race relations,diversity,…..all those things are connected to each other too.

I know that it is customary to look to ancient Greek myths for clues to the meanings of newly-discovered planets, and the mythology of Eris has a lot to do with strife and warfare, which would seem to suggest an affinity with Aries. However, in this case, the quest for mythological clues is misleading because, in ancient Greek society, the Eris principle was so horribly, monstrously perverted that the relevant myths were twisted and poisone

Eris has a natural affinity with Libra, not Aries. Ancient Greek society depended heavily on slavery, and, especially in Athens, women were basically locked up in the home, and initiation into manhood typically involved submitting to a cult of pederasty, with the victims getting their chance as perpetrators a few years later. This was a society that was horribly out of balance, so it stands to reason that those Eris myths are pretty sick.

So now Eris shows up in Aries, highlighting the imbalances in our own culture, at a time when the human race desperately needs to get it right, or else… I would like to suggest that Eris in individual horoscopes is often associated with the karmic residue of unbalanced relationships that many if not most of us carry over from past lives. Eris is in Aries, so, well, such issues can manifest in such negative Arian modes as violence or domination. Or, on a more positive Aries note, getting involved in a civil rights campaign. Fight for your rights…

LMNO: [responding to Tempest Virago] Law of Fives.  There is far more neutral sensory input than biased out there, but you’re just noticing the deliberately manipulative stuff.  Try looking for the stuff that’s value-neutral, either intentionally or unintentionally.

Lupernikes Shadowbark:  Puts me in mind of a tv program I watched last night and later discussed with the wife (conversation is as important as the show in some ways).  It was called Putting God on Trial and it was essentially centred around this premise;

It was set in Autchwitz in the barracks (i shudder at the name but it’s the best i can think of) of a group of jewish prisoners; waiting to be ‘selected’, in other words to die.  They were a mix of young and old, German, Polish, educatated and tradesmen, rabbis and so forth.  First they realised that here they were all equal, horribly and wrongly so but equal.  Next they decided to agree on who was to Blame and decided it had to be God.  Afterall what had women and children and many of the inmates done to deserve this from a God who was supposed to protect them and had signed a Covenant with Moses?  They took the Torah apart (you must see it, incredibly educational and interesting) and decided to put God on trial on a rabbinacal court.

Of course there were many speeches but one stood out to me and I’ll paraphrase.  It was given by a French Physicist;

“look into the sky and what do you see?  Stars, millions and millions of stars.  There are (hazy here) 10 billion in our galaxy alone and we know, or at least presume that many of these have worlds like this one, with people and so forth.  As jews we must acknowledge that all this was created by God.  So we then believe that this God, who created all of those stars we can see, all of those worlds, and the many more which exist outside our galaxy also made other beings which must logically live there, directs all His love and attention at one world on the outer arm of one galaxy and, not only this, but on one single group of people on this one world.  This is not only unlikely but it is stupid…”

This led on to us discussing some form of Higher Intelligence, some creative force, some deus ex universalia who, at least, set matter in motion all those eaons ago.  I do believe that some such entity or group of entities exist but that, at the core of it all is chaos, no Design, no Plan, no Destiny of All save expansion and survival of the whole, like our own bodies, which are all the world some creatures will ever know.  But this entity, call it Creator if you like, call it the mind of the Universe (maybe a kind of subconcious hive mind), call it the body of the universe..whatever you like but IT is not interested in us, indivual us.  It doesn’t care what we do or how we do it, howe we dress or how we pray or what rituals we observe; all these are means of control invented by other humans no more.  It requires no worship, nor recognition, any more than we require that of the bacteria who live in our gut.  They do their job and don’t damage our body (they occasionally embarress us but hey ho..) we leave them to it.  Same with the Universe’s alleged Gods or Earth’s alleged Gods, we don’t do  anything to interfere with the smooth running and alone we are left, mess around and out come the lycocytes to show us where we can go.

ok this is getting long now but the essence is that morality is a matter of choice, anything not required to be taboo in order to stop total civil war and dissolution of any form of social order (murder, rape, direct theft and so on) is the same; free will.  We should be good people because it is Right, not (like millions of religious folk) because we are afraid not to be.  Not God to use as an excuse for wars and violence, no God to make one group seemingly better than another, no scripture, no dogma (maybe catma is allowed) just free will.  Crowley’s ‘Do what thou wilt’ is one of the most misunderstood statements in recent history!  He meant “Do what your will decides, not what you are told” or ” do good because you want to, not because you have to”….what he didn’t mean is “lets do all the bad and nasty stuff because we can”.  To me then, to be a Discordian is all free will, about choice sans punishment to make you make the right choice (not The Right Choice but your own right choice) but your own freely made decision.  In the end we have to think for ourselves because no-one else will do if for us…

but then, how many people in the world spend their lives think other people’s thoughts?

Maybe Discordia is not needed more now than ever but certainly usual Discordian attitudes won’t tend to land one on the gibbet doing the hemp fandango (you can do that at home now, or the tango, or the lie there and do nothing…up to you lol)

Ratatosk: [repsonding to LMNO]  Do you mean that the universe supplies information that we can call value-neutral (notwithstanding how humans perceive it) or that humans perceive that value neutral information as value neutral?

LMNO: Um… both?  I think I mean that there is a vast amount of information that was not created with the specific intent of manipulation.

Cain:  Why is Discordianism still relevant in 2008?

Because I am the The Decider, and I have decided that it is.

Debate over.

Oh, alright then, some more evidence.

Two thousand and eight kicked off, in my mind at least, with two major events.  The first was the US Presidential election.  The second was the Anonymous “war” on Scientology.  The first of these two quickly became a spiralling mess of such a degree that parody and satire often seemed more reasonable than what was actually being said.  Therefore, parody and satire need to step up to the plate, and have done so admirably.  In a country where Stephen Colbert or Jon Stewart can give more prescient and accurate news than many of the major news stations, in such a country comedy with a message is King.

The second was interesting, because it showed how an internet subculture with no centralization, no money and little in way of common purpose (indeed they often flaunted their chaotic and contradictory ways) could pose a threat to a very powerful and rich, highly centralized religious cult.

Change is still the name of the game.  As corporate elites have stepped up to the plate, promoting and co-opting every new youth movement and subculture, in some cases from almost the very start, subversive counterculture has done a vanishing act.  It still exists, and its still there, but its a true invisible college, taking form on the internet and in the street.  Flashmobs and other microcultures have become very possible with the rise of mass membership websites such as Facebook, putting Situationist tactics into the hands of online activists, who can construct an event with a few clicks, so long as they can get enough people interested.    Appear, perform and disperse.  We’re evolving and changing, because anyone who stands still for too long is going to end up in the cross-hairs of one marketing executive or another.  Subversion and change, nanoculture and personal freedom, are becoming synonymous.

We’re continuing to have a small, if noticed effect on the mainstream as well.  V for Vendetta and Lost, a program and a film with some very Discordian influences, are favourites of viewers all over the world.  High Weirdness is back in fashion, too.  It doesn’t matter if its a giant artistic piece of dogshit which has got loose, or J. J. Abrams latest show (the X-Files esque TV program he intends to air on Fox this fall), the strange and the odd are still capturing imaginations and peoples curiosity.

Chaos, equally, is back in fashion more than ever.  No matter if its politics or the music industry, the old rules of how things are done, and the elites who control them, are under a barrage of assaults from newcomers and individuals with the power to move and shake the industries they work in.  With the second internet revolution in full swing, its becoming easier than ever to get one’s voice out there, create an audience, be heard, and bypass the traditional methods of control to say what you want.  Equally the weather and the stockmarkets are both going crazy, and becoming ever harder to predict.  Many of the old assurances seem to be crumbling in the bright lights of the 21st century.

The arts of obfuscation, disruption and, well, we can only call it trolling have become more popular than ever, diffusing down into society.  Since trolling is part Situationist theatre, part postmodern identity shifting, and we have natural advantages in areas such as that, we have an edge on tactics that the media, the blogs and activists are only just starting to grasp.

Religious fundamentalism is back on the scene, with all the stupidity and farce such an event brings.  Whether its bearded lunatics in caves or meth-taking, rent-boy hiring, homophobic minister, religion is once again proving its potential to destroy lives, ruin countries and damn people on the flimsiest of charges.  And so, it must come as a relief to many to find a religion that doesn’t want your unquestioning obedience, wont damn you to hell for your sins, doesn’t want your time or money or impose any strange dietary practices (barring those with hotdogs), but wants you to have a good time and tell anyone who tries to get in your way to STFU.

Ratatosk: [responding to LMNO]  But, can any human process information without manipulating it in some way? Can they share information without manipulating it in some way?

Non-manipulated information might exist in some sense, but perhaps in the same manner that Objective Reality exists.

Maybe it exists somewhere outside of the BiP?

LMNO:  Who said anything about shared information as being the sole type of information that exists?  Information is not limited to communication.

Ratatosk: Well, I can agree with that. Maybe you could provide me an example of the sort of information you’re thinking of?

LMNO: Walking out into the steet and seeing a bus coming at you is a form of information

Ratatosk:  But isn’t ‘seeing’ both communication of information (light bouncing into eyes, processed by rods and cones and sent to brain) and manipulation? The brain processes information, ties it to symbols and interprets it into “OSHI! Bus!” or “Ah, Bus, but since you just had some Angel Dust, it won’t hurt you.” or “Ah Bus, life sucks and it will all be over soon.”

Or am I missing something here?

LMNO:   The information of the bus coming at you is value neutral; no external entity is trying to manipulate your actions or is employing propoganda or putting spin on the bessage or trying to hand you a line of bullshit.

What the fuck, Rat?  Are you missing the forest here?

GA:  Ahh, but internal entities are.  The fact of the bus is value neutral; how you perceive the bus is not.

Cramulus:  semantics aside, I think I understood what LMNO meant. That the information age is presenting new and unique problems in communication. There’s just so much more of it now than there ever was. And that since Discordia is very much about making personal choices about information and separating signal from noise, it’s an extremely valuable tool for dealing with 21st century civilization.

LMNO:  [to GA] I’d appreciate it if you actually read the post in question.

Ratatosk:  [responding to LMNO]  Possibly.  I reread your post and I think we’re in agreement that lots of Information exists in the Universe that has no agenda or spin.

Maybe we have multiple orders of Information:

Non-Biased Information (Object labeled “Bus” is travelling at Speed “X” from Point A to Point B)
Self-Biased Information (OSHI! I’m between Point A and Point B!”)
Pre-Biased Information (“Today, Alaskan Democratic Senator Ted Stevens stole a bus and ran over 30 people”)
Self Biased/Pre-Biased Information (“God damned Democrats, we have to get them out of office before they run us all over… wait… Ted Stevens isn’t a… Err, Nevermind!! DAMN the PINKOS!”)

So maybe all information IS based on Non-Biased information (except outright lies/fabrications?), but all information available to humans is processed/manipulated in at least some sense.

So I think you’re saying that the Discordian may grok this conundrum and do their best to discard as much bias as possible?

I think…

LMNO:  Dude.

Read my post again.

I said nothing about “all” information.

I said while much of the information is value-neutral, more is becoming biased, and also meta and self-referencing.

And Discordia helps with this, some.

Ratatosk:  Ok, let’s set aside “all” for a second… it was more internal monologue I think.

I think I grok what you’re saying now.

The ratio of Value-Neutral Information to Manipulated-by-Some-Other-Human Information is shrinking.

Both forms of information aren’t value-neutral once they’ve been processed by self… but that’s beside the point of your main argument. See I was off on a tangent!

The Good Reverend Roger:  Relevant?  Who cares?

I’m just here to gnaw at the foundations of society like a diseased termite.

2 thoughts on “Why Discordia is more relevant in 2008 – Discussion

  1. It seems there are Aneristic Discordians in addition to Eristic ones.

    I shall now quote That Pooka:

    “”What symbolizes Easter more than replicating bunnies and dozens of hard-to-find, decorated eggies?

    Nothing. Maybe Jesus coming back from the dead. Maybe. But, try making candy out of it? Non? Well, then there you go. No, Easter changes every year, and for some reason it’s a week after St. Patrick’s Day. Hey, at least St. Patrick had the good idea to do it on the same day every year. The reason why Easter changes isn’t because Jesus don’t know when he came back. No, silly rabbit. It has more to do with equinox and abundance of growth. Yessir. Make some babies, honey. Get on with the hoopity-hoopity, the bippity-blopity, and the HOOOOOOOOONNNNK-HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONNNNNNNNK.

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