Principia Discordia > Principia Discussion

Order is Chaos, Actually

(1/2) > >>

Disclaimer: I'm going to say a bunch of shit that sounds authoritative here. Please keep in mind that this essay addresses my personal beliefs and whilst I do at several points discuss what 'Discordians' think, I am very aware that y'all are an argumentative bunch who are unlikely to agree with me on everything. Or anything. Whatever. Unless I personally insult you in the essay you can assume this isn't targeted at you.

It has come to my attention that there are still people who think ‘chaos’ is the opposite of ‘order’ in this, the Year 2023 – a year that is surely going to go down in history as being sacred. To someone. Fuck knows who. If they think anything going on in the world right now is holy they’re probably an asshole.

First things first, the Discordian concept of Chaos is explicitly not what the Ancient Greeks thought Chaos was.

You see, Robert Anton Wilson, one of the big cheeses in Discordian thought, in so far as we can be said to have those, had two core ideas to most of his writing: Perception is fallible, and the human brain loves to find patterns.

These aren’t ground-breaking ideas. A lot of people have written a lot of things about this and probably way better than Robby did in the 60s. But, the important thing here is how he applied this principle to the Goddess of Chaos.

To Robby, Chaos is broadly synonymous with Reality. He came to this conclusion as follows.

The human brain seeks patterns. And we do that in all sorts of ways. Everything from our peripheral vision to our memories to that really annoying phenomena where you think you kind of hear someone saying something but actually it’s just random noise? Our brain is REALLY GOOD at finding patterns. We fill in the blanks all the time. In fact, most of our life is filling in the blanks.

And it’s all imperfect. Your eyes might be great, but you can’t see atoms no matter how hard you look. And those exist, if you find the right way to perceive them. Consider light. It’s been around for a long time. According to some people, it was the first thing. Should be pretty fundamental, right?

Famously, though, you can perform an experiment which proves beyond a doubt that light is a particle. You can also perform an experiment which proves beyond a doubt that light is a wave. How does that work?

Because the ideas we have of what a wave is and what a particle is are only maps.

They’re imperfect definitions describing physical phenomena.

The way Discordianism approaches this is to say that these are impositions of Order; our brains making tools which help us understand the Chaos that is reality.

Now before you get too excited and accuse me of denying that reality exists and thinking that it’s all like, vibes, man, or something? No. Fuck you. I still use my brain, I haven’t yet let it turned into soup.

There are definitely people who say they are Discordians who do in fact seem to believe that it’s all vibes, but since their grey matter is liable to spill out when they trip over I’m comfortable discounting them from the conversation.

The map might never be the territory, but if your map is just a bunch of random scrawls I don’t want to follow you into the wilderness and neither should anyone else.

Anyway. We create Order to make sense of Chaos, and Discord is what happens where, inevitably, those expectations fall short of the reality. Discord is when something happens which breaks that Order. You see something out the corner of your eye but when you turn your head, it’s gone. You flip a coin and it comes down on the edge. You measure light and find that it is both wave and particle.

It’s very important to understand that neither Order nor Discord is inherently better than the other. You can’t HAVE an Order – an expectation of how things should be – without also creating at least the possibility of a Discord – something that hits outside of that expected context.

And this is even a good thing, because Discord tells us where the gaps are.

As it was put in the Principia: “To choose order over disorder, or disorder over order, is to accept a trip composed of both the creative and the destructive. But to choose the creative over the destructive is an all-creative trip composed of both order and disorder. To accomplish this, one need only accept creative disorder along with, and equal to, creative order, and also be willing to reject destructive order as an undesirable equal to destructive disorder.”

Those who understand that Order and Disorder are both desirable, that they both have uses, but they both have drawbacks too, are the ones who can ultimately come closer to an understanding of the Goddess.

When you understand that Order and Discord are, really, games that humans play with each other to make sense of Chaos, you become able to participate in both with equal joy. The reason why so many Discordian writing talks so much about Discord, and why we place such emphasis on that part of Eris even though she is technically the Goddess of both Order AND Discord, is that our societies do not acknowledge that there are limits to Order.

But of course there’s more to it than that.

One of the few ‘laws’ in Discordianism is the Law of Eristic Escalation. The Imposition of Order equals the Escalation of Disorder (or discord, if you prefer).

The harder you try to squeeze an Order into place on a subject that simply refuses to accept it, the harder the Discord you are creating will kick back against you.

Bear in mind that the Law of Eristic Escalation is itself merely a map; a concept used to make sense of reality. It won’t work everywhere. But that doesn’t make it useless. The fact is that reality doesn’t give a shit about what you think it should be. It is what it is. And the longer you go trying to buck it, the more it is going to hurt when that mountain rips right through your map and smacks you in the face.

Some people might be thinking at this point “Why do you call it Chaos, then? Why don’t you just call it reality?” And that’s a fair point, but I think it misses the importance of poetry here.

If we were talking about ‘reality’ then it implies a certainty that runs straight against the core concept.

I am violently opposed to (amongst other things) the concept of certainty. Robbie Wilson was a big fan of e-prime, a concept which was designed to try and get rid of Aristotelian logic and make language more precise by paradoxically making it acknowledge its own imprecision.

Now, e-prime is its own thing responsible for, amongst other horrors, Neuro-Linguistic Programming, and therefore it is to be shunned and despised by all right-thinking people, but that anti-Aristotelian principle is central to what it means to me to move through the world as a Discordian.

When we embrace that we do not interact directly with anything but only with our perceptions of it we open ourselves up to the possibility of being wrong about anything and everything. By understanding that Chaos is Everything; that, to quote the Principia again, all things are true – even false things are true in some sense – we put the possibility of the unexpected at the heart of our lives.

If we were just talking about reality rather than Chaos, we would be one step too close to staking out a claim on the big T Truth that we can never know. Because there is one being in the universe who CAN know Chaos, and She is the Goddess.

And now we get to the core of the matter.

Eris isn’t a peace and love Goddess. Eris is Reality. She’s Chaos. She’s TRUTH. And TRUTH, big capital T Truth, is something that humans have a really hard time comprehending. We don’t want to. As a rule, we’re much happier when we’re left to our comforting lies.

And even though we keep getting shown how dangerous and bloody it is to reject Her, people still keep snubbing Eris to this day. You see it when people refuse to wear a mask during a pandemic, when people whip themselves into a murderous frenzy believing minorities are the enemy, and when they convince themselves that The Machine has their best interests at heart.

Eris teaches us that it is a worthy thing to extract vengeance for these snubs.

See, if you’re following the teachings of the Goddess, you’re volunteering to be the nasty reminder that their flawed thinking doesn’t encompass everything. You’re the wrench thrown in the machine. You’re the monster lurking in the dark.

See, it's not just a ha-ha after all.

Doktor Howl:
Well, yeah, to put it plainly, order and disorder are subsets of chaos.

Otherwise, humans wouldn't exist.

Doktor Howl:
But it's still a ha-ha.  It's still funny, even after the funny left this place as a smoking crater.  It's still funny after brexit, MAGA, and the pandemic.

I bet General Zaluzhny laughs his way to sleep every night, to dream of mayhem committed on Russian soldiers, filthy and fatal tricks that is his way of saying "Welcome to Ukraine." Only he says it with a HIMARs and your lungs eject out of your mouth from the over-pressure.

It's still funny in the lab, where we work tirelessly towards a Shiny New War Crime, our eyes fever-bright with hatred for the meatsacks of Earth. 

It's a apocalyptic paradise, Scribbly, and can you blame us?  Have you SEEN Florida?  Book bannings and Don't Say Gay and transphobia under every wet rock, carried on oily voices of preachers that SAY they worship Jesus, while what they're ACTUALLY worshiping is something you and I haven't even had NIGHTMARES about yet.  Bloggers have to register with the government, and they want to flat-out outlaw opposition parties.

And don't even get me started on Texas, Tennessee, and all the other miserably flyover states that look like Mayberry made out of Lambeth Road.

It's all horrible and yet I bray with laughter.  I laugh until I can't stop screaming, and my reports scream with me, as we do ERIS'S work.  Troy?  Never fucking heard of it.

Grab your ass, my crumpet-eating friend, because this is OUR FUCKING CENTURY.

You're right of course, Doktor.

I guess what I mean is that we've moved with the times.

The Principia had fnords, turkeys and hotdogs without buns. Maybe that fit the 60s. I'm sure I used to find the old jokes funny even back in the 2000s.

But the temperature has risen. It's getting feverish on old planet Earth. We're still laughing. We'll never STOP laughing. If laughter is infectious we're fucking typhoid, laughing so damn much that blood runs from our manic grins and the world laughs along with us.

Even if they don't get the joke.

Doktor Howl:

--- Quote from: Scribbly on March 07, 2023, 08:08:28 am ---You're right of course, Doktor.

I guess what I mean is that we've moved with the times.

The Principia had fnords, turkeys and hotdogs without buns. Maybe that fit the 60s. I'm sure I used to find the old jokes funny even back in the 2000s.

But the temperature has risen. It's getting feverish on old planet Earth. We're still laughing. We'll never STOP laughing. If laughter is infectious we're fucking typhoid, laughing so damn much that blood runs from our manic grins and the world laughs along with us.

Even if they don't get the joke.

--- End quote ---

Jokes are like cocaine.  When you're first snorting the shit, you can get the joke if you do a single line of something that's been stepped on more times than Rosanne Boyland.

But you get acclimatized, and YOUR NEED IS MOAR.  You need MOAR horrormirth and you DON'T ask WHO IS DRIVING CAR, because YOU ALREADY KNOW WHO IS DRIVING CAR.  HIMEOMBS HAS *ALWAYS* BEEN DRIVING CAR.  We just didn't notice it before, because the power stayed on and nobody paid any attention to freaks like Nigel Farage and Marjorie Taylor Greene.  Which was, in hindsight, probably a mistake.

Pretty soon you're strung out like Johnny Cash, trying to figure out why Porter Wagoner never even cracks a grin while he writes jokes about Folsom Prison.  It's not that Porter is gloomy and more than a bit twisted.  It's that he NEVER GOT THE PUNCHLINE, at least until he started opening for Jack White.


[0] Message Index

[#] Next page

Go to full version