Author Topic: Non-Prophet: a survey of Non-Religions  (Read 3157 times)

Iron Sulfide

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Non-Prophet: a survey of Non-Religions
« on: April 23, 2004, 07:49:40 pm »
so...here it is...

my recon is finished. the survey report is finished. still waiting to collect.

Non-Prophet: A Study of Counter-Cultural Pseudo-Cults and Non-Religions
By *Me*

There once was a young man who wanted to know the meaning of Zen. This young man learned of a Zen Master outside of town who sat on a hill all day, so he went to visit the Zen Master.
   They say you are a Zen MasterĶis this true?
   In Zen there are no masters, replied the Zen Master.
   Well, can you teach me the meaning of Zen? asked the young man.
   Indeed, all you need do is ask, said the Zen Master.
   Okay then, said the young man, What is the meaning of Zen?
   The Zen Master then promptly whacked the young man on the head with a leg of lamb. Experiencing this, the young man was enlightened.1
   This is a Zen Parable from Discordian Tradition. What is Discordianism? one might ask. Discordianism is a Pseudo-Cult or a Non-Religion, which is to say, a pretend religion created in a fashion that mocks organized religion in the spirit of counter-culture. It is the Authors intent to investigate and research various Non-Religions and Pseudo-Cults for the purpose of understanding the phenomenon, as well as to prove their relevance to the counter-cultural movement and hence American History.
   First, what exactly defines a Pseudo-Cult; how does a Pseudo-Cult differ from a real cult? The simple answer is merely that a Pseudo-Cult is meant in jest, whereas a real cult is meant in all seriousness. But what are the characteristics of a Pseudo-Cult? A Pseudo-Cult:

Ģ   Resembles an edgy, ultra-radical faith system far outside the norm of religion.
Ģ   Incorporates existent religious symbolism, exaggerations, new insights into old doctrines, and/or humor.
Ģ   Always has an undertone of mockery intended on Illuminating hypocrisy and inconsistency in organized religion.
Ģ   Has a cult or underground following, comprised of a small minority of-typically- young adults.

Most of what would be called Pseudo-Cults take place in high schools and on college campuses. What classifies these groups as Pseudo-Cults is the considerably small following that they have. So what makes a Non-Religion?

A Non-Religion is essentially the same as a Pseudo-Cult, save for the amount of people who participate; Non-religions tend to have a level of people participating that exceeds the levels of a Pseudo-Cult by a long shot. Such Pseudo-Cults include The Temple of Clown (a cult based off the cult-classic movie Killer Klowns from Outer Space), The Church of Joe, stared by a high school student in the Lodi area, and other such pretend cults. Similarly, Non-Religions share the same foundations, though are based off more original ideas, instead of movies or video games, etcĶsuch as the Church of the SubGenius, the Temple of WingZero and Discordianism (Church of Eris). Discordianism is, though a Non-Religion, also an oddity, as it can also classify as a Pseudo-Cult.
In 1958, two Californians known only as Omar Ravenhurst and Malcalypse the Younger (Mal)2 founded the lunacy that is called Discordianism, a Non-Religion centered on the Greek Goddess Eris (Roman counter-part: Discordia), Goddess of Chaos, Strife and Confusion. This came about, according to Discordian Lore, when Omar and Mal where indulging in their favorite past time: drinking coffee and conversing at a local all night bowling alley. Upon trying to figure out the solutions to the worlds problems, Omar and Mal came to the conclusion that Chaos and Confusion were the root of all the problems in the world. Then the story gets weird: the fable says that the room froze, and the two men were approached by a tall, up-right standing chimpanzee, who spoke to them, citing things such as Pickering's Moon orbiting in reverse, men having nipples, though they do not bear milk and Heisenbergs Uncertainty Principal, and declaring that Someone had to put all this confusion here.

From what I can gather, the previous is total nonsense, which is exactly what Discordianism is all about. What probably transpired was a conversation about the previously mentioned items (men having nipples, etcĶ), followed by the notion that life was inherently Chaotic.
Aside from this nonsense, it seems that the entire premise of Discordianism is Nonsense. The Religion may be fake, but the underlying philosophy is real: things should not be taken so seriously. The reasoning behind this is entirely intuitive, using a Discordian equivalent to Satan, named Grey Face. Long ago, Grey Face decided that people were having too much fun, and he saw no use for it. So Grey Face started putting Unnecessary Order to mankind and plaguing them with Seriousness.

Omar and Mal took it upon themselves, declaring each other High Priests of Discord, to compile the Principia Discordia, or The Magnum Opiate of Malcalypse the Younger, the holy book of Discordianism, to spread the word of Eris. They formulated their own Discordian Calendar, Initiation Rites, Sacred Symbolism, The Law of Fives, The Law of Negative Reversal and declared all men women and children to be Popes.

They even set out guidelines for individual Church/Sect development. This is where classifying Discordianism as either a Pseudo-Cult or a Non-Religion becomes difficult. Any member of the Discordian Church can start their own Cabal, or Sect of Discordianism; many Cabals exist: The Temple of the Hidden Buddha, The Ranch of the Laughing Jesus, Topanga Cabal, The Purple Monkies Cabal, The Hypser-Discordians, etcĶSo in this respect, Discordianism as a whole is a Non-Religion, but each individual Cabal can be considered a Pseudo-Cult.

Perhaps the only Non-Religion to compare and rival the Church of Discordia is the Church of the SubGenius. Founded by J.R. Bob Dobbs, the Church of the SubGenius shares many similar aspects with Discordianism, but drastically veers off with many of its doctrines and especially with its presentation. One claim made by the Church of the SubGenius (CoS) is that the Church actually originates from the same time as Discordianism (c. 1958), but that the doctrines predate even Grey Faces Existence (c.1166 A.D.). However, pamphlets relevant to the CoS didnt start surfacing until the early 1980s, so for the sake of this survey the CoS was started in the early 1980s.

The CoS is presented as one huge infomercial, constantly trying to sell fictional products, services and itself to anyone that it can. The main points of SubGeniusism are: Marketability, The End Times, SlackѢ, and other such. Pamphlet #1 of the CoS says clearly that this is Ķan inherently bogus religion that will condone superior degeneracyĶ So, like Discordianism, one knows right from the get-go that this is all pretend and that it shouldnt be taken seriously. But what about SlackѢ?
SlackѢ, the underlying philosophy of the CoS, is real. Just like Discordianism, the CoS is using a fake religion to spread a real philosophy. SlackѢ (yes, the Ѣ is necessary) is the philosophy that you shouldnt work a job that you hate, you shouldnt have concerns about money, you shouldnt take things too seriouslyĶperhaps in the end, at the root of what they both are, Discordianism and the CoS are not so different. But how are they relevant?

What makes them relevant to American History is that they are components of the Counter-Culture movement. How? one might ask. There are several reasons. A science- a controversial science, the foundation of which is questioned by skeptics- called Memetics provides an answer: virus-like spreading of ideas and philosophies; a propaganda-esque distribution of information.

Memes- the ideas and concepts that are memetically transmitted- are the foundation of Memetics. Entire books have been written about the subject, so lots can be said, but simply put, a meme is an idea that is constructed and structured, then spread to other people with the intent that the idea will have been presented in such a way that the recipient of the idea will feel the urge, the desire to pass the idea on to other people. This, according to memetics, is the reason and purpose of all the preaching that takes place in most major religions. If the idea doesnt spread to new people, the idea dies, so to speak.

Theres even a Non-Religion based on this science, called appropriately enough the Church of Virus. The unique aspect of the CoV is that it is an entirely internet-based religion, and that its memetic hook is that it says up front that its goal is to infect your mind with the ideas and philosophies that are relevant to the CoVs views.

All these fake religions have at least one thing in common: they are tools used to help spread their ideas; ideas that question the validity of the mainstream mentality of organized religion, the same goal as anything else to be considered counter-culture. The aim is much more than just questioning, though; the idea is to bring about a different perspective. Not to say that any one perspective is better, even, but to get people to look at something differently, as many ways as is possible. When people view something commonplace from a new perspective, they gain a better understanding of what theyre looking at.

Religions inspire people and guide people through their lives, even give people a sense of meaning and purpose. Non-Religions do the same, but in a different manner, and usually with a lot less seriousness to their approach. Perhaps this is the reason why made up religions are still around and continue to gain popularity. Where real religions offer answers to the questions people have about Life, these Non-Religions treat the questions about Life as a joke, to which Life is the punch-line. After all, in the words of J.R. Bob Dobbs, F*ck em if they cant take a joke!
Ya' stupid Yank.

Iron Sulfide

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Non-Prophet: a survey of Non-Religions
« Reply #1 on: April 23, 2004, 07:57:42 pm »
if you're interested in memetics...

google it or check out http://virus.lucifer.com

also, "F*ck 'em if they can't take a joke" wasn't supposed to be
censored, but it was for a history class...so bleh, meh, and blarg
Ya' stupid Yank.

archPope Rocket P Llama

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Non-Prophet: a survey of Non-Religions
« Reply #2 on: May 06, 2004, 08:47:30 pm »
Somebody wrote a similar but much much (probably TOO) extensive 50+ page paper on this for their Master's Dissertation or somesuch on Discordianism, Subgenius, and Cthulhu cults. It;s very good, I don;t knwo fi you've read it, but it's titled something to the effect of Neophilic Religions. It's on the net if anyone can find it and post the link... Unfortunately they refer to RAW as a futurist instead of the more propper achh-heretic, but it's good anyways. And to save someone else time:
Robert Anton Wilson is a baldheaded liar. He's still the shit anyways.
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Trollax

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Non-Prophet: a survey of Non-Religions
« Reply #3 on: May 07, 2004, 02:55:08 am »
Speaking of The big Calimari I had a dream last night (in between nightmares about giant spiders) that everyone thought he was real and that he was coming back. I was the only person who knew it was all a big con. and I'm out in the street daring squid-boy to come after me... 'course nothing happened.

Irreverend Hugh, KSC

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Non-Prophet: a survey of Non-Religions
« Reply #4 on: May 07, 2004, 10:12:31 pm »
I may wish to publish your paper on my site somewhere, if you please.
"Time for the tin-foil hats, girls and boys!"

Iron Sulfide

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Non-Prophet: a survey of Non-Religions
« Reply #5 on: May 12, 2004, 08:50:56 pm »
no prob.

i already recieved payment for writing the paper (an 1/8 of some sweet
sweet green...twas kinda dry, but it did the job!), so whatever happens
to it now is fine with me.

post the link when you're done if you put it up.
Ya' stupid Yank.