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Literature / Principia Discordia

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GREATER POOP: Are you really serious or what?
MAL-2: Sometimes I take humor seriously. Sometimes I take seriousness humorously. Either way, it is irrelevant.
Interview with Malaclypse the Younger, Principia Discordia

"If you think the Principia is just a ha-ha, then go read it again."

Not The Bible of the Discordian Movement (that would be the Honest Book of Truth - and, actually, the Bible is the Principia Discordia of the Christian Movement), this booknote  was originally published in 1965 by Greg "Malaclypse the Younger" Hill and Kerry "Omar Khayyam Ravenhurst" Thornley, and went through several major revisions before the "Fourth Edition", the version most circulated today, was produced in 1970.

Discordianism is a philosophic movement that worships the chaos Goddess Eris (yes, that goddess with the Golden Apple of Discord who sparked The Trojan War. It was the Original Snub). Goddess Eris isn't malicious, though; She's funny, She's smart, and She brings mischievous chaos and change to stodgy, petrified order. Eris likes the number 5 and hot dogs.

More generally, Discordia believes that humanity's in troublenote  as long as it continues to take itself too seriously, that chaos is needed in life so that creation can occur, and that sometimes things are just ineffable. Logic isn't everything.

The actual layout of the Principia Discordia mirrors the chaos included in its pages. Pages of typewritten copy are side-by-side with clip art, stamps, seals and hand scrawled quotes. Sometimes important philosophical ideas are crammed into the margins and barely legible. Get it online here.


  • Aliens in Cardiff: According to the Principia, Eris first made herself apparent to Malaclypse and Omar in... a long-since-defunct bowling alley in Whittier, CA, a suburb of Los Angeles.
  • Alternative Calendar: The Principia presents a calendar divided into five 73-day months (Chaos, Discord, Confusion, Bureaucracy, and Aftermath), with a five-day week (Sweetmorn, Boomtime, Pungenday, Prickle-Prickle, and Setting Orange). This has the advantage of making each day of the year fall on the same day of the week every year (e.g., 34 Discord - 17 April - will always fall on a Boomtime). Leap years are the same as in the Gregorian calendar, and the Discordian leap day, St. Tib's Day, is considered to exist outside the normal five-day week. Year 1 of the calendar corresponds to 1166 BC, making 2011 AD Gregorian correspond to 3177 YOLD (Year of Our Lady of Discord).If you're curious, you can use the Gregorian-to-Erisian Date Converter here
  • Ancient Conspiracy: The Bavarian Illuminati.
  • Arc Number: 5 and 23. Though this is really a subversion, given the intent of the Law of Fives.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: This quote from the Book of Honest Truth, Predictions 19:10:
    The Earth quakes and the heavens rattle; the beasts of nature flock together and the nations of men flock apart; volcanoes usher up heat while elsewhere water becomes ice and melts; and then on other days it just rains.
  • Calvinball: "Sink", a game played by Discordians and people of much ilk, in which the goal is to sink any type of object, by any means, into any medium into which things can be sank, with turns progressing in order of "who somever gets the junk up and in the air first", with the players encouraged to loudly proclaim that they have sunk something and to give it an amusing name while doing so (the Principia provides the example "I sunk Columbus, Ohio!")
  • Crazy Sane: In a word, the Discordian ideal. The classic example of this, Emperor Joshua Norton, is the only Discordian saint who was an actual person.
  • Easy Evangelism: In seven easy steps!
  • False Dichotomy: Every dichotomy, but especially Order versus Disorder. On the other hand, everything is true, even dichotomies.
  • Self-Deprecation: A Discordian is instructed to remonstrate against all the common religions of the land, including Discordianism. The initiation rite into Discordianism requires you to eat a hot dog in a bun on a Friday, violating the tenets of all three Abrahamic religions (no meat on Fridays, no pork) and Discordianism itself (no hot dog buns).
  • Spin-Off: Lots and lots of spinoffs. You can find them online, at Amazon, at Scribd, at Cafe Press, etc.
  • Worthless Yellow Rocks: In the story of how the Honest Book of Truth was discovered, Lord Omar is told by a servant of Eris to go to a sacred mound and dig up the book there. He digs for five days and five nights and finds no book, so he decides to take a rest, using a giant golden treasure chest he found on the first day as a pillow.