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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.
  • 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.
  • Blatant Lies
  • 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!")
  • Classical Mythology: In the story of the Original Snub. The Greeks viewed Her only as the Goddess of Discord and Strife, but their views on history can't be trusted. "They were," Eris explains, "victims of indigestion, you know."
  • Easy Evangelism: In seven easy steps!
  • False Dichotomy: Every dichotomy, but especially Order versus Disorder. On the other hand, everything is true, even dichotomies.
  • Ice-Cream Koan: Some borrowed directly from Zen, others created by the authors.
  • Lamp Shade: The Law of 5s is explicitly true because Discordians believe in it and look for 5s all around them. They know this is how it works, that's the point.
  • Logic Bomb: "A Discordian is Forbidden of Believing what he Reads."
  • Mind Screw: In fact, the whole thing is (possibly) intended as a Mind Screw. There is a religion based on it.
  • Numerological Motif/Arc Number: 5 and 23. Though this is really a subversion, given the intent of the Law of Fives.
  • Out of Character: For the Author. Most all of the Principia is steeped in Surreal Humor, so one will take note when it elaborates on its underpinning cultural relativist philosophy and is, for several paragraphs, completely lucid.
  • Pineal Weirdness: The way one talks to Eris.
  • Public Domain: The disclaimer on the final page of the Fourth Edition reads "All rights reversed - print what you like" also known as Copyleft.
  • Pungeon Master
  • Spin-Off: Lots and lots of spinoffs. You can find them online, at Amazon, at Scribd, at Cafe Press, etc.
  • Subverted Trope/Double Subversion: It turns out pretty much all of these tropes are subverted in someway — or are they? From the end of the book: "If you think that the PRINCIPIA is just a ha-ha, then go read it again." See Mind Screw above.
  • Surreal Humor
  • Take a Third Option: More like Take a Fifth Option, but yes.
  • Take That, Us: A Discordian is instructed to remonstrate against all the common religions of the land, including Discordianism.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: 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.
  • Who Shot JFK?: Kerry Thornely, one of the two founders of Discordianism, was in the Marines with Lee Harvey Oswald, and wrote a novel about him before Oswald (allegedly) shot Kennedy. In later years, Thornely became convinced that he'd been Brainwashed by the CIA to be a backup assassin.