Discordia is the Latin name of Eris, who is revered as The Goddess in a little-known but far-reaching religion called Discordianism. To quote The Other Wiki, it is "a religion centered around the idea that chaos is all there is and that order and disorder are both ideas imposed upon chaos." Which tells you what it is - in the same way that saying Christians worship Jesus tells you what's going on there.
Founded 1958-59 by Malaclypse the Younger, the principal text is the Principia Discordia. Considered by some to be a parody religion, and called "Zen for roundeyes" by others, Discordianism recognizes chaos, disorder, and dissent as being both valid and even desirable (in contrast to most other religions, which idealize order and harmony). The matron deity is Eris, Greek goddess of chaos - also known as Discordia to the Romans.
Because Discordianism embraces disorder and chaos, it's difficult to estimate how many followers it has or to correctly identify groups who align themselves with it. The Principia's encouragement to schism and form cabals - combined with the fact that many adherents do not hold Discordianism as their only (or even primary) faith - further complicates things; most adherents use Discordianism as a complement to their primary religion and may not identify themselves as Discordian in public (or on the census!).
One of Discordianism's primary tenets - certainly one of the most memorable - is to take nothing seriously while regarding everything as Serious Business. To follow only half of the tenet is to fail yourself; if you only take nothing seriously, you will miss out on things - but if you take everything seriously, you become a Greyface (and will also probably die young, due to heart failure or an aneurysm).
The second most memorable tenet is that "every single man, woman and child on this Earth" is a Discordian pope (the feminine form sometimes being "mome"). While the Principia has an official Pope card, it does not grant Papacy; it only acts as a means of proof. Papal powers are not listed in the Principia, beyond a note on the card saying "A POPE is someone who is not under the authority of the authorities". Some have taken it upon themselves to elaborate further, listing on the back of their cards that their Papal rights include (but are not limited to):
- To invoke infallability at any time (including retroactively);
- To completely rework the Erisian church;
- To baptise, bury, and marry (with the permission of the deceased in the latter two cases)note ;
- To excommunicate, de-ex-communicate, re-ex-communicate, and de-re-ex-communicate (no backsies!) both his-/her-/it-/their-/your-/our-/His-/Her-/It-/Them-/Your-/Our-self/selves and others (if any).
- To perform all rites and functions deemed inappropriate for a Pope of Discordia.
One of the few things that Discordians are prohibited from doing is consuming a hot dog bun (due to Eris' joyous partaking of a hot dog after The Original Snub). On the other hand, one of the few things that Discordians are required to do is "Go Off Alone & Partake Joyously of a Hot Dog [in a hot dog bun] on a Friday".
Do not confuse with a different Discord, or the Discord chat app. Or do confuse: he'd make a great Discordian.
Works inspired by Discordianism with their own pages here include:
- The Illuminatus! Trilogy by Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson.
- The musical output of The KLF
- Aarni's Battle Hymn of the Eristocracy and some of their other weirder works.
- The Doctor Who Fan Fiction Kallisti is set on an entire planet of Discordians.
- Minor Shout-Out in the webcomic Olympus Overdrive - Eris has two eyeball sidekicks named "Malaclypse" and "Omar".
- Stephen King's The Dark Tower series makes reference to this in the last few books. O-Discordia!
- Greg from User Friendly strongly suggests he is a Discordian from time to time. Whether he takes it seriously or invokes it for his own amusement is never really explained, as is proper.
- Discworld Noir has a Discworld version of Malaclypse in the Temple of Small Gods, who claims to worship Errata, Goddess of Misunderstandings, although he thinks it's possible he's wrong.
- The band Two Lone Swordsmen has a song named ''We Discordians (Must Stick Apart). While the song is an instrumental, the title is practically a Self-Demonstrating Article.
And don't forget, Discordia pads her chest.