Discordianism (Really!)
The Beatus Ffungo officially apologizes for the use of blink tags on this page.

One of the key points of Discordianism is the subject of Chaos - Eris is the Goddess of Chaos, and most other religions seem designed to explain away Chaos as illusion, as an obscuration of Someone's Divine Plan. I had expected Discordians to believe that Chaos for Chaos's sake was good, and any kind of order was bad. That's why I was stoked when I found the following passage in the Principia:

The Aneristic Principle is that of APPARENT ORDER; the Eristic Principle is that of APPARENT DISORDER. Both order and disorder are man made concepts and are artificial divisions of PURE CHAOS, which is a level deeper that is the level of distinction making.

With our concept making apparatus called "mind" we look at reality through the ideas-about-reality which our cultures give us. The ideas-about-reality are mistakenly labeled "reality" and unenlightened people are forever perplexed by the fact that other people, especially other cultures, see "reality" differently. It is only the ideas-about-reality which differ. Real (capital-T True) reality is a level deeper that is the level of concept.

We look at the world through windows on which have been drawn grids (concepts). Different philosophies use different grids. A culture is a group of people with rather similar grids. Through a window we view chaos, and relate it to the points on our grid, and thereby understand it. The ORDER is in the GRID. That is the Aneristic Principle.

As George Santayana says, "Chaos is a name for any order that produces confusion in our minds." I really dug this! Like any Good Discordian-In-The-Making, I already didn't decide to believe something I read just because it was in a book I liked, but because it made sense to me. I make it a habit to listen occasionally to one of the local Christian radio stations (which, as you might guess, generally espouses views that are somewhat more conservative than my own). It never ceases to amaze me how many people call up and say that everybody on the planet knows that their (intolerant, uneducated, and benighted, IMHO) beliefs are true and it's just the Liberal Media's fault that they aren't in total control. A great example of two "grids" that filter the same information in a radically different way. More Principia:

Western philosophy is traditionally concerned with contrasting one grid with another grid, and amending grids in hopes of finding a perfect one that will account for all reality and will, hence, (say unenlightened westerners) be True. This is illusory; it is what we Erisians call the ANERISTIC ILLUSION. Some grids can be more useful than others, some more beautiful than others, some more pleasant than others, etc., but none can be more True than any other.

DISORDER is simply unrelated information viewed through some particular grid. But, like "relation", no-relation is a concept. Male, like female, is an idea about sex. To say that male-ness is "absence of female-ness", or vice versa, is a matter of definition and metaphysically arbitrary. The artificial concept of no-relation is the ERISTIC PRINCIPLE.

The belief that "order is true" and disorder is false or somehow wrong, is the Aneristic Illusion. To say the same of disorder, is the ERISTIC ILLUSION.

The point is that (little-t) truth is a matter of definition relative to the grid one is using at the moment, and that (capital-T) Truth, metaphysical reality, is irrelevant to grids entirely. Pick a grid, and through it some chaos appears ordered and some appears disordered. Pick another grid, and the same chaos will appear differently ordered and disordered.

Bingo! Many other belief systems had an exclusion meme built in - "This and no other", which seemed absurd to me, since those belief systems were clearly transmitted by culture - something that should be no obstacle to Universal Truth. I'm not a Bible-thumping Southern Baptist for the same reason I'm not Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, or Shinto - because I wasn't raised in that environment. It always seemed to me that the different religions all had some value to them, and saying "What I have here happens to be, fortunately for me, the One True Answer, and the belief systems that everybody else has used for inspiration, motivation, and enlightenment are wrong, worthless, and potentially harmful" seems stupid.

It also seemed like a bad idea to reject religion, for the same reason. For all the grandstanding and intolerance that is credited to religion, there are also episodes like the one I read about in the Utne Reader, where a group of skinheads was throwing bricks through the windows of houses with Stars of David in their windows, so a local woman convinced her whole (Christian) congregation to display the Stars in their windows too, and eventually the stars-to-rascist-assholes ratio was just too high.

So, you may ask, what is the A-1, Official, Not Available in Stores Ffungo-Approved Cabaret Discordia Approach to all this religion business? Hey - do what you think is cool. Believe what makes sense to you or makes you laugh, but preferably both. Don't screw with people if you can avoid it. Don't let rules tell you what to do - make your own decisions & accept the consequences. Know thyself. Nothing to excess. And, finally, don't ever let a web-based religion guide your life.

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