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AMCrenshaw
03-02-2009, 07:30 PM
Interesting stuff.


Discordianism (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Discordianism)

Robert Anton Wilson (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Anton_Wilson)

YouTube videos about RAW and his philosophy:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nJHHDQ2i0kE
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XktyGov6sBI&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wDRG9ZpzoX4&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kCIqFAdI6eI&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lO7tGOr2NU0&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XEZtw1yt8Kc&feature=related

Quantum physics and consciousness (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iqJOIQWkfWA&feature=related)

Is Discordianism a complement to "serious" religions the way yin complements yang? How else does Discordianism really compare to other religions, like Buddhism, Taoism, or Mystic traditions?

AMC

James81
03-02-2009, 07:52 PM
I find it ironic that a religion is centered on the idea of making an ORGANIZED attempt at basing a religion on chaos.

As far as comparisons are made, I think I would need to know more about Discordianism to make a judgement about that. Because it seems to me like most religions main focus is on how the person reacts and lives their life in accordance with their beliefs. most religion seems focused on providing a way to live your life with the moral structure they withhold.

And I don't know exactly how this particular religion does that.

indiriverflow
03-02-2009, 08:52 PM
I find it ironic that a religion is centered on the idea of making an ORGANIZED attempt at basing a religion on chaos.

As far as comparisons are made, I think I would need to know more about Discordianism to make a judgement about that. Because it seems to me like most religions main focus is on how the person reacts and lives their life in accordance with their beliefs. most religion seems focused on providing a way to live your life with the moral structure they withhold.

And I don't know exactly how this particular religion does that.

By being an absolute joke. The rule of Discordianism: eat hot dogs without buns unless it is Friday.
Joke religions are a lot of fun. Hail Eris!


II - A Discordian is Required during his early Illumination to Go Off Alone & Partake Joyously of a Hot Dog on a Friday; this Devotive Ceremony to Remonstrate against the popular Paganisms of the Day: of Catholic Christendom (no meat on Friday), of Judaism (no meat of Pork), of Hindic Peoples (no meat of Beef), of Buddhists (no meat of animal), and of Discordians (no Hot Dog Buns).

IV - A Discordian shall Partake of No Hot Dog Buns, for Such was the Solace of Our Goddess when She was Confronted with The Original Snub.

V - A Discordian is Prohibited of Believing what he reads.

My favorite is the Church of the Subgenius. Kill Bob.

The purpose of these start-ups is to demonstrate the absurdity of the texts they satirize. Although there are nutcases who take this sort of thing seriously.

At any rate Discordianism is a disorganized religion, as you will realize when you search your local Yellow Pages for a local franchise in vain.

You also won't find a bunless hot dog stand, but I believe you can make a special order to accommodate your dietary needs if you really want to be devout.

I wouldn't know-being both vegan and constitutionally averse to following such rules, I eat a hummus burrito without a tortilla. Messy.

We have our own schism, the Church of the Mountain's Daughter of Latter-Day Pranksters. We follow magma as described in the Book of Moron.

James81
03-02-2009, 09:48 PM
By being an absolute joke. The rule of Discordianism: eat hot dogs without buns unless it is Friday.
Joke religions are a lot of fun. Hail Eris!





Oh, in that case, I gave my soul to the Flying Spaghetti Monster a LONG time ago.

http://www.venganza.org/

:tongue

ColoradoGuy
03-02-2009, 10:21 PM
. . .I eat a hummus burrito without a tortilla. Messy.

But not as bad as a milkshake without the cup.

Ruv Draba
03-02-2009, 11:06 PM
Clowning (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clowns) is an ancient and near-universal human behaviour. As well as being amusing, clowning challenges authority, zealotry, idealism, cynicism, bigotry, squeamishness and preciousness. It's also much harder to do well than it looks.

Clowns sometimes form part of mainstream religions, e.g. as in Native American clown societies, but more often they're on the fringe.

A fear of clowns is called coulrophobia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coulrophobia).

AMCrenshaw
03-02-2009, 11:11 PM
Are these clowns, specifically, doing religious organizations or whomever any service? You listed general clowning, which is great (I heard about clowning through Native American religion-- drink each other's urine?), but let us here be more specific.

AMC

Ruv Draba
03-02-2009, 11:18 PM
Are these clowns, specifically, doing religious organizations or whomever any service?Do clowns have to serve institutions? Human expression that forbids the power to challenge, parody and mock institution doesn't seem very human or expressive to me.

Is there non-institutional benefit from clowning? Absolutely. Parody is an humanitarian service. A mirror reflecting our delusions, pomposity and deceit.

(I now have this picture of Ronald McDonald as one of the great clown-slaves of history. He wants to have real fun, but can only sell burgers to ever-fattening children)

AMCrenshaw
03-02-2009, 11:24 PM
Is there non-institutional benefit from clowning? Absolutely. Parody is an humanitarian service. A mirror reflecting our delusions, pomposity and deceit.

As I said, try to be specific. There is information in those links about what exactly is being clowned, why, and we might wonder if there is a directed objective.



Besides labeling Discordianism as clowning (which does apply), does it have its own philosophic merit? Can we compare/contrast the Discordian philosophy to any others? Is it really just nonsensical fun?

AMC

James81
03-02-2009, 11:30 PM
Besides labeling Discordianism as clowning (which does apply), does it have its own philosophic merit? Can we compare/contrast the Discordian philosophy to any others? Is it really just nonsensical fun?

AMC

Well, it's a viable IDEA in and of itself (and people can ascribe to the idea), but I can't see how you can form a religion of any sort out of it.

AMCrenshaw
03-02-2009, 11:34 PM
but I can't see how you can form a religion of any sort out of it.

OK, but it is a religion. How they formed it is not exactly the question here.


AMC


A link directly to the philosophy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Discordianism#Philosophy)

Ruv Draba
03-02-2009, 11:43 PM
Can we compare/contrast the Discordian philosophy to any others?Of course you can, since it's a parody of most of the major religions in the world. It's just that if you make that comparison it's not a terribly flattering one. :)


There is information in those links about what exactly is being clowned, why, and we might wonder if there is a directed objective.Parody gives us a meta-language for discussing things that can normally only be discussed in their own tongue. It lets us step outside the thought and values underpinning certain domains -- which is perhaps what you're getting at in the first place.

For example, on the subject of Quantum Theory and Consciousness, I found this interview (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z-FaXD_igv4) between Richard Dawkins and Deepak Chopra in which Chopra makes the extraordinary claim that scientists hijacked quantum theory for their own purposes. I must say that I'd be a lot more relaxed about that claim if it I knew for sure that Chopra was a Discordian.

James81
03-03-2009, 12:02 AM
OK, but it is a religion. How they formed it is not exactly the question here.


AMC


A link directly to the philosophy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Discordianism#Philosophy)

I sort of figured that by me saying "I don't see how you can form a religion out of it" would automatically translate into answering all your questions about it (such as, since it CAN'T be a religion, then it wouldn't be comparable to other religions, it would have to be nonsensical fun, etc.).

AMCrenshaw
03-03-2009, 01:06 AM
...Except that it is a religion -- however unlikely you may find it to be -- so it can be compared to other religions. Having established these things, I think we can move on from there.

AMC

James81
03-03-2009, 01:21 AM
I'm actually challenging the fact that it's a religion. that's the whole point.

Ruv Draba
03-03-2009, 01:28 AM
I'm with James on this, AMC. If you think it's a religion please supply your criteria for recognition and show how it meets those criteria. Actually, I'll go further and say that it's clowning under the following criteria:

Behaviour mimics and exaggerates other behaviour
Thought and action are at odds
Action is a performance conducted largely for others
Performance is attention-seeking
Performers wear masks (in this case, pseudonyms and false claims about themselves)
Performers routinely deceive, confront, humiliate their audience

AMCrenshaw
03-03-2009, 01:34 AM
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion

I'd need to know on what grounds.

If it is because it is "about chaos" you would have to, as you said, need to know more about Discordianism, what "chaos" is-- the wiki talks about it, and RAW's talks are fairly precise. One should distinguish chaos from disorder.

Otherwise, there is an ethics involved, one that in my opinion resembles anarchic community, tolerance (that is, understanding from the other's POV) of ideas and people, resistance of absolutes, etc. Questioning superiors, things sacred and profane, dominant ideologies-- all through clowning and not-so-serious philosophy (which does, in spite of itself, have an interesting level of sophistication).

AMC

AMCrenshaw
03-03-2009, 01:42 AM
"A religion is an organized approach to human spirituality which usually encompasses a set of narratives, symbols, beliefs and practices, often with a supernatural or transcendent quality, that give meaning to the practitioner's experiences of life through reference to a higher power or truth.[1] It may be expressed through prayer, ritual, meditation, music and art, among other things. It may focus on specific supernatural, metaphysical, and moral claims about reality (the cosmos, and human nature) which may yield a set of religious laws, ethics, and a particular lifestyle. Religion also encompasses ancestral or cultural traditions, writings, history, and mythology, as well as personal faith and religious experience.

The term "religion" refers to both the personal practices related to communal faith and to group rituals and communication stemming from shared conviction. "Religion" is sometimes used interchangeably with "faith" or "belief system,"[2] but it is more socially defined than personal convictions, and it entails specific behaviors, respectively.

The development of religion has taken many forms in various cultures. It considers psychological and social roots, along with origins and historical development."

As much as they don't want organization, there is a franchise of Discordian ideas; one can read their central texts, including fiction by one of Discordianisms founders, each invent, borrow, and abuse symbols (yin-yang) to further their ideology. Durkheim would say that Discordianism isn't a religion because there are realms for the sacred nor the profane (in Zen Buddhists receive this claim as well). While there is no transcendent God or Being in Discordianism there is chaos, something which to our understanding is entirely other. Rituals include being infallible, and questioning authority, among many others we might be inclined to call silly. But is that fair? Does religion signify cosmic seriousness?

I should also mention the tribal aspect. They believe that every person is a Discordian Pope and so are always in the company of their kin, and interact with self-aware Discordian Popes in rather interesting ways. You might want to go to a birthday or New Year party to see what I mean.

AMC

Ruv Draba
03-03-2009, 01:42 AM
I'd say that it's clowning under the following criteria:

Behaviour mimics and exaggerates other behaviour;
Thought and action are at odds;
Thought and action are chaotic;
Action is a performance conducted largely for others;
Performance is attention-seeking;
Thought and actions subvert popular ideals;
Performers wear masks (in this case, pseudonyms and false claims about themselves) that
are caricatures
Performers routinely deceive, confront, humiliate their audience
Rather than clowning about religion, could it be religious clowning, as for instance we see in portrayals of Hanuman (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanuman) in the Ramayana (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ramayana)? If it were then I'd expect to see artifacts common to religious culture (and indeed all culture): people meeting on common ground and setting aside differences to propagate shared lore, values and beliefs. I don't believe that there's any common ground in Discordian ideology, and differences -- especially silly, loud, attention-seeking ones -- are actively encouraged.

Could it be non-religious spirituality though? Well, sure. Why not?

AMCrenshaw
03-03-2009, 01:52 AM
Religion can't coincide with clowning? I agree it's largely clowning. But the Buddha had a sense of humor, as do many Zen Masters, as does the Dalai Lama (his new book has a joke about the Chinese...), the Native American moral clowns.



* Behaviour mimics and exaggerates other behaviour

We all mimic other behavior, but they certainly exaggerate it!


* Thought and action are at odds

Example please.


* Thought and action are chaotic

No example needed!


* Action is a performance conducted largely for others

Yeah, for the 10,000 kids who know about it. But it's mostly for themselves (which could classify as clowning as well).


* Performance is attention-seeking

Example please.


* Performers wear masks (in this case, pseudonyms and false claims about themselves) that are caricatures


So did Kierkegaard, and I'd agree he was a clown as well as a religious philosopher.


* Performers routinely deceive, confront, humiliate their audience

Example please.

AMC

Ruv Draba
03-03-2009, 01:59 AM
Sorry AMC, I'm a compulsive post-editor and was updating as you replied. I've explained what I think is the distinction between religious clowning and clowning about religion, above. I think that examples of much of what I've claimed can be found in your own links. But equally I invite you to supply counter-evidence showing that people identifying as Discordians substantially change their private lives to pursue their Discordian beliefs.

AMCrenshaw
03-03-2009, 02:08 AM
They don't have a church recognized by any state so I can't give you that kind of evidence. But at an interreligious dialogue I met two Discordians (who've inspired this thread) and they claim it changed them. It made them less angry, less shy, more capable of understanding difference. I met the one man through the Phil Berrigan Institute for Nonviolence, and I was surprised to learn that RAW got him interested in psychology and philosophy and Discordianism helped shape his ideas about authority. Also, I've gone to their Discordian parties a couple of times, which consist of beat-box karaoke, political debate, and booze. Don't know I'll go again...

The common ground in Discordianism is that all are infallible. That nothing we know is True, even when it's true. Yes, people disagree. But I think we all know a lot of Christians, for example, who argue and discuss and disagree about Biblical interpretation, theology, etc. Why should Discordianism be different?

BTW, I too am a compulsive post-editor. For example, thanks for the link to that interview. I have a lot of respect for both authors, of course when they speak about what they really know. I don't understand how Deepak could say scientists hijacked quantum-jargon, and I think it revealed how behind-the-times he is in that respect...


AMC

Ruv Draba
03-03-2009, 03:16 AM
I have a very broad view of what can constitute spirituality, in which I include gardening, boxing, scuba-diving, stamp-collecting, egg-laying and jazz. I certainly won't discount Discordian karaoke from such a list though as with gardening etc... I think that it's not what you do but how and why you do it that makes it spiritual.

But religion in all regular uses is associated with sacred tradition; a clownish parody in which nothing is sacred and there's no tradition clearly subverts that usage. Humorous it may be; spiritual it may be, but since its whole point is to confuse people about what religion is, the act of accepting it as a religion guarantees exactly that confusion, just as calling clown-doctors GPs would confuse us about what medicine means.

AMCrenshaw
03-03-2009, 04:08 AM
But religion in all regular uses is associated with sacred tradition

Except when we talk about religions like Zen Buddhism or Taoism in which sacred and profane are of little importance. When you speak of traditions, you admit and leave out that both clowning and parody are a part of the Discordian tradition. Besides that, it's sometimes difficult to say exactly what is tradition and what's not in a religion so new as Discordianism. It makes it more difficult when the religion's main tenets encourage schism.



but since its whole point is to confuse people about what religion is

It's whole point?

Where this particular assertion falls flat is in the people who do practice Discordianism and would argue: "Of course we confuse people about what religion is. Why are they so sure their version of religion is True? Furthermore, it's not that we confuse people about what religion is absolutely, but about Absolute Truth in general."

AMC

Ruv Draba
03-03-2009, 05:55 AM
Except when we talk about religions like Zen Buddhism or Taoism in which sacred and profane are of little importance.As Wikipedia explains Taoism (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taoism):

Livia Kohn divided it into the following three categories:

"Philosophical Taoism" (Daojia 道家). A philosophical school based on the texts Dao De Jing (道德經) and Zhuangzi (莊子);
"Religious Taoism" (Daojiao 道教). A family of organized Chinese religious movements originating from the Celestial Masters movement during the late Han Dynasty and later including the "Orthodox" (Zhengyi 正義) and "Complete Reality" (Quanzhen 全真) sects, which claim lineages going back to Lao Zi (老子) or Zhang Daoling in the late Han Dynasty;
"Folk Taoism". The Chinese folk religion.Several commentators argue that Buddhism is not a religion, especially those sects whose notions of sacred are fairly numinous, but then there are arguments like this one (http://buddhist-beliefs.suite101.com/article.cfm/is_buddhism_a_religion) or this (http://buddhism.about.com/od/basicbuddhistteachings/a/philosophy.htm), to explain why it is. I'm in agreement. I don't personally know a Buddhist who lacks a deep sense of the sacred. It just happens to encompass everything living -- which may be so big that Western eyes don't always recognise it.

But there are some people who describe atheism as a religion too -- which just speaks to the fact that people will find ways to see it differently. If you don't like my definition, please feel free to return your unused portion of it for a complete refund* (*minus shipping and handling charges). But if you're going to substitute another definition of religion that includes (for example) Discordianism and (maybe) Star-Trek collectibles then I'd like to know what you'll do with that it that you couldn't already do with another term like 'spirituality'. Sell tax-breaks maybe? ;)

It makes it more difficult when the religion's main tenets encourage schism.If by 'difficult' you mean 'downright impossible' then yes. :) This would make Discordianism not a culture but a counter-culture -- the sort of thing that can only exist when it has a culture to oppose. I'd argue that at minimum, a religion is a cultural construct, able to stand on its own legs.

benbradley
03-03-2009, 06:08 AM
I've heard about this R. A. Wilson guy and his books over the decades, and I've got his "Quqntum Cats" novel/whatever-it-is around somewhere, but haven't read it (I might have started it years ago and wasn't able to get into it, I don't remember). From these videos he does (or did, he only died a few years ago) seem like an interesting guy.

But this reminds me I haven't read much SF in recent years/decades - over many decades there have been that mentioning or useing quantum physics, but I don't recall one on the more recent String Theory (not saying there isn't, just that I'm not familiar with it), and it seems String Theory has lots of interesting SF possibilities, even more than Quantum Physics. But I digress, this should be over in SF discussion...

What I really want to say here is mostly in relation to that last link in the OP, "Quantum Physics and Consciousness." It goes to a Youtube clip from the movies "What The Bleep (Do We Know)?" which I wrote about here:
http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showpost.php?p=2989624&postcount=16
That whole thread may be of interest in the context of this one, as it's on a specific experiment regarding light (which RAW talks about light being both particles and waves in the last of those six Youtube videos from the OP).

I've got more I'd like to write about this, but I get the feeling I should be writing it for publication, or at least a blog entry. I haven't written a blog entry in a while...

indiriverflow
03-03-2009, 06:25 AM
I've heard about this R. A. Wilson guy and his books over the decades, and I've got his "Quqntum Cats" novel/whatever-it-is around somewhere, but haven't read it (I might have started it years ago and wasn't able to get into it, I don't remember). From these videos he does (or did, he only died a few years ago) seem like an interesting guy.

But this reminds me I haven't read much SF in recent years/decades - over many decades there have been that mentioning or useing quantum physics, but I don't recall one on the more recent String Theory (not saying there isn't, just that I'm not familiar with it), and it seems String Theory has lots of interesting SF possibilities, even more than Quantum Physics. But I digress, this should be over in SF discussion...

What I really want to say here is mostly in relation to that last link in the OP, "Quantum Physics and Consciousness." It goes to a Youtube clip from the movies "What The Bleep (Do We Know)?" which I wrote about here:
http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showpost.php?p=2989624&postcount=16


That whole thread may be of interest in the context of this one, as it's on a specific experiment regarding light (which RAW talks about light being both particles and waves in the last of those six Youtube videos from the OP).

I've got more I'd like to write about this, but I get the feeling I should be writing it for publication, or at least a blog entry. I haven't written a blog entry in a while...

The Schrodinger's Cat Trilogy is a truly brilliant piece of fiction which goes much, much further afield the "What the Bleep?".

Wilson was not the originator of the Principia Discordia; it was the work of Greg Hill and Kerry Thornley, aka Malaclypse the Younger and Omar Khyayyam Ravenhurst. He did mine its themes for fiction, and as noted earlier, for the much grander and funnier Church of the Subgenius.

Some of the other notables invloved in the latter project were William S. Burroughs, Ken Kesey, and Tim Leary. The joke religion movent sprang out of a psychedelic awareness of how dogma operates.

Wilson was indeed an interesting guy; his extensive nonfiction represents a philosophical canon. Some ideas, such as Neulolinguistic Reprogramming, and eight circuits of consciousness, were develped in collaboration with Leary.

His loss was great for those who loved him. Robert Anton Wilson changed the way I conceived of existence. If that's not religious, I don't know what is.

AMCrenshaw
03-03-2009, 05:44 PM
This would make Discordianism not a culture but a counter-culture -- the sort of thing that can only exist when it has a culture to oppose. I'd argue that at minimum, a religion is a cultural construct, able to stand on its own legs.

Wasn't Christianity a counter-culture? Buddhism? Home-leavers who disagreed with everyone but themselves. Who created new orders although plenty were established at the time. In Comprehending Cults (http://www.oup.com/us/catalog/he/subject/Sociology/SocialInstitutions/SociologyofReligion/?view=usa&ci=9780195420098) we learn that, statistically, there is a correlation between the rise of counter-cultural movements and the emergence of New Religious Movements (cults)-- think of the 60s and you can probably think of a slew of NRMs off the top of your head. Religion, as you would have it, is only religion when the counter-culture is actually dominant culture? I personally think that might be a bit rigid, considering the birth of our "major religions" were as likely as not...counter-cultural at one point or another.

AMC

Ruv Draba
03-04-2009, 12:03 AM
Wasn't Christianity a counter-culture? Buddhism?I'd call those subcultures -- cultures that were trying to exist and grow within a parent culture -- more interested in tending their own affairs than attacking their parent culture. Consider for instance: Christians are Christians whether they live in Jewish, Pagan or Muslim societies. They still believe the same things, do the same things. They may evangelise but they tend not to work just to oppose the parent culture itself. Here's the wikipedia intro for counterculture (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Counterculture):

Counterculture (also written counter-culture) is a sociological (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sociology) term used to describe the values and norms of behavior of a cultural group (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cultural_group), or subculture (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Subculture), that run counter to those of the social mainstream of the day,[1] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Counterculture#cite_note-MWebster-0) the cultural equivalent of political opposition (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_opposition). A general example would be a competing, dissenting culture that wishes to change the nature of, or at least the dominance of, a predominant culture in a particular society.
To me, Discordianism shows the marks of counterculture rather than subculture. The clowning is the biggest tell on that, I'd suggest. One of my recognition criteria for religion is its cultural sustainability -- a religion can stand on its own feet and potentially port to anywhere else. Countercultures are by their own raison d'etre, transient phenomena, local to their parent culture.

StephanieFox
03-04-2009, 01:13 AM
All Hail Eris!

AMCrenshaw
03-04-2009, 04:06 AM
I'd call those subcultures -- cultures that were trying to exist and grow within a parent culture -- more interested in tending their own affairs than attacking their parent culture.


Matthew 3 (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew%203;&version=31;):7--- "Brood of vipers"


Jesus and Beelzebub (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew%2012;&version=31;) Matthew 12 ---

29"Or again, how can anyone enter a strong man's house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man? Then he can rob his house.


This quote is dense and would take too much time to explain. God and Empire and Binding the Strong Man both do a much better job than I could. Check them out.

30"He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters." ...

... 34You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good?

" 38Then some of the Pharisees and teachers of the law said to him, "Teacher, we want to see a miraculous sign from you."

39He answered, "A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a miraculous sign!"

This is one example of "counter-culture".



To me, Discordianism shows the marks of counterculture rather than subculture. The clowning is the biggest tell on that, I'd suggest. One of my recognition criteria for religion is its cultural sustainability -- a religion can stand on its own feet and potentially port to anywhere else. Countercultures are by their own raison d'etre, transient phenomena, local to their parent culture.

As I said, the sociological text (Comprehending Cults) refers to religions emerging as counter-cultural movements, not just subcultures. What you are saying is that they must become subcultures, rather than countercultures, to be "religions". I disagree, but I'll end it here.



Consider for instance: Christians are Christians whether they live in Jewish, Pagan or Muslim societies.

And I'd say Discordians are Discordians whether or not they live in Jewish, Pagan, or Muslim societies since these all have to some degree absolute Truth claims (at least the Discordians think so). If Christianity were the same thing as it was soon after Jesus' death, I could easily make the argument that Christianity would be counter-cultural as much as religious, especially given Wiki's definition of counter-culture (see my thread on the Bible and Rulers in the Christian subform for scriptural and contextual support).

But, I guess I need to be clear, so, sorry, you may need to repeat yourself... Religions are subcultures rather than counter-cultures?


AMC

Ruv Draba
03-04-2009, 05:13 AM
This is one example of "counter-culture".Subcultures can disagree with the cultures in which they're embedded (consider the Muslim struggle for recognition and acceptance in Christian societies for instance). A disagreement isn't what makes it counterculture.

As I said, the sociological text (Comprehending Cults) refers to religions emerging as counter-cultural movements, not just subcultures. What you are saying is that they must become subcultures, rather than countercultures, to be "religions". I disagree, but I'll end it here. Maybe you are using a different definition of counterculture to mine. It seems fairly obvious to me from Biblical records that Christianity began as an attempt to form culture, not counterculture.


And I'd say Discordians are Discordians whether or not they live in Jewish, Pagan, or Muslim societies since these all have to some degree absolute Truth claims (at least the Discordians think so).Why not pick a Buddhist or Taoist society and see if Discordians would hold the same values and beliefs there? (Or Hindu, since not all pagan religions have ideals of absolute truth).


Discordian outside Buddhist temple: "Eris is infallible! But that don't mean she can't lie!"
Buddhist: "Perhaps the infallibility and the deceit are both in your mind."
Discordian: ...
Discordian: "I worship chaos!"
Buddhist: "Chaos, order are both your perceptions. From corruption comes the lotus, and from the lotus, corruption. Why do you worship either?"
Discordian: ...
:):):)

AMCrenshaw
03-04-2009, 10:08 AM
Subcultures can disagree with the cultures in which they're embedded (consider the Muslim struggle for recognition and acceptance in Christian societies for instance). A disagreement isn't what makes it counterculture.

The example is more than disagreement, it's rebuke, plain and simple. Jesus opposed Roman authority (what you cited as political opposition) and envisioned a new human nature, one in opposition to Rome more than Judaism to be sure. Weren't among his goals to free the enslaved, heal the sick and oppressed? From whom? It's clear that Christianity began as counterculture. What it is now doesn't change what it was. Since Discordianism is as relatively new as it is, who knows whether or not it will be mainstream enough to call it "subculture" rather than counterculture.


Why not pick a Buddhist or Taoist society and see if Discordians would hold the same values and beliefs there? (Or Hindu, since not all pagan religions have ideals of absolute truth).


They would. The Buddhists don't believe in absolute truth, but they do believe Buddha knew the way to attain enlightenment. You don't think Discordians would have anything to say about that?


AMC

indiriverflow
03-04-2009, 10:28 AM
As someone who read Principia Discordia over a decade before this thread began, I have to come down heavily on the counter-culture side of the argument.

When people claim to be Discordian, they don't mean the same thing one might mean by claiming Christianity or some other monotheopoly.

There are fools who take it seriously, something that amazes me. But a "devout" Discordian is going about it all wrong. The point is not to adhere to any sort of dogma. Those who do so have missed the point entirely.

I consider myself Discordian (when I'm in that mood), but it is just part of satirical polypantheism for me. I would never dream that it would ever ossify into something resembling a mainstream religion, and if it ever did this, it would have become so self-serious as to be unrecognizable.

Eris, the incarnation of Chaos, is a beautiful thoughtform. Her myth as told by Homer is highly instructive for me. I see great subtext there: how the spirits of erotic love, strategic wisdom, and family values tug over the golden apple. I see something Pythagorean in that image. From the Chaos of conflicting values emerges the order of marriage.

The entire Homer set is one big morality play about the dangers of adultery...I imagine it was commissioned by a cuckhold king.

The question about Buddha is interesting, but most Discordians reserve their bite and wit for Old Man in the Sky-type schemes. I'd say Discordianism would never have emerged in the East. In fact, I am sure of it, since it references a Western myth with a uniquely American sense of humor.

That isn't to say Buddhism, especially the slavish variety, doesn't rub some Discordians wrong, but I think you'd find that most dig him as much as any other wackjob hippie who sat in the sun too long and started hallucinating.

James81
03-04-2009, 06:09 PM
but they do believe Buddha knew the way to attain enlightenment.

Going by your emphasis on the word "the," I am assuming that you are saying the Buddha knew of one and only way to attain enlightenment.

And that simply isn't true. That's the whole POINT of Buddhism, that everybody attain enlightenment in their own way, through meditation, the eightfold path (which is a guide moreso than a "YOU MUST DO THIS" kind of thing), and an awareness of the reality and the world that surrounds them.

AMCrenshaw
03-04-2009, 06:55 PM
And that simply isn't true. That's the whole POINT of Buddhism, that everybody attain enlightenment in their own way, through meditation, the eightfold path (which is a guide moreso than a "YOU MUST DO THIS" kind of thing), and an awareness of the reality and the world that surrounds them.


I'm referring to what some people believe here as well. And when you say, "through meditation, enlightenment, and awareness of reality" you are repeating Buddha's words. I should say that I don't believe Buddha's teachings exactly lend to a rigidity, but they could be interpreted that way, seeing that every "awakened" being is a Buddha, not an AMC or a James. So while the path to enlightenment, as you say, will be different, the mind, intention, effort, view, speech, etc of the person attaining it will be the same as the Buddha's.

AMC

AMCrenshaw
03-04-2009, 06:58 PM
The question about Buddha is interesting, but most Discordians reserve their bite and wit for Old Man in the Sky-type schemes. I'd say Discordianism would never have emerged in the East. In fact, I am sure of it, since it references a Western myth with a uniquely American sense of humor.

What about the Hindu caste systems? I can only imagine what they would say.

It is true that Discordians have a distinctly Western taste to their humor, but they do parody eastern philosophies quite often (Tao and Zen, por ejemplo) as well.

AMC

indiriverflow
03-04-2009, 07:32 PM
That brings to mind another great satire: No Way by Ram Tzu.

The caste system and extreme religiosity of many Hindu sects bother most freethinkers, but personally I find that polytheistic systems offer a built-in release valve. I have personally devoted far too much writing space to mocking Hare Krishnas, but appreciate Shiva as a figure.

On the other hand, one could make an argument that Devi, or certain Aspects of Kali, are theologically equivalent to Eris.

In any event, a joke religion founded in India would have radically different characteristics...and would be likelier to have a future as part of the mainstream.

AMCrenshaw
03-04-2009, 07:45 PM
In any event, a joke religion founded in India would have radically different characteristics...and would be likelier to have a future as part of the mainstream.


I'll concede the point. (:)) But I myself am not sure how likely it would be for a joke religion to make its way into the mainstream Indian culture.

On another point, I wonder if Discordianism could regularly complement one's practice of, say, Christianity. I'm trying not to push too hard on this question, since I'm not intending to call Christianity incomplete. But perhaps some people feel their practice is...

AMC

Ruv Draba
03-04-2009, 08:51 PM
I wonder if Discordianism could regularly complement one's practice of, say, Christianity.Why not, since Vodun (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/West_African_Vodun) can.

James81
03-04-2009, 09:30 PM
I'm referring to what some people believe here as well. And when you say, "through meditation, enlightenment, and awareness of reality" you are repeating Buddha's words. I should say that I don't believe Buddha's teachings exactly lend to a rigidity, but they could be interpreted that way, seeing that every "awakened" being is a Buddha, not an AMC or a James. So while the path to enlightenment, as you say, will be different, the mind, intention, effort, view, speech, etc of the person attaining it will be the same as the Buddha's.

AMC

No, not exactly.

People don't strive to be like Buddha in the same way that they strive to be like Christ (for example). It's not a list of actions and rules and things you MUST do in an attempt to mimic Buddha.

The use of the word "Buddha" is more of an adjective than a noun in Buddhism. Buddha is revered as a great teacher (and the first to acheive enlightenment in this life), but Buddhism is not centered on being LIKE him, so much as follow the path to enlightenment by using his teachings to do so.

It's basically fluid and flexible. It's not like in christianity where you must ask God to forgive you of your sins, believe on him, have the blood of Jesus wash your sins away, and then spend the rest of your life following his word as closely as you can.

In Buddhism you define your own path. You reach the destination in your OWN way. So in that sense, you are not choosing one rigid path (the way Buddha found enlightenment) so much as you are using Buddha's example to find your own way.

AMCrenshaw
03-04-2009, 09:48 PM
The use of the word "Buddha" is more of an adjective than a noun in Buddhism.

Yes, but Buddha-nature is what one realizes for themselves in enlightenment. So it's not about mimicking Buddha, obviously. There aren't rules to follow, you don't think? Don't eat meat, harm sentient beings, use violence or partake in sexual misconduct? These are the precepts! Is that different from a rule? How so?


Buddha is revered as a great teacher (and the first to acheive enlightenment in this life), but Buddhism is not centered on being LIKE him, so much as follow the path to enlightenment by using his teachings to do so.

The paths are always different. But aren't the destinations (nirvana) the same, in Buddhism? What does that say?



It's basically fluid and flexible.

Tell that to the Rinzai schools or the Zen monks and nuns who sleep for four hours a night (if the master suspects they might be getting ill, maybe longer), eat at the same time every day, sesshin for 45 minutes within a zazen of six hours or longer. Maybe for some people it's flexible.



In Buddhism you define your own path. You reach the destination in your OWN way.

Well, this is sort of a misnomer, since the Buddha discusses things we might call "our own", including paths. In fact, there is no path at all (http://www.westernchanfellowship.org/no-path-at-all.html): "Entering the forest, he moves not the grass; Entering the water, he makes not a ripple; There is no place to seek the mind for it is like the footprints of birds in the sky." There is a misconception that in Buddhism one creates his or her own path. The reality, a Buddha might say, is that believing in one's own path might just be one of the ego's many delusions, that in praxis, we come to realize that there is no path. It's been more appropriately likened to a wheel in a void: the wheel turns because we are moving our feet.

AMC

indiriverflow
03-05-2009, 02:45 AM
I'll concede the point. (:)) But I myself am not sure how likely it would be for a joke religion to make its way into the mainstream Indian culture.

On another point, I wonder if Discordianism could regularly complement one's practice of, say, Christianity. I'm trying not to push too hard on this question, since I'm not intending to call Christianity incomplete. But perhaps some people feel their practice is...

AMC

I would have to say that lovely Phil and Daniel Berrigan have been at least part-time Discordians.