Discordianism

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benbradley

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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

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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.
 
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AMCrenshaw

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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 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.

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Ruv Draba

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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:
Counterculture (also written counter-culture) is a sociological term used to describe the values and norms of behavior of a cultural group, or subculture, that run counter to those of the social mainstream of the day,[1] the cultural equivalent of 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.
 
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AMCrenshaw

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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
:7--- "Brood of vipers"


Jesus and Beelzebub
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

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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).
Ruv's idle daydreams said:
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: ...
:):):)
 
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AMCrenshaw

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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?


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indiriverflow

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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.
 
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James81

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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

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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.

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AMCrenshaw

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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.

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indiriverflow

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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.
 
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AMCrenshaw

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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
 

James81

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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

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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: "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.

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indiriverflow

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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.
 
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