The Birth of the Erisian Movement
Just prior to the decade of the nineteen-sixties, when Sputnik was
alone and new, and about the time that Ken Kesey took his first acid trip as
a medical volunteer; before underground newspapers, Viet Nam, and talk of a
second American Revolution; in the comparative quiet of the late
nineteen-fifties, just before the idea of RENAISSANCE became relevant....
Two young Californians, known later as Omar Ravenhurst and
Malaclypse the Younger, were indulging in their habit of sipping coffee at
an allnight bowling alley and generally solving the world's problems. This
particular evening the main subject of discussion was discord and they were
complaining to each other of the personal confusion they felt in their
respective lives. ``Solve the problem of discord,'' said one, ``and all other
problems will vanish.'' ``Indeed,'' said the other, ``chaos and strife are the
roots of all confusion.''
FIRST I MUST SPRINKLE YOU WITH FAIRY DUST
Suddenly the place became devoid of light. Then an utter silence enveloped
them, and a great stillness was felt. Then came a blinding flash of intense
light, as though their very psyches had gone nova. Then vision returned.
The two were dazed and neither moved nor spoke for several minutes.
They looked around and saw that the bowlers were frozen like statues in a
variety of comic positions, and that a bowling ball was steadfastly anchored
to the floor only inches from the pins that it had been sent to scatter. The
two looked at each other, totally unable to account for the phenomenon. The
condition was one of suspension, and one noticed that the clock had stopped.
There walked into the room a chimpanzee, shaggy and grey about the muzzle,
yet upright to his full five feet, and poised with natural majesty. He
carried a scroll and walked to the young men.
``Gentlemen,'' he said, ``why does Pickering's Moon go about in reverse orbit?
Gentlemen, there are nipples on your chests; do you
give milk? And what, pray tell, Gentlemen, is to be done about Heisenberg's
Law?'' He paused. ``SOMEBODY HAD TO PUT ALL OF THIS CONFUSION HERE!''
And with that he revealed his scroll. It was a diagram, like a yin-yang with
a pentagon on one side and an apple on the other. And then he exploded and
the two lost consciousness.
Eris -- Goddess of Chaos, Discord & Confusion
They awoke to the sound of pins clattering, and found the bowlers
engaged in their game and the waitress busy with making coffee. It was
apparent that their experience had been private.
They discussed their strange encounter and reconstructed from memory the
chimpanzee's diagram. Over the next five days they searched libraries to find
the significance of it, but were disappointed to uncover only references to
Taoism, the Korean flag, and Technocracy. It was not until they traced the
Greek writing on the apple that they discovered the ancient Goddess known to
the Greeks as ERIS and to the Romans as DISCORDIA. This was on the fifth night,
and when they slept that night each had a vivid dream of a splendid woman whose
eyes were as soft as feather and as deep as eternity itself, and whose body was
the spectacular dance of atoms and universes. Pyrotechnics of pure energy
formed her flowing hair, and rainbows manifested and dissolved as she spoke in
a warm and gentle voice:
I have come to tell you that you are free. Many ages ago, My consciousness
left man, that he might develop himself. I return to find this development
approaching completion, but hindered by fear and by misunderstanding.
You have built for yourselves psychic suits of armor, and clad in them, your
vision is restricted, your movements are clumsy and painful, your skin is
bruised, and your spirit is broiled in the sun.
I am chaos. I am the substance from which your artists and scientists build
rhythms. I am the spirit with which your children and clowns laugh in happy
anarchy. I am chaos. I am alive, and I tell you that you are free.
During the next months they studied philosophies and theologies, and
learned that ERIS or DISCORDIA was primarily feared by the ancients as being
disruptive. Indeed, the very concept of chaos was still considered
equivalent to strife and treated as a negative. ``No wonder things are all
screwed up,'' they concluded, ``they have got it all backwards.'' They found
that the principle of disorder was every much as significant as the
principle of order.
With this in mind, they studied the strange yin-yang. During a
meditation one afternoon, a voice came to them:
It is called
THE SACRED CHAO. I appoint you Keepers of It. Therein you will
find anything you like. Speak of Me as DISCORD, to show contrast to the
pentagon. Tell constricted mankind that there are no rules, unless they
choose to invent rules. Keep close the words of
Syadasti: 'TIS AN ILL WIND
THAT BLOWS NO MINDS. And remember that there is no tyranny in the State of
Confusion. For further information, consult your
``What is this?'' mumbled one to the other, ``A religion based on The
Goddess of Confusion? It is utter madness!''
And with those words, each looked at the other in absolute awe. Omar
began to giggle. Mal began to laugh. Omar began to jump up and down. Mal was
hooting and hollering to beat all hell. And amid squeals of mirth and with
tears on their cheeks, each appointed the other to be high priest of his own
madness, and together they declared themselves to be a society of Discordia,
for what ever that may turn out to be.
``There are trivial truths & there are great truths. The opposite of a
trivial truth is plainly false. The opposite of a great truth is also true.''
-- Niels Bohr