In the 1950s in American and much of the west, a female deity was blasphemous. Especially a humorous one with a
religion that was a joke, or a joke that was a religion.
Malaclypse the Younger with Lord Omar Khayyam Ravenhurst and Robert Anton Wilson, Robert Shea, Camden
Benares and others created a work that began going viral when the World Wide Web was still wearing nappies.
We know of three editions that keep the original print and graphics of the original 4th edition: Loompanics, IllumiNet,
and Steve Jackson Games. (If there are others, please let us know). Each of these also contains some material
different from the other editions (the SJG edition contains additional Discordian writings at the end, but maintains the
complete look and layout of the original 4th edition PD).
Principia Discordia is the seminal Discordian work. Greg Hill with Kerry Thornley and others broke the ground later
mined by The Illuminatus! Trilogy, Apocrypha Discordia, Book of Eris, Ek-sen-trik-kuh Discordia: The Tales of
Shamlicht, and others.
Back when paganism wasn't even a recognized word (it was either coined or popularized by Thornley aka Lord
Omar Khayyam Ravenhurst) and when "feminism" was a word rarely heard outside of a college lecture, it presented
a pagan goddess. But not as goddesses had been presented before; this one was less an icon of fear and
salvation and more an object of fun and salivation. Eris Discordia is shown as the personification of the forces of
chaos and disorder that any open-minded observer would see are as fundamental--and as desirable--in our
universe as system and order.
This is a book of humor, irony, twisted logic (I have ceased raping little children--answer yes or no), and also of a
real philosophical system that touches Zen Buddhism, Jainism, Hinduism, Christianity, Existentialism, and things that
others left untouched.
It may amuse, confuse, and astound you. Greg Hill aka Malaclypse the Younger with Omar, Robert Anton Wilson,
and other cohorts created this mind-blowing work and religion in the late 1950s and 1960s when America had
settled down from WWII and was just opening up its mind to be blown.
Ironically, Thornley was investigated for the event that blew American into the 1960s movement, the assassination of
President John F. Kennedy. For more on Thornley and Lee Harvey Oswald, see The Idle Warriors and The
Prankster and the Conspiracy: The Story of Kerry Thornley and How He Met Oswald and Inspired the
Counterculture. But the roots, the peace sign, the philosophical movement, the challenging the establishment, are
in this book. Just when it gets you laughing, it slaps you in the face, and then laughs at you.
Some have called the work as dated. In this day of goddess-linked Wiccan symbols appearing in military
cemeteries, The Church of the SubGenius, and The Flying Spaghetti Monster, a humorous goddess doesn't seem
nearly as radical. It is a product of its time, but then again so is everything. But some of what might have been
missed by earlier readers can be seen more clearly now.
And the world today still needs to learn the lesson of the Golden Apple. Eris did not cause the Trojan War by
tossing the golden apple marked, "To The Prettiest One" in the midst of three vain goddess. Their own vanity,
fighting over which of them qualified for the title, created the war, the first among humanity. If those goddesses
sound really foolish by modern standards, think again. Vanity and pettiness are still causing wars.
The Steve Jackson Games edition adds material at the end, which proved to be controversial among Discordians.
But it's very clear where the original ends and the new begins, and the new material is some of the best.
Two things to keep in mind when reading the book, both coming from the end of the tome itself:
Eristotle's unattributed quote, "May you have the knowledge of a sage, and the wisdom of a child."
And the handwritten marginal note, "If you think the PRINCIPIA is just a ha-ha, then go read it again."
Not all of the books listed are available through Amazon. Some you'll have to look for elsewhere.
The cover sheet for
the first edition held
by the National
Archives and Records
Allegedly found by
Rev. DrJon. Get
in regard to the John
your book might end
up there too.
The cover for the
very hard to find
IllumiNet Press 1991
printing. For a while
some of Kerry
Thornley's work was
The 1994 Steve
popularized the book
probably more than
any other features
this cover. Has some
cool if controversial
extra stuff added after
When you release
something into the
public domain /
kopyleft, anyone can
grab it and twist it to
whatever they want.
This is the cover of
the 2006 Ronin Press
edition which proves
What happens when
you make something
soft hard? This is the
cover of the
Generator in 2007.
|Review for Amazon.com by Johnny Shellburn
|Principia Discordia, the seminal Discordian work, was written by Malaclypse the
Younger (Greg Hill) with Lord Omar Khayyam Ravenhurst (Kerry Thornley) and
others. It had five editions with the first three more-or-less being earlier drafts.
The fourth edition is the most famous (the fifth consists of "MMMMMMMMM....")
Reviewer Johnny Shellburn said, "Back in the day, I wrote book reviews and
actually got paid for it. The only problem was I got told what to read and what to
review. Here I can review what I want."
Reviews for currently
unreviewed books are