A friend directed me to the Principia Discordia the other day, and it’s the funniest holy book I’ve ever read. While reading through the book, I could feel the energy of Eris coming off of it, and it differed a lot from what I had read about Eris. The general idea I had seen was that Eris was not a pleasant deity and something that should be feared and shunned. I understand how chaos is necessary and good in the universe, and how sometimes things of that ilk get labeled as evil by those who are not mature enough to understand why they are needed. Even so, the energy I felt compared to the descriptions I’d seen were way off. Eris’s energy was fun and enjoyable, and her followers seemed more like members of Harvard Lampoon than left-hand pathers. I went and researched Eris some more, and came up with pretty much the same results. Outside of discordians, I couldn’t find one person in all of history who had written something nice about Eris.
As I sidenote, it’s also very hard to find any imagery of Eris. There are a very few surviving Greek depictions of her. There are some later secular paintings, but not much that is recent and non-secular. The few recent depictions I found of her were actually incorrect.
As I read through the Principia Discordia I started to feel Eris tug upon me and call me to her. I was pretty sure I was going to talk with Eris shortly, and talking to Eris would be the only way I could find out for sure the truth about Eris.
When I went to speak with Eris, she responded to me almost immediately. Her energy was very happy and fun. There is a specific type of joy to that energy which is difficult to exactly describe. The energy also made me crave sugar. There was another aspect to the energy too, which is in agreement to what is taught in the Principia Discordia. It’s a complete removal of boundaries and rules and formalities and such. Almost an emotion of being able to do whatever it is you feel like doing without restriction or judgment. It’s all very pleasant though.
I had sought out Eris mainly to rectify the discrepancy between the various accounts of her, and after I had felt her and knew what she was I asked her why other accounts had described her in the way in which they did. And she explained it to me.
What a person sees in Eris is a reflection of what they truly are. Eris doesn’t corrupt or destroy a person. She just removes rules, and laws, and formalities, and ethics, and honor, and punishments, and rewards, and consequences. She strips away everything else and leaves a person as they truly are.
Those who are truly good see her as good, because she incites no evil in them. Those who are good will continue to hold their actions to the same standards even when there are no punishments or rewards for those actions, and they will not need a structure to tell them right from wrong.
But then there are those who act good, but are truly evil. They are people who are full of malice and selfishness who would do so much more to better pleasure themselves without due regard for others if not restrained by fears of punishment and rewards for good behavior. When they look on Eris, they see evil, because they see what evil would be unleashed if they were ever allowed to act without consequences.
The only thing Eris does is she gives a person the freedom to be themselves, their true self. She’ll expose the great and the beautiful and the innocent as she exposes the petty and the selfish and the malicious.
She also told me that the fact that man knows of heaven and knows of hell proves that neither exists. No man can be labeled as good and deserving of heaven and not hell when his good acts were performed for the sole purpose of escaping punishments in hell and receiving rewards in heaven. At the same time a man’s true nature cannot be discerned until he is able to act freely without fear of consequences.
And she explained the Trojan War to me, and how that wasn’t her fault. She had done nothing, except allow everyone to be as they truly were.
Three deities had been reduced to fighting over something that had little value for any of them.
Paris had been swayed by the bribery of goddesses, and had judged the contest unfairly. Then after receiving the hospitality of Menelaus decided to use Aphrodite to steal away his wife. He then became more concerned with keeping Helen than doing what was necessary for the welfare of the nation that he was prince of. And when given the opportunity to end the affair instead decided to unhonorably attack Agamemnon.
And there’s the petty bickering of both Agamemnon and Achilles, both more concerned with their pride and their little prizes and renown than actually leading their armies into battle. And Odysseus, favored by Athena, who could not help but boast about every feat he accomplished, which in turn brought the death of his crew, the loss of his riches, and left him lost at sea for ten years.
The Epic Cycle is full of characters, many of which were considered the finest specimens of humanity, that were vain and petty and selfish. And they were exposed, and allowed to be as they really were, and because of it many soldiers perished, great heroes died, nations and cities were destroyed, and tragedy struck all but a handful of the participants. No tragedy that befell within the Epic Cycle was undeserved.
And Eris told me that all of this may be useful to some other people, and so I should tell it to whomever I felt like telling it to if I wanted to. All of this was told to me in a different order however. And in writing this, I’ve noticed some subtleties in what was told to me, and some questions I’ve been wondering about have actually been answered.