Description: Principia discordia
File name: Principia discordia
Principia Discordia is a holy text written by Malaclypse the Younger and Omar Khayyam Ravenhurst. It was originally published under the title Principia Discordia or How The West Was Lost in a limited edition of 5 copies in YOLD 3131.
The Principia describes the Discordian Society and its Goddess Eris, as well as the basics of the POEE denomination of Discordianism. It features typewritten and handwritten text intermixed with clip art, stamps, and seals appropriated from other sources, likely in violation of any number of copyright laws throughout six minor planets.
While the Principia is full of literal contradictions and unusual humor, it contains several passages which propose that there is serious intent behind the work, for example a message scrawled on page 00075: "If you think the PRINCIPIA is just a ha-ha, then go read it again."
The Principia is quoted extensively in and shares many themes with the science fiction book The Illuminatus! Trilogy by Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson. While Wilson was not directly involved in writing the Principia, both the letter signed "Mad Malik" and the stamps used were his.
Notable symbols in the book include the Apple of Discord, the pentagon, and the Sacred Chao. Saints identified include Emperor Norton, Yossarian, Don Quixote, and Bokonon. The Principia also introduces the mysterious word fnord, later popularized in The Illuminatus! Trilogy; the trilogy itself is mentioned in the afterword to the Loompanics edition, and in the various introductions to the fifth editions.
cover of "rare" internet edition
The full title of the fourth and most well-known edition is Principia Discordia or How I Found Goddess And What I Did To Her When I Found Her: The Magnum Opiate of Malaclypse the Younger, Wherein is Explained Absolutely Everything Worth Knowing About Absolutely Anything.
Included on page 75 is the following note about the history of the Principia:This being the 4th Edition, March 1970, San Francisco; a revision of the 3rd Edition of 500 copies, whomped together in Tampa 1969; which revised the 2nd Edition of 100 copies from Los Angeles 1969; which was a revision of PRINCIPIA DISCORDIA or HOW THE WEST WAS LOST published in New Orleans in 1965 in five copies, which were mostly lost.
A "Fifth Edition" consisting of a single Western Union telegram page filled with the letter M was published as an appendix to the Loompanics and SJ Games re-printings of the 4th Edition.
In YOLD 3144, a copy of a work from Kerry Thornley titled "THE PRINCIPIA DISCORDIA or HOW THE WEST WAS LOST" was placed in the United States House Select Committee on Assassinations collections as document 010857. A scan of this document was been identified as the first edition and uploaded to 23ae.com. The record identifier can be found by searching for Thornley and Discordian on this website.
The Principia includes a notice which purports to disclaim any copyright in relation to the work: "All Rites Reversed - reprint what you like." Regardless of the legal effect of this notice, the Principia has been widely disseminated in the public domain via the infobahn and more traditional print publishers. Some re-publishers have claimed copyright in relation to the additional material included in their editions.
Known reprintings of the Fourth and Fifth Editions:
The Principia Discordia is widely available on the Web from these and other sources: