Thursday, April 15, 2010

My Discordia

Fucking shitty week.

Nothing worked out. Nothing. Everything went completely fucking WRONG.

Flunked a test. Realized that I'm physically weaker than I was only a few years ago. Missed a meeting for not one, but two clubs that I was really excited to be a part of. Then, while I'm tallying up these failures in my head, I get reminded that I missed an important meeting that night. I laugh it off to the person who said it, then slink back to my room. I sit down and suddenly one more thing pops into my head: I have two assignments due, and I cannot possibly finish both. Holy fucking shit.
You know the kind of week I'm talking about. You've had 'em.

If you're anything like me (you poor soul), it really kills your whole evening. There's no alcohol or tobacco to be had, so you go to bed with a clear head to contemplate how pissed off you are. The darkness and the quiet will give your mind space to think about everything; to absorb and digest every little failure in all its hideous glory. And when you're this full of anger and frustration, bed starts to look pretty good really fast. This shit tires you out. So I think I'll go to bed, let the bile stew, and see how I feel tomorrow. It's worked in the past.



If you're like me, it hasn't worked in the past. Not once in the countless number of times that I've been this pissed has "sleeping it off" worked.

If you're like me, you might recognize this as the early stages of depression. Bad depression. The kind where you hate everything but you hate yourself just as much (or more) because you know it's partly, if not mostly, your own damn fault.

My own damn fault.

Okay. I've done this before, I think to myself. A relatively intelligent man once said that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again while expecting different results. I've been through this before. I remember that mulling over my own frustration and misery until I pass out was what I did last time. I remember the vicious cycle: self-loathing and apathy lead to more self-loathing and apathy.

The cycle.

Repetition. Doing the same thing again, expecting things to turn out better. Or just falling into the same bottomless pit and not giving a shit how far down I go.
I may be a bit screwed up in the head and I may be weird by many people's standards, but I'm not insane. Not by that definition.

So I try something different. I go for a walk, even though it's starting to get chilly outside. I remember that worked once, even though it was a different situation. Walking helps. Once I get outside, I'm not tired anymore. The blood rushes back into my body, presumably away from the part of my brain that focuses on how much I hate everything and myself.

Now comes the painful part. This is where I contemplate how fucking pathetic it is that one shitty week will leave me horribly depressed for a month.

"But at least you know you can survive it, right? It's happened before. The people who love you will shield you from the worst the world has to offer, and once you've spent some time with the shrink and taken your pills you'll be back on your feet and you can start again."

"Yeah, but that plan kinda sucks. I can't ask my parents to keep being my safety net. I mean, shit, I have to grow up pretty damn soon, if not right now. On the other hand, if I try to tough it out, things might just get worse and I don't know if I can handle all that failure."

Hey, what the hell?

That's weird. I never noticed this dialogue before from a third perspective. Looks like the competing parts of my mind are both focusing on failure. Well, shit, no wonder this kind of thing never worked out well in the past!

I think back to the Black Iron Prison. I feel around the bars and notice a few that seem particularly foreboding. Frighteningly strong. These are the bars of my failures. Or rather, they are my preoccupation with failure and inadequacy. These are the bars of my depression. In an effort to prevent more devastating failure and misery, I've hidden behind these bars and let them keep me from venturing out into the world and trying again.

I recognize now that it doesn't work. It never worked. Yet I've done it many times before, and it terrifies me to think of going out into that cruel world that will put me to many tests that I will no doubt fail. I am afraid to change the way my mind works, to let go of my past losses and seek opportunities to make amends. I am torn in an internal struggle.

Strife. Discord. Change.

The Black Iron Bars. They're strong, but... I made them. Now that I can see that, I can tear them out.

Don't think that it was easy, or that it was fun. Sometimes, tearing out those prison bars, forcibly changing the pathways of your mind, hurts. A lot. But I did it anyway. No more focus on failures. I decide not to even think any more about this horrible fucking week. Then, I finally let myself go to bed, my mind suitably blank.

The next day, I don't feel too bad. It's still sort of a crummy day, but still I focus on not focusing on the previous several days. The day after that isn't all that great either, but I keep it up. Sure, the memories intrude, but the important thing is that I don't dwell on them. Let the thoughts come, and let them pass. In other words, I'm okay.

On the third day, something cool happens. I'm lucky enough to get a ride to an event that I thought I was going to have to miss because I was stupid and forgot to arrange transportation. I realize what just happened: I snagged an opportunity that I would not have if I'd let the misery overtake me. Depression would have kept me in my room and I wouldn't have been able to take advantage of that one guy who was going to the same place and was late. One less failure that would have happened if I'd stuck to my old habits.

It worked. I'm okay.

Not many things in this world feel better than feeling "okay," and right now I owe that feeling to Discordianism. My Discordia.

Sometimes, I can't hep but wonder...

What if we're actually wrong about all this? This whole "Discordian" thing: the Reality Grids, the Black Iron Prison, the Shrapnel.

What if there really, truly is an Absolute Truth out there that has been figured out and distilled by wiser spags than us? Somewhere, one of those more serious religions has genuinely figured it out and is waiting patiently (or impatiently, as the case may be) for us to realize the error of our ways.

I wonder if the real truth of the matter is that we're all fucking nuts. We've all bought into this common delusion and taken the whole concept of subjective reality way too fucking far. By some common mental fault that has yet to be recognized in the psychiatric community, our diseased minds can't hold on to any one worldview long enough for it to sink in, and as a result the Real Truth just slipped through along with all the other ideas.

We're all going to hell. Or we're going to be reincarnated and forced to live through yet another life until we Figure It Out. Or we've just fucked up ourselves, and in the meantime built a movement around fucking with other people and trying get them to buy into our madness. We're sinners, or suckers, or a plague upon humanity. Maybe all three.

And then, I think about it some more and realize something. Crazy talk or not, Discordia--whatever the hell it is--is the only thing that makes sense to me anymore, and I'm going to keep doing what I'm doing because dwelling on the "what-if"s will kill me faster than I'm ready to deal with.

Hail Eris.

Discordians Anonymous

My name is Jake... and I'm a Discordian.

I don't really know how I got wrapped up in all of this. There was a time when I was just another bored kid, a bored Army brat to be precise, who would read anything for an intellectual kick. Fiction, occult literature, pseudo-occult literature that's dumbed down for typical teenagers and other soft-headed types, and eventually the nigh infinite supply of jokes and weird crap known as the Internet.

When all your friends are "new friends" and you know they'll be gone in a few years at most, you start to get desperate, you know? Without the craziness of hanging out with buddies to satisfy your need for novelty and excitement, you look to other sources... and I found them. Internet humor sites, mainly, but somewhere deep in the underbelly of the Weird, I found something different. Something called Discordianism.

"A joke disguised as a religion, or a religion disguised as a joke" was the soundbite description I got. "Perfect!" I thought. I'm not religious, and the guys who wrote this silly holy book, the Principia Discordia, seem to have a sense of humor that parallels mine, so why not mess around by pretending to be a Discordian?

Here's the thing, though: pretending to be a Discordian and actually being a Discordian are not all that different. Some would probably tell you that there's no difference there at all. That's how it draws you in, see. First you think that you're just part of a ridiculous joke, and then you get so into the joke it seems real, but then it's a joke again, and then Reality is the joke and you forget where the hell you were going with this nonsense in the first place.

Once I found that there were active Discordian communities online, I started hanging out with them. Swapped a few jokes and ideas, listened more than I spoke (or rather, read more than I wrote), and the rest, as they say, is the future.


And we find the signal to be lost in the noise; we lose the recognition of pattern because the pattern was too new, too different.

Struggling in the haze, trying to sculpt the fog of thoughts. Which are the old and which are the new? Was it inspiration or mental masturbation? The old thoughts are fractal, building upon themselves unto infinity and yet becoming less and less significant with each iteration.

Was there ever a signal? Did we experience a new thought at all? Or was it merely a hiccup in the endless downward, inward spiral of old ideas breeding with each other? The noise of entropic decay drowns out our efforts to listen... we have traveled so far down this path that to pull back and see the whole once again becomes a titanic effort. From where we stand now every path seems to lead somewhere we've been before, and while we may amuse ourselves with new variations, we see that it's all really the same.

The thinking has become ingrown, the vines are tangled and no longer bear fruit; some of them have even begun to wither. We fear that the rot will spread to the roots, if we do not take care to prune the excess, the overgrown. But through the tangle, who can see which to cut and which to keep?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Worst Forum Ever

I would just like to point out that the Principia Discordia forum is the worst forum on the internet.

The Principia Discordia forum is the worst forum ever.

The Principia Discordia forum is the suckiest forum on the web.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Concerning The Immediate Future

There is no 'solution.' This crisis will not be 'fixed.' A few of its symptoms will be alleviated, a little bit. Maybe. For some people.

An uncaring and uncontrolled juggernaut of changes will run its course across the fields of humanity, leaving ruin, death, poverty, and confusion in its wake. No, it is running its course as I write this. It cannot be stopped, slowed, or hastened to its destination. It will have its way with us before the survivors are left to build yet another empire from the rubble.

And we shall make up a story or two explaining why it all happened, what we did wrong, and how to avoid such things in the future. But it won't make a lick of difference because it's too late and we're fucking hopeless when it comes to finding out where the next juggernaut is coming from.

This is not the end of days, nor even the end of civilization. Do not be so optimistic. Humanity has prophesied its own demise a thousand times in the hopes that the next big catastrophic clusterfuck will be the last one we have to struggle through. The doomsayers are the hopeful ones; once humanity is destroyed or reduced to barbarism it won't have to live with memories of the disasters it can't believe it didn't see coming, and the torturous knowledge that it will happen again. And again, and again.

But humanity is big, dumb, and resilient. It cannot be destroyed, not even by its own hands. It shall lumber along as it always has, clumsily and nearly-blind, crawling and drooling its way into the future.

There will be another huge fucking disaster; a maelstrom of blood, anger, and misery. And when the dust settles we'll have lots and lots of dead people and still no answers.

It's what we do.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Pain In The Neck

For over a year now, I have had a chronic muscle spasm in my neck, on the left side. For about six months I couldn't turn my head to the left. It didn't just hurt to turn it that way; I physically could not do it without turning my body. During that time I was supposed to be learning to drive... hah! Driving without being able to look over your left shoulder, right.

I never injured my neck in any way. No sprains, strains, or pulled muscles. The muscles just started turning to stone for no discernible reason.

I went to a massage therapist for several sessions a few month ago, and while they helped slightly, the problem wasn't going away. Finally, a course of treatments from a chiropractor adjusted my neck so that I could move it properly again. My C4 vertebra had been pulled out of alignment by the spasm. I figured that with my neck back in alignment, I could expect the spasm to finally subside as long as I remembered to stretch and relax the muscles in question.

No such luck. The stiffness and pain have simply spread to accommodate the entire left side of my back as well. I can still turn my head properly, but every day I am at a near-constant low level of pain. Any movement which pulls on the area reminds me of this persistent, infuriating problem. Some days it flares up and just plain hurts, regardless of what I'm doing. That's when I start getting angry.

If I were forty years old, it would be a different story. However, I am not forty, or even thirty. I am eighteen years old. By all accounts, I should feel invincible and vigorous.

I don't feel invincible. I don't even feel healthy. I feel like a cripple and a weakling. Stretching, heat pads, fancy memory foam neck pillows--at the end of the day it's ibuprofen that lets me get to sleep when it's bad.

What is this bullshit? I'm not old, or injured, or deformed. I just hurt all the damn time. I can't move without being reminded that there's something wrong with me that I can't fix, and it's eating me up. It's pain with no gain, pain that's just there to remind me that I'm frail and there's nothing I can do about it.