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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.
Apple of Discord This page uses content from Principia Discordia on page 00075, and may share a type of similarity with the original. The type of similarity that they may share might be called "identical." Or not. All rights reversed.

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:

  • Revisionist Press published a red hardcover of the Fourth Edition in YOLD 3142, adding a stamp reading "THIS WORK IS A BRIDGE SO MOVE ON THRU" to the right of the golden apple on page 00075. (ISBN 0-685-75085-X)
  • Loompanics Unlimited published a version (the "yellow cover version") in YOLD 3145, adding an introduction by Robert Anton Wilson, an afterword by Malaclypse the Younger, and the aforementioned "Fifth Edition." (ISBN 1-55950-040-9)
  • Illuminet Press published a version (the "purple cover version") in YOLD 3157, adding an introduction by Omar Khayyam Ravenhurst. (ISBN 0-9626534-2-X)
  • Steve Jackson Games published a version (the "black cover version") in YOLD 3160, adding an introduction by Steve Jackson and 20 pages of new Discordian text, mostly collected from online Discordians (ISBN 1-55634-320-5). Steve Jackson Games also publishes Discordian and Illuminati-inspired games, such as GURPS Illuminati and the Illuminati card game.
  • Ronin Publishing released a version in YOLD 3172 (ISBN 1-57951-029-9), under the title Discordia - Hail the Goddess of Chaos and Confusion. This edition features a co-credit on the cover for both Malaclypse the Younger and Lord Omar Khayyam Ravenhurst, a color cover, and may have been 192 pages in length.
  • Synaptyclypse Generator and Exposure Press released a hardcover version of the Fourth Edition on Setting Orange, Chaos 60, YOLDiscord 3173 (ISBN 978-1-84685-604-4)/(ISBN 1-84685-604-4), the first hardcover edition since YOLD 3142. It includes both Robert Anton Wilson's and Kerry Thornley's introductions, and "outroductions" by Rev. DrJon Swabey and Adam Gorightly.

External links[]

Online versions[]

The Principia Discordia is widely available on the Web from these and other sources:

Wikipedia This page uses content from Wikipedia. The original article was full of lies and obfuscation as promulgated by Greyface (including, but not limited to, links to nowhere and the usage of non-existent templates), and can be seen at Principia Discordia. Special care should be made to ensure that this article is Truth. The list of Wikipedian authors can be seen in the page history. As with Discordian Wiki, the text of Wikipedia is available under the GNU Free Documentation License.