- What is the Church of Eris Erisian Eristic?
- It is a church that is (1) of Eris; that is, worships the Goddess Eris Discordia, she of discord and strife; (2) Erisian, that is, aware of the long history of dynamic discord and Erisian activity, from the serpent Glycon to the amazing psychic Great Carlos; and (3) Eristic, that is, "characterized by disputatious and often subtle and specious reasoning".
- So, got any members?
- Why yes. I posthumously baptised all dead Mormons to the Church EEE. I figure they wouldn't mind. The live Mormons I won't touch because if they mind, things may turn ugly.
- I find you and this site profoundly offensive.
- Oh? That is good, though not as good as you being entertained and boggled. But if you are offended, please, I pray, in the bowels of Christ, consider it possible you may be mistaken. To be offended is your right, but have I said anything so very offensive? I have merely thrown around, for the purposes of humor, entertainment and satire, the same legends that are already thrown about in a million guises by others, in fiction and in solemnly-declared "fact". (Do you know what some of those sister sects of yours actually believe?) And what harm can come to your immortal God from the words of a fool? Either you are undulily worked up, or then your God is weaker than you are willing to admit. Which is not intended as an insult, but hey, I'm an atheist, you know what possibility I'm trying to insinuate here, wink wink nudge nudge. Oh, and if you don't like it here, leave; don't assume the world must reform itself so that you are at ease, rudeword rudehandsign raspberry.
- So what kind of a church is this anyway?
- The only true one, of course. Just like all the others, except we're for real.
- Hah. So how ancient is this church of yours?
- Older than the Sphinx or dream-haunted Babylon; though the pre-splitters have muddled things up a bit.
- "The pre-splitters"? What are those?
- Cunning angels and minions of Gruad that have chosen to attempt to pervert the route of the one true church by taking and discrediting its holy parts before the church itself has brought them out. You know, like the whole New Testament fig-tree-killing thing. Do you know how hard it is to get people to listen to the Parable of Nimrod the Figslayer when people have been hearing for two thousand years about Jesus, meek and mild, going loco over a fig tree that had no figs in it? One, you seem totally unoriginal, and two, people expect fig trees to be stubborn and malign. The whole thing falls flat because the others cheated! To think of the pettiness inherent in building up an entire religion just to mess with a story of a wicked fig tree two millennia before it was told. Some people and non-people are just nuts.
- Or figs.
- Well, Nimrod certainly. It's a tragic tale of a man becoming what he hates most; but there's no audience for it. But that wasn't a question; you have any more questions?
- Oh, okay. What is the meaning of life?
- Life is meaningless; death, even more so. Pick a pursuit yourself and run with it.
- Oh, really?
- YA RLY.
- What, seriously?
- So you mean the various fluff peddlers have something so very convincing? Something better than "pretend this is it so you can feel good"? Face it, friend dear: there's no meaning to life, no purpose in our existence, and nothing that we really ought to do. That doesn't make very good bumper stickers, though, so many people think it's "be brand N of good", or the like.
- "Love your fellow men" or the like, right? What's wrong with that?
- Let me count the ways. One, men? What about women? (Okay, a low blow. But what about animals? Plants? Scenic rocks? How far does this love extend?) Two, fellow men --- you mean your tribe, your fellow believers... what about the infidel scum? Are they your fellow men too? Some people don't think so. How many degrees and divisions are you willing to take? And what about the maniac that torments you daily, fully knowing and enjoying your pain --- are you supposed to pretend love of people you cannot humanly love? Three, what do you mean, love? Is that "pretend you know better than them what's good for them" --- even when they'll never forgive you the hurt and damage your well-meaning ignorance causes? Or "aid and support them in all they do" --- including the crimes and the errors? Or "love them more than yourself", exchanging all of your happiness for a small addition to their mild contentment? People have been mutilated, beaten and burned alive because their fellow men loved them, but didn't happen to think. Not only is that a dangerously flawed maxim, it also is something that's not found anywhere in the world except in the scribblings of men. Nature doesn't love fellows. Nature is all about outbreeding your fellow creatures, and the "love" of animals is just carefully masked selfishness, unconscious evolutionary calculation and greed. You could describe all cosmos from the galaxies to the subatomic particles without needing the concepts of "caring" and "compassion" once, except as a footnote on the twitterings of human beings. And what is love --- love's an insignificantly small and frail human thing without any substance or meaning in the cosmos. Bwa-ha-ha!
- You bastard!
- Again, not a question. And I actually rather like love; I just don't delude myself that it's a big fundamental world-going-round thing. It's small, fragile and very limited: and hence so scarce yet needful that it is very precious and worth cherishing and protecting. A bastard I may be, but not an utter one. Any more questions?
- So okay, do you... well, do you have some big heavy ideas you are going to lob at my direction? "Do this and you will be happy", or the like?
- Mmm. Let me see. Not really. Be honest, doubt everything but don't persist in doubt overlong, be nice to people; whatever you enter into, try to leave it better than you found it; like happiness and pleasure, because there's nothing bad in them, and nothing good in suffering and misery... and oh, kill tyrants dead. With laughter. Because advocating doing that with an AK-47 might be problematic.
- So that is all?
- Of course not. I wouldn't have a website if I wasn't a pitiful word diarrhea victim. How about these half-baked maxims?
- Many people need a thicker skin and a better sense of humor and proportion.
- Do and think whatever thou wilt, but don't limit this same right of others, and don't bind others without a reason.
- No censorship; free speech trumps all.
- If you need a licence to drive a car, how come you don't need one to raise a human being? Parenting licences, please! Children are future adults, not puppets or puppies.
- Yell or leave or shut up; but don't ever try to shut anyone else up.
- Truth; even if it stings; even if it hurts.
- "It's old" and "it's a tradition" are no plaudits, and the past wasn't peace and caring but brutality and misery; be a neophile.
- "Sine scientia non futura"; I don't know Latin but that might be close to "Without science, no future" --- or, trust science, stay wary of wishful thinking and comforting illusions, and keep plodding onwards. On the average, things have only gotten better for the last thousand years or so and it don't have to be over yet.
- Love your fellow men. (What?) To gods, authorities, governments, traditions and other things not men or women, merely wave your privates if they seek to walk over human interests.
- The world is a big scary place, full of beauty, terror and wonder; blind pitiless indifference it is, but that is pretty grand. Reality is far more elegant, beautiful and worthy of your inspection and admiration that any mystical nature worship or bogus heavenly father. The beauty of it tends to make paragraphs run long.
- Be a skeptic. That just means don't be a gullible ass. (Here "gullible ass" goes for "gullible first, then hostile".)
- Saying X doesn't make X happen. Seeing a depiction of X doesn't make you make it into reality. Substitute violence, foul language or any particular sexual kink for X.
- Don't substitute ideology for research.
- Don't go for conspiracy theories. The stock market works up and down without Illuminati to jerk it; species rise and fall without an Intelligent Designer; humans turn bad without a Satan; religions keep together without Popes meeting in towers thinking up ways to keep the absence of God secret; statistics and probability work without invoking a God and miracles; and most systems, governments and elections included, are more complexity rising out of a million dumb individuals than some secret master plan.
- There tends to be two ways of coping with the world, laughter and tears. I don't know which is better, but I know I like laughing more.
- So, do you think anyone will actually read all this shit?
- Well, I find some of it entertaining.
- Paint drying would entertain you. At least if it was Japanese paint... or related to J.R.R. Tolkien somehow. By the way, have you realized how creepy this supposed FAQ is, with you answering softballs you've obviously written yourself?
- Okay, this self-awareness thing is going too far. We need to stop this.
- "We"? What, me and I? And of course you, dear reader --- without you there is no thought, only a scattering of bits. If you aren't here, this faux conversation does not exist.
- I protest! Once this bit's done down in bits, it exists whether there's a watcher or not. Just because this page doesn't include the complete specifications and definitions of discourse in English doesn't mean it becomes meaningless gibbering if there's isn't someone gaping at it, wondering why the hell a perfectly normal FAQ had to turn to a Hofstadterian nightmare!
- I resent that. And I didn't mean that --- how should I put it? Linear-A still has all the information it once had, even if no-one can read it; but you could say that text is a way of recording for reproduction certain intracranial movements of human minds, and without a reader there isn't any of those. The text is dead and asleep. Right, reader dear?
- Stop that. Your argument's with me.
- Oh, screw you. Here, listen to what Stephen King had to say about the matter:
(From On Writing:)
So let's assume that you're in your favorite receiving place just as I am in the place where I do my best transmitting. We'll have to perform our mentalist routine not just over distance but over time as well, yet that presents no real problem; if we can still read Dickens, Shakespeare, and (with the help of a footnote or two) Herodotus, I think we can manage the gap between 1997 and 2000. And here we go --- actual telepathy in action. You'll notice I have nothing up my sleeves and that my lips never move. Neither, most likely, do yours.
Look --- here's a table covered with a red cloth. On it is a cage the size of a small fish aquarium. In the cage is a white rabbit with a pink nose and pink-rimmed eyes. In its front paws is a carrot-stub upon which it is contentedly munching. On its back, clearly marked in blue ink, is the numeral 8.
We're having a meeting of the minds.
I sent you a table with a red cloth on it, a cage, a rabbit, and the number eight in blue ink. You got them all, especially that blue eight. We've engaged in an act of telepathy. Not mythy-mountain shit; real telepathy. I'm not going to belabor the point, but before we go any further you have to understand that I'm not trying to be cute; there is a point to be made.
- Oh. I see. It's so much easier when it's someone with actual talent explaining the matter.
- So I suck in writing; I am you; you suck in writing, by your own admission. Hah!
- Dear reader, sorry. This is what happens when I try to be cute.