Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Go Ask Eris

Sometimes my family asks me, "Erin, you talk about writing this blog but you never let us know where it is or what it's about. Why is that?" and I reply, "I'm taking a shower, dammit! Can't I get any privacy when I'm in the bathroom?" In the civilized world, going into the bathroom is cause for, oh I don't know, a pause in the daily interrogation that is family life. But at Chez Palette, it simply means one must talk that much louder so as to be heard through the door and over the sound of flushing toilets.

However, they do ask a valid question, and the answer is wickedly simple: if they knew the kind of shit I talked about, I'd never ever hear the end of it. But by keeping the details to myself, I am free to talk all kinds of smack about my metrosexual brother and crazy cat-lady sister. Not to mention that business with the shaved goat. Mostly, though, it's for my own sanity. If I had to defend every assertion I made on this blog, I'd snap like a wheat thin and then there'd be delicious multi-grain carnage all over the place.

Case in point: Eris. You see, my sister is one of those nigh-fanatical Christians who wields church doctrine like a bludgeoning weapon, and I really don't feel like having to justify to her why I am apparently involved in some kind of "heathen-pagan witchcraft cult thing".

(Fun fact: certain radical Protestant sects, who will remain nameless, are fond of describing anything they don't care to understand as witchcraft. It doesn't even have to be occultic; I was once told, in complete earnestness, that "rebelling against God's will is witchcraft." It's rather a blanket term, much like sin. Oh, wait, it's exactly like sin, it just sounds punchier. So if they don't get it, if it doesn't fit neatly into doctrine, it must be sinful and therefore evil and occult.)

Sorry, I seem to have spilled a little digression on you. Beg your pardon. Where was I? Right, Eris. Essentially, I started praying to Eris because quite frankly I got tired of being ignored.

I'm pretty sure this is the point where both the Christians and the Atheists go "Awww" in disappointment, the former because I've turned away from the One True Way and the latter because I've failed to be swayed by the rational and taken a joke religion as literal truth.

As I'm fond of saying to my family: Get used to disappointment.

When I was very little, a family friend asked me the typical adult-to-small-child question, What do you want to be when you grow up? My response was incredibly straightforward: I want to be an Erin!

I want to be an Erin when I grow up.

Isn't that a great answer? I love it. Such a wonderful sense of nonconformist self-identity I had back then, and I've tried my best to hang on to it. Which is why it baffles me so that it takes people by surprise when I demonstrate that I'm my own person. Look, just because I'm inherently conservative in a lot of things doesn't mean that I fall into lockstep with Traditional Republican Values. I can be both a goth and a conservative (we tend toward the Victorian end of the fashion spectrum). I can like guns and frilly dresses. I can believe in God and pray to Eris.

But why, Erin? Why pray to a goddess you don't believe exists?

Because I got tired of being ignored or told "no" whenever I prayed to God.

No, really, it's that simple. Let's say that every day, you ask me out on a date, and every day, I say "no" or ignore you entirely. How long will it take before you give up? Granted, it may take years for more of you stubborn folks, but I guarantee that eventually you'd all stop trying, either because you realized that I wouldn't change my answer or because you found someone better.

Now, I'm just too inherently mystical/spiritual/ooky to stop believing in higher powers altogether, so the Atheist road isn't for me. (And honestly -- no offense to you guys, but I feel you ultra-rational folks miss out on a lot of the really cool and artistic parts of the human soul.) And I'm sure it's an artifact of my cultural upbringing, but even though I'm convinced God really doesn't care about me I can't really bring myself to believe in other religions.

So I find a third option, and pray to something nonexistent. This fulfills my need for spirituality and keeps me from disappointment, because I bloody well know Eris won't answer my prayers. She doesn't answer, she doesn't care, she doesn't even exist! See, problem solved.

Then why are you into Discordianism in the first place, if you know Eris isn't real?

Because not existing isn't a barrier for worthy emulation. Santa Claus isn't real either, but people pretend to be him at Christmastime, and isn't the holiday a better time for it? Superman isn't real, but embodies all that good and decent about humanity. If you were to live your life according to "What Superman Would Do," you'd be a sterling example of humanity.

I like Eris because she keeps me from getting too serious about this ridiculous game we call life. I like Discordianism because it helps me keep my OCD tendencies in check. I like its philosophy because it is absurd the way life is absurd, and it's really the only worldview that has helped me cope with modern life.

What Would Eris Do?

She'd be an Erin when she grew up, that's what she'd do.


  1. Wa..wa..wa..what?
    Eris isn't real?!?
    But I sold her my soul just last week!

    I mean, she SAID she was Eris. She knew the secret handshake and everything!


  2. I'm sorry.. it just peaked my curiosity. but I also realize that curiosity has killed many cats.


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