A short missive on the Apple of Discord and its meaning to me.
Sometimes, we're privileged to see something beyond our own experience. Discordians call
this "Illumination", and it is the bread and butter of Discordianism.
The myth of the Apple of Discord in the
Illiad is understood by Discordians in a rather esoteric
manner. The Apple does not attract attention merely because it is inscribed
("For the Prettiest"), but also because it is a sort of manifest picture of the desires of the
person who gazes into it. Athena, Aphrodite, and Hera were not fighting over the Apple, but they
were fighting over what they thought the Apple offered.
Athena likely saw military victory within the apple, while Hera saw the raw power that wealth
can buy over her husband and the other gods. Aphrodite likely saw the perfection of her sexuality
and the power that gave her over all things. We can see that the deities offered to grant each of
these things to Paris if he chose in their favour.
The choice to give the Apple to Aphrodite shows that Paris' desires were in line with hers, and
he was able to achieve the desire promised by the Apple. That Apple is not some illusory dream,
nor is it a certain future: it is the embodiment of our desire, and it can teach us much about
When Eris presents us with the Apple, as She does for us all from time to time, what do we see?
In it, we always see our most basic desires, the things we want most. We often don't understand
the reflection in the Apple: it's a new, strangely familiar reflection of what we are now. Those
who want power may see themselves standing at the top of a dais, looking down upon numerous
vassals. Those who seek the simple life may see themselves alone in a library, reading Shakespeare.
Each person will see something unique and perfect.
The Apple does not offer a free look, though. Illumination can take hold of us, dragging us down
into the quagmire of bliss and loss. To stare into it too long can cause longing and forgetfulness.
A person could become lost in the beauty and grandeur that is their reflection and live forever with
Eris is not trying to subvert our will, nor is She trying to force us to become lost. She is
merely showing us what we can achieve if we make the correct choices in life. Paris received what he
truly desired by giving up the Apple. His eventual loss of that desired end could be attributed to
his inability to see a better route to achieve his aim.
Those things seen in the Apple are not guaranteed, but are rather possibilities if we make the right
choices. Shadows of those choices can sometimes be seen in the reflections that the Apple provides,
and these clues often include double meanings and open interpretations.
I've looked into the apple more than once. It's difficult to describe exactly
how it occurs: it's not some spur of the moment visualization of an Apple, or
even of Eris Herself; instead, it's more of the classic literary epiphany. I'll
be sitting and talking with someone, or working, or day dreaming, or watching
TV, and there will be a sudden shift in my consciousness. I'm suddenly seeing
how the world could be different if I would take the steps needed to create my
Over the years I've seen several desires in this manner. I've seen myself
standing atop a mountain, shrouded in fog and exhausted. I don't know the
mountain for sure, but my guess is Mt. Khatadn in Maine. I've never been there,
but I hope to get there one day. That is a true desire, and it is still a vision
I receive constantly.
I've also seen myself happy, standing with a specific woman I met my Freshman
year in College. She's beautiful and curvy, and she's extremely happy to just be
with me, as I am with her.
The summer after my freshman year, I had a blast with one of my friends. She was
always good to be around, but we had a great time flirting, talking, and
generally having fun that summer. One night I saw the Apple, and she was in it,
standing with me. This wasn't a true desire, though, and I knew it. Our
relationship never went beyond just being really good friends. But I miss her
very much now.
Last night I had a new view of the Apple, one that has occurred occasionally,
but never with so much force. It was a view of happiness, of seizing the day and
doing what I will with it. In this vision was a woman who loved me and lusted
after me, and there was everything a person could want between us: adventure,
romance, and fun. There was a connection that was made on physical, mental, and
I learned a very long time ago that we shouldn't dwell on things, and so far
I've been safe from becoming trapped inside the Apple. Sometimes the visions are
powerful, though. Occasionally, I have to remember that I don't want certain
things, really. My desires of the moment are not the desires I will have in the
future, and I have to separate the different desires out mentally.
Eris is not out to trick us. The Apple shows us nothing that we didn't know
before, but it shows our desires to us more clearly. These are attainable
desires, if you know how to get them. A devotee of Eris has the option of
Email the author if you have any questions.
Content © 2003, Michael J Dangler
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