Of course, the title of this blog posting is wrong.
This is the 23rd Chaos Communication Congress. For some of you, this number might ring a bell, in a Pavlovian sense that is. Apart from the fact that a 1998 film telling a story somehow connected to the CCC and the Cold War era hacker scene had the very title 23, this number is also related to Discordianism, a modern, chaos-based religion founded in either 1958 or 1959. It has been described as both an elaborate joke disguised as a religion, and as a religion disguised as an elaborate joke. Some of its followers make the claim that it is “a religion disguised as a joke disguised as a religion” (or “a joke disguised as a religion disguised as a joke disguised as…”). The Wikipedia article defines it rather nicely, yet it goes without saying that if you think that ALL religions are jokes, this of course makes Discordianism a dead-serious religion in its own right. Confused yet? Good.
Now, the easiest thing to do with such a number would be the obvious: Give the congress a motto from the Principia Discordia and let the inside jokes flow. So we didn’t. This year’s motto comes from the film Brazil. In one scene, the protagonist, a state official, cries out “Trust me!” while standing in front of a propaganda poster that asks “Who can you trust?”. Asking a question about trust is not only pretty much the most sensible thing you can do in these times of “trusted computing” and “trustworthy electronic voting”, having a question as a motto instead of giving answers is also the best way to deal with things in a discordian way. There’s probably no better motto for the 23C3. Trust us.
We have several talks on Discordianism this year. Autumn Tyr-Salvia, the person behind Discordian.com, will talk about “Culture Jamming & Discordianism”. From what you can read in her blog, she’s excited to come (and so are we to have her!):
I am an award winning public speaker and the proprietress of Discordian.com, so I think I’ll do ok. Still, it’s a little nervewracking to know that I’ll be speaking to half the hackers of Europe, many of whom have been Discordians since before I was born. Aieee!
Then there are a few talks in German. Berlin-based writers and thinkers Daniel Kulla and Oona Leganovic will talk about Critical Theory and Discordianism (“Chaos und Kritische Theorie: Adorno, Wilson und Diskordianismus“), putting the Frankfurt School in a ring with a rather well-known American novelist, essayist, philosopher, psychologist, futurologist, anarchist, and conspiracy theory researcher for some mind-changeing melee. The description to their talk really says it all: read through it and if you think you didn’t understand one word, read through it again.
Then there’s Andy Müller-Maguhn, long-time activist at the Chaos Computer Club, who will talk about the current state of the struggle between the Illuminati and the Discordians from a historical perspective (“Kritik an den Illuminaten zwischen 1787 und 2006: Der Stand der Auseinandersetzung zwischen Discordiern und Illuminaten“). The description to his talk really says it all: read through it and if you think you understood everything, read through it again.
Discordian thoughts may also pop up in other talks at 23C3. Going through the schedule may help you see this year’s fnords. We trust you to find them.