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 "Kallisti" ("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 ourselves.
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 that myth.
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 desires.
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 spiritual levels.
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 asking, too.
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