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Operation Mindfuck or OM is an important practice in the Discordian religion. The concept was developed by Kerry Thornley and Robert Anton Wilson in 1968 and given its name by Wilson and Robert Shea in The Illuminatus! Trilogy. It is most often manifested as a decentralized campaign of civil disobedience, activism, art movements, especially performance art and guerrilla art, culture jamming, graffiti and other vandalism, practical jokes, hoaxes, reality hacking, chaos magic, words of power, and anything else that is believed to bring about social change through disrupting paradigms and thus forcing the victim to question the parameters of his or her reality tunnel.
There is a disagreement among Discordians as to whether or not, through OM, they should seek to improve society, topple it, or claim that the practice is in fact only for entertainment. Because much of Operation Mindfuck itself involves hyperbole and exaggeration in regard to discussing the Discordian Society, it is difficult to determine the actual scale of the campaign, be it large or practically non-existent.
In The Illuminatus! Trilogy and its sequels, Operation Mindfuck is epitomized by a protagonist named Markoff Chaney, an anti-social dwarf who engages in subtle practical joking, in a deliberate attempt to cause Discord, as a protest against his mistreatment by society. One such joke involves the forging of signs that are signed by "The Mgt." (leading people to believe they're from "The Management" instead of "the Midget") that contain absurdities, and placing the signs in stores and other establishments.
Current progress in Operation Mindfuck includes:
- OMGASM: A decentralized Discordian network which attempts to pool resources in order to complete larger projects. By using web 2.0 tools to tag projects, Discordians hope to link up with other collaborators who will lend necessary skills to their efforts. OMGASM, which stands for Operation Mindfuck: Golden Apple Seed Missions, was started in early 2008 by the cabal residing at the principiadiscordia.com forums. Any Discordian may label a project a Golden Apple Seed Mission, indicating that other Discordians are welcome to participate and help propagate it. OMGASM has had several successful sub-projects.
There are several projects involved in Operation Mindfuck (as outlined in Appendix Yod of The Illuminatus! Trilogy). These are:
- Project Jake: "Instigated by Harold Lord Randomfactor. Once or twice a year, a public servant who has distinguished himself by more than common imbecility is selected as target for a Jake and all Discordian cabals are alerted." The official being honored receives mail from all the cabals at once on Jake Day. The letters should be printed on the official letterhead of each of the cabals and ask for help in "some complicated political matter that passes all rational understanding."
- Project Eagle: "Day-glo posters have been printed which look like the old Eagle proclamation saying TO THE POLLS YE SONS OF FREEDOM. The new, improved Discordian posters, however, have one slight word change, and say cheerfully BURN THE POLLS YE SONS OF FREEDOM. Like the old ones, they are posted in prominent places on election day."
- Project Pan-Pontification: This project consists of the distribution of "Pope cards" claiming every man, woman, and child on Earth as a Pope of Discord.
- Project Graffito (and Project Bumpersticker): "Anybody can participate by inventing a particularly Erisian slogan and seeing that it is given wide distribution. Examples: Your Local Police Are Armed and Dangerous; Legalize Free-Enterprise Murder; Why Should Governments Have All the Fun?; Smash the Government Postal Monopoly; If Voting Could Change the System, It Would Be Against the Law; etc."
- Citizens Against Drug Abuse: "This organization possesses elegant letterheads and is engaged in a campaign of encouraging Congressmen to outlaw catnip, a drug which some young people are smoking whenever marijuana is in short supply." The idea behind this is that because the government lost much credibility in its war on marijuana, a campaign to outlaw a "similar, but more comical herb" will result in a complete loss of faith in government.
These may not be the only projects in Operation Mindfuck, as a Discordian is encouraged to go out and create their own projects. They are however considered as useful guidelines, hence their inclusion in Illuminatus!.
- Situationist prank
- Hacks at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
- Culture jamming
- The Existential Negation Campaign
- Meme hack
- Netochka Nezvanova
- Cacophony Society
- Improv Everywhere
- Church of the SubGenius
- Gorightly, Adam (2005). "The Prankster or The Manchurian Candidate?". The Beast of Adam Gorightly: Collected Rantings (1992-2004). Virtualbookworm Publishing. p. 163. ISBN 978-1-58939-781-1. Retrieved 2008-12-02.
- Shea, Robert; Robert Anton Wilson (1976). Illuminatus!. Sphere Books. ISBN 978-0-7221-9208-5. Retrieved 2008-12-02.