Taking the top slot in the ``truth is stranger than fiction'' category are
Lyrians, named after Matthew Lyrius, one of the weirder Gnostics ever to poke
his head out of a gopher hole.
Lyrius saw the Truth as an inherently objective thing, which could be
grasped at only vaguely and bumblingly by the subjective Mind. Real
understanding of the Truth could only be accomplished by Spirit, which
transcends the boundaries of Mind. Speech, he noted, could not even convey
accurately or completely what Mind conceived and perceived, so it was
even more removed from Truth.
A student of his found it odd that speech, which seemed to be less
subjective than direct experience, managed to be farther from
objectivity. Lyrius responded, ``Only if you fail to understand that you
cannot make a whole apple from half an apple by cutting away more.''
Then he hit the disciple in the head with a cane.
Another disciple (who didn't know how to take a hint, it seems) asked Lyrius if
Speech transcends Mind, since language could convey things that the mind
couldn't conceive of (``the round square'' was the example the disciple
gave). ``Without the journey,'' responded Lyrius, ``the destination is
no different from the starting point.'' Then he hit the disciple in the
head with a cane (it has been suggested that most of Lyrius' early
philosophy was rooted in Zen mysticism, and this seems to be good
evidence of that theory [Okay, okay, so I embellished the stories a
little and added the knocks in the head. I've always loved the parallels
between Zen philosophy and the Three Stooges]).
He decided that, while Mind should be encouraged to transcend itself and
approach Spirit and afterwards Truth, Speech's attempt to encompass Truth could
do nothing but profane it. ``Dirt,'' Lyrius once said (and, if the stories
are to be believed, it is the last attempt he ever made at speaking the
truth), ``however many times one might pass it over the scrubbing-board, will
sully linen. Speech, however well-meaning and pure of intention, can do no
better to Truth.'' The truth, he realized, is too sacred to be spoken.
It is said that, after speaking these words (which have become known as the
``Final Profanity''), Lyrius was ``struck insensible by sublime gnosis'' and
awoke the following morning a complete and thoroughly unshakable liar.
As a kind of moral exempla (which were all the rage during most of antiquity
and still have their modern counterparts in Steven Segal movies) there is a
story that Lyrius' best friend went off to fight in the Crusades and was
believed to be killed in battle. Lyrius was devastated, and sat alone in his
garden weeping. When a few well-meaning disciples tried to comfort him, he
simply looked at them and said ``It is good that he is dead.''
As is usually the case in such stories, rumors of Lyrius' friend's death were
much exaggerated. When he came to the monastery to see Lyrius, Lyrius ran to
him, threw his arms around him and wept heavily. ``I had hoped never to
see you again, you worthless bastard,'' he managed to croak out. ``I
hate you so very, very much.''
Of course, Lyrians (even with their silly belief in the Truth [which is real
enough, but has been
sitting on my desk
for quite some time now and hasn't shown the least intention of being sacred])
a sister faith of Discordianism. I can scarcely imagine the level of
that a Lyrian would cause in any circumstances you'd care to put him in (to
say nothing of the parties they must throw).