The Fnord Project

Today, I learned what a Fnord was from my friend Chris Bachmann who is somewhat of a sci-fi geek. He referred to it in a discussion and went on to refer to this Wikipedia entry that describes a Fnord in greater detail.

A Fnord is a literary reference made famous by The Illuminatus Trilogy where subjects were trained from an early age, as part of a greater conspiracy, to not be able to consciously see the word fnord. According to Wikipedia, “for the rest of their lives, every appearance of the word subconsciously generates a feeling of uneasiness and confusion, and prevents rational consideration of the subject.”

The Wikipedia article goes on to describe other places where the word fnord has been used, including in hacker and programmer circles (who knew?!) and other counter-culture subgroups.

The concept is hypnotic and speaks to people doing things without understanding and without really seeing why?

Along this line of reasoning, the concept of a fnord can be seen in every aspect of life, from politics to business; in parenting to religion; from how we behave psychologically to how we drive our cars.

This is a writing project and I would love it if we could award a prize, so if you have something to give away, send me an email to and I’ll update this entry accordingly.

Here’s the deal: write a 400-600 word entry around the concept of fnord. It is okay to mention the word, fnord but try to minimize it’s use. You should stay within your niche, whatever that niche. Feel free to link back to this entry if you’d like. I don’t approve trackbacks, but I’ll certainly see your post. More importantly, tag your article fnordproject (#fnordproject).

The writing project will go until next Sunday, July 13 at midnight Eastern time. I’ll certainly write a roundup post linking all of the entries together and decide on a winner at that time, if we have any giveaways (and I think we will!)

Good luck to you!