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Another life, another world? Defining Otherkin experience?
Savage
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Post: #1
Another life, another world? Defining Otherkin experience?
From the therian side here, and interested in looking at the similarities and differences between the most commonly reported Otherkin and therian experiences.

From what I have seen, a very common factor in the Otherkin experience is feeling a connection to a distinct nonhuman entity or personality that lives (or once lived) in a world or universe that is not the mundane physical world we live in now. This connection may be experienced as a past life memory, or it may be experienced as a current connection. Not all Otherkin report past life memories or a connection to another world, but a great many do, and it would be of interest to know at least roughly what the percentages are.

For the purposes of this poll, another world may have one or more of the following characteristics: has its own history and timeline, its own species or races, its own laws of physics or magic, or is otherwise different historically or physically from the world we currently live in. It specifically does not refer to shamanic or mediumistic practices or journeying to a spirit realm. If you do not have a connection to or memories of an alternate universe type world, but you do shamanic journeying, your answer would still be no.

If you do not know at this time whether or not you have memories or a connection to another world, choose the negative answer.

if you have past life memories that involve a life in this world's history, the answer is no. If you answer yes, you are reporting memories of or a connection to a world or universe that is distinctly different from the planet Earth we live on today, with different species, races, laws of physics/magic, etc.

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2008-04-29 16:55
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Taiaka
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Post: #2
Re: Another life, another world? Defining Otherkin experience?
Well, I'm curious as to why the percentages are so important to ya, Savage. Care to explain your theory?

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2008-04-29 18:08
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Savage
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Post: #3
Re: Another life, another world? Defining Otherkin experience?
Taiaka Wrote:Well, I'm curious as to why the percentages are so important to ya, Savage. Care to explain your theory?

From what I have generally observed, people who identify as Otherkin do more often report an "other world" experience, and people who identify as therian rarely do. So my guess is that the "other world" experience may be one of the defining characteristics of the Otherkin experience, though it is by no means the only one, or an absolutely necessary one.

An Internet poll is of very, very limited use in terms of collecting reliable data, so the percentages are not important, no. It's just a reasonable place to start a conversation on the subject.
2008-04-29 18:20
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Elinox
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Post: #4
Re: Another life, another world? Defining Otherkin experience?
I chose "No - I identify as therian..." however I would like to state for the record that I identify as Otherkin as well as therian. In my mind, therians are a category under the Otherkin umbrella since both groups identify as something other than human. But since that wasn't an option, I chose therian since I am first a therian and then Otherkin. <!-- sWink --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_e_wink.gif" alt=";)" title="Wink" /><!-- sWink -->

Reincarnation seems to be a popular Otherkin/therian reason for why we are the way that we are, but it is not the only reason and it's not the reason that I classify myself under for being a therian. Hope this helps in your research Savage!

EDIT: I know this is probably a separate thread, but, Savage, do you think therians should be classified under the Otherkin subculture or as a different group entirely?

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2008-04-29 18:27
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Post: #5
Re: Another life, another world? Defining Otherkin experience?
Elinox Wrote:I chose "No - I identify as therian..." however I would like to state for the record that I identify as Otherkin as well as therian. In my mind, therians are a category under the Otherkin umbrella since both groups identify as something other than human. But since that wasn't an option, I chose therian since I am first a therian and then Otherkin. <!-- sWink --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_e_wink.gif" alt=";)" title="Wink" /><!-- sWink -->

I fixed the poll for you, so please feel free to change your vote.

EDIT - Oops, changing the poll options reset the whole thing. Sorry folks, we lost three of your votes that way.

Quote:Reincarnation seems to be a popular Otherkin/therian reason for why we are the way that we are, but it is not the only reason and it's not the reason that I classify myself under for being a therian.

I'm not sure that "reincarnation" really covers the "other world" connection in any case.

Quote:EDIT: I know this is probably a separate thread, but, Savage, do you think therians should be classified under the Otherkin subculture or as a different group entirely?

From a sociological perspective, therianthropy is a subgroup of the Otherkin subculture, which also encompasses vampirism. From a medical perspective, I think we're looking at very closely related but possibly distinct clinical/neurobiological conditions that can definitely be grouped together. In the case of vampirism it is not impossible (though far from proven) that there may be some subtle but actual pathophysiology to look at as well. From a personal and egotistical perspective, of course us therians are all different and special and stuffs. <!-- s:lol: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_lol.gif" alt=":lol:" title="Laughing" /><!-- s:lol: --> Except that we're not.
2008-04-29 18:43
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Elinox
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Post: #6
Re: Another life, another world? Defining Otherkin experience?
Savage Wrote:I fixed the poll for you, so please feel free to change your vote.

EDIT - Oops, changing the poll options reset the whole thing. Sorry folks, we lost three of your votes that way.

Thanks and I changed my vote.

Savage Wrote:I'm not sure that "reincarnation" really covers the "other world" connection in any case.

It does in some cases. People who follow the reincarnation theory tend to have details of other worlds, similar to Earth although usually of a world that involves/uses magic. If they lived in another plane or reality (for example, as an elf), died there and then were reincarnated here, that could explain their past life memories as well as support the reincarnation theory.

Savage Wrote:From a sociological perspective, therianthropy is a subgroup of the Otherkin subculture, which also encompasses vampirism. From a medical perspective, I think we're looking at very closely related but possibly distinct clinical/neurobiological conditions that can definitely be grouped together. In the case of vampirism it is not impossible (though far from proven) that there may be some subtle but actual pathophysiology to look at as well. From a personal and egotistical perspective, of course us therians are all different and special and stuffs. <!-- s:lol: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_lol.gif" alt=":lol:" title="Laughing" /><!-- s:lol: --> Except that we're not.

So your favorite theory is that therianthropy is caused by a medical condition, like say, asthma?

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2008-04-29 19:14
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Savage
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Post: #7
Re: Another life, another world? Defining Otherkin experience?
Elinox Wrote:So your favorite theory is that therianthropy is caused by a medical condition, like say, asthma?

I think it's a little more complex than that, but in essence, yes. Now whether we believe we have the souls of animals because we have atypical neurobiology, or whether we have atypical neurobiology because of a hardware/software mismatch between a human brain and an animal soul is a question that science can't answer. But tracking down the specifics of atypical neurobiology occurring at a much higher than statistically normal rate in self-reported therians is something that science definitely can do, and that's what I'm interested in.

For starters, take a look at our transgendered/gender dysphoric population. Freaking huge compared to any control group you want to name. Not saying that all therians are transgendered, but that our percentages are way up there, and I think there may be some real answers to be found for both gender and species dysphoria in the human brain.
2008-04-29 19:22
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Post: #8
Re: Another life, another world? Defining Otherkin experience?
I think if you want to look at the medical side of things, there are a whole host of very interesting mental issues that once upon a time would have people quietly thinking they're crazy or staggering off to their therapist - but now lead people to MySpace where they learn "oooh, lots of other people are elves too!"

I'm not talking about things like schizophrenia so much as, for example, Capgras Delusion.

A great many otherkin "symptoms" involve things like a dissociation to a greater or lesser extent from friends and family and the world, a feeling of not belonging, a feeling of being from elsewhere . . . combined (often, but not always) with memories of another life. We all know (or should know) how fragile the experience of memory is, and how essentially impossible it is to tell real from constructed memories apart - especially among people who use techniques of high suggestibility, such as hypnosis, to recover memories.

Does that mean I think all otherkin are bunk? Nope. I think, however, a great many - and possibly including myself - are plain, regular humans who have some either physical or psychological disfunction which has led them to the mistaken belief that they aren't human.

Savage Wrote:From what I have seen, a very common factor in the Otherkin experience is feeling a connection to a distinct nonhuman entity or personality that lives (or once lived) in a world or universe that is not the mundane physical world we live in now. This connection may be experienced as a past life memory, or it may be experienced as a current connection. Not all Otherkin report past life memories or a connection to another world, but a great many do, and it would be of interest to know at least roughly what the percentages are.

An almost universal factor in fact.

However the reason for that I think is pretty straightforward.

If otherkin are bunk, then if you remember being an elf or dragon or angel, well, you better pretty quickly remember living somewhere other than Earth, on account of the distinct lack of same here. On the other hand, if elves and dragons and angels are real, well they would of course remember another world on account of, again, them not actually living here.

Quote:It specifically does not refer to shamanic or mediumistic practices or journeying to a spirit realm. If you do not have a connection to or memories of an alternate universe type world, but you do shamanic journeying, your answer would still be no.

I was torn between yes and no until I actually read your full post, and then promptly changed my vote to no <!-- sWink --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_e_wink.gif" alt=";)" title="Wink" /><!-- sWink -->

The reason being is my own experiences of "my world" are of shadow dimensions which are more equivalent to the astral or shamanic journeying than to another universe. On the other hand, I am a multiple and my "other half" did indeed have a physical life elsewhere - but either it was on Earth, it was somewhere else but the people and culture were very much like Earth (no magic, no aliens, etc etc etc), or it was somewhere else but my memory interprets otherwise meaningless images as Earth-like so I can properly understand them.

As such for me personally it's no, and for my other half it's maybe yes, maybe no.

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2008-04-29 23:06
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Post: #9
Re: Another life, another world? Defining Otherkin experience?
Savage Wrote:From a sociological perspective, therianthropy is a subgroup of the Otherkin subculture, which also encompasses vampirism. From a medical perspective, I think we're looking at very closely related but possibly distinct clinical/neurobiological conditions that can definitely be grouped together. In the case of vampirism it is not impossible (though far from proven) that there may be some subtle but actual pathophysiology to look at as well. From a personal and egotistical perspective, of course us therians are all different and special and stuffs. <!-- s:lol: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_lol.gif" alt=":lol:" title="Laughing" /><!-- s:lol: --> Except that we're not.

Personally I think the three categories - vampires, therians, and otherkin - are all distinct phenomena.

My reason for thinking this is currently purely subjective - which is that I can read any otherkin topic or board (from the most highly strung to the fluffiest) and find something of interest in it, but I am yet to have my interest held even for two minutes by either vampires or therians. This tells me that "otherkin" is in some way "me" but therians and vampires are in some way "not me".

I have never taken the time to explore this in a more scientific way, and probably never will (because of my aforementioned utter lack of interest in either vampires or therians), but lacking a solid explanation for this way of thinking does irk me a little.

Edit to add: in trying to identify the differences between the experiences, it might well be interesting to look at vampires and therians who end up on otherkin boards - and find out what (if anything) makes them different from those that don't.

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2008-04-29 23:11
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Savage
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Post: #10
Re: Another life, another world? Defining Otherkin experience?
Archer Wrote:I think if you want to look at the medical side of things, there are a whole host of very interesting mental issues that once upon a time would have people quietly thinking they're crazy or staggering off to their therapist - but now lead people to MySpace where they learn "oooh, lots of other people are elves too!"

I think that applying good critical thinking and logic to one's Otherkin, therian or vampiric experiences is a tremendously good idea in general. That does not mean discarding them as invalid, nor does it mean immediately jumping to the conclusion that you are a werewolf or an elvish princess. Some anthropological perspective from other cultures can be helpful - these experiences are not unique to the Internet age or to modern culture by any means.


Quote:Does that mean I think all otherkin are bunk? Nope. I think, however, a great many - and possibly including myself - are plain, regular humans who have some either physical or psychological disfunction which has led them to the mistaken belief that they aren't human.

I do believe that the phenomenon of species dysphoria is a very real and objective one; in short, the people having these experiences are not simply making them up. I also believe that a thorough investigation of the etiology of the condition will eventually reveal a commonly shared atypical neurobiology that is not necessarily classifiable as a dysfunction per se. Whether we believe we have other-than-human souls because we have atypical neurobiology or whether we have atypical neurobiology because we have other-than-human souls is a question that science cannot answer.
2008-04-30 0:57
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