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What do we believe?
House Hesson
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Post: #1
What do we believe?
I posted this on our DreamWidth and LiveJournal accounts yesterday. While it focuses mainly on multiplicity/plurality, which my system does not consider "Otherkin" by itself, the core principles have to do with how we evaluate others' claims, and our own, about self-identity. Eli asked if we'd be willing to post it for that reason. The other article I mention at the end, by the way, will also be up here when finished.

I just left a long, thoughtful comment to someone I'm not going to name; it was a very personal and private discussion. Zie got me thinking hard about some new things, and some old things stemming from another discussion that also seemed the sort of thing to keep anonymous.

We doubt our own plurality, just as we doubt being Otherkin for anything other than psychological and allegorical reasons. We still deeply believe we're plural and that we came from another place that objectively exists, but we routinely question both. And we doubt, at least a little bit, most of the others who make such claims.

There are Otherkin and systems whom we believe are true examples of what exists, if plurality and non-psychological types of Otherkin exist. Mostly this is based on how reflective, generally credible, and honest with themselves they seem to be, though admittedly there are some very subjective things in the mix too.

Then there are definitions. The one that OKP settled upon for multiplicity was, if I remember correctly, "having more than one distinct entity as permanent residents of the same body". This seems to include medians, though we didn't catch that nitpick at the time, I believe. And then there are deliberate, possibly potential splits of a particular aspect of oneself, such as the shadow side or the inner child, that don't progress into an independent, diverging experience. That diverging experience is part of the key to us. It may not be present in MPD/DID - we're not that knowledgeable about it - but our "line" for declaring someone a system member includes divergence.

And there are portals. Lovely portals and separate residence. If someone is on the other side of a door from your head to another realm, we consider that visitation rather than residence. If someone is hanging out in something you own or just following you around, but with zir independent existence rather than being a full time resident of your headspace...that's a neighbor, not a headmate. We'd welcome people with neighbors into "plural" communities because we share the experience of living in community but I don't think they fit under even the big tent of plurality.

Independence, but living together. Divergent reactions to experience. Those are the important things. There are still the same biochemistry, the same core memory, the same primal gut reactions, and we honor that - it would be hypocritical not to, when we're all affected by our depression and the abuse we've suffered, even the ones who weren't here for the abuse. But even the way those make us feel, when we're out of gut reaction enough to reflect, is different.

Even the gods grow, if they're open to it. We don't work with Thor much but have been told by those who do, that he's mellowed out greatly since the time in which the stories of the Eddas took place. To see growth, or rebellion against it, helps us to believe that others are true individuals. Constructs are valuable but not necessarily people; we honor them, but in a different way. Disrespect for our own constructs is as damaging as showing disrespect for nature by going out in shorts and a cami in the depth of winter. We're not going to win unless we can change the entire paradigm; working with it is the only sane way.

Otherkin and all kinds of introjects receive yet another layer of evaluation. Does the person really seem to have thought through the claimed identity? Considered other possibilities? It doesn't necessarily affect liking and relating to the person, but making us really believe that zie is that species or that specific person is a higher bar to set. We don't really care what a person is, in that sense, but rather who zie is now, the qualities zie has, the way zie lives. If zie really is or was something radically different, we really don't give a shit. It's immaterial. In that sense, we are agnostic to the objective reality of many claims. The subjective is not enough for some things, such as our search for our people; if we didn't objectively believe, even with doubt, we would have seen no reason to try. Understanding what kind of reality a self-identity has is important but when it's an outsider's self-identity it doesn't often impact our decisions or well-being. We can afford to be agnostic.

There's a difference between judging a person and judging what zie believes about zirself. A person cannot be objectively wrong. That's no excuse to placidly accept what zie says about zirself. Nor are we closed to any possibility of what zie could be - god/dess, historical luminary, the thirty-seventh Sephiroth we've seen this week - but we're not going to even try to believe it unless we see a glimmer of it in zir thoughts, words, and actions.

And we have a "What is Plurality?" essay to majorly overhaul, again...

Afternotes:

1. Here, I define "construct" as a non-sentient resident of headspace that is not sentient. Something created to serve the system's, or one head-resident's, purposes. A construct in the magical sense or another created being is, in our eyes, a person. It was a spur of the moment word choice and probably not the best even in terms of our own idea of what a construct is. Sorry for any confusion or toes stepped upon; that was not our intent. As Corweyn answered for me in our DW comments, we believe a constructed, sentient being is equal to a naturally born, sentient being, etc. We don't care so much about where an entity came from as whether it's conscious, can feel, and so on.

2. The conversation on our DreamWidth gave us another question to add to the self-discovery arsenal: When in another realm outside the mind and body, such as the astral, does one's experience of being another type of being change - or is one still limited by the brain? I'd suspect that something wildly different from human would, though the experience might be incomprehensible upon return.


-Cai

"All knowledge is worth having." -Phedre no Delaunay

"Everything has a price." -Jaenelle Angelline

"I think if you try, that's being your best." -Echo
2010-01-20 18:51
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vampyre_smiles
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Post: #2
Re: What do we believe?
This is very interesting. However, I have to disagree with your definition of multiple. Then again, the system I'm part of is odd.

The only "beings" who are permanently "here" are facets of me (Teagan). The others individuals in the system have their own forms and lives elsewhere, but the headspace we have is shared. Time doesn't run equally for each body, and we seem to have varying degrees of our attachment to our individual bodies. I seem to have the most attachment to this body. I have only consciously traveled once and I shared Solaith's body. A few of the others either have strong attachments to their own bodies or simply don't come here often out of choice, but I rarely see them. Maringa has slightly less attachment than me, her brother has a bit less than her, and Domah could probably travel to any of the system's bodies if he actively chose to. But my body seems to have the most "gravity" for the other people in the system. Either that, or I personally do. For a while, Domah was even getting stuck in my dreamspace, which is normally separate for us. The others seem to be here or in their own lives. We still consider ourselves multiple because a majority of perceived time among all of us is spent "here", which may itself say something.

I'm not sure what we would be considered in your set of definitions, but I'm not saying your definition is any less clear or accurate than any other, but so far "multiple system" seem to be the best basic description my system has found. I, or one of the others, might one day find a more exact explanation, but not a more concise one and both cases would have their pros and cons.

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2010-01-20 21:25
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House Hesson
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Post: #3
Re: What do we believe?
vampyre_smiles Wrote:The only "beings" who are permanently "here" are facets of me (Teagan).

That's a median system, which falls under the broader category of plurality.

vampyre_smiles Wrote:The others individuals in the system have their own forms and lives elsewhere, but the headspace we have is shared. Time doesn't run equally for each body, and we seem to have varying degrees of our attachment to our individual bodies. I seem to have the most attachment to this body. I have only consciously traveled once and I shared Solaith's body. A few of the others either have strong attachments to their own bodies or simply don't come here often out of choice, but I rarely see them. Maringa has slightly less attachment than me, her brother has a bit less than her, and Domah could probably travel to any of the system's bodies if he actively chose to. But my body seems to have the most "gravity" for the other people in the system. Either that, or I personally do. For a while, Domah was even getting stuck in my dreamspace, which is normally separate for us. The others seem to be here or in their own lives. We still consider ourselves multiple because a majority of perceived time among all of us is spent "here", which may itself say something.

That probably falls closest to the definition of a gateway system. Timesharing does get to be a squishy factor in some cases, which (along with the desire to include medians) is part of why the community has generally shifted to using the term "plurality" as being more inclusive. This is why I used it in several instances above.

If we lived in one place for nine months out of the year and had a beach house for the other three, I'm fairly sure I know which one would get the homestead tax deduction. I'm not inclined to get into specific numbers but that kind of weighting does influence our conception of "permanent residence".

-Cai

"All knowledge is worth having." -Phedre no Delaunay

"Everything has a price." -Jaenelle Angelline

"I think if you try, that's being your best." -Echo
2010-01-21 2:26
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Post: #4
Re: What do we believe?
House Hesson Wrote:
vampyre_smiles Wrote:The only "beings" who are permanently "here" are facets of me (Teagan).

That's a median system, which falls under the broader category of plurality.

i thought "median system" was a sub-category of multiplicity? what is the difference between multiplicity and plurality? *totally lost*

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2010-01-21 9:29
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House Hesson
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Post: #5
Re: What do we believe?
kahoku Wrote:
House Hesson Wrote:
vampyre_smiles Wrote:The only "beings" who are permanently "here" are facets of me (Teagan).

That's a median system, which falls under the broader category of plurality.

i thought "median system" was a sub-category of multiplicity? what is the difference between multiplicity and plurality? *totally lost*

Now if only we'd finished our article by now...

Plurality is a term that's come into popularity within about the past year or so, to describe any body that has more than one sentient entity "full time" in it, whether fully differentiated from the others in there or not. In a median system, there's one core/host upon whom all the others depend; in a multiple system, they are all independent beings. (Sometimes it's hard to tell; we weren't sure which fit us at first.) Plural systems" is a faster way of expressing that a statement is meant to apply to both, to hybrids like a multiple system with a member who has zir own median system, and to systems whose classification is still ambiguous.

Sorry about the confusion; Cai didn't catch that that might need to go into another footnote when extracting it from our journals, where a lot of readers are already familiar with the distinctions.

-Val

"All knowledge is worth having." -Phedre no Delaunay

"Everything has a price." -Jaenelle Angelline

"I think if you try, that's being your best." -Echo
2010-01-21 10:41
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Post: #6
Re: What do we believe?
i must admit that i didn't read all of the multiplicity posts as it wasn't important for me at all until it actually affected me.

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2010-01-21 11:52
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