citrakayah: (Default)
Some people have had questions over what exactly constitutes a "personal essay," since I asked that people not submit them. This was poor phrasing on my part, I intended to discourage people from submitting works that were written in an academic tone and either about their own generalized experiences or how they thought therianthropy worked (or to make a comment about the community, or something similar). This was not intended to discourage someone from writing about something that actually happened to them.

My apologies for any confusion.
citrakayah: (Default)
The Great Werelist Art and Writing Contest of Fall 2014, which lasts from the fall equinox to the winter solstice, is now officially started. The rules are simple: You submit a piece of writing or art, and a the end of the contest period, it gets voted upon, earning you a nifty prize (we do not currently have prizes officially lined up, but we had at least one person offer to do prizes for the short contest done previously, so we should be able to officially put up prizes soon).

The theme for this contest is the way we relate to our theriotype's species. These should, preferably, not be personal essays like the ones on Project Shift or Animal Quills. While those are an important form of literature in the therian community, this contest is not designed for them.

Entries are split into two parts: visual and literary. Visual art covers anything visual, whether sculpture, masks, drawing, glassworking, or carving. Literary covers poetry and other creative writing. At the end of the period, we will have a two week voting phase conducted via anonymous poll (though if you wish, you’re welcome to state your reason for favoring a particular piece), after which the top three entries in each category will be officially acknowledged.

Entries may either be hosted offsite and linked to, or posted in their own topic (or as part of a topic you’ve made a while back for your art/writing). If you are hosting your entry offsite, to make sure we see it PM the url to either myself or Mobius. If it's put in a topic here, either PM myself or Mobius a link to the post, or add the tag “fall-2014-contest” to the topic.

Entries must be original and created during the period of this contest, though they don’t have to be done specifically for this contest (if you drew something which qualifies for some other reason, you are welcome to submit it).

This may be reposted or linked to on other sites (LiveJournal, Dreamwidth, et cetera) to gain traffic.


-- Citrakayah
citrakayah: (Default)
So, college has started. I’m taking multiple architecture courses, a biology course, and a course on speech communication. So far, the biology couse seems to be the most interesting, even if I will have to negotiate my way out of dissections. Because, if there is one thing I can’t really do, it is dissections of animals. Plants are quite fun to dissect, especially if you can laugh maniacally while doing so.

Went to Philadelphia, and met up with Mobius and Lindiel, who are awesome, at the Philadephia Zoo. Got up to various wacky adventures, ranging from establishing that ducks experience rebellious teenage years to hating Victorian architecture. Also, we are all united in a hatred of small loud children. Also in Philadelphia, discovered the wonders of pub fries with spicy ketchup, high quality gelato, and pistachio cream sauces. *licks lips* And I have found blueberry vanilla goat cheese.

Back home, my mother developed a strange obsession with canning things, which is why there are currently a whole bunch of pickling green beans. I personally doubt it will end well. I also found a whole bunch of vegetarian recipes, which I would dearly love to try cooking.

------------

Found Souls, joined, and have found it to be a great deal of fun. It’s a post-apocalyptic setting where you play a werewolf (canine changed by a virus, not a human altered—humans don’t figure in the roleplay because they’ve been almost entirely wiped out) called a Lupercai. I’m not a huge fan of the limited lifespan—Lupercai can live maybe 18 or so years at most—but you can hang around as a ghost indefinitely, so there’s that. Aside from the ability to transform, the presence of ghosts is the only magic allowed in the setting.

Haven’t gotten any writing done in a while, so roleplaying in Souls could help stimulate that. I want to get work on Spiritwalkers done, as well as expand the game world for the Pathfinder campaign. Currently on the Australia sourcebook, which has:

* a civilization that spans the entire Indo-Pacific region and rides giant turtles large enough to support entire ecosystems
* the point where life began
* cults, cults, and more cults
* references to the Inferno

I hope to also provide:

* details of Sunhill, both its people and structure
* specifics on the Apocalypse Wars
* the full text of the pact between the greatest powers of the universe that prevents them from acting directly
* a discussion on how the Australian spirit world works (I’ll have to study legends of the Dreamtime to figure this out, though it’ll be in broad strokes—but I’ve been calling Australia the Dreamlands, and Aboriginal legends are too interesting not to include in some capacity)
* hints to the Africa sourcebook, as well as the Antarctic one
* details on how raccoons got to Australia

------------

Unfortunately I haven’t been paying much attention to the news, though I have heard what happened in Ferguson, and am naturally quite disgusted. Also rather unsurprised that there are the usual apologists saying, "Oh, we don’t know what happened" (okay, I suppose that if there’s no video of the incident that may be technically true) and "He lunged at the officer and the officer shot him in self defense." Of course, police in this country are pretty much immune from real consequences of their actions.

This is why every single officer should have a body camera attached when they are working. They’d be a lot less likely to do such things if they knew they had a camera attached to them, and we’d be able to point to close up video evidence in every single case.

Which is probably why in the places that did this, incident rates dropped like a fucking stone.

------------

Joined Atlas Obscura, which is full of interesting things, ranging from a bioluminescent bay, to a bioluminescent cave, to a field of lightning rods, to an abandoned missile base, to a place where they keep a bunch of snakes in big outdoor enclosures and use them to produce antivenom. I highly recommend it, and there are even a few locations in Kirksville. Lame locations, but still locations.
citrakayah: (Default)
1. I have two thoughts at the same time. First, I love Rift. It is fun, free to play, and I am harder to kill than a mutant alien cockroach. Second, I hate Rift, it eats up so much time.

Needless to say, those two thoughts cannot both be true--well, they can, but it is dissonance--and I am currently leaning towards being rather angry at myself. Which isn't good, really... I have had a problem with getting disgusted at myself, and it doesn't feel good. Perhaps this can be used for good, but it is still... bothersome.

2. Related to that, haven't gotten to reply to a bunch of entries by other people in a while. If I suddenly show up after a month's absence to reply to an entry, that is why--it's been sitting open as a tab and I haven't gotten around to it, even though I should have.

Also I haven't uploaded what I've written for my LGBT+ history class, even though I said I would. This will be rectified shortly. (EDIT: Actually, I didn't say that, and I'm not completely sure why I thought I did. So forget that last bit.)

3. Classes have been going well, though--been getting A's and high B's. I am, by far, one of the most active student in both World Civilization II and Lesbian and Gay History discussions. And no one really seems to mind. So... moderately confident that I will continue to do well.

4. Been working on various projects. I would say that I will have the Werelist Census of 2013 done soon, but I've been saying that to myself for a few months and there's still that last bit, because I am a lazy bum.

5. I am also working on a campaign setting, with the current area being Australia. It's basically using Earth's map and biosphere--I'm using (with permission, of course) the concept presented here and running with it to create a campaign world. Seven elements, seven orbs, seven planets.

The PCs in the campaign I'm running are going to go to each continent... Australia is their starting place, and associated with the Inferno (elemental plane of fire). Next, I think, will be Asia. The acitan (albeit a tweaked and improved version) will make a major appearance in Africa, and they're already mentioned as having been involved in one of the five apocalypse events the Harbringer of the Apocalypse (a very driven, very forceful celestial) was involved with.

Oh, and did I mention that the Harbringer of the Apocalypse lost one a thousand years ago that ended in severe global climatic disruptions? Yeah, it's that kind of setting... except you don't have to sit down and take it.
citrakayah: (Default)
Back at college, and, rather ironically, that is actually less of a workload for me. Due to various factors beyond my complete control,I was unable to complete the architectural log that was due in ARC 121, so the teacher talked me into accepting an extension. I was reluctant at first because it went against my personal sense of honor, but when it's such a significant grade... well, it's easy to cave. When I have the architecture log back, I'll upload the drawings, and when it's done being graded I'll upload what essays I've written. Mostly they consist of my architectural musings on green walls, Vincent Callebaut, and how I disapprove of UAE dick-waving contests that lead to opulent, giant, sprawling cities being built in the middle of the desert to assuage the ego of a powerful ruler.

Aside from that, though, I did very well with my final grades--I got one B and the rest were A's. Naturally, my parents were rather pleased with this development. I predict I won't do as well this semester, though, because I ended up with a 400 level class... and I'm a freshman in my second semester. I mean, I'm moderately confident that I can pass, but still...

Since I had to change which architecture section I was in, I ended up having to drop out of one class, and picked another. The other class I picked was Lesbian and Gay History 4-something-or-other, which, to my surprise, means that (barring failure), I will get a minor in history this semester. Which I'm pretty sure qualifies me more than some middle school teachers I've had. Oddly, Lesbian and Gay History is GLBT+ History. Is there some rule preventing them from using acronyms? If there is, is there also a maximum character length?

Speaking of which, an academic journal on trans* studies (at least, that's what it appears to be from what I've seen) has sent out a call for academic papers. I'd like to try my paw at submitting a paper, but I really don't have the expertise, qualifications, or knowledge of the jargon--so I'd end up looking like an idiot. Beyond that, I'm not completely clear on where they're going with their idea. There's very little data, so I would be limited to finding essays that explored the concept, of which there are not many.

But hey, if someone else was planning (or is planning after reading the call) to submit a paper, I look forward to seeing it.

The Pathfinder campaign I'm running is going rather well; I've started detailing some ideas for a more exhaustive setting--with major countries, political structures, et cetera--but it helps that I've already got some information--for instance, information on a bunch of Elemental Planes--already written. And I'll probably custom-build some monsters and races. *rubs hands together* I have some very... devious... ideas.

Should be able to get many of my projects--like the Werelist Poll of 2013, a few sections of the Pokemon fanfiction, et cetera--done soon, since my workload is fairly light, at least for now. And you guys should see more of me around; I haven't commented on various people's journals (or on the Werelist) as much as I'd have liked to.

I'm also going to try to be more social IRL, which I hope ends well.

Oh, and I was beating the highest ELO debater on Debate.Org in a tournament debate, but then mysteriously five heavily conservative judges show up within five hours of each other, one of which acknowledged being contacted by my opponent and abstained because the first paragraph of my opponent's argument made him facepalm. So now I'm losing by nine points.
citrakayah: (Default)
This is from the Wanderer's Library, and you should read some of the stuff from the SCP Foundation to get what I'm talking about. Help polishing is wanted.

Related by The Shad, member of the Serpent’s Upraised Middle Finger:

Siddown, kid, and lemme tell you a fundamental truth about the Foundation.

It’s run by vultures. SCP stands for Special Carrion Procedures.

Yes, vultures! Don’t sit there with yer mouth open like a lunatic! I know, it sounds crazy, but I got it all figured out.

Oh, come on now, they wear people suits, obviously! Why, I reckon that if you took off their clothes, you could see the zipper--not that you’d want to get a skipper naked, ‘cause a skipper’s most dangerous when naked. Skippers strike when you least expect it, son.

Anyway. I reckon they’re Vulch sapiens--the wise vulture. Nasty pieces of work, them, and they’ll swear up and down that they’re really people. But they aren’t. They’re vultures.

Don’t know quite what they look like, but I reckon that they look long an’ thin, with scrawny wings--hafta be scrawny, to fit in the suit’s arms--an’ they probably have a pink wrinkly head like a buzzard. I reckon they’re cousins twice removed, them and the buzzards.

Proof? Oh, I got proof. I got proof… I got proof that’ll make you weep.

The D-Class program was where I began to figure it all out. See, I’ve got inside knowledge, and lemme tell you, the D-Class program ain’t just cruel, it’s downright stupid--well, unless you’re a vulture, I guess. There are dozens of things they use the D-Class for that they could just use those robots for. Why do they have D-Class clean out places instead of use robots for the cleaning? Why do they use D-Class to explore new places instead of robots?

Took me a while to figure it out, but finally I hit upon the truth of the matter: They’re eating the dead bodies. Oh, they type it up nice and dandy, making it sound like those D-Class just vanish, but they eat ‘em. Every last one they can. They take the ones people won’t miss, and then they put them in situations where they’ll die, and then they eat ‘em. What did you think happen to the bodies? Incineration? Burial? That’s why they gas them, too. Leaves ‘em intact for eating.

In my mind, I can see it. Dozens of vultures, their suit heads flopping against their backs, tugging at dead D-Classes with their beaks. Thousands of carcasses, all lined up as far as the eye can see. The damn skippers probably make them into damn dishes. Like D-Class fricassee. Vultures wearing chef hats.

Vultures are behind everything, sonny. And I don’t just mean Vulch sapiens. Wars, famine, disease… vultures be the ones who benefit, and they’re always there. They try to pass it off as just their nature. Don’t fool me, though. Sneaky bastards. They farm us like cattle, and we don’t even notice. We just think it’s part of life. So we’re blind to their evil.

Wherever we are, those damn birds follow. Even in the cities they swarm buildings. And lemme tell you, there are a bunch wherever the Foundation goes, spying for them. They get some carcasses too, I reckon. Probably try and negotiate for more carcasses all the time in exchange for them being spies.

Third clue: Very nature of the vultures themselves. Vultures follow me. They’re tracking me, and they’re doing it more and more since I figured it out, ‘cause I’m on to them. I mean, to some extent they follow everybody, yeah, just like I said, but they follow me more. Not just when I’m walking around in the desert, either. They follow me to the farmer’s market and hop around eating my groceries, they roost on my car and eat the wiper rubber, they sit on my lawn and eat the flowers. Damn things are trying to make me crash by eating my wipers. ‘Cause it rains down here, and it rains hard.

When they started, I knew they was on to me. So I went into my basement, and I set up my very own interrogation room. Then I went and purchased this here Taser, which I’ve used to stun every goddamn vulture I come across. Then I tie them to a chair in my interrogation room and interrogate them. So far, the damn things are loyal to the Foundation, and I haven’t managed to pry any of their vulture secrets from their beaks. I’ve tried the standard interrogation techniques, even waterboarding.

But I’ll come up with something to make them talk, at least eventually.

‘Cause vultures ain’t no match for The Shad, son.
citrakayah: (Default)
I haven’t included questions that I consider specious. What I consider specious is saying ‘that’s impossible’ without a reason why, or saying ‘you’re all delusional idiots’ without a reason why. If you want to see those refuted, look up ‘list of logical fallacies’ or ‘knee-jerk reactions’ and scroll down until you found whichever one you used.


General Questions

Q: What’s therianthropy?
A: Therianthropy is the condition (not in a medical or psychological sense, in the ‘constant state of being’ sense) of identifying on some level as a non-human animal known to science. The reasons for the identification vary wildly. In my case, it’s because the behaviors and urges of a cheetah feel utterly natural and right to me, even though I’m not yanked around on a psychological chain to fulfill them—but I know others who are yanked around like that. Identifying with a non-human animal isn’t enough; someone with a totem animal or who identifies with an animal archetype like that in legend is not a therianthrope (often shorted to therian).

Aside from that, you really aren’t going to get a universally agreed on definition of therianthropy. Hell, not everybody agrees on that definition, though most therians I know agree that it’s at least a fairly accurate descriptor. Since there’s no official dictionary definition of the word ‘therian’, and no medical consensus either, arguing the definition is rather pointless. While it’s safe to assume that that definition holds true for most, it won’t for all. When in doubt, ask.

Because a lot of therians will go on at length about what therianthropy is to them. Or have pages written about it already.

Q: What are otherkin?
A: Otherkin are similar to therians (and, depending to who you ask, are basically a larger group—from a mental and philosophical perspective, not a historical one—to whom therians belong to), but they identify as a non-existent species, usually one with spaience comparable to humans. Their experiences seem to focus more on remembered cultures (whether the cultures are actually remembered is, of course, a matter of opinion), as well as relatively alien thought processes. And when I say ‘alien’ I mean ‘right there in the uncanny valley of thought processes’. Of course, I don’t have much of an uncanny valley for thought processes, I’m trying to put my perspective more in line with that of an average human.

Not all otherkin have biological kintypes. Some have mechanical ones, and some have ones that are spirits or somehow not of any type of material origin we have here on Earth.

Q: What are fictionkin?
A: Otherkin whose kintype takes after a fictional species. They are frequently (and rather unfairly) maligned, which has a certain irony to it given that myth is a sort of fiction, and that if one takes a psychological approach to therianthropy and otherkin there’s no particular reason why they can’t exist.

Of course, many otherkin/therians don’t take a psychological perspective to the matter, which is in my opinion a bad thing if and only if they refuse to consider the possibility of a psychological perspective. The otherkin/therians that do not believe in the existence of a psychological perspective usually either do not believe in fictionkin or believe in a varient of the many-worlds theory which states that every imagined universe exists as a separate universe; ergo somewhere there are orcs running around. According to this theory souls can migrate between univerii, so it’s perfectly possible for the soul of an orc to end up in a human body. While I don’t believe in this concept, I certainly can’t disprove it, and have better things to do than to run around telling everybody who believes in something unproveable that they are incorrect. What would be the point?

Also, I shudder to think of the implications of there being a Cthluhu-universe, of a Warhammer 40k-universe.

Or a Twilight-universe.

Q: Do any fictionkin identify as specific characters from fiction?
A: I know for sure of only two who do; they’ll remain anonymous unless they specifically say I can mention them by name. Both a members of multiple systems… for one (who doesn’t quite fit with my generalized answer) the system is a clearly defined one with headmates, and the other one is in a median system.

As I generally understand it, specific-character fictionkin find the fact that they identify as a specific character a mildly uncomfortable one. Given Rule 34 (if it exists, there is porn of it), and the fact that the creators of a character are free to do all sorts of horrible things to that character, and very likely will, and the sheer ‘weirding-out’ factor I imagine is somewhat inherent in finding this character from fiction that has so many obvious similarities that you just can’t ignore them, I find this more than understandable.

They aren’t carbon copies of the characters, mind. Otherkin and therianthropes aren’t carbon-copies of their types either, thus the same applies to fictionkin. I am not going to be urinating on playtrees anytime soon, thank you very much, and I am and always will be a vegetarian. Like us, though, specific-character fictionkin find the similarities too obvious to ignore or hand-wave away.

You can, as always, argue cause until heat death sets in and elementary particles are the only thing floating around. No amount of arguing, however, will change the fact that these people do exist, which makes the controversy that sometimes surrounds them rather absurd.

Q: Do therians and otherkin have any unifying religious/spiritual beliefs?
A: No. I myself am an atheist who seems to lack the capacity to believe in the supernatural. I know of many other atheistic therians and otherkin, including those who don’t believe in anything supernatural.

Among those who do believe in the supernatural, religion varies wildly. I know a Catholic therian, a fire worshipping feline, a bunch of neopagans, several Jews, and one or two Muslim therians. I’d estimate maybe ~60% pagan/neopagan, ~20% atheist/agnostic, and ~20% Judeo-Christian.

Relatively few are social conservatives, though, in my experience. In part this is probably because I spend most of my time on the Werelist, where the helpstaff is mainly non-heterosexual, transgender, or both.

Q: Why?
A: No one has any idea why we’re the way we are—or, at least, no one has any idea that isn’t simply speculation. Hypothesises range from imprinting to reincarnation to something related to autism. But ultimately, we don’t know. We may never know in our lifetimes, though I expect that won’t be the case. But even if we do know for some, we probably won’t know for all, and in a similar vein we can’t disprove the non-empirical explanations. We can prove that they aren’t necessary, but we can’t prove they aren’t true.

And if someone says they do know, absolutely know, and say that you should believe them, they are badly mistaken. Some individuals do hold bizarre creedal notions, where one has to have X metaphysical quality to be a therian or otherkin. I have never seen such individuals offer a shred of logic or reasoning behind this dogmatic exclusionary policy—and I expect that their reasoning is mostly circular.

On Theriotype/Kintype

Q: Many animals have similar behaviors. How does one differentiate between similar species?
A: The default answer is rather simple—one doesn’t. There are cladotherians (therians whose theriotype is a clade), and when you get into theriotypes such as ‘moth’… I’ve never seen someone say ‘moth’ and then say ‘Madagascan sunset moth’.

I attribute it to a rather simple fact: Some clades have more obvious behavioral diversity than others. For example, coyotes have different behaviors than wolves, which have different behaviors than dogs, which have different behaviors than maned wolves. But if one examines weevil species, scientists have to use their genitalia to tell them apart (and still can’t agree). A layperson is not going to be able to tell the difference behaviorally, or even accounting for phantom limbs, between two similar species of weevil.

Q: Why are most therians wolves? Wouldn’t this indicate some sort of wish-fulfillment?
A: This is actually two questions, and I’ll answer each in turn.

Firstly, we don’t know that there are actually more wolves (and the surveys I’ve seen done on the Werelist don’t indicate ‘most’ therians being wolves; about as many are felines of some sort, and there are a bunch of oddballs including dolphins, otters, a salamander, a sea slug, fruit bats, various assorted canines, a thylacine, and avians). We just know that there are more in the online communities we have access to; I highly suspect that the actual number of therians is far higher than the number of online therians, and has a more even distribution of species. The first part is fairly uncontroversial; while [I recall Laycock estimating the size of the community at about a few thousand], most therians/otherkin speak English, simply because the communities were started by English speakers. Who knows how many therians/otherkin there are that speak Chinese, Swahili, Arabic, Russian, or even Spanish? Most therians and otherkin would agree that one doesn’t have to know the term therian or otherkin to be a therian or otherkin.

Hell, they could even have parallel communities.

It’s also important to remember that wolves are fairly social beings. They may simply have a greater urge to be with those like them than some other theriotypes. Another possibility is that wolves are closer to humans in behavior, so it takes less of a deviation from the norm to be a wolf therian (this also works from the point of view of identity). And, of course, therianthropy is subjective to a small degree just like species is. Moreso, in fact, because there are even fewer perfect little species boundaries for behavior and human concepts than there are for DNA and anatomy. Sometimes it's distinct enough to draw a definitive conclusion, sometimes it isn't. Those it isn't very exact for often refer to themselves as cladotherians.

Second... which came first, the chicken or the egg? Who's to say that the reason a wolf therian was so obsessed with wolves wasn't because, after all, they identified with them and shared some of their behavioral traits?

Q: Could therians have been influenced by pets?
A: Quite possibly. I myself have lived with cats my entire life, and I’m a cheetah therian. But this can’t completely explain therianthropy; I’ve met dolphin therians and I’m unaware of anyone who has pet dolphins. For that matter, cheetahs are noticeably different in behavior than domestic cats—for example, in prey selection and social structure. So something else is clearly going on. Doesn’t mean we aren’t influenced by pets, just means it isn’t the only thing making us therians.

Q: Do therians/otherkin want to alter their bodies?
A: Depends. I don’t particularly (though I wouldn’t mind having retractable claws), but some do, because they have some sort of body dysmorphia (and this comparison isn’t just made by me, it’s made by people who have gender dysmorphia), so they would see a value in altering their morphology. Obviously they wouldn’t be able to go all the way in all cases (for example, there’s really no way a sea slug therian is going to be able to shrink their body down to the size of a sea slug), and different therians/otherkin would have different levels of desire to change their body. Many have no urge to alter their body.

Since there’s no good rational reason not to allow this, and a clear benefit to be gained by allowing it, the rational thing is to allow it. The only arguments I’ve seen against morphological freedom are appeals to emotion and/or tradition, the belief that it is immoral to change one’s body once one has gotten it, and the belief that we would all turn into the Borg or Cthulhu if we allowed it. None of those I consider convincing. Obviously it would have to be a regulated field; that doesn’t mean it should be outright banned.

Q: To what extent do therians/otherkin act out their urges?
A: Depends. Even for a given therian/otherkin, level of control can vary—mine is much lower when I’m in pain (thankfully I don’t find most static electricity all that painful), or irritated, or exhausted. It also depends on personal preference and the surrounding environment. When we’re alone, or with those who understand and accept us for our therianthropy/otherkin-ness, we can let it out more. Because if I acted out my feline urges in public, I would most likely be ostracized and have little men in white lab coats show up.

That may change, eventually, and given that I refuse on ideological grounds to defend society’s norms if they don’t make rational sense, I would be quite delighted to see such a change. And the norms of society often do not make rational sense; a restriction on therianthropic/otherkin behavior is (in the vast majority of cases) simply unjustified in a rational argument, and lies on appeal to tradition and appeal to emotion. Both of these things are lousy arguments, each of which can be used to defend actions that a rational person would consider horrific.

My view isn’t universally popular, of course.

Q: Why do therians/otherkin remain in the shadows?
A: Two primary reasons, ignoring that many therian and otherkin symbols would only be obvious to people with prior knowledge.

First, because almost every single time we’ve ever tried to make ourselves more popularly known, or even allowed it to happen, it comes back to tweak our tail in some way. Most of this can firmly be blamed on the media sensationalizing us; they are relentless, and I know of people who truthfully decided that it would be best to strategically give in to the assholes. Our forums have repeatedly been stalked by ZigZag (after being told to buzz off multiple times), some idiots who were going to put us in the same category as BDSM practitioners for shock value, and various other individuals trying to interview us. Most of the time we’ve been able to at least mitigate the damage.

Second, because a lot of people actually do hate us. Given human predilections for going after that which is perceived as deviant, it really isn’t that much of a stretch to say that being outed as a therian (especially if one took a spiritual/religious view of it) would really suck. The experiences of some minors when their (fundamentalist Christian) parents found out tends to back this idea, as have the experiences of a few others who were outed to larger groups.

Eventually this may no longer be the case. I hope it is fairly soon.

On Science

Q: Can therianthropy/otherkin be disproven?
A: Sort of.

It’s easy enough to disprove the notion that humans can have behaviors of other species that aren’t normally human behaviors, at least on a conceptual level. It isn’t going to happen, because it’s a completely ridiculous notion (taking into account everything we know about human psychology), but it could be done on a conceptual level. In a similar vein, you could show that therians/otherkin are externally the same as the general populace. But I don’t expect that to happen either.

It’s impossible, on the other hand, at least with current technology, to reach into someone’s brain and tell them that they aren’t experiencing things that they think they are (and that gets into the question of to what extent believing one is experiencing something can make one experience it—placebo effect and all). And matters of identity aren’t really things you can disprove with current technology either.

Q: Can therianthropy make predictions about ethology?
A: No. If therianthropy is due to psychological/neurological reasons, there’s fairly little reason for accurate predictions to be able to be made regarding ethology—there’s no mechanism ‘transplanting’ behaviors from animals to humans.

If therianthropy was due to spiritual reasons, even leaving aside the innately non-scientific nature of it, therians are not carbon-copies of their theriotypes. There would, I imagine, be blending, and telling which behaviors were the product of blending would require technology that bordered into magitech.

In the event that this was proven to be incorrect, then therianthropy would even stranger than it already is. And it is very strange.

Q: What if therianthropy/otherkin had differing causes, even among themselves?
A: So?

It doesn’t matter. What unites us isn’t that we have a certain mutation, that we imprinted on a different species, or any of the other hypothesises of how we came to be. What unites us is a set of common underlying experiences. That’s what’s important. My peers—I don’t care how they came to be what they are. What matters is that they are now.

If a group of people had experiences that were basically the same as Asberger’s syndrome (or any of various other neurological/psychological conditions like syntheasia, dissociation, antisocial personality disorder, PTSD, et cetera), but had n different fundamental causes, they’d be unlikely, in my opinion, to arbitrarily separate themselves into n different communities based on the fundamental cause. There wouldn’t be much point—they’d almost certainly have to cope with the same problems in everyday life, the same unique experiences that give them a unique outlook, et cetera.

On The Community

Q: Is it just me, or are most therians non-gender conforming, non-heterosexual, or both?
A: While I haven’t seen formal studies, I highly suspect it is not just you. A substantial minority are transgender, far more than the percentage you’d normally expect. Same with bisexual, homosexual, asexual, pansexual, et cetera therians.

Why these unusual numbers? Well, it does seem to me to back the views of some therians that it’s related to some sort of abnormal ‘mental wiring’; the number of therians that are transgender would seem to further this notion. As far as sexual orientation… that is difficult to say. It may be that sexual orientation is somehow influenced by therianthropy—most animals aren’t exclusively heterosexual.

Q: Why do so many therians write essays?
A: Can’t know for sure, but I think a variety of factors are at play here. Before getting into details, though, it’s important to recognize that not everybody does. I know many who haven’t; they simply haven’t felt any particular need to. That aside, it does seem like an unusual number do, even accounting for those (like me) who write a large amount of material.

First, as I mentioned in the first question, not all therians mean the same thing when they’re talking about therianthropy. I don’t mean the same thing as many other people I know. In part that’s because our explanations differ, but it’s also because our experiences differ. Take me, for instance. I have ironclad control over most of my behaviors. I have free will, and could theoretically choose to never express a therianthropic behavior again (with perhaps the exception of snarling when in pain). Now, this would suck. Cheetah behaviors feel right and natural to me; doing them makes me feel happy and fulfilled, and I have an urge to do some of them. Don’t know why, but I do. And I have the same amount of control over pretty much everything. Even some of my emotions.

Other therians don’t have the same control I do. So if we’re going to understand each other, we need to explain how our therianthropy expresses itself, and how we and it interact. Knowledge breeds understanding, at least in this instance. It also breeds peace and tranquility; how many arguments could be avoided if both parties truly understood what the other one was saying?

Second, it may well be a cultural norm. Most therian websites include such personal essays, and I know of many forums that have places set aside for posting them. And many of the more prominent therians and otherkin in the online community have written personal essays of some sort; one might consider it some sort of tradition. In part that tradition is probably due to the fact that at various times, various ideas have not been well-received in the therian/otherkin communities, so they provide a sort of ‘record’ of people who are no longer around and actively participating in discussions as frequently as some of the rest of us.

At the same time, as Akhila pointed out when I brought up this point, it can’t only be a case of a social reward. Over the years, various members of the therian community have become socially withdrawn from the main social groups (the Werelist, Wulf Howl, Therianthropy.org, the Weresource, et cetera), and continue to write essays. Nor is there a punishment; most therianthropes don’t write personal essays, and there is no shame or loss of face associated with not having written them.

[. . .] it is more of an internet widespread practice. Like other subcultures, we do like to keep records of our own history, tracks of what has happened or has been said. Moreover, there is a specific motivation to develop resources for self-help (hence the large number of FAQ and other guides). This is because we have specific needs that are unmet in the outside world (like, finding peers). And lastly, there may be a minority of individuals who want to establish themselves as important voices in the community (gain of social status). From what I’ve seen for the past decade, I think these are the main reasons for the establishment of personal websites in the therian community.


-- Akhila (used with permission)

Objections

Q: Aren’t you delusional?
A: A delusion is a perception that is demonstratively wrong. While a very, very few therians/otherkin hold to genetic causes for their status as such, the vast majority either hold to psychological or untestable spiritual hypothesises. For the most part, the psychological hypothesises given boil down to ‘we’re weird’.

So, to answer this with a question: Can you demonstrate that I am not weird in the way I have described (If you immediately were thinking ‘he has the burden of proof’, see below.)? If not, I suggest you come up with another argument. If so, I eagerly await your explanation of how you are, from an Internet connection, able to psychoanalyze me, what your qualifications for doing so are, and what color shirt I am wearing.

Q: But you don’t have any proof…
A: Not in the scientific sense, no. But we aren’t asking for you to believe us so much as not harass us. There is a difference. I don’t particularly care what you think. I do care what you do, and what you say. No, we can’t prove scientifically that we exist, yet. No one’s done a survey of therians and otherkin and shown that we behave in the ways we say. But it isn’t that much of a stretch to say it’s possible (given that there are people who behave like animals and not at all like humans known as clinical lycanthropes, it’s fairly reasonable to say that perhaps there are people who behave in the way we do), and so we ask for your courtesy.

It really isn’t that much to ask you not to insult us.

Q: But you’re dangerous to young people!
A: That isn’t a question. That’s an exclamatory sentence.

Q: But you’re dangerous to young people, right?
A: The general philosophy behind this question, near as I’ve been able to determine, is that therians/otherkin are basically engaged in some sort of fantasy delusion world, and also will give people bad advice. Let’s deal with each in turn.

Firstly, this is not a ‘fantasy’. We are saying that we are odd. Some individuals have complicated explanations for why we are odd, but these for the most part follow their own logic, aren’t known to be blatantly false, and also don’t wreck the lives of the people who believe them, so I don’t care. I have no reason to; I only care when they start arguing that other people should believe as they do, or when I find their explanations interesting enough. I see little reason anyone else should, unless they believe that any irrationality is bad, period.

Second, the episodes of bad advice. Yes, it sometimes happens. Someone in the therian/otherkin communities gives someone really fucking stupid advice. This also happens in literally every other subgroup of people, except the subgroup called ‘people who don’t give other people really fucking stupid advice, ever’, which is a ridiculously small group. We try to police our own, and make sure people don’t get away with telling vulnerable individuals to do bad things, just like every other community. I am also unaware of any actual evidence that the problem of bad advice is more widespread in the therian/otherkin communities than in any other community.

Q: What about all the ex-therians/otherkin?
A: When I’ve heard about these individuals, they were usually harassed until they renounced their identity; I recall one individual saying something along the lines that she knew someone who was ‘quite rightly’ harassed for their identity as otherkin until they renounced it. There’s a reasonable conclusion here, and it’s not that therians/otherkin are somehow ‘faking it’ (where, I must iterate again, ‘it’ is ‘being odd’), it’s that a few individuals were bullied to the point where they only felt safe by renouncing their identity.

Even if they are genuine, given something as diverse as therianthropy/otherkin, I don’t doubt that there’s more than one cause. Perhaps they were able to somehow train themselves out of therianthropic/otherkin behaviors (and it would be training—you don’t magically snap your fingers and eliminate behavioral trends), and somehow eliminate therianthropic/otherkin urges. Doesn’t mean all of us can—and given that rearranging your mind can be expected to have nasty side-effects, at least for a time, besides being a great amount of trouble, I see little point in doing so.

All the ex-therians/ex-otherkin I’ve seen are either claimed and not actually shown to exist or people both illogically and rudely ‘suggesting’ (i.e. irritating anyone who won’t block them) that because they turned out to be wrong, all of us are wrong as a result. Same thing with ex-multiples. Whether these individuals are aware that not only are they not the center of the universe, but that the idea of ‘prove one person wrong about them having it, prove everybody wrong about having it’ would result in cancer, hemophilia, autism, Asberger’s syndrome, the common cold, antisocial personality disorder, obesity, and every sexual orientation (ever) not existing.

Generally these people seem to suggest that science and/or religion says that therianthropy/otherkin is impossible… despite the fact that I’m unaware of any compelling arguments in regards to science, and my response to the religious angle is the same as my response to any religious individual trying to force it on others.

I also like to note that there are therian scientists and (local) religious leaders. While this doesn’t by itself prove anything, it certainly does suggest that these individuals found no contradiction between therianthropy and science or religion, respectively. I’m aware, of course, of the ability of humans to hold two opinions on a matter at once (as well as the fact that this is borderline appeal to authority), but consider the fact relevant enough to mention nonetheless.
citrakayah: (Default)
Definition of therianthropy fixed… I hope.

Q: What’s therianthropy?
A: Therianthropy is the condition (not in a medical or psychological sense, in the ‘constant state of being’ sense) of identifying on some level as a non-human animal. The reasons for the identification vary wildly. In my case, it’s because the behaviors and urges of a cheetah feel utterly natural and right to me, even though I’m not yanked around on a psychological chain to fulfill them—but I know others who are yanked around like that.

Aside from that, you really aren’t going to get a universally agreed on definition of therianthropy. Hell, not everybody agrees on that definition, though most therians I know agree that it’s at least a fairly accurate descriptor. Since there’s no official dictionary definition of the word ‘therian’, and no medical consensus either, arguing the definition is rather pointless. While it’s safe to assume that that definition holds true for most, it won’t for all. When in doubt, ask.

Because a lot of therians will go on at length about what therianthropy is to them. Or have pages written about it already.

Q: What are otherkin?
A: Otherkin are similar to therians (and, depending to who you ask, are basically a larger group—from a mental and philosophical perspective, not a historical one—to whom therians belong to), but they identify as a non-existent species, usually one with sapience comparable to humans. Their experiences seem to focus more on remembered cultures (whether the cultures are actually remembered is, of course, a matter of opinion), as well as relatively alien thought processes. And when I say ‘alien’ I mean ‘right there in the uncanny valley of thought processes’. Of course, I don’t have much of an uncanny valley for thought processes, I’m trying to put my perspective more in line with that of an average human.

Not all otherkin have biological kintypes. Some have mechanical ones, and some have ones that are spirits or somehow not of any type of material origin we have here on Earth.


Allati, I need your input on this.

Q: Do any fictionkin identify as specific characters from fiction?
A: I know for sure of only one who does; they’ll remain anonymous unless they specifically say I can mention them by name. They’re also a member of a multiple system and find the fact that they’re so like this character from fiction incredibly disturbing; I’ve heard other fictionkin who didn’t identify as a specific character echo this thought. Nor are they a carbon-copy of the character; they just find the similarities too obvious—and unnerving—to ignore.


Naturally, if anyone has any suggestions for topics I should bring up in the Q&A, or wants to contribute something, I’m open. This shouldn’t just be my view of everything.


I wrote some new poetry.

I walk alone.
A figure in the baking desert,
Distorted by heat.
Staring straight ahead,
I am on a solitary trek.
Sun beats down from overhead,
Making cracks in the landscape of my mind.
And making my eyes water
Despite my tearmarks.

I know not how long I have walked,
Nor my destination,
Or even my origin.
Only the journey can be known.
Pawprints stretch back for miles,
Distinct despite the hard ground.
But still, they seem to waver,
And even if I wanted to,
I could not retrace my steps.

Where am I?
Where have I been?
What am I?
What was I?
What am I becoming?
Do I even move?
Or does the world itself shift around me?
Am I going in circles?
Am I even going anywhere?

As I walk, I change.
Protrusions form, dark vast spiky things,
Then vanish into dust blown by a phantom wind.
Metal and gears shimmer across my body,
Finally disappearing into heat mirage.
My very self fades,
Then blazes like a supernova.
And then it fades again.
My essence warps.



Currently working on an art trade with Kisota. She does a reference sheet of Plant Cheetah, and I do a story featuring SOLAR KISOOOO. Aside from that, I’m working on Dunes of the Variforms (my science fiction book), several stories for the Wanderer’s Library (one involving Robert Griffon, the Man With A Tertiary Neuron Cluster In His Armpit; one involving the Albania Incident; and a few files involving Legacy, the anomalous wildlife sanctuary)—for those who don’t know, that’s a spin-off of the SCP Foundation.
citrakayah: (Default)
What do people think of this?




I haven’t included questions that I consider specious. What I consider specious is saying ‘that’s impossible’ without a reason why, or saying ‘you’re all delusional idiots’ without a reason why. You want to see those refuted, look up ‘list of logical fallacies’ and scroll down until you found whichever one you used.


General Questions )

On Theriotype/Kintype )

On Science )

On the Community )
citrakayah: (Default)
They've got no age restriction. I'm overjoyed.
citrakayah: (Default)
I would have posted this earlier, but I was in Chicago and didn’t have much time to write. So when I refer to ‘this year’ I mean 2011, and when I refer to ‘next year’ I mean 2012.

---

It’s been a rather heady year, I suppose, both in a political sense and a personal sense. I’ve joined new communities, strengthened my social links, improved my grades a bit, created quite a few intellectual accomplishments, dedicated more spare time to various communities and causes, and got rather excited about the growing protests. I’ve felt, I suppose, slightly more optimistic about the state of the world, or at least its future state. At the same time, I’m not blind. I know very well that with Section D of the NDAA, the indefinite detention of whistleblowers, Citizen’s United, etc. we of the United States live in a country that is and has been for too long on the brink. And other countries aren’t always doing better, at least not that much better. Corporations continue to rake in monstrous profits, legislators continue to attach horrible things to budget bills (and not just Section D, look at wolf delisting), the media still only cares about ratings... it’s awful here, take it from me. And part of the reason it’s so awful is that so many people are blindly convinced that we’re exceptional, or yak about how the fact that we have it better than, say, the DRC means we shouldn’t still strive to do better.

But there’s hope, and I’m rather pleased to state that my more in-depth involvement with the online community, especially the therian/otherkin one and the friends I have here, tell me that I’m not alone. Even if many of the people who agree with me are on the other side of the Pacific or Atlantic, it gives me some hope.


It’s been a good year for writing. I wrote two essays, Motionless Claws and Kin, that dealt with therianthropy, and one essay here that I promised I’d write, didn’t write for a really long time, and finally produced in a day or so while half-asleep (this is a theme throughout my work). I wrote many poems, all of which are here, and started Music of the Spheres and started writing on the Wanderer’s Library. I wrote the Extinction Chronicles. Preferably I’ll get significantly more done next year, both in reference to essays (mostly philosophical and therianthropic) and in reference to poetry and short stories. And I’ll revise an old essay.

I don’t recall exactly how much I’ve got done in the realm of visual art. I know I’ve finished several pieces for art class that I’m not displeased with, that I did some macro photography over the summer, and that I’m pretty sure that I did the spiraling batik watercolor this year. Much of what I’ve done isn’t online because my scanner is tiny, but I should be able to combine segments into a complete image. Or label small sections ‘close-ups’. I’ll probably finish the oil painting I’m working on next year, and during the summer of course I’ll be taking many photographs and doing some photomanipulation.

I haven’t gotten done nearly as many science projects as I’d like, and by that I mean I’m pretty sure that my total is nada. The only one that I have gotten anything done on, the bioluminescent algae, may well have failed utterly. Unless one counts growing plants as a science project, in which case that’s doing quite well. Next year I’ll be in the West for long periods, and I should be able to do something during that period.


I’ve strengthened my social ties quite a bit, though many of them are online. And a few people I haven’t seen for quite a while online have been being active again recently, though there is one who I used to talk to often but has drifted away. Still, I know she’s alright.
citrakayah: (Default)
Watched Santa vs. the Devil Friday, and it was so bad it was good. But it gets better, oh so much better! See, Hecklevision was on, and so people could text snarky comments to the screen. If I can, I’ll copy and paste some of the comments, but here are some highlights as I remember them:

[as Santa is playing the organ at the beginning and having children from different countries sing and dance]
It’s a small racist world after all. [after the China sequence- there were some rather unfortunate stereotypes]
Nice eyebrow work, there, Santa.
Is this guy going to go through the whole UN? [after ten minutes of this]
When is the plot going to start?
And now from the country of South America!

[as Santa is reading list of gifts that includes ‘nuclear laboratory’ ‘machine gun’ and ‘rocket’]
This kid is from Tehran.
Santa is an arms dealer.
[as Santa reads a letter from a kid saying that he wants a baby brother] Santa has ways of making baby brothers.

[as Pitch is making the doorknob heat up] Satan uses Ember! It’s supereffective!
[as Santa shoots Pitch in the rear with a fake cannon] Santa uses Feint Attack! It’s supereffective! Satan loses 5 health points!

[as Santa tells a kid that he has ways of making him happy] I have ways of making you ‘happy’.

***

Off the topic of perverted Santas, I have just turned in an essay on the link between environmentalism and the counterculture/hippie movement, and how the two interacted. That took many days of concentrated work, during which I got almost nothing done on Music of the Spheres. Should have another one of Blaze’s segments done by midweek, though. And I’ll move all of my fiction under a seperate filter, and revise ‘Searching for Tomorrow’, a story set in the TomorrowLands.

For English I have to read and do literary analysis of a piece of American that must be approved by the teacher. He expects me to do ‘a great classic’. I do not like the ‘great classics’ of American literature, because I find them rather dull. But my parents do not approve of this.
citrakayah: (Default)
As I’m writing this, I am totally psyched out. Not only is it night- and I’m always psyched at night- I have just finished reading a bit about the Beat Generation. To those of you who know me very well: My reaction is exactly what you think it is. To those who don’t: Intense feeling of solidarity, inspiration, vigoration, and desire for emulation. Some of my writing, I suppose, already takes after some elements of beat literature.

Of course, my poetry isn’t as good. But I think that as I learn more about the Beats they’ll become a definite influence on my work. Just reading even the bit I already have makes my writing instincts itch.

Which brings me to another point: instincts. That’s what my writing is usually about. Transformation. Therianthropy. Being feral. Being Other. To hell with writing about the human condition. I’m not quite human. Hell, is anyone quite human? What the hell does the term even mean, ‘human’ and ‘human condition’? And don’t say it means ‘member of the species Homo sapiens’, while that’s right and the type of answer I might give out, I mean in a more metaphorical and philosophical sense. And I don’t think anybody has a straight answer, at least not one that’s universally true.

I can’t think of a single thing I’ve written that doesn’t at least touch on transformation, therianthropy, being feral, being Other. Even what I’ve written for the Wanderer’s Library all has elements of therianthropy and being Other in it. Walmajarri is the obvious example, but the skinwalkers in ‘Skinwalkers’ are entities warped by a foul variety of magic into killing machines- and importantly, one can emphasize with them. They don’t want to be the way they are. They’re practically infants. They just... are.

I don’t want to be another Beat, but I do want to emulate some parts of them.


The Therian News Network still isn’t up. Tried emailing Solomon. Doesn’t work. Or, rather, he hasn’t responded yet. And I emailed him a week or two ago.
citrakayah: (Default)
I am in Pittsburg visiting my grandmother. I really do like Pittsburg.

I've started work on 'And I was Present At the Death of a God', and it is turning out awesomely. I think, anyway. I've also started reading a book on rewilding, and will probably post a response eventually.

Also, the Internet here? It sucks. Big time.

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Citrakāyaḥ

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