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Otherkin: A Short Introduction.

By reklaw in Culture
Fri May 23, 2003 at 04:09:55 AM EST
Tags: Culture (all tags)
Culture

I have heard a lot recently about Otherkin (aka Fae, Fairths, Metahumans) -- those who believe that they are spiritually or physically other than human. It might surprise you to know that whole communities have built up around these kinds of beliefs.


Now, just to get this out of the way, I'm not Otherkin myself. However, I have a friend who is, and so I decided to do a little research.

The Awakening

First off, non-humanity (at least spiritually) is the core belief of Otherkin. By far the most common seems to be the belief that they are a creature from mythology, like a dragon or an elf, although aliens and normal animals can be included. Otherkin from races who haven't been found before or don't exist in reality or fiction are welcomed as unique.

These beliefs fall into two categories: those who believe that they are a non-human in a human's body (spiritual Otherkin) and those who believe that they actually are non-human, and just their appearance is just a Seeming -- an illusion to protect them. The Awakening is the name given to the realisation that one is not human (and so was a Sleeper), and it can take anywhere from a few days to years. Otherkin who had a very quick Awakening often describe it as unpleasant. There is a general consensus that people who Awakened Otherkin believe to be Sleepers should be given information but not forced in any way.

Beliefs

Beliefs in the Otherkin community are a lot wider than you would expect. Bear in mind that hardly any Otherkin share all of these beliefs -- most have a mixture.

Often, Otherkin believe that they are from another world or place in the universe, and feel like they don't belong on Earth. This is known as Yearning. They often find speak a unique language from this homeworld, and may believe that they lived out a past life on it. These past life memories are another key belief, and the main cause of that pain during an Awakening -- essentially, the memories they discover might be unpleasant, perhaps even memories of dying or worse. Otherkin often keep diaries during their Awakening and after documenting any memories they might have. Another frequent belief is the True-Form, which is a 'real' body outside of the Seeming. For example, a dragon Otherkin will have wings, and will be able to feel them as a sort of aura, and perhaps see them. Otherkin with the Sight are said to be able to see the True-Form of themselves or others, even those who are still Sleeping. Interestingly, some Otherkin feel RPG-style Callings, for example to Heal or to Guard a specific person or just everyone, and will devote their lives to doing just that.

Although most Otherkin appear not to believe in special abilities, many do. These could include being able to make contact with the spirit-world (Channel), as well as being an Empath, one who is able to feel the emotions of others without either needing to speak. A minority believe that they are Multiples who Host a number of different spirits, and may hear one or more of them at once when trying to decide on what to do at a given moment. They often report heated debates taking place, as well as calmer philosophical discussions.

Who and Why?

This is a thorny one. Since being Otherkin is such a non-standard belief and generally isn't accepted (or even known of) by society, many Otherkin spend most of their lives being told that they are insane, and wondering if it is true.

If you speak to many Otherkin on the Internet, you may find that they have been put on anti-depressants, or are lonely. The Otherkin community can help fight this feeling of loneliness by giving them similar people to talk to. There is also, at least among some, a feeling of superiority, and that normal humanity is beneath them. However, in my opinion, calling Otherkin delusional or insane is obviously highly disrespectful, and their beliefs are no more or less valid than any other.

It is true that Otherkin are more common among those who read a lot of fantasy or sci-fi stories, and also those who already have a belief in Paganism or Wicca, and New Age practices like Reiki. Many adult Otherkin actually make a living as Reiki practioners or similar. The argument here goes both ways -- it is true that people like this are more prone to an Awakening, but couldn't this be simply because they are more open-minded?

Resources

Otherkin FAQ
What the heck's an Otherkin? (Warning: Pop-ups)
How do I tell someone that I'm Otherkin?
Otherkin at MSN Communities
Society > People > Otherkin in the Google Directory

Sponsors

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Related Links
o Google
o Otherkin FAQ
o What the heck's an Otherkin?
o How do I tell someone that I'm Otherkin?
o Otherkin at MSN Communities
o Society > People > Otherkin in the Google Directory
o Also by reklaw


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Otherkin: A Short Introduction. | 407 comments (388 topical, 19 editorial, 0 hidden)
Eww. (4.41 / 24) (#2)
by Kasreyn on Thu May 22, 2003 at 12:38:19 AM EST

Awakening? Seeming? Yearning? Blech. Sounds like something badly ripped-off from a White Wolf RPG. You know, those Creature: The Something books.

Reminds me of these modern-day Wiccans, trying to feel cool by resurrecting a dead religion and adding all sorts of goth and pop culture junk to it. I mean, yes, everyone with a brain has to go through their anti-Christianity phase before they can settle down into adult agnosticism. But couldn't they pick a more sensible way to childishly rebel, like atheism?

I know one guy who's convinced he's a Dragon. (He's also into Wicca and angst-ridden goth TV like "Angel", not surprisingly). He's also done more LSD than anyone I've ever met before, and recently had a drunken orgy, got naked, had conversations with his hallucinations, imagined he was turning into a dragon, and smashed up all 3 of his TV remotes with a baseball bat in the bathroom.

His psychosis is not, I am sure, indicative of all the weirdos who aren't comfortable with being human. But all the same, I try to avoid them all I can; if a person is irrational enough to truly (not jokingly) believe they're a "vampire", they're probably irrational enough to do any goddam crazy thing.


-Kasreyn


"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
True (4.62 / 8) (#39)
by President Saddam on Thu May 22, 2003 at 03:09:47 AM EST

The only people I've known who believed they had special powers were somewhat drug fucked.

This goes back to primitive tribes - the shamans of who believed that they had "special powers" were probably just licking the right kinds of frog...

Another thing is that the christian saints who had vivid religious images have been shown to beactually suffering from temporal lobe epilepsy.

---
Allah Akbar
[ Parent ]

Same here! (5.00 / 3) (#109)
by LilDebbie on Thu May 22, 2003 at 03:41:45 PM EST

That is, suffering from epilepsy (cryptogenic, for added mystery). Do date I haven't had images per se, but I have had moments of what I can only describe as supernatural enlightenment (okay, I lied, I have seen one angel, but only one!). The crux of the matter is that I'm freakishly rational, so there's some conflict with this "divine realizations" if you will. In order to maintain sanity, I tuck these events into my "occluded experiences" folder; stuff that I remember happening but don't really acknowledge on a rational level.

My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

[ Parent ]
What special powers? (4.00 / 3) (#219)
by tyshadragon on Fri May 23, 2003 at 02:21:40 PM EST

Maybe they were but a lot of otherkin don't believe they have special powers, and I do believe we are discussing otherkin, not drug users, here.

I am fully aware of what my host body is capable of, as are most other 'kin. We don't believe we are Superman just because we used to be able to fly!

Tysha

[ Parent ]

*sigh* I hate closed-minded people (3.44 / 9) (#218)
by tyshadragon on Fri May 23, 2003 at 02:17:54 PM EST

"I know one guy who's convinced he's a Dragon. (He's also into Wicca and angst-ridden goth TV like "Angel", not surprisingly). He's also done more LSD than anyone I've ever met before, and recently had a drunken orgy, got naked, had conversations with his hallucinations, imagined he was turning into a dragon, and smashed up all 3 of his TV remotes with a baseball bat in the bathroom.

His psychosis is not, I am sure, indicative of all the weirdos who aren't comfortable with being human. But all the same, I try to avoid them all I can; if a person is irrational enough to truly (not jokingly) believe they're a "vampire", they're probably irrational enough to do any goddam crazy thing."

Hate to burst your bubble, but taking the actions of one person and applying it to a group really doesn't work out.

I am a dragon, I currently share a body with a human host. I, however, have never done LSD, had a drunken orgy, had conversations with his hallucinations, imagined I was turning into a dragon, or smashed up my TV remotes with a baseball bat in the bathroom! I will admit to getting naked though, its the best way to take a bath.

My friends and family don't see me as being irrational, or abnormal, and yes, most of them know I'm a dragon.

Tysha

[ Parent ]

Just curious.. (5.00 / 5) (#233)
by rasmoh on Fri May 23, 2003 at 05:10:46 PM EST

.. but when you say you are a dragon, what is it that makes you one?  

How are you different from any other person?  

You say you are in a human host at present, so have there been times when you were not?

'Twas the pride of the peaches.
[ Parent ]

Re: Just curious.. (3.00 / 5) (#236)
by tyshadragon on Fri May 23, 2003 at 05:45:04 PM EST

".. but when you say you are a dragon, what is it that makes you one?"

Being born one.

"How are you different from any other person?"

I want to reply with, how are you different from your neighbours? but I'm going to assume you are speaking in terms of being dragonkin. I was born of a dragon, I was raised by dragons, I only came to Earth 12 years ago, that makes me pretty different to the 'average' woman. I will say, however, that some people think that 'kin consider themselves 'better' than humans, I'm not one of them. Without my human host I wouldn't be here right now.

"You say you are in a human host at present, so have there been times when you were not?

I've only been with my host for 12 years, before that I was in my own body back at, what I call, home.

[ Parent ]

autobiography? (3.00 / 11) (#238)
by Hana Yori Dango on Fri May 23, 2003 at 06:22:56 PM EST

If you would only write a book about your "home" and experiences as a dragon... I would be terribly interested.

That way we could conduct a more scientific dismissal of your claims. As it is, we can just laugh at you and mock you for being so deeply wrong and delusional.



[ Parent ]

sooooo (4.00 / 1) (#318)
by /dev/trash on Sun May 25, 2003 at 11:05:43 PM EST

Are you in the host's body with permission?

And does the host have any say in anything in life?

---
Summer Tour!
[ Parent ]

In Defence of OtherKin (4.06 / 29) (#4)
by snowlion on Thu May 22, 2003 at 12:52:33 AM EST

(Note: Due to some kind of mistake in the posting process, old comments, quoted below, are missing.)

"Many people are prone to inventing fantasies rather than dealing with reality...it's much easier to make crap up than to work out how the universe really works."

"Sounds a lot like White Wolf's 'Mage' to me. If they're borrowing terminology from that, it shows how serious this community really is."

"What is it good for? It sounds like a bunch of preschool kids crawling around, going 'Rawr, I'm a tiger,' 'I'm a unicorn!'"

"I think 'The Awakening' is merely the onset of a delusional state of mind...definition...is: 'A false belief held in spite of invalidating evidence, especially as a symptom of mental illness.'... I simply cannot believe that people who are mentally stable can take this stuff seriously."

"...I hate to be harsh, but these people are just plain dillusional."

"I don't understand who on earth would get themselves involved in such ridiculous and mindless drivel."

---

Key arguments:

  • Inventing fantasies, not dealing with reality.
  • Avoiding figuring out how the universe really works.
  • It comes from RPG's.
  • What is it good for?
  • Rediculous.
  • Delusional. Can't be taken seriously.
  • Invalidated by evidence.
Inventing Fantasies, not Dealing with Reality

The picture given is almost identical to the picture of fantasy readers in general.

Most people call it escapism when someone even just reads a fantasy book. Fiction is all right, as a whole, just as long as it doesn't get "out there." If it's a fictional recounting of World War II, that's not escapism. But as soon as something gets out of line, it's suddenly "escapism".

Why are they reading it? "Because they are trying to escape the terrible reality around us."

So the assuptions there are basically:

  • Reality is terrible.
  • Fantasy casts a spell on you, where you think it's not.
  • When you've had it with this world, you read fantasy.
I mean, we're sort of supposed to feel sorry for these poor creatures who read fantasy. They just can't take it.

Most people then pull out the image of some fat loser who's lost in sci-fi or star trek, always living in his mother's basement, and (of course) he's never had a girlfriend. You don't want to be like this person, and this person is a fantasy reader. Nudge nudge- get the ticket?

In my experience, most of the fantasy readers I have met are pretty "successful" in terms of most people's definition. They are now finishing their PhD's, or working in big companies making big bucks, they are highly intelligent, and they are very much involved in the world;

Far more than most people at that. They are physics students, computer programmers, and electrical engineers. They are married, have dated, or even have kids.

They aren't escaping. Many are improving the world we live in.

This isn't to say that my friends are representative of all fantasy readers. I've met people who were also living in their parents basement.

But the point is: There's nothing intrinsic to reading fantasy that means "escape".

Personally, my feeling is that people who avoid fiction are doing the escaping. They don't like something about imagination, and they somehow fear it. Why? I don't know. I don't understand it.

Avoiding figuring out how the universe really works.

Okay, at this point, I have to pull out Steuard, everyone's favorite Elwing the Demigoddess, and our resident high school prom king.

Look, he's getting his fucking PhD in String Theory. Again, most of my friends are chemists, mathematicians, physicists. You can say that the CS majors are avoiding reality- fine, but by and large, this whole thing is really overdone.

(Note: Most are not OtherKin, but they are most fantasy/sci-fi readers.)

In my experience, people who read sci-fi (in particular) and fantasy are more interested in Physics, Mathematics, and stuff like that, than people who don't.

Einstein said that imagination was more important than knowledge. I'm with Einstein. And I'd further argue that anyone who was cutting themselves off from imagination is going to be substantially cutting themselves off from knowledge as well. Knowledge seems to follow after imagination, not preceed it.

It comes from RPG's.

The argument goes something like this:

  1. Fantasy stories and RPGs put crazy thoughts into people's heads.
  2. Some player's think it's real. Some make up similar stuff, and think it's real.
  3. But it's from an RPG.
  4. Therefor it's not.
...or with more development...
  1. A being is of a race or they are not, it's not something that can change.
  2. But the person knows themself by reading an artists work.
  3. If the person read another artists work, they might identify another, different way.
  4. Thus it's unlikely to be real.
(Special link: Galaxy Quest: "It's all real-" "-I KNEW it!" Ignore if you don't follow.)

So, the second is a good argument, I'll address the 1st afterwards.

To address this, I give the following explanation, which I'll call "sympathetic identity."

  1. A person has a mind, formless.
  2. Nonetheless, the mind has a "shape" or inclination of it's own, at least for a duration.
  3. That shape may feel naturally sympathetic to particular forms rather than others.
  4. The mind can identify any which way.
So if a person is attracted to novels with elves and the like, and thinks that they are an elf, because they feel far more natural in the context of elves, what difference does it make if it were some other author's similar-but-different story of what it is to be an elf?

As for the 1st argument: We have to consider the source. Artists are making this stuff up. They are human, they have human minds. That qualifies them to figure out what other minds may be interested in being as well. Thus the foreign source is not a "problem."

Finally: Consider what an RPG is. It's a Role Playing Game. So naturally, if you have an inclination in a particular role, a particular identity, then what's the problem there? If you chose the role, then it came from within you. If you pick up a book, that choice came from within you. How was it placed in there? We don't understand that kind of thing, we don't even understand why or hwo we are experiencing a world (rather than being unconscious but responsive). We don't know. So no one can really say.

What is it good for?

First, I don't think either desire or existance has to justify itself. It Just Is.

The question is similar to "What good is being yourself?" I don't really know, I don't have a good answer to that.

(I'd like to note here that, I, personally, do not consider myself to be a non-human or an alien or dragon or anything like that. I did name myself Lion, but I feel no sort of spiritual connection with lions, or identify as a lion.)

What good is the question? What's it discriminating for us?

That said, I thank the Damanhur people for making such beautiful exotic rooms in their amazing temple. So if you like good art, there's one use.

Another: I personally believe that anything that gives you a stronger understanding of who you are is a good thing. And it's difficult to talk about "delusional" when talking about self-image. What Ghandi delusional for having the self-image of being a Saint, before being recognized as one? How about Joan of Arc? Was she delusional? What about Andrew Carnegie. When he was a kid, he said he was going to be the richest man in the world. But he was just hauling scrap, or whatever. Was he delusional?

I don't mean to say that the person who thinks they are a spirit is the same as the young Andrew Carnegy; I mean to point out the relationship between personal self-image, and our actual actions. That is, that what you think about yourself affects your life. And if someone feels most connected to the image of an elf, and thinks and speaks and acts that way, then in a certain sense it has become real.

Has their genetic code changed? No. But if they want to believe so, I say, "OK, Fine." I disagree, but in terms of what you think about yourself- That's just incredibly sacred territory. To desecrate that... (shudder...) Never.

To personal utility- if someone feels somehow more at peace with themselves or their nature by identifying as an elf, or a spirit, or as a horse, or wolf, or whatever, Whatever it is that they want to feel like or actually feel like, I say more power to them. What is the utility of inner peace? I think it has utility, even in measurable "how many times can you turn this crank for me" ways, if you must.

Personally, I feel the world would be a better place if more adults were tigers and unicorns.

Rediculous.

Some of it sounds pretty goofy. A lot of it sounds like some way of bragging, and I don't like it. "I'm a high elf, unlike you mere humans." Spare me, please.

But rediculous?

Unless it's something like the above bragging, I disagree.

Strongly disagree. Very strongly.

I mean, first, people have believed these kinds of things for centuries, and have not been ridiculed. Shamans, people in other cultures, totem animals; People have always felt connections with the things around them.

Did you think Yoda was rediculous? Yoda came on the screen, and you thought, "What a bunch of rediculous claptrap?" I didn't. Maybe you did. But some of the most famous people in history have been deeply moved to noble (and ignoble!) acts by such beliefs. They are not ridiculed.

Do you laugh when you see Japanese people on TV saying good morning to their dead ancestors? Yeah, ain't it a kick? What losers.

Actually, let me take this all back and put it another way-

I think there's an enormous culture rift between people calling this rediculous, and the people actually doing this kind of thing. So maybe the best approach is to describe my personal experience:

I've met people who have, in all sincerity, believed that they were not natural to this world (not my elsewhere-mentioned friend Kami-chan, incidentally, who's beliefs I have no idea of), and have had ideas of being agents from another plane somehow, or whatever have you. They were not illogical or crazy; These were just story/frameworks that they lived in.

Look, here's some people's framework:

  1. You're born.
  2. You live.
  3. You die.
That's it. Okay, what evidence is there of it? It's what we see around us, in our day-day waking existence. Is it leaving anything out?

Of course. It doesn't talk about before, it doesn't talk about after, it doesn't explain weird phenomenon we may experience in this life, it doesn't describe our subjective experience, it doesn't include imagination, all kinds of stuff. "Oh, well that stuff doesn't count." It doesn't? "Yeah, because it's not scientificly determined." Well, okay, excuse me. There are ways of thinking that are not scientific, but also rationally valid.

For example, if you perceive other worlds, why should you toss it out? "Ah, well, it's not repeatable, independently observable." Well, I disagree with that, I know of many points where people have shared observations. "Well, it wasn't in a lab." Okay, well "Fuck you too." How's that for a counter-arg. (It's a bad one.)

For an eloquent counter-arg, read the epilog to Michael Crichton's "Travels". Michael Crichton, who's done a movie and written a few books, served as a doctor and Psychiatrist, has a lot of metaphysical notions, and he quite eloquently argues why in the back of his book. I'm not as eloquent as he, I just say, "Oh yeah? Well Fuck You Too." But he actually does a good book of articulating what I mean.

But these notions aren't rediculous. People have been feeling these things for Aeons, and will feel them for Aeons future.

I would also like to point out that in countries around the world, scientists hold metaphysical ideas. In my experience, it's mostly just the US & Europe where scientists are religiously against metaphysics. But in other countries, it's not that way. I'm not talking about backwards Brazil, I'm talking about Japan again. Engineers will build robots and stuff on the "Metaphysics of the Square" and talk about spiritual theories of Souls and transmigration in their scientificly dissertations on childhood development. It's not dominant, it's not hidden, it's just there as a "perhaps this explanation." They aren't too worried about it. We just seem to be all hung up about it here. "How dare they?!" The horror!

Delusional. Can't be taken seriously.

More of the same, but I'll add that many of the people I have described are quite sane.

Here, a personal example.

One day, I had the notion that a good friend of mine, "Kami-chan", was not native to this plane of existance, somehow. It wasn't a sudden realization, it's just a notion that gestated over time.

So, what am I supposed to do with this notion? I suppose I could debate it to death, like beating it into a bloody pulp. I could think of all the reasons to doubt such a thing; There are many good arguments you could make.

But I decided against it, and just saw it for what it was: An idea in my head.

Is it true?

I don't know. Who does?

Can you live with not knowing what is True and what is not?

(Ooooooh- I think I just hit the nail right on the head.)

I can live with that. So this idea, image, whatever, came to me, and it seemed to be true. I realized that there's no way to say whether it is true or not. I decided to name him Kami-chan (btw, never say that phrase to a Japanese), and let him know what I thought.

His response? "That's interesting," and sort of thought about it for a while. I don't know what he thinks. I just know what I have thought for the past few years.

So who gives a flying fuck? You want to say I'm delusional? Say I'm delusional then. I don't care.

If it just came from my imagination, fine. That doesn't necessarily invalidate it, even. We are awarenesses, living in MINDS. Minds can take whatever form they like, right? The forms they chose reveal something about their nature. This does not perturb me.

Finally:

Invalidated by evidence.

Well, no, not really.

Look, there's no evidence that the world is real, and not just an illusion.

It's perfectly plausible to me, hell, I even consider it likely, that this world is something that our minds stumbled across, and decided to couple with. So far, I see no evidence against that perspective.

I do see some cracks in the "this world only" perspective. In fact, I see the #1 crack in it. Namely, that I'm seeing anything at all..! There should be no need for it; The computer that is the world should just run in a closet without anyone ever seeing it. My neurons could fire and my body could move just fine, without being a display to a mysterious viewer (namely, yourself and myself). The physical model can explain EVERYTHING, except the very viewer that can see it all. That seems like a pretty big crack to me. If you said, "Look in this microscope, and see the weird bacteria there!", but then next told me, "Oh, but the microscope itself doesn't exist," I'd have some doubts about your weird bacteria as well.

So the "invalidated by evidence" thing is just totally wack. We could very well be spirits, ghosts, souls, creatures, races, beasts, devils and angels, tigers and dragons, raging from world to world through the celestial harmony.

No one can say otherwise, with certainty.

You really do not know.

Further Reading: The Neverending Story, & Momo, by Michael Ende, both famous in Germany. Michael Ende goes a long way to talk about how we bash our concepts of imaginationk, and the damage we cause ourselves for doing so.
--
Map Your Thoughts

Basically, It Boils Down To Reality (4.57 / 7) (#15)
by Juppon Gatana on Thu May 22, 2003 at 01:23:03 AM EST

This whole argument is entirely about how we perceive reality. We disagree. I happen to be in the vast majority, because I believe that I am a human person, not a dragon, not a clock, not a three-quarters size wax statue of Rodney Dangerfield. Every time I look in the mirror, in the water, and into glass, I see a person. When I touch my chest, I touch a human chest. When I walk down the street, I use my two legs. Every single bit of evidence in my life points to my being exactly what I appear to be. I can't do anything that humans can't do. The thing is, neither can these "Otherkin." They walk like I do, they look like I do, and they don't have wings, regardless of whether they "sense" them or not. It's like when a kid believes he can fly. He's delusional, because when he jumps out that window, he falls straight to the ground. And you know that's gotta be a shitty way to go, believing something so wholeheartedly you risk your life for it, and then finding out in the end that you're wrong.

I do understand what you mean when you say we can't really know anything. In a way, I agree with you; in terms of science, there is always going to be a lot that can never be proven or disproven. But as long as we're operating in a world with five senses and a human brain, it is important to recognize what boundaries our bodies have and what kind of beings we are.

- Juppon Gatana
能ある鷹は爪を隠す。
(Nou aru taka wa tsume wo kakusu.)
[ Parent ]
Of course, (1.00 / 1) (#16)
by reklaw on Thu May 22, 2003 at 01:28:12 AM EST

It is important to have a grasp on how we perceive reality. There is something that runs contrary to this, however, and is quite significant here: the idea of prayer.

If we're humans, five senses, boundaries etc., then how could prayer ever be effective? Yet many believe that it is, and many more when put in an extreme situation would start praying almost instinctively. There must be some reason for this. People need some sort of faith to keep hold of, to help them through life, and if Otherkin choose this one then who are we to stop them?
-
[ Parent ]

Prayer (4.83 / 6) (#24)
by Juppon Gatana on Thu May 22, 2003 at 01:41:28 AM EST

I personally don't believe prayer is effective. It is a societal habit; something that many of us do not from instinct, but from our culture. I've done it myself in extreme situations, shoving aside my doubts about its efficacy and simply hoping that it would work. It is a coping mechanism, something that most of us use to deal with extreme circumstances, not an integral or inextricable part of our lives. I do think that prayer can be helpful, just as indulgence in fantasy (which is basically what prayer is) can be helpful, but only in limited doses. The problem with "Otherkin" (I keep using quotes because I've never heard the word before this day) is that they don't recognize the limits of their chimera. I have the same worries about people who constantly put their faith in God to provide for them that I do about these guys. I'm sure there are some people who consider themselves "Otherkin" and fantasize within reasonable limits, but those you describe in your story are excessively indulgent. Once they start acting on their gut instincts, which give them different information than their five senses, they could become quite dangerous. If I suddenly decide that I'm a wolf spirit who can walk through walls and then start ramming my head into solid things, I'm going to be falling all over the place, hitting --and breaking-- things, and maybe colliding with people. It's not a good situation for anyone. The same goes for someone who jumps off a building believing God will save them. I believe they have the right to do whatever they want to themselves, but if they land on a car or a person, they're going to hurt somebody else.

- Juppon Gatana
能ある鷹は爪を隠す。
(Nou aru taka wa tsume wo kakusu.)
[ Parent ]
*almost* instinctively (4.66 / 3) (#72)
by delmoi on Thu May 22, 2003 at 10:08:15 AM EST

Yet many believe that it is, and many more when put in an extreme situation would start praying almost instinctively.

Lots of things happen 'instinctively'. For example, if I sit at a keyboard I can type at it 'almost instinctively'. Most people will move to the right when passing eachother, but british people will move to the left. Is their genetic code diffrent? No, just their low-level traning.
--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
[ Parent ]
Looking in the Mirror. (3.00 / 3) (#17)
by snowlion on Thu May 22, 2003 at 01:30:00 AM EST

Excellent analogy.

I think we're quite in agreement, about physical bodies and genetic codes.

Now: What do you see when you look into your mind?

Put your mind in front of the mirror, then tell me what you see.

I wouldn't be surprised at all if we found a few dragons, elves, superheros, fairies, spirits, frogs, normals, ghouls, and angels among us.

--
Map Your Thoughts
[ Parent ]

In My Mind (none / 0) (#26)
by Juppon Gatana on Thu May 22, 2003 at 01:45:47 AM EST

There are no dragons, elves, superheros, or any of that. There are thoughts, emotions, and indescribable things. I "see" nothing physical there. Comparing my mind to my body is like comparing words to music; the things don't mesh.

- Juppon Gatana
能ある鷹は爪を隠す。
(Nou aru taka wa tsume wo kakusu.)
[ Parent ]
Everything you Perceive, you Perceive through Mind (3.50 / 4) (#35)
by snowlion on Thu May 22, 2003 at 02:47:18 AM EST

In your mind, you find thoughts, emotions, indescribable things, and physical things. Everything you perceive, you perceive through your mind.

No environmentalist loves the Forest. They love the IDEA of the Forest. The actual forest is a logistical complication. They have never seen it, never will see it, can not see it. And if they didn't have to deal with a real forest in order to activate the same ideas in their mind, and if their life didn't depend on it in some way,  I'll be that they wouldn't care about the "real" thing at all. It's just a logistical problem.

In your mind, you see the entire world. Everything you have ever seen has been a mental thing. Call it a perception, a feeling, call it a thought, whatever you like.

Suppose you kept a notebook, a detailed notebook, of everything you experienced. Not just physical experiences, but emotions, memories, ideas, and some scribbles of indescribables as well. And suppose that it was organized, and indexed in various ways.

Would it not be a mirror of your Mind?

Here's another question for you: What's your favorite color? Do you have one?

Do you consider it part of your identity?

How about- of the four Aristotelian elements- which do you relate to the most? Earth, Air, Water, or Fire? Have you ever thought about it?

Does that have anything to do with your identity?

Might it show up in the mirror of your mind?
--
Map Your Thoughts
[ Parent ]

Most environmentalists are, in fact... (3.40 / 5) (#46)
by gordonjcp on Thu May 22, 2003 at 05:22:31 AM EST

... shit-scared of real forests. They're dark, wet, muddy, full of potentially dangerous plants and animals, and you're likely to get your new Gore-tex jacket dirty.

Give a man a fish, and he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he'll bore you rigid with fishing stories for the rest of your life.


[ Parent ]
Speak for yourself (none / 0) (#157)
by Emissary on Fri May 23, 2003 at 03:33:11 AM EST

And not for other people. Have you ever been to a logging protest? No? Then how would you know?

"Be instead like Gamera -- mighty, a friend to children, and always, always screaming." - eSolutions
[ Parent ]
We don't have logging, or logging protests here. (none / 0) (#161)
by gordonjcp on Fri May 23, 2003 at 03:45:55 AM EST

We do, however, have huge swathes of forests grown specifically for wood. Which we then cut down and replant. Nasty, messy, dangerous and hard work.

Give a man a fish, and he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he'll bore you rigid with fishing stories for the rest of your life.


[ Parent ]
So's spiking trees (none / 0) (#168)
by Emissary on Fri May 23, 2003 at 05:11:46 AM EST

And you don't even get paid. But that's a troll.

So why does the difficulty of cutting down trees make you think environmentalists are scared of forests?

"Be instead like Gamera -- mighty, a friend to children, and always, always screaming." - eSolutions
[ Parent ]
Well... (a tale from the distant past) (3.83 / 6) (#173)
by gordonjcp on Fri May 23, 2003 at 05:26:59 AM EST

I once had to take six people from a large, internationally-known environmental pressure group to look at some Forestry Commission land, shortly after it had all been felled. It was only about eight miles from the main road, but first thing was that they didn't want to take their 4x4 up the six miles of dirt road to the start of the plantation. So we took my car, instead (squeezing one into the boot along all the tools and towropes - thank goodness for estate wagons). The remaining two miles were covered in a vehicle called an Argo Cat - an eight-wheel-drive plastic bathtub with a rototiller engine. Four of my passengers spent this last two miles puking over the side or clinging on for grim death. When we actually got there, it was raining, and none of them wanted to get out because everything was covered in six inches of mud and none of them had brought decently waterproof boots.
Bunch of tossers. I expected them to know better.

Give a man a fish, and he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he'll bore you rigid with fishing stories for the rest of your life.


[ Parent ]
Hard Core Earth-Firsters. (4.50 / 2) (#256)
by snowlion on Sat May 24, 2003 at 12:45:02 AM EST

That's true, there is a lot of that.

But there are also Earth First!-ers who are pretty hard core.

There are Earth First training camps, run a couple months every year, where you learn every thing from urban street postering mad 133t organizing skillz to how to live on nothing but worms in the woods, make tents, wade around in swamps nekkid, and crack open cactus in the desert for food, snacking on cracked scorpion.

You don't even have to be an Earth-firster to participate, they'll take all sorts of activists.

(I don't know if this is strictly true or no; This was just talked about at a local activist get-together by an Earth Firster. However, I wouldn't be surprised; Many EF'ers strike me as the survivalist types.)
--
Map Your Thoughts
[ Parent ]

Sounds more like it... (5.00 / 1) (#342)
by gordonjcp on Tue May 27, 2003 at 04:58:22 AM EST

In the UK, most of the really vocal environmentalists are SUV-driving, middle-class types who think that the countryside is just like the suburbs but with a few more trees and a few less houses. They suck.

Give a man a fish, and he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he'll bore you rigid with fishing stories for the rest of your life.


[ Parent ]
The poster above (5.00 / 1) (#353)
by CodeWright on Wed May 28, 2003 at 03:45:18 PM EST

Was just describing the second hand fantasies of a rabid tree-hugger.

Move along, nothing to see here...

--
"Jumpin Jesus H. Christ riding a segway with a little fruity 1 pint bucket of Ben and Jerry's rainbow fairy-berry crunch in his hand." --
[ Parent ]
Those guys sound like idiots (4.66 / 3) (#258)
by Emissary on Sat May 24, 2003 at 01:07:35 AM EST

My personal experience with the environmental movement, mostly at the big Headwaters protests in the California redwoods in the late nineties, has been quite different. Everyone I know from Earth First and the Rainforest Action Network who were there were really into the surroundings, so much so that they flaked out on half the planning meetings in favor of taking day-long hikes.

"Be instead like Gamera -- mighty, a friend to children, and always, always screaming." - eSolutions
[ Parent ]
They were, as you point out, idiots. (5.00 / 1) (#341)
by gordonjcp on Tue May 27, 2003 at 04:57:01 AM EST

Oh, *GHOD, were they idiots. The memory pains me still.

Give a man a fish, and he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he'll bore you rigid with fishing stories for the rest of your life.


[ Parent ]
My God! (none / 0) (#352)
by CodeWright on Wed May 28, 2003 at 03:44:04 PM EST

If you would repeat that ride on a regular basis and take along paying customers to mock the tree-huggers, I'd sign up!

--
"Jumpin Jesus H. Christ riding a segway with a little fruity 1 pint bucket of Ben and Jerry's rainbow fairy-berry crunch in his hand." --
[ Parent ]
No matter what your level of naivete is (none / 0) (#371)
by Happy Monkey on Thu May 29, 2003 at 03:37:05 PM EST

You need to be in a certain state of mind to enjoy being out in the rain.

And getting carsick doesn't have much bearing on one's relationship with nature.
___
Length 17, Width 3
[ Parent ]
in my mind (5.00 / 1) (#71)
by delmoi on Thu May 22, 2003 at 10:04:24 AM EST

Now: What do you see when you look into your mind?

Well, I don't know about you, but in my mind, I see anything I want.
--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
[ Parent ]
Yes! Identity and desire. (5.00 / 1) (#148)
by snowlion on Thu May 22, 2003 at 10:51:23 PM EST

Your identity is largely expressed by your desires and values.

So if you heavily identify in a particular way that you can't express, and then you read about people that identify your way and they are called "elves", then- why not? The physical form is relevent, but only to a degree. If a person's desires and self-image is to be elf-like, in a certain way, they are an elf.

How do you become a Republican or a Democrat or an Anarcho-Socialist or what have you? You just find things out about yourself. "Oh, I relate to that."

Some people "are" elves and dragons and tigers and unicorns. I'm not trying to say something radical.

Now people who think that their genetic code is fundamentally different- I have issues w/ that. But otherwise, I think you're free to identify however you like.

You look in your mind, see whatever you want, and that reflects your character, your identity.
--
Map Your Thoughts
[ Parent ]

Ah, so that's how it works... (5.00 / 1) (#354)
by CodeWright on Wed May 28, 2003 at 03:47:53 PM EST

...in that case, "Gentlemen! I would like to introduce myself.... I am the VOM."

--
"Jumpin Jesus H. Christ riding a segway with a little fruity 1 pint bucket of Ben and Jerry's rainbow fairy-berry crunch in his hand." --
[ Parent ]
Right On. (2.66 / 3) (#68)
by CodeWright on Thu May 22, 2003 at 09:49:21 AM EST

The fruitloops always hate the reality clue stick.

--
"Jumpin Jesus H. Christ riding a segway with a little fruity 1 pint bucket of Ben and Jerry's rainbow fairy-berry crunch in his hand." --[ Parent ]
Good post, but (4.75 / 8) (#21)
by yammering communist on Thu May 22, 2003 at 01:37:54 AM EST

...I have a few bones to pick on this one.

I'm probably an inappropriate person to engage in an argument on such topics as these, given the fact that I view any kind of religious/spiritual belief structure with no factual substantiation in reality to be worse than useless, and in fact a dangerous distraction from constructive engagement with reality.

Damn it, I just spilled rum on my keyboard.

I'll shy away from a protracted battle over the particulars of epistemology, because it's not my native terrain; someone who's done more reading in this area should take over for me, if they so choose. But it is my understanding that there are two seperate perspectives on how humans acquire knowledge:

1. Through the senses/through experience (empiricism)
2. Through the use of reason (rationalism)

Personally, I feel that this kind of Manicheanism is stupid; that the two are interdependent, you cannot have one without the other. One observes things occuring in reality, processes them internally, makes judgements and predictions about what he sees, and has his or her thoughts either confirmed or rejected by future observations. This is a depiction of consciousness at its most basic: a feedback loop, a recursive function. This is also a simplified description of the Scientific Method: see something you want to figure out, guess how it works based on what you sense, test how your guesses match up with reality, and update your frame of mind with the results of your experimentation. This is how humans, all humans, enlarge the scope of their comprehension of objective reality, and is the basis of all intellectual progress.

What I observe in most, if not all, systems of religious belief - including THIS one, because this really is a religion, by virtue of the fact that it is all seemings and feelings, a matter of faith and faith alone - is that the cycle of conscious thought occurred once and once alone, in an incomplete form.

Someone made observations: "I feel different, I'm not like everyone else." They asked a question: "What's different about me?" They developed a hypothesis: "I am not 'human.'" What they did not do is examine and test the hypothesis, try to confirm it or reject it, elaborate on it, anything. It's a stillborn piece of data; its life-cycle ended only a short time after conception. And yet people are still carrying this dead baby over their shoulders like it's worth something.

This dogmatism is native to spirituality, but it is not limited thereto - you will find that it has taken root also in economics, political science, philosophy, psychology. People still think of Marxism, Freudianism, laissez-faire economics, etc. as viable! It's not that these systems are completely meaningless; we can only move forward when we have a foundation to do so. But they're outdated, and they obviously don't work, and people should stop clinging to them and start developing new ideas, trying to figure out what DOES work, what DOES fit.

OK, I've gone way off-topic. I should have learned from turmeric... friends don't let friends drink and post on k5.

---

I fear nothing. I believe nothing. I am free.

--Nikos Kazantzakis, epitaph.


[ Parent ]
Progress, Seeming, Identity, Your Favorite Color. (3.00 / 7) (#34)
by snowlion on Thu May 22, 2003 at 02:37:30 AM EST

...I view any kind of religious/spiritual belief structure with no factual substantiation in reality to be worse than useless, and in fact a dangerous distraction from constructive engagement with reality.

Before we talk about "factual substantiation in reality", let's talk about distraction.

Distraction from what? From what we should be working on: "constructive engagement with reality."

What's that? Well, it's probably making money, or contributing to progress. Right? Because this is constructive, we're getting somewhere, we're not going backwards.

Ok, the next question is: Where are we going? We don't want to be distracted from it, it's obviously important, so what are we going for?

Reflect on that, think about that. Where are we going? What's our goal? Or your goal? Or the goal of the species?

What do we DO when the threats are all minimized, the techniques of expression are all taken to their highest form, we've mapped out everything- what is there that we do then?

If you base existence on progress, then at the end of progress, you may as well not exist. The view that we are problem-solving machines. So think about that, and keep that in mind as you talk about "distractions".

Now as for your principle argument; It seems to be:

  • People decide they are non-human by "seeming and feeling."
  • The process is not scientific.
  • This does not bring about progress.
  • So it's a distraction. We don't want it.
There's something I want you to think through very clearly:

Imagine that, tomorrow, the laws of physics ceased to apply. They just stopped. In their place, the laws of mental-iconography took place. Your soap might float in the air, but won't fly through a wall. Glasses suddenly work better, or allow you to look at things far away with perfect vision. Just make shit up.

Could that happen?

Well, could it?

We've never seen it before, right- but,...

If we are to be logical, if we are to be precise- Sure, it could happen.

No matter how elegent your proof, no matter how low your expectations, it could happen, and there's not a God-Damn thing we could do to predict it.

Okay, just to keep that clear.

Our science, our computers, our network, is all made out of an elaborate system of scientific progress.

This system is built on assumptions. Assumptions? Yeah, assumptions. Trusts. "Seemings and feelings."

It seems like the world is going to be around tomorrow. I feel like physics will stay the same tomorrow.

Do I really know? Do you really know? Absolutely? Mathematically, from axiom to conclusion? No. No, we don't.

We can find it rediculous to consider (because, there's just so many millenia behind us- right?), but we don't really know.

Now. One day, you meet Gorku. Gorku is from Neptune. (Good friends with Noam Chomsky.) Gorku's been around for 10 universes. He's just vacationing on Neptune. He sees things a little different than us.

"Yeah, every few millenia, the space-time changes fundamentally. It all goes whack. And it reorients the local histories to match, and look continuous."

How can you know Gorku's lying? But he doesn't care what you think, living in your little dream world of a mere 100 years, or even your little civilization, so cute after it's first 3000 years.

Your computer, your network, your ideas, they are all built on a faith.

A good faith? Sure: You've been alive for, I don't know, say 30 years. (You think. Could be that this is the only day in your life, the rest is just implant. This is all just a dream we dreamed one afternoon long ago.) In that time, things never changed for you. Great. But you don't know before, and you don't know after. And 30 years is looking mighty small to be speaking up about eternity, forever, what's real, and what's not.

You've got a computer! That's GREAT! Guess what, in my pocket dimension, I've got a galaxy-sized robot that makes spaceships, fuck-chicks, and can teach me everything I want to know.

Now, I'm joking of course, but the point is: Scale, and what he have in front of us doesn't mean shit in terms of establishing what is Real and What Isn't.

If you want to believe in this universe, fine by me. But DO recognize it for what it is: A BELIEF.

As for awareness: It's convenient for computer scientists to believe that self-referential systems magicly become aware. Personally, I don't buy it. I've programmed old x86's to see that the IP counter (I don't know what they call the Instruction Pointer nowadays; They keep changing it) was turning. "Yeap! It's turning! I'm self-referential! Must be aware!" Things that do not magically make awareness: Self-reference, complexity, parallelism, or quantum mechanics. Reflect on it for a while. Basically, we don't even know how to tell if anything is aware. If you want to BELIEVE that other people are aware (I do), then do so, but know it as a BELIEF.

I apologize for the militant tone, but it's something I get rather defensive about, because SO many people act like they know what's real and what's not. And if you reflect on these things for a while, you'll find that NO, they DON'T know.

Now, for myself personally: It seems pretty obvious to me that data and algorithms are not aware. 4D Pictures and equations don't just "spring into awareness". By "picture", consider that without an awareness to experience it, time is just another direction, and the universe is basically just a 4d mold with a self-consistent pattern. Does it just "spring into awareness"? Why would it be one moment, rather than any other given moment? The whole picture is absurd.

Establishing to myself that awareness is independent of the world, I guess that the world is just a dream. I perceive levels of immersion in the world; Specificly, my mind seems closer to me than the world itself. I think the mind itself is an illusion as well, but at least one "closer" to me. Hey, we've already hucked the concept of the world as absolute, so it's all fair game, no? Suddenly, it's not so rediculous if someone thinks they are a Dragon. If their mind identifies with dragons, who's to say that they aren't? If you're a brain in a jar, and the jar itself is unreal, and your mind is imagining yourself to be different things, then who's to say what you are or aren't? If you imagine yourself to be a dragon, you may well be a dragon. Now the mind aligns itself with a physical universe, but still has the notion that it's a dragon. Okay, so it's a Dragon. I could care less, unless I happen to be THAT mind. And if I'm that Mind, I will feel most comfortable being a dragon. Fine by me.

It's near impossible to say what a given Mind, in the abstract, is. It's self-dying. Think "Yellow", and imagine yellow. Congradulations, you are yellow. Do you have a favorite color? If you do, that is your favorite color. Is that a part of your identity? I don't know, you could make good arguments yes, you could make good arguments no. I would say: "Yes, your favorite color is part of your identity."

How about traditional elements? We all know aristotle is bogus, but if you had to pick: Earth, Air, Water, or Fire- which describes you best? Favorite Element, anyone? Careful- you might find out something about your identity.

Next thing you know, you're a Sea Serpent, or a Cthulu, or whatever it is your mind favors out for itself.
--
Map Your Thoughts
[ Parent ]

i just (5.00 / 1) (#40)
by yammering communist on Thu May 22, 2003 at 03:13:50 AM EST

smoked opium and took another half-dozen shots, so i am unqualified to respond to your post at this present moment.

anyway, i have guests to attend to :-D

i will return to this in the morning and give you something worth reading.

but i leave you with one quick little thing: you make certain presumptions about what i concieve to be "progress":

"Well, it's probably making money, or contributing to progress. Right? Because this is constructive, we're getting somewhere, we're not going backwards.

Ok, the next question is: Where are we going? We don't want to be distracted from it, it's obviously important, so what are we going for?

Reflect on that, think about that. Where are we going? What's our goal? Or your goal? Or the goal of the species?

What do we DO when the threats are all minimized, the techniques of expression are all taken to their highest form, we've mapped out everything- what is there that we do then?"

---

it's all well and good to talk about the point at which mankind has achieved perfection in body and mind; but this hasn't happened yet, will never happen. we live in a world where millions of children die of preventable diseases, where people spend their entire lives in stifling ignorance working "jobs [they] hate so [they] can but shit [they] don't need," where the supposed leaders of men are responsible for more suffering than any natural cause.

I would define progress as anything that moves us away from this state - programs of social uplift. Economic development and equalization, such that all needs are provided for. Medical breakthroughs that save and extend lives. The spiritual men, the religious men, the would-be prophets and messiahs of our world, they tried so hard to elevate us, but they can't; because they are brokers in the ethereal, the unreal, in ideas and concepts, which, for all their beauty, do not put food into the mouths of the starving, do not build roofs over the heads of the homeless.

It's a question of priorities. I do not pretend to have the ability to distinguish all that is true from all that cannot be; I only wish to illustrate to you that it matters far more what is immediate, what is practical, what sustains us as human beings rather than deluding us and giving us nothing.

One who lives a full and happy life, who has food in his belly and clothes on his back and people who care for him, has no need for gods, no need to pretend he is something which he is not; for he is content in what he really is.

ok, i'm preaching. time to stop.

---

I fear nothing. I believe nothing. I am free.

--Nikos Kazantzakis, epitaph.


[ Parent ]
Oh Yeah, well.. Sure. (none / 0) (#41)
by snowlion on Thu May 22, 2003 at 03:36:58 AM EST

I would define progress as anything that moves us away from [barbarism] - programs of social uplift.

Oh, right, well, ... Sure.

Por la Anarquia, por la Sociedad Libre, and all. I'm with you there, unless you're with the RCP or whatever.

One who lives a full and happy life, who has food in his belly and clothes on his back and people who care for him, has no need for gods, no need to pretend he is something which he is not; for he is content in what he really is.

Heh. Oh I severely disagree. I don't mean to say that "we need Gods to keep us in our place," or that we even need "Gods" period. (I don't think you are connecting the word "God" with what I, and others, mean by it, either.)

But... You are missing some things. I am not talking about pretending, I am talking about IS.

Put it this way: If a kid pretends to be a tiger, is the kid now expressing a need to PRETEND to be a tiger, rather than BEING a child?

Is a child pretending to be a child something other than a child?

But I feel that imagination does not die a natural death as we age; It is only supressed. That adults being "natural"; That they have lively imaginations, if it is part of the temper of our mind. And again I refer to Einstein, and to Michael Ende.

The spiritual men, the religious men, the would-be prophets and messiahs of our world, they tried so hard to elevate us, but they can't; because they are brokers in the ethereal, the unreal, in ideas and concepts, which, for all their beauty, do not put food into the mouths of the starving, do not build roofs over the heads of the homeless.

Okay. Now. You've got MLK's sig. (This is x2 now!) Right?

And there's a bunch of people down the street at the church, right now, putting food into mouths, and putting roofs over heads. Right now.

Help me out here. Personally, I'm not seeing it.

People ask Noam Chomsky, "Don't you think we need to get rid of religion?" And he's like, "No, I don't think so. Myself, 'No God's, no Master's.' Others? What can I say? I don't know." He points out that a huge portion of the good activist work right now comes from religious people, and these people claim their devotion to God as what moves them. So, what can we say? There is no necessary for or against. You have the Spanish Inquisition, but you also have Ghandi and the Pope.

And look: Ideas and Concepts. What is Anarchism? Communism? Social upliftment? Hell, anything that our mind touches. It's all ideas and concepts.

But I'm arguing against someone who's high. {:)}= Go figure.
--
Map Your Thoughts
[ Parent ]

Beliefs (4.33 / 3) (#52)
by zakalwe on Thu May 22, 2003 at 07:06:49 AM EST

Your computer, your network, your ideas, they are all built on a faith.
I'm going to quibble with this slightly. Our current understanding of the world is built on evidence. Empirical testing shows that something if dropped, will fall down, and extrapolate that to different things being dropped in different locations all falling down. Occasionally our assumptions fail, and we find something dropped in space won't fall down, so new evidence invalidates our old explanations, but in general it seems a better way of explaining the behaviour of the world than, for exampls, randomly guessing. Or at lease Gorko has altered my brain in the last picosecond to make it seem that way to me.

The belief we have faith in is that evidence is a valid way of finding out what the world is like - that what happens tomorrow will be somehow related to what we observed today. This may seem like I've just shifted the point of belief, but it does have one important consequent: Belief in the "Empiricism is the best way of making predictions about the world" belief is incompatible with providing equal credence to all beliefs, such as that Gorku is as valid an explanation than what we appear to have so much evidence for. Ultimately, the empiricism belief has no more ultimate rationale than Solipsism, or Gorkoism, but in fact it is one that everyone accepts. If you feel that empiricism is the best way to predict that you need more milk if you ran out this morning, why is it not applicable to God, Gorko or other possible beliefs?

[ Parent ]

Evidence accepted on FAITH (2.00 / 3) (#69)
by snowlion on Thu May 22, 2003 at 09:53:09 AM EST

You believe in the evidence on the basis of faith in the reality of the world it is gathered in.

You are just by fiat saying, "This is real, because I say so!"

You say "Everyone accepts this faith." I strongly disagree. I myself am an example, thus you are proven wrong.

Re: Milk. I have faith that I am living in a pretty well run dream. Thus there is no contradiction in beliefs as I get the milk.
--
Map Your Thoughts
[ Parent ]

Yes (5.00 / 1) (#81)
by zakalwe on Thu May 22, 2003 at 11:09:46 AM EST

You believe in the evidence on the basis of faith in the reality of the world it is gathered in.
Yes - as I said above, the belief that evidence is a good predictor is no more justified than that it isn't, for whatever reason (eg, the world is a figment of my (or someone else's) imagination) However I think that you do subscribe to this belief if you think that the most likely case is that you need milk - you consider the infinite possibilities that could result in milk spontaneously appearing in your fridge because you have no evidence that this is likely to happen. The most likely explanation is that things will be substantially as they were. Applying similar reasoning to the nature of the universe results in the most likely explanation being that things are as they appear. Why do you apply different reasoning to predicting the behaviour of the world, and determining its nature? You are making two assumptions (Evidence is a good method, EXCEPT in predictions of the nature of the world), while I have no such qualifier on my single unfounded axiom.

[ Parent ]
This worldview isn't complicated, or split in two. (2.50 / 2) (#144)
by snowlion on Thu May 22, 2003 at 10:44:48 PM EST

If I get you right, it sounds like you are saying that there are two, fundamentally different, worldviews that I carry around, and selectively use. That would be a sort of mental compartmentalization.

That's not what I do at all. I have one view of the world, consistent across the board.

I just don't buy that this is the only universe, and that the description of the universe is complete. In particular, I notice that it happens to omit myself, the very eye I use to see it. This goes back to the guy talking about how amazing the bacteria are under the microscope, but then telling me that the microscope itself is unreal.

As for milk- I just fail to see the contradiction. The world is a largely self-consistent dream. I go fetch milk according to the rules of this dream. No mystery, no confusion.

I had a dream once. I was in a universe, and I was talking with some scientists there. They talked about how perfectly self-complete their universe was. I tried explaining about this universe to them, but they insisted that it was all dilusion. What can I say?
--
Map Your Thoughts
[ Parent ]

Consistency (5.00 / 1) (#166)
by zakalwe on Fri May 23, 2003 at 04:34:04 AM EST

As for milk- I just fail to see the contradiction. The world is a largely self-consistent dream. I go fetch milk according to the rules of this dream. No mystery, no confusion.
What I'm getting at is that for some things within the universe (the properties of milk, day-to-day life), you think evidence is a good predictor, because so far past experience (evidence) leads you to believe that the universe works consistently. The difference is that when looking at other properties of the universe, like its origin or the 'laws' behind it, you use completely different logic. It doesn't really matter why you consider the universe to be internally consistant - after all, why should it be a self-consistant dream instead of a completely random dream such that you only really exist long enough to form that thought? Unless you think that the universe is in fact consistent, there is no reason to think that the internal structure of the dream should be consistent - you may as well forget about buying milk because you will cease to exist before you leave the house.
I just don't buy that this is the only universe, and that the description of the universe is complete.
It may not be the only universe of course, but there is currently no evidence for others so I tend to think that it is more likely that there aren't (Not with a huge degree of confidence - after all we do have evidence that at least one universe can exist). Our description of the universe certainly isn't complete, and probably never will be (or at least known to be.) I am certainly not making the claim that basing explanations on evidence will always get you the complete truth - only that it is more likely to provide an explanation than other ways.

[ Parent ]
Mathematics Requires no Evidence. (5.00 / 1) (#252)
by snowlion on Fri May 23, 2003 at 11:28:18 PM EST

I understand your argument to be:
  1. When getting milk, I use evidence.
  2. When pondering the deep, I don't use evidence.
  3. That's kind of dumb.
I have a few points in return:
  • Regarding 2: Yes, I do use evidence to ponder the deep.
  • Regarding 3: It's not dumb, because when not using evidence, my use is appropriate.
Demonstrations:

Using Evidence to Ponder the Deep.

I've seen spoon bending practiced by my best friend. Michael Crichton (and many others) have independently verified these practices. I have left my body, and I have experienced shared dreams. I've had some rather unusual encounters in my life, and the are similar to the experiences of others.

True, we could be wrong; That's easy for me to accept. But we do have evidence.

Appropriate Use of Non-Evidence

Mathematics is founded without any evidence at all.

Much of metaphysical thought is very similar, in logical structure, and does not require evidence.

For example, when I argue about our faith in the world around us, it gets rather mathematical. When I say, "There is no way to be certain that the universe is real," I mean it. It does not require evidence. I can't even conceive of evidence that this universe is real, or not. However, my certainty in my uncertainty is quite strong. My certainty in your uncertainty is quite strong as well. Regardless of a lack of evidence.

Mathematics does just fine without evidence. I don't know how to articulate why, though I am sure that there are people who do. And to show that my lack of evidence is "okay" in my metaphysical argument ("There is no way to be certain that this universe is real"), I'd probably go looking over there and show that my argument fits similar criteria.

And now: Completely Different Logic

Perhaps it is "completely different" logic to talk about evidence for milk, and to introduce non-evidence bases to ponder the depths. However, I don't see that as a problem: Technology has been doing it for years. We build computers and stuff using mathematics & evidence. The mathematics is not built using evidence, but everything still works out nicely. I fail to see the problem, in technology's case or my own.

So, what's wrong with it?

Side issue: The Definition of Universes

I personally define a universe to be an internally self-consistent world. For example:

  • A world (time&space) extracted by the application of four fources with particular constants.
  • A world consisting of sequences of happiness, as interpreted by a human mind.
  • A world consisting of all thoughts, rendered into visual form, accessible one to the other, as interpreted by a human mind.
  • A world consisting of the records of all visual interpretations of events in all other universes, calibrated to particular interpretations.
There's a million ways to cut the dust.

But I personally define a universe to be self-consistent.

If you were to create a universe based on "randomness", than that would be its consistent property. "Random psychadelia" or what have you.

Just for future arguments sake.

The Offensive: Our Incomplete Description of the Universe

You take the defensive and say, "Well, our description probably isn't going to be complete." I think you're covering your Achilles heel.

Our description of the universe is actually pretty good, I think, minus the furthest reaches in scale. We've actually done a pretty good job at explaining what's around us. And, what's more, It appears to be pretty deterministic! To boot! (Maybe not in QM, but I personally think so even there, despite new age pop desire.) I think our knowledge will grow, and grow.

The Achille's heel here is that: We aren't any nearer to understanding Awareness than we've ever been. We understand the mechanics of brains in much more detail, but understanding why there is any experience at all is still a total mystery, and we're not one whit closer to it.

Well, I think that's a pretty big hole. You can explain everything but the very method of observation itself. That's an eeeenormous hole. Socrates' dictum to us is: Know thyself, and science isn't offering us crap. (Actually, it is giving us crap- Those who are eluded by it, say, "Awareness doesn't exist. What are you talking about? Awareness? What awareness? There is no Awareness. Belief in awareness is just this stupid religious thing people made up to kill each other." Okay, whatever.)

Maybe you aren't important to you, but I know that I'm important to me- I take Socrates' dictum personally.

There's something that is continuous throughout our whole life, exists in a unity, that is completely non-existent wrt our (good) understanding of the world, and, oh-yeah- it's friggin' US, ourselves, me and YOU.

In summary:

The universe is a dream. And even though I get milk in this dream, there are no contradictions.
--
Map Your Thoughts
[ Parent ]

spoon bending (5.00 / 1) (#309)
by majcher on Sun May 25, 2003 at 01:39:11 PM EST

It sounds like your friend has a million dollars coming to him.
--
http://www.majcher.com/
Wrestling pigs since 1988!
[ Parent ]
But mathematics IS founded on evidence (5.00 / 1) (#312)
by DrH0ffm4n on Sun May 25, 2003 at 03:49:20 PM EST

Mathematics is founded without any evidence at all

Can you expand what you mean by this? Your choice of the word 'founded' is interesting but ambiguous.

Also to say that maths has no evidence at all is wrong. One apple plus one apple is two apples. This is evidence of 1+1=2. You might not take it as proof, but it is evidence.

-------

Also your discussion of determinism is interesting. If you believe in absolute physical determinism, then you deny free-will.

---
The face of a child can say it all, especially the mouth part of the face.

[ Parent ]

Suggestion (5.00 / 1) (#320)
by BlueOregon on Mon May 26, 2003 at 01:41:13 AM EST

Go read this and then come back to talk about the a priori vs. a posteriori nature of mathematics.

[ Parent ]

Thank you (none / 0) (#323)
by DrH0ffm4n on Mon May 26, 2003 at 08:26:15 AM EST

Thanks for the link. Although the article is wrong in places, it is still a good exposition of some of the difficulties arising in the philosophy of mathematics.

Not sure whether your point was the futility of arguing about these things (esp. on K5) or that I was plain wrong (surely not!) in any of my statements?

I look forward to talking about the a priori vs. a posteriori nature of mathematics.</patronising>


---
The face of a child can say it all, especially the mouth part of the face.

[ Parent ]

Mathematics and Logic (5.00 / 1) (#322)
by zakalwe on Mon May 26, 2003 at 06:21:36 AM EST

I've seen spoon bending practiced by my best friend. Michael Crichton (and many others) have independently verified these practices. I have left my body, and I have experienced shared dreams. I've had some rather unusual encounters in my life, and the are similar to the experiences of others.
OK - I'm fine with this. Obviously I've come to different conclusions to you, but I have different evidence (you telling me this, instead of experiencing it) and different background to interpret it against. I have no problem with your basic method though - I was only objecting to the notion that because anything is theoretically possible, it doesn't make sense to disbelieve anything, no matter how unlikely. This may not be what you're arguing though if I understand you - you are still using evidence, but you just have different evidence /interpretations than me.
Mathematics is founded without any evidence at all.
Only because it is an entirely created system - its fundamental axioms are assumed in advance, so there is no need for evidence to support them any more than evidence would be valid if I took solipsism as my fundamental axiom. We merely produce mathematics by following an arbitrarily decided list of rules. What does require evidence is whether mathematics has any bearing on the real world. Fortunately there is a large body of empirical evidence that the mathematical notion of "addition" is applicable to, for example, combining piles of objects. Without that empirical evidence, I can't use mathematics or logic to make real-world predictions. I could invent a logical system that was entirely self consistent, but gives nonsense answers with respect to 'real' behaviour. The system would be equally as arbitrary and unrequiring of 'evidence' as Mathematics, but would be useless for making decisions since there is no empirical evidence that it was isomorphic to observed reality.

You can explain everything but the very method of observation itself.
Well, we haven't (yet) explained awareness, and for all I know, we never will (or perhaps are not even capable) of doing so. I don't see that this necessarily affects our way of looking at the universe. It is something unknown, like many other things - but proceeding with our explanations based on the observations of our not fully understood selves still seems the best approach. Other explanations than "objective reality is really real" are no better in terms of explaining it (or at least I can't conceive of one that does - probably because I don't understand awareness) Even your own dream theory is expressed in terms of our observed reality - if its a dream, are we the dreamer? Why is the dreamer aware? Does he exist in a 'real' reality, or is that a dream in turn?

[ Parent ]
Healthy Skepticism, Experiences, Dreams (none / 0) (#325)
by snowlion on Mon May 26, 2003 at 11:04:04 AM EST

I was only objecting to the notion that because anything is theoretically possible, it doesn't make sense to disbelieve anything, no matter how unlikely.

I disagree entirely, it makes plenty of sense. It's called skepticism. (Skepticism: It's not just for hard-core physicalists. They are pretty damn indoctrinated, from what I can tell.)

As for mathematics, and the comparison to metaphysics- the neat thing about mathematical rules is that they are built for internal consistency. And that's how this is similar to metaphysical thinking. People were arguing "no rational person could believe these kinds of things." Well, I think this is an internally consistent way of thinking about things, that serves as a good explanation for what's around me. In fact, it's better in some ways, because at least I am included in this vision of the world (vision that the world is a dream).

Well, yeah. That's what I was saying. Your initial claim was that I was using one type of reasoning to get milk (based on empiricism), and that my other kind of thinking was based on something else entirely.

I was establishing that, while there is a non-empirical element to my way of thinking (that is, a mathematical-sort-of integrated metaphysics), that it also had empirical elements. Namely my own awareness of the universe, currently unexplained (and I would argue "likely unexplainable, unless we find ourselves in a 'magical' universe"), and my own weird experiences as well, which have cast a heavy shadow of doubt over what our physical sciences reveal.

Even your own dream theory is expressed in terms of our observed reality - if its a dream, are we the dreamer? Why is the dreamer aware? Does he exist in a 'real' reality, or is that a dream in turn?

Ack! Very shaky questions. What's a dreamer? Is the dreamer the one that determines what's on the screen, or by dreamer, do you mean the person watching the show? Is a dream a light-sound experience, or an artificial show in an ampitheatre somewhere?

My answers to your questions depend on those things. Don't be surprised if my answer uses mathematical type reasoning, rather than just empirical evidence. {:)}=
--
Map Your Thoughts
[ Parent ]

Any argument can be contradicted by solipsism (5.00 / 5) (#159)
by Emissary on Fri May 23, 2003 at 03:44:02 AM EST

And solipsism can't be disproven. So it's unfalsifiable, and logically useless. You can beat anyone by saying "But we don't really KNOW what's real!". It's stupid. And so are you.

"Be instead like Gamera -- mighty, a friend to children, and always, always screaming." - eSolutions
[ Parent ]
Axiomatic truth is in the eye of the beholder (4.50 / 2) (#83)
by Skwirl on Thu May 22, 2003 at 11:22:10 AM EST

You've got a computer! That's GREAT! Guess what, in my pocket dimension, I've got a galaxy-sized robot that makes spaceships, fuck-chicks, and can teach me everything I want to know.
Whoa. Sign me up!
Do I really know? Do you really know? Absolutely? Mathematically, from axiom to conclusion? No. No, we don't.
This is nitpicky, but it might provide an example that the rationalists will grok. Technically, the axiom of the proof is the base assumption. Axioms are faith. The idea that physical laws are immutable is an axiom of physics. Axioms have the property that they can neither be proven nor disproven, but they can be either ignored or believed. The act of ignoring or beliving an axiom will often, if not always, create a new, self-consistent system. One of my CS profs used the Geometry axiom that parallel lines never cross to explain this point. One day, somebody first decided to see what would happen if they ignored this axiom and low and behold, they spurred the development of all kinds of useful, interesting and logically self-consistent non-Euclidian geometries.

I think maybe the reason otherkin are so frustrating is because they're working within a system that is not only foreign, but almost totally mentally impenetrable to me. I can't imagine the universe where their set of proclaimed axioms are self-consistent. I'm just not clever enough. It's a place that exists (in the sense that I know London, England exists by pure hearsay alone since I've never empirically experienced London on my own) but I cannot visit there. It's a painful reminder that we can't truly walk in the shoes of anyone else in this life, whether they're a schizophrenic, a Neptunian, our father, or an otherkin.

Just to play devil's advocate, though, utilizing my view of reality, sometimes you've just got to step back from solipistic relativism and call a spade a mentally disturbed individual.

--
"Nothing in the world is more distasteful to a man than to take the path that leads to himself." -- Herman Hesse
[ Parent ]

Sign-up Sheet (none / 0) (#259)
by snowlion on Sat May 24, 2003 at 01:16:46 AM EST

_Whoa. Sign me up! _

Well, I happen to have a sign-up form right here. We can dispense with the pleasantries of time and space, and your mere repetition of the words "Namu Amida Butsu", three times, will be accepted as adequate signature. In your next incarnation, you'll have one too.

--
Map Your Thoughts
[ Parent ]

Mental Penetration (none / 0) (#260)
by snowlion on Sat May 24, 2003 at 01:19:56 AM EST

Midway through a previous post, I describe a system that produces elves and unicorns living in this world as human beings.

Reply, or give me a 4 or 5, if you followed it.
--
Map Your Thoughts
[ Parent ]

More than two ways... (3.00 / 2) (#58)
by Skwirl on Thu May 22, 2003 at 08:15:25 AM EST

But it is my understanding that there are two seperate perspectives on how humans acquire knowledge:

1. Through the senses/through experience (empiricism)

2. Through the use of reason (rationalism)

Existientialism has, in my opinion, quite successfully confronted the epistemology of empiricism and rationalism.

Oh...dear...goodness it feels good to use so many philosophical buzzwords in a sentence.

--
"Nothing in the world is more distasteful to a man than to take the path that leads to himself." -- Herman Hesse
[ Parent ]

ack! :-) (none / 0) (#137)
by yammering communist on Thu May 22, 2003 at 09:24:50 PM EST

I keep being reminded of my need to familiarize myself with existentialism - I know nothing about it.

I have this list - "stuff I don't understand that I should." At the top of the list is "a foreign launguage" (taking care of that one soon). Second is "organic chemistry and synthetic methods" (heh-heh). Somewhere in the middle, like #10 or so, is "existentialist philosophy."

I tried to read Sartre's "Being and Nothingness," but that was a mistake, because I had also just purchased two new computer games at the time, and my attention span often determines the nature of my activities far more than my fledgeling thirst for knowlege. I got to page 10 before I realized that I hate reading things in translation.

---

I fear nothing. I believe nothing. I am free.

--Nikos Kazantzakis, epitaph.


[ Parent ]
Cheating on the top of the list (5.00 / 1) (#232)
by pin0cchio on Fri May 23, 2003 at 03:47:26 PM EST

At the top of the list is "a foreign launguage" (taking care of that one soon).

Or you can cheat and learn Toki Pona, a language with 120 words.


lj65
[ Parent ]
nice... makes esperanto look like sanskrit (n/t) (none / 0) (#319)
by yammering communist on Sun May 25, 2003 at 11:42:06 PM EST



---

I fear nothing. I believe nothing. I am free.

--Nikos Kazantzakis, epitaph.


[ Parent ]
Existentialism & Meaning. (none / 0) (#254)
by snowlion on Fri May 23, 2003 at 11:55:36 PM EST

I don't really understand it very well; Existentialism seems to me to be the notion that the universe is just this pulp with no intrinsic meaning or any particular utility.

To a certain degree, I agree with that. I think that minds create meaning, and interact with those self-created meanings.

But I think existentialists would strongly disagree with my notion that we (as Awarenesses) are drops in an Ocean of Love, and that Love has no "meaning" to it, but, rather, is a vital Beingness.

Things like "Vital" or "Love"- I don't think that would go down too well with the existentialist. I just keep seeing this guy dressed in pure black, with a dour face, and a big bottle of Vodka, saying, "Jou Fools; Jou fools have got it ALL wrOnG!!1! It's All inSanitY!" Or I see the pair of professors returning to their work and lives, having come to peace with their belief that Awareness doesn't exist, because it's inconsistent with their physical models.

I guess I sort of see this "meaning creation" as an interpretation by the mind of the Eternal Spirit. It doesn't make rational sense, but it's still there, so the mind does something with it and comes up with "meaning".
--
Map Your Thoughts
[ Parent ]

Basically, we could call this ... (4.25 / 4) (#59)
by pyramid termite on Thu May 22, 2003 at 08:23:01 AM EST

... a reversal of the pathetic fallacy. A person may well think they are a lionness - but will they know the chase, the violence, the blood of the prey? No - at best, they will only know what they can imagine of it. But saying is not making.

It could be said that people are imagining themselves as human also, couldn't it? But, never mind - we use the symbols as a cloak for the spirit - whether the spirit would be "cold" or "naked" without that cloak, or whether the cloak is the only thing that can give the spirit a form we can perceive is a question I don't care to touch. Do you see in a mirror or create seeing?

There was a flag. The wind moved it around but it wasn't aware of that. People talked underneath it about whether the flag moved or the wind moved or the mind moved but the flag wasn't aware of that either. The lion creeping up on the two men discussing the flag only heard sounds the men made that indicated to him that they were unaware of his presence. This meant he could eat them, and so he did. The flag knew nothing about that either.

They, the flag and the lion, both are what they are without reflection. We aren't - and the words build up from there. No, I don't believe anyone can be a cat or a dragon or an elf. It's difficult enough to be me, let alone anyone or anything else.

We break the mirror with our words so we can put it back together.

On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
[ Parent ]
You are You. (3.66 / 2) (#255)
by snowlion on Sat May 24, 2003 at 12:28:55 AM EST

You are you.

It requires work and effort, in the sense that you have to exert energy to stay alive in this frequently hard world.

But in a most critical sense, it requires no work, because you are you. (Mr Rogers enjoins: "Every day is special, because you are being you.)

This body and mind around you are just masks.

If you say that you can't be a human, because "human" is a mask, then it follows that you say that you can't be a dragon or a unicorn, because they would be masks as well.

But if you say that you can be a human, then I would also say that you can be a dragon or a unicorn.

The mind is far more pliable than the body, and it's notions of itself are far more self-defining than the self-definitions of the body. Another person may be an elf in mind, but they can't be an elf in body, without some extensive surgery and perhaps relocation to another dimension.

There are limits to this ability to self-morph in this world we find ourselves in: We can't think ourselves into super-intelligent God-minds. But that's not what these people are doing. They're saying, "I'm a dragon," or, "I'm an elf."

I think that some of them are articulating something real about themselves, that does indeed differentiate themselves (within at least the span of 1 lifetime) from others.

(Most of them, I believe, are just playing games, and will cease to identify as an OtherKin within 5 years. But some of them will probably have come to the notion reluctantly, and will find the notion near impossible to shake, despite being healthy, mentally sane adults.)

Perhaps they are reading about elves, and they unconsciously realize a strong self-similarity. They don't consciously say, "I realize a strong self-similarity here, though it's not quite right." When they articulate their thoughts to themselves, they say, "I'm an elf," or, "I somehow find my life runs a lot smoother if I confess to myself that I'm an elf. It just feels like a weight off my shoulders, and I don't have to put up with so much internal resistance."

Are they elves? Definition question. Personally, I say, "Yeah, they're elves." If they meet all my criteria. (You know, including not going through just an acid trip and ditching the notion after 3 years, or picking it up to hang out with some cool people or whatever.)

I've talked long enough, but I want to get something out:

I believe in reincarnation. I think that we are Awarenesses first. And then we have a mind around us, that we interact with the manifest worlds through. (Side-note: I think we can experience the unmanifest worlds as raw Awareness, too, as light & sound. But that's another story.) We travel with our minds through zillions of life times in the manifest universes. I don't know if there is an end to it, or if an end is desirable or not. Don't have a clue there.

Now, we drop into this universe. The mind finds some brain in the multiverses that it'll match with, and lands into that universe. Universe can be deterministic, whatever; It doesn't really matter. So here we are, incarnated. We're living here.

Now, the dragons come in, and the unicorns, etc., etc.,. Maybe. Again, this is all metaphysics, so there are no certainties, and there's healthy skepticism in big beverage mugs. Plenty for all.

So minds accumulate some habits and shape through the twists and turns through the multiverses. Desires, interests, passions, attachments, yadda yadda yadda. Not necessarily just karmas, though that's a part of it.

Some minds come in tribes. How do we describe them?

To the mind, nothing is unimaginable. It can be as fantastic as it likes. In fact, probably the more fantastic or accentuating, the better. These are minds, after all. They love extremes, abstractions, symbols.

So a bunch of minds are the "dragons". They have their flag, their manifest form, their psychology, their interests, yadda yadda yadda.

It happens that a bunch of dragons manifest into the world around now. Boom, they are there, born, in physical human bodies. I don't know why, they just do.

This is to me, a perfectly plausible scenario. I see no reason why this is rediculous or non-doable.

Do I believe it? No. But I do something different than most K5-ers who are studying math and CS or politics or what not, and think that they know everything: I'm saying, "It could be." I'm not immediately discounting it. Because it's "not science".

Okay. There you go. By the way, I loved your post. I disagree with it, but I loved it none the less.

If you haven't read Rumi's story, be sure to. It is short; You'll like it.
--
Map Your Thoughts
[ Parent ]

omg, biggest nerd ever (2.75 / 4) (#158)
by Liet on Fri May 23, 2003 at 03:33:23 AM EST

thats a weight off my mind :D

[ Parent ]
You're crazy! (none / 0) (#188)
by Cro Magnon on Fri May 23, 2003 at 09:56:31 AM EST

And what's scary is, I agree with you. I DO read sci-fi/fantasy books, and like to imagine myself as a superhero/space alien/sorceror. I even used to tell people I was a space alien, but stopped when some of them agreed with me. :) Am I "normal"? Probably not, but as long as I don't try to fly out a window, and can lead a "normal" life, who cares! Besides, "normal" is boring anyway.
Information wants to be beer.
[ Parent ]
http://www.mhsource.com/schizophrenia/schizfaq.htm (4.57 / 21) (#6)
by yammering communist on Thu May 22, 2003 at 12:59:22 AM EST

Let me preface my statement by saying that I will be giving this article +1 to section. It's well-written, and thought-provoking, in its own way.

But I'm sorry. I hate telling people that something into which they have invested some level of intellectual energy is stupid bullshit, but faced with this, I have no other choice. I like to think of myself as open-minded, but I have just discovered the big, thick, obvious line between "different and interesting" and "mind-bogglingly random and meaningless."

I'm no stranger to bizarre thoughts; I've smoked my fair share of pot, dropped acid about a dozen times. For about a year of my life, I was on antidepressants. I even once considered myself a Liberterian. I used to want to be a computer programmer - as a job, for the rest of my life!

But not once did I ever think of myself as non-Human. Even when ripped to the tits on four or five different drugs, watching all of the leaves of trees outside morphing into huge red-pupiled eyes, I did not lose my essential concept of self.

But, you said something worth everone's attention:

"However, in my opinion, calling Otherkin delusional or insane is obviously highly disrespectful, and their beliefs are no more or less valid than any other."

That's an extremely interesting statement, and I'd like everyone to meditate on that one for a minute, and - if you're a religious person - tell me how it makes you feel.

---

I fear nothing. I believe nothing. I am free.

--Nikos Kazantzakis, epitaph.


The Creatively Maladjusted (4.50 / 4) (#9)
by snowlion on Thu May 22, 2003 at 01:06:46 AM EST

"Success, recognition, and conformity are the bywords of the modern world where everyone seems to crave the anesthetizing security of being identified with the majority...Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted." --MLK

Are you sure that your sig is... I don't know... Appropriate- to your message?

{;D}=

"However, in my opinion, calling Otherkin delusional or insane is obviously highly disrespectful, and their beliefs are no more or less valid than any other."

In terms of what is the nature of fundamental reality?

Absolutely.

In terms of: concept of human genetics? No.

--
Map Your Thoughts
[ Parent ]

You caught me there. :-) (n/t) (2.50 / 2) (#11)
by yammering communist on Thu May 22, 2003 at 01:10:44 AM EST



---

I fear nothing. I believe nothing. I am free.

--Nikos Kazantzakis, epitaph.


[ Parent ]
Talk about politics (2.00 / 1) (#90)
by auraslip on Thu May 22, 2003 at 12:53:38 PM EST

You should be a politician.
124
[ Parent ]
Is that a compliment or an insult? (3.50 / 2) (#140)
by yammering communist on Thu May 22, 2003 at 09:36:44 PM EST

:-)

I've thought about it. Well, that's a lie: I really want to "enter politics" in some fashion when I get out of the service, but I'm gonna suck at it... rising through the ranks as a career politician in American without turning into a jaded, money-grubbing intellectual prostitute might take a great deal more courage and effort than I (or anyone else) would be willing to invest.

It is more likely that I'll end up participating on the sidelines, as it were, as a journalist or commentator. But I'm trying to keep an open mind.

---

I fear nothing. I believe nothing. I am free.

--Nikos Kazantzakis, epitaph.


[ Parent ]
Did you try... (4.00 / 1) (#108)
by Kaki Nix Sain on Thu May 22, 2003 at 03:37:52 PM EST

... DXM? It isn't illegal and you can order some from chemical supply places. Or just drink a ton of cough syrup, as it is one of the better decongestants out there.
Even when ripped to the tits on four or five different drugs, watching all of the leaves of trees outside morphing into huge red-pupiled eyes, I did not lose my essential concept of self.
It should come close to doing that. One of the common side effects is depersonalization. Not exactly the happiest cognitive experimentation that I've done, but certainly one of the more interesting and distinctive. The bottle had a really amusing warning label too, something about not being too upset if you start to think you are dead, you should wait and try to remain calm, the feeling will pass.



[ Parent ]

Yep. :-) (none / 0) (#134)
by yammering communist on Thu May 22, 2003 at 09:06:59 PM EST

I'm not really proud of it, and it's not an experience I intend to repeat, but I drank three bottles of cough syrup for its dextromethorphan content last year.

Boredom, curiosity, and a sense of adventure will kill you if you let them.

I should clarify: DXM displays textbook "dissociative" effects - I was walking around floating somewhere above my body, viewing the world through a fisheye lens, et al. These are slightly different in a qualitative sense from the sort of "ego loss" phenomena associated with high-power psychedelics, like LSD and DMT, which is less of an "i'm soooo fucked up!" experience, and more of a "i've transcended the flesh and ascended to a purer plane of being" kind of thing.

I could see myself claiming to be Otherkin during the latter, but I should hope that I'd stop as soon as I came down. :-)

---

I fear nothing. I believe nothing. I am free.

--Nikos Kazantzakis, epitaph.


[ Parent ]
Heheh (5.00 / 1) (#349)
by spiralx on Wed May 28, 2003 at 09:48:50 AM EST

Try combining large quantities of acid and ketamine for the ultimate in ego loss and existential trips ;) Lying there trying to find the answer to the question "what makes me me?" and "what makes me not everything else?" is great for the soul... but at no point did I ever think "what makes me an elf?" :D

You're doomed, I'm doomed, we're all doomed for ice cream. - Bob Aboey
[ Parent ]

I Just Can't Take this Seriously (4.42 / 14) (#8)
by Juppon Gatana on Thu May 22, 2003 at 01:02:43 AM EST

(I posted this on the old version of this story, and since that was obliterated, I'm posting it again here so my two cents stays in the pool.)

I think "The Awakening" is merely the onset of a delusional state of mind. I see that you find the term "delusional" disrespectful, but it seems quite appropriate. The definition, according to American Heritage, is: "A false belief strongly held in spite of invalidating evidence, especially as a symptom of mental illness." If you think you're elf but all evidence points to you being human, you're probably delusional, all disrespect aside. Beliefs are beliefs, and some of them are delusional.

I mean, I agree that not everything in this world is as it seems, but a 30-year-old man with a paunch and a hairless pate is not Kilpaf the Dragon-Man from the planet Zilotron with healing ability +5. I'm sorry to be so irreverent, but I simply cannot believe that people who are mentally stable can take this stuff seriously. I'm all for limited fantasy, which can be fun and healthy, but not for the unbridled indulgence of the wild escapism of "Otherkin." They can think what they like, but it is the job of those of us who recognize ourselves as human to keep them as grounded as possible and restore reality to their lives. Imagination is great, but not realizing the difference between imagination and reality is both dangerous to others and potentially self-destructive. A person who understands the rules of this world (as far as we do) can help other people; a person who feels an "RPG-style Calling" is probably going to be less effective. Helping people is a noble goal, but it doesn't do much good if those people can't appreciate your method of help (e.g. an "invulnerability aura").

- Juppon Gatana
能ある鷹は爪を隠す。
(Nou aru taka wa tsume wo kakusu.)
I can't take it seriously either, but... (4.50 / 2) (#10)
by randyk on Thu May 22, 2003 at 01:09:58 AM EST

apparently some people do, and it may be worth discussing. +1 section.



[ Parent ]
Even if you feel you can't take it seriously... (5.00 / 3) (#12)
by reklaw on Thu May 22, 2003 at 01:13:59 AM EST

...it's at least interesting. I'm always open to hearing about new ideas, even if I don't agree with them.
-
[ Parent ]
'zactly (none / 0) (#13)
by randyk on Thu May 22, 2003 at 01:18:30 AM EST

Hence my +1 vote.



[ Parent ]
:-) (nt) (2.00 / 1) (#14)
by reklaw on Thu May 22, 2003 at 01:19:35 AM EST


-
[ Parent ]
Neither can I (4.25 / 4) (#22)
by stormie on Thu May 22, 2003 at 01:38:36 AM EST

..and I don't care if he think the term "delusional" is disrespectful, because it is intended to be so. I don't respect these beliefs. And what's this "their beliefs are no more or less valid than any other" talk? Does the author honestly think that there is no such thing as correct and incorrect beliefs? Or that this is no difference in validity between them?

p.s. I voted the story +1 in the hope of seeing pro- and anti-Otherkin kicking the shit out of each other



[ Parent ]
it's not a slander or insult (5.00 / 2) (#28)
by Greyshade on Thu May 22, 2003 at 01:52:06 AM EST

delusion - A false belief strongly held in spite of invalidating evidence, especially as a symptom of mental illness

It is no more insulting than saying someone has an addiction or schizophrenia.

[ Parent ]

That's what I say (4.50 / 2) (#30)
by truth versus death on Thu May 22, 2003 at 02:04:21 AM EST

But some people always seem to get upset when I call George W. Bush's concept of foreign policy delusional.

"any erection implies consent"-fae
[ Trim your Bush ]
[ Parent ]
Camus wrote (5.00 / 6) (#31)
by yammering communist on Thu May 22, 2003 at 02:14:45 AM EST

"Man is the only creature that refuses to be what he is."

Didn't appreciate that quote 'till now.

---

I fear nothing. I believe nothing. I am free.

--Nikos Kazantzakis, epitaph.


[ Parent ]
Don Marquis wrote (5.00 / 2) (#77)
by Three Pi Mesons on Thu May 22, 2003 at 10:35:33 AM EST

[Earth] doesn't know where it is
going nor why
but it is in a hurry
it is in charge of a
two-legged animal called
man who is genuinely
puzzled as to whether
his grandfather was a god
or a monkey
i should think said mars
that what he is himself
would make more difference
than what his grandfather was
-- from archy hears from mars

:: "Every problem in the world can be fixed with either flowers, or duct tape, or both." - illuzion
[ Parent ]
off topic, but nubile = fertile (none / 0) (#175)
by livus on Fri May 23, 2003 at 06:21:18 AM EST

or do you wanna be a multiple daddy?

---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]
it's posts like this (4.28 / 14) (#18)
by circletimessquare on Thu May 22, 2003 at 01:30:40 AM EST

that remind me it's high time i founded my own religion

preferably one based on my penis as god, whose members are all nubile young women

;-P


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

hehe (4.00 / 1) (#25)
by reklaw on Thu May 22, 2003 at 01:44:26 AM EST

I know you weren't being serious, but you raise a point -- people will believe in lots of things if some religious leader gives it to them. The thing is, there aren't any religious leaders for Otherkin. People are believing it of their own accord. They barely even meet, and they're not paying anyone any money -- as far as I can make out, Otherkin has no founder.
-
[ Parent ]
An empty Ecological Niche? (4.00 / 1) (#75)
by Viliam Bur on Thu May 22, 2003 at 10:17:55 AM EST

there aren't any religious leaders for Otherkin

Today is the first time I read about "Otherkin", so I cannot can anything about it - maybe a few years later.

However, before these "fantasy" people, there was a wave of "sci-fi" people, who later had their organizations like "Heaven's Gate" (note: they are dead now - group suicide, "leaving their earth bodies"). I think that sooner or later a similar leader, some Mahaguru Sri Golden Dragon will appear. If not... then perhaps I could take the job.

[ Parent ]

Gives new meaning to the phrase (4.62 / 8) (#29)
by Juppon Gatana on Thu May 22, 2003 at 02:00:56 AM EST

"God exists inside each and every one of us."

Just writing that made me feel so filthy.

- Juppon Gatana
能ある鷹は爪を隠す。
(Nou aru taka wa tsume wo kakusu.)
[ Parent ]
You're not original. (3.33 / 3) (#49)
by tkatchev on Thu May 22, 2003 at 06:03:46 AM EST

Worshipping the member was the very very first pagan religion.

In fact, that is how we got swear words in the first place. ("Swear words" were originally "sacred words" in primitive phallus-worshipping religions.)

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

Sources? (4.00 / 1) (#143)
by ultimai on Thu May 22, 2003 at 10:41:21 PM EST

Where in the world does this come from? Have any historical evidence? It does sound possible, I don't deny it, but show us something substantial.

[ Parent ]
Sigh. (3.50 / 4) (#172)
by tkatchev on Fri May 23, 2003 at 05:26:17 AM EST

What is it with you people? Why can't you do your own research?

Look up "phallic god" on Google, OK?

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

tkatchev == troll (nt) (1.00 / 1) (#199)
by wurp on Fri May 23, 2003 at 12:06:16 PM EST


---
Buy my stuff
[ Parent ]
Have a cookie. (1.00 / 3) (#213)
by tkatchev on Fri May 23, 2003 at 01:42:32 PM EST

It must be nice to wallow in your own intellectual inadequacy...

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

See? (3.33 / 3) (#230)
by wurp on Fri May 23, 2003 at 03:08:45 PM EST


---
Buy my stuff
[ Parent ]
Have you not heard (2.00 / 2) (#89)
by Meatbomb on Thu May 22, 2003 at 12:53:35 PM EST

of the wonders of Big Sexxy Joe's wonderous shaft?

_______________

Good News for Liberal Democracy!

[ Parent ]
Ah sorry (4.00 / 3) (#95)
by Jennifer Ever on Thu May 22, 2003 at 02:18:28 PM EST

The Mormons beat you to it.

[ Parent ]
I'm sorry (4.30 / 10) (#19)
by ph317 on Thu May 22, 2003 at 01:33:33 AM EST


I like to be open-minded, and I like to accept people's beliefs.  And I certainly uphold your right to believe in Otherkin if you chose to do so...

But I am rational enough to see that this is complete horse shit.  I give more credence to the 0.5% possibility that there's a grain of truth to the concept of the Sumerian-linked alien origins of humankind than I would to this cruft, and that's not saying much.

If you know someone who believes in this stuff, you should really try to help them come back to the rational world, or help them seek psychiatric help.  If you believe it yourself... well, I guess I've already pissed you off and there isn't much I can do about it now :)

heh (4.75 / 4) (#23)
by reklaw on Thu May 22, 2003 at 01:40:59 AM EST

I did say right at the start that I didn't believe in it. As for giving people psychiatric help, you'd be amazed at how many people believe in this New Age stuff now, and it only seems to increase. You can't say that they all need psychiatric help, any more than someone of another religion does.
-
[ Parent ]
nothing new (4.00 / 4) (#32)
by Greyshade on Thu May 22, 2003 at 02:17:28 AM EST

Adolescents and young adults have been drawn to fad relegions and cults for ages. This age group already feels ostricized from adults and children because they are sort of bridging the gap between those to classifications. This can be excerbated by the fact that many are at odds with their parents at this time in their life.

You then take these people that already feel like outcasts, then try to convince them that they really ARE outcasts and different. For example, you could try to tell them that they aren't really human but some mythical creature in disguise. Once you can create and reinforce this mental schizm in the subject, you have a devout follower. After all, who will they go to for help or comfort? A 'normal' human? They could never understand your problem, they are nothing like you and you nothing like them! You are a powerful mythical creature, after all!

Even if there is no monetary or political profiteering with this 'otherkin' sect, I cannot beleive that conditioning people that they are somehow removed from the human race (wether it be in a superior of inferior capacity) is not a healthy way of thinking. Not healthy on an individual or societal level.



[ Parent ]

I swear I previewed! (none / 0) (#33)
by Greyshade on Thu May 22, 2003 at 02:20:34 AM EST

last paragraph, second sentence has a double-negative. =/

Should read, "... I cannot believe that.. is a healthy way of thinking."

[ Parent ]

Yes, I can (5.00 / 2) (#99)
by ph317 on Thu May 22, 2003 at 02:56:42 PM EST


I don't have any faith in any religion lately, but I wouldn't say I'm atheist either (yet).  However, I think that there are many religious choices out there that aren't as irrational as this.  Most of the major world religions at least have some long-standing documentation of their practices, some reasons to believe... some semblance of rationality, a close enough semblance that one can be a mentally healthy individual and follow them.

This "otherkin" thing, on the other hand... is a load of crap, and I can't imagine a rational mind believing it for a second.  I throw Otherkin in the same boat as people who play Vampire RPGs too long and decide that they're real life vampires, despite all the evidence to the contrary that these people are regular, if sometimes anemic and night-crawling, human individuals.

[ Parent ]

Otherkin are satanic? (2.50 / 3) (#20)
by antispamist on Thu May 22, 2003 at 01:35:49 AM EST

I'm glad to read such a great article with some actual information to it. Until now the only information I have read of anything 'Otherkin' related has been very slanted.

Only through an open mind can our soul asscend (don't remember where I read that; if you know drop me a line here.)

A useless endevor that will certainly leave u wanting less but getting more.
Is this really different from... (4.53 / 15) (#27)
by Mysidia on Thu May 22, 2003 at 01:49:05 AM EST

...the beliefs held by many religions and people; that people are more than their human body, that they have this thing called a soul that is apart from the human, that exists apart from the body, may continue after the body perishes, &c., &c..

This phenomenon does not seem unusual to me in that it appears to be just a slight variant on a very old idea and sort of belief held by many of the religions of the world... perhaps a belief that one is elf-like is likenable to a belief of the nature of one's soul.

I for one find the Zodiac signs and likening of people to Ram, Scorpion, Lion, ..., based on date of birth a stranger sounding thing. :-)



-Mysidia the insane @k5
Yes it is different. (1.71 / 7) (#48)
by tkatchev on Thu May 22, 2003 at 06:01:34 AM EST

The supernatural nature of humanity can be easily demonstrated with empirical evidence.

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

Go on then... (5.00 / 2) (#53)
by DrH0ffm4n on Thu May 22, 2003 at 07:10:08 AM EST

I'd like to see this.

---
The face of a child can say it all, especially the mouth part of the face.

[ Parent ]
You're retarded. (1.00 / 11) (#60)
by tkatchev on Thu May 22, 2003 at 08:23:14 AM EST

Why should I bother if you have already made up your prejudiced mind and are not willing to change it no matter what?

Stop the wankfest, please. You're only making yourself look stupid.

That said, it is patently obvious that (at least some) human beings are not animals, since they have free will and self-awareness.


   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

Scuse me? (5.00 / 3) (#65)
by DrH0ffm4n on Thu May 22, 2003 at 09:04:58 AM EST

I showed an interest that the supernatural nature of human existence be empirically demonstrated. How is that retarded?

You've also assumed I have some prejudiced view here - I'd like to know what you think it is.

---
The face of a child can say it all, especially the mouth part of the face.

[ Parent ]

guh? (3.00 / 1) (#73)
by delmoi on Thu May 22, 2003 at 10:14:12 AM EST

That said, it is patently obvious that (at least some) human beings are not animals, since they have free will and self-awareness.

So are you saying that being 'otherkin' is thus impossible, since it's clear that they are not animals? or that otherkin are not self-aware or have free will?

And more then that, are you also saying that, for example, chimpanzees are not animals?
--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
[ Parent ]
As a person who believes ... (5.00 / 2) (#112)
by pyramid termite on Thu May 22, 2003 at 04:08:25 PM EST

... that man has a supernatural nature, I do wish you'd prove it. It would save us so many flame wars ...

But I don't see how you can, anymore than DrH0ffm4n can prove that man doesn't have a supernatural nature, if that's what he's interested in doing. You've made a statement - don't accuse others of a "wankfest" when they politely ask you to back it up.

There are some who would insist that it's not patently obvious that humans have free will and self-awareness, even though I don't understand how they can say that.

Pretend we're all from Missouri - show us.

On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
[ Parent ]
WHBT (none / 0) (#201)
by DrH0ffm4n on Fri May 23, 2003 at 12:17:31 PM EST

My interest was to find what 'supernatural' meant to tkatchev and what universally  obvious empirical evidence she had to back up his belief. I thought asking her to define supernatural and empirical would have been a tad patronising. Turns out what I said came across as overly sarcastic.

My comment was not meant as a prelude to a proof of anything. The nature of the discourse about science vs. supernature is of genuine philosophical interest to me.


---
The face of a child can say it all, especially the mouth part of the face.

[ Parent ]

OK, now that you mention it. (2.33 / 3) (#210)
by tkatchev on Fri May 23, 2003 at 01:32:36 PM EST

Briefly, two points:

a) Free will is universally held to exist, and (at least some) people are believed to posess free will.
b) If free will exists, it must necessarily violate cause and effect.
c) Ergo, humans can be demonstrated to be supernatural creatures.

Now, we can never know for sure whether all people are supernatural creatures, since you can never really tell whether or not a given person has free will. (For all you know, he might be Agent Smith from the Matrix.)

But there is at least one person that can be used to check with a very good degree of accuracy -- yourself.

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

Determinism (4.50 / 2) (#215)
by DrH0ffm4n on Fri May 23, 2003 at 01:56:30 PM EST

People do not have to violate cause and effect in order to have free will.
Most physicists now accept a QM view that there are inherent stochastic processes at work in the world.

Random events are allowed by Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle and are demonstrated empirically in radioactive decay. Einstein had enormous problem's with this ("God does not play dice"), but most QM physicists now accept it as part of their discipline.

This means for them that the world is not 100% deterministic. It is still highly predictable statistically and on a macro scale, but no longer believed to function absolutely as clockwork. They do not take this as a break down of cause and effect though. Cause and effect is a cornerstone (an axiom) of the scientific method.

Research by people like Roger Penrose is now investigating how QM effects in the brain can allow for intuition. There's room in the non-determinant behaviour of the brain for free-will as well. Penrose is a Platonist so gets my back up with his arguments sometimes.

FYI, my own viewpoint is close to that expressed by Stephen Hawking:

I take the positivist viewpoint that a physical theory is just a mathematical model and that it is meaningless to ask whether it corresponds to reality. All that one can ask is that its predictions should be in agreement with observation.

---
The face of a child can say it all, especially the mouth part of the face.

[ Parent ]

OK. (none / 0) (#263)
by tkatchev on Sat May 24, 2003 at 05:09:07 AM EST

You're effectively saying that violation of cause and effect is not supernatural.

I'm not sure what to make of your statement yet, and how much it corresponds to reality.

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

Actually (5.00 / 1) (#279)
by DrH0ffm4n on Sat May 24, 2003 at 03:08:35 PM EST

Actually I quite liked your definition of supernatural: Anything that violates causality

My main point was that free will and causality are not mutually exclusive.
Free will and determinism are mutually exclusive, but causality and determinism are not the same thing. Causality is a 'softer' concept than determinism.

A sub-point that I was trying to get across was that this is still an area of debate and not 100% settled to the satisfaction of the scientific and philisophical communities.

---
The face of a child can say it all, especially the mouth part of the face.

[ Parent ]

Devils Advocate (5.00 / 1) (#223)
by CENGEL3 on Fri May 23, 2003 at 02:45:55 PM EST

How do you know that what you classify as "supernatural free will" isn't just an incredibly complex manifistation of cause and effect based upon the paticular pattern of the firing of your synapses, influenced by your body chemistry, what you ate for dinner last night, your DNA sequence, a billion years of evolution and the particular stimula you are faced with?

In that sense your "free will" might be no more supernatural in nature then a slugs reaction to the stimulae of having salt poured on it. It just has more variables to consider.

Personaly, having spent a decent amount of time around animals I see very little evidence to point that higher order animals (at least) have any more or less capacity for free will or sentience then humans.

[ Parent ]

Re: (1.33 / 3) (#264)
by tkatchev on Sat May 24, 2003 at 05:10:43 AM EST

The vast majority of the people on Earth disagree with you.

Are they just stupid retards?

BTW, how do you know that all these "complex manifestations" aren't simply teh Matrix playing with your head?

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

People can just be wrong ... (5.00 / 2) (#285)
by Cheetah on Sat May 24, 2003 at 06:20:21 PM EST

First off, people can be wrong or mistaken, without being retards. Secondly, people can argue to the point of fisticuffs over what ends up being simply a stupid semantic disagreement over what terms mean. In the interest of avoiding this, let me throw some things up for thought & discussion:

To me, the concept of free will means that you can, at any given juncture, choose which path you will take with no necessary reference to outside events and realities, except of course which paths are available at that particular juncture.

An alternate and related definition is that free will is the ability to confine the decision making process to your own body. This definition technically is not at odds with determinism.

For most people, the concepts of free will relate more to soul and spiritual matters than they do to physics. In this sense, the argument of free will vs. physics is irrelevant. Physicists generally don't try to make physics arguments for or against the existence of deities, since deities generally (excluding miracles) exist outside and independent of physics (ignoring the thoughts about the deities that go on in people's physical brains).

Most people do not generally exercise this pure form of free will. We generally make choices greatly influenced by outside events. We want to live well, we want to reproduce, we want our offspring to live well, etc.

In the spirit of the assertion "no creature is capable of fully understanding itself," (no doubt paraphrased, sorry don't remember attribution), one could argue that we perceive free will, but it is really the result of a chaotic system that our brains are wholly incapable of comprehending. The statement quoted is related to the idea that you cannot fully describe the universe within the universe, because it would require something at least as big as the universe to do so. Likewise, the human brain cannot fully comprehend itself because it requires a bigger brain to do so. And likewise, if such a bigger brain existed that could comprehend the human brain, the bigger brain wouldn't be able to comprehend itself for the very same reasons.

As a synthesis of these, I propose that the physical interpretation of free will can either be left as incomprehensible, or assumed to be a product of chaos and, if you agree with non-determinism, randomness. The philosophical, spiritual, and faith-related interpretation of free will is not a physical thing, and thus physics doesn't apply.

In either case, free will vs. physics is not something that can be meaningfully argued by humans.

[ Parent ]

I should think... (none / 0) (#355)
by CodeWright on Wed May 28, 2003 at 04:10:35 PM EST

...that it is as universally held a belief as free will that the vast majority of the people of Earth are just stupid retards.

--
"Jumpin Jesus H. Christ riding a segway with a little fruity 1 pint bucket of Ben and Jerry's rainbow fairy-berry crunch in his hand." --
[ Parent ]
You have already... (5.00 / 1) (#139)
by tang gnat on Thu May 22, 2003 at 09:31:06 PM EST

Made up your mind, it seems.

What is free will? What is self-awareness? What do they have to do with the supernatural? How do you know that other humans have these aspects? How do you know that animals don't?

[ Parent ]

Re: (1.50 / 6) (#171)
by tkatchev on Fri May 23, 2003 at 05:20:51 AM EST

They are supernatural because they violate cause-and-effect. The fact that animals are not self-aware and do not have free will is universaly held to be true by the scientific community, and is backed by experimental evidence.

The real sticking point is figuring out whether all people are like that, or merely some. Occam's Razor says that all people have at least the capacity for free-will and self-awareness.

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

Universally? (none / 0) (#180)
by synaesthesia on Fri May 23, 2003 at 07:12:04 AM EST

The fact that animals are not self-aware and do not have free will is universaly held to be true by the scientific community

Yeah, and the fact that tkatchev is a bot is universally held to be true by the Kuro5hin community.

Please back up your assertions, or you might as well be mumbling to yourself in the corner.


Sausages or cheese?
[ Parent ]

Please die. (1.00 / 4) (#194)
by tkatchev on Fri May 23, 2003 at 11:32:52 AM EST

Damn it man, look it up yourself.

This is all elementary-school (OK, OK middle-school if you are an American) knowledge, and I am not going to explain to you why snails, bugs and lizards are not self-aware.

There are documented (and patently trival) experiments that demonstrate this, and the last thing I am going to do is look them up for you. Do it youself, you are, supposedly, a grown-up and self-sufficient person.

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

What is your opinion of Peter Singer? -NT (3.00 / 1) (#202)
by CaptainSuperBoy on Fri May 23, 2003 at 12:26:07 PM EST



--
jimmysquid.com - I take pictures.
[ Parent ]
I don't have one. (2.00 / 3) (#208)
by tkatchev on Fri May 23, 2003 at 01:23:06 PM EST

Regardless, you're going to have a very difficult time convicing your average biologist that animals are self-aware.

The evidence shows that animals are not, in fact, self-aware. Possibly chimps and other higher-order primates might exhibit self-awareness, but for other animals this is most certainly out of the question.

P.S. Note for the pop-sci idiots out there: self-awareness is in no way related to "intelligence" or "being able to think". Self-wareness is not related to being "smart" or having complex brain patterns.

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

Then you are uneducated (3.00 / 1) (#214)
by CaptainSuperBoy on Fri May 23, 2003 at 01:45:29 PM EST

And the uneducated are not worth my time.

--
jimmysquid.com - I take pictures.
[ Parent ]
Pardon me. (2.00 / 2) (#265)
by tkatchev on Sat May 24, 2003 at 05:11:18 AM EST

I am not worthy.

Allow me genuflect before you, good Sir.

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

I repeat (none / 0) (#216)
by synaesthesia on Fri May 23, 2003 at 02:08:50 PM EST


The fact that animals are not self-aware and do not have free will is universaly held to be true by the scientific community

Possibly chimps and other higher-order primates might exhibit self-awareness, but for other animals this is most certainly out of the question.

I repeat: Do you understand what universal means, or are you ignorant as well as incredibly stupid? NB if you don't think you're incredibly stupid, this proves that some humans also lack self-awareness too :)

Sausages or cheese?
[ Parent ]

Lord ghod... (none / 0) (#266)
by tkatchev on Sat May 24, 2003 at 05:11:59 AM EST

...read a biology textbook, will you?

Thanks for wasting my time.

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

The fact that you think... (5.00 / 1) (#321)
by synaesthesia on Mon May 26, 2003 at 05:02:40 AM EST

...a biology textbook will provide all the pertinent answers in this debate states more about you than all your other fuckwitted comments in this thread.


Sausages or cheese?
[ Parent ]
IHBT (none / 0) (#204)
by DrH0ffm4n on Fri May 23, 2003 at 12:31:44 PM EST

But just in case...

You said: The fact that animals are not self-aware and do not have free will is universaly held to be true by the scientific community

I'm sorry but I don't agree. Firstly these are two different issues here.

Are animals self-aware? Slugs are maybe not too self-aware but higher primates might be argued to be fairly self-aware. They can differentiate pictures of themselves from others and also recognise their name. This is an issue of zoology or animal psychology. You may have a differerent idea of self-aware than I'm using in this context. If so, I'd be interested for you to define it.

Free-will is a very different issue. The only place I know of that free-will is discussed in accepted modern science is in the role of the observer in QM. This debate is still ongoing and highly contentious.

My interest here is not with the validity of science vs. supernature but with the nature of the arguments and the debate.

---
The face of a child can say it all, especially the mouth part of the face.

[ Parent ]

Re: (4.50 / 2) (#209)
by tkatchev on Fri May 23, 2003 at 01:27:36 PM EST

You're right. Self-awareness might be demonstrated in higher-order primates, but this is still a very novel and controvercial scientific idea. Conventional science says that animals are not self-aware, period.

Free will, on the other hand, is not a scientific concept.

We're pretty sure that is exists, though, since the vast majority (99.9999%) of people believe in it, and every single facet of our society is based around it.

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

Cos the bible tells me so (none / 0) (#326)
by pnadeau on Mon May 26, 2003 at 11:35:12 AM EST

This idea that animals are not self aware comes from the bible telling man that he has dominion over all the creatures etc. and we all know that everyting in the bible is true right?

Have you ever awakened really slowly or taken LSD? It seems likely to me that consiousness is not an on/off binary relation: that it occurs along a continuum.

The only thing we can know is that a prion is not self aware and that onself is.

Creatures in between can be asserted to be self aware with varying degrees of plausibility along a continuum. (It may be a step function too BTW)


"Can't buy what I want because it's free, can't be what they want because I'm..."  Eddie Vedder


[ Parent ]
I call bullshit (none / 0) (#356)
by CodeWright on Wed May 28, 2003 at 04:12:15 PM EST

There is no free will -- cognition is a highly complex chaotic system but ultimately deterministic.

--
"Jumpin Jesus H. Christ riding a segway with a little fruity 1 pint bucket of Ben and Jerry's rainbow fairy-berry crunch in his hand." --
[ Parent ]
Have you deduced this (none / 0) (#372)
by DrH0ffm4n on Thu May 29, 2003 at 04:22:09 PM EST

or do you take it as axiomatic?

You seem to have a high degree of certainty in this matter.

---
The face of a child can say it all, especially the mouth part of the face.

[ Parent ]

I know it (none / 0) (#376)
by CodeWright on Thu May 29, 2003 at 10:22:19 PM EST

A priori, like tkatchev and his proof of the "supernatural", lemma free will.

--
"Jumpin Jesus H. Christ riding a segway with a little fruity 1 pint bucket of Ben and Jerry's rainbow fairy-berry crunch in his hand." --
[ Parent ]
Arse (none / 0) (#386)
by DrH0ffm4n on Fri May 30, 2003 at 03:27:03 PM EST

Then there is no arguing with you then.
Pity everyone was not born with your insight.

---
The face of a child can say it all, especially the mouth part of the face.

[ Parent ]
Perhaps you miss the point (5.00 / 1) (#387)
by CodeWright on Fri May 30, 2003 at 04:47:52 PM EST

My assertion was not meant to stand up to a reasoned attack -- it was, as a counterpoint and corresponding statement, a self-exemplar rebuttal of tkatchev's "free will" assertion, made with the same basis of support as his own, i.e., none.

Even more clearly: I was refuting tkatchev as an arrogant or ignorant ass -- take your pick. C'est nes pas?

--
"Jumpin Jesus H. Christ riding a segway with a little fruity 1 pint bucket of Ben and Jerry's rainbow fairy-berry crunch in his hand." --
[ Parent ]
Yes I did (none / 0) (#388)
by DrH0ffm4n on Fri May 30, 2003 at 06:04:25 PM EST

In that case I did miss the point. Too subtle. Apologies.

tkatchev is arrogant/ignorant? Yes, on both counts.
But he is actually intelligent, if a little brutal for most peoples tastes.
He will eventually entertain reasoned argument once he thinks you are worthy.
And he also serves as a useful agent provocateur when not flaming people.

Worthwhile debate takes all sorts I suppose.


---
The face of a child can say it all, especially the mouth part of the face.

[ Parent ]

contradiction in terms. (4.33 / 3) (#74)
by delmoi on Thu May 22, 2003 at 10:15:31 AM EST

The supernatural nature of humanity can be easily demonstrated with empirical evidence.

This is false on the surface.
--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
[ Parent ]
No. (1.16 / 6) (#86)
by tkatchev on Thu May 22, 2003 at 12:00:00 PM EST

Think again.

But thanks again for your poor attempt at playing.

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

Empirical evidence... (4.50 / 2) (#87)
by reklaw on Thu May 22, 2003 at 12:06:28 PM EST

just means that someone observed or experienced something, and that is your evidence.

So you can use empirical evidence to prove anything that someone believes they have experienced -- but all that demonstrates is the flaw in the idea of empirical evidence.
-
[ Parent ]

Exactly right. (1.00 / 4) (#106)
by tkatchev on Thu May 22, 2003 at 03:35:29 PM EST

So, basically, there is no such thing as science, right?

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

Not quite ... (5.00 / 2) (#127)
by gumbo on Thu May 22, 2003 at 07:06:20 PM EST

Science requires that claims be falsifiable and empirical evidence reproducible. That still leaves the problem of induction (namely, that a falsifiable hypothesis validated by consistent experimental results doesn't necessarily constitute a proof in infinite time) but science often overlooks this on pragmatic grounds.

So the claim "I am a supernatural entity" is unfalsifiable and for that reason does not qualify as a scientific statement. You are perfectly entitled to believe it but you have no way of demonstrating that we should. Unless, that is, you have a way of consistently reproducing for us the experiences you have had that lead you to believe you are supernatural.

[ Parent ]

What? (1.60 / 5) (#170)
by tkatchev on Fri May 23, 2003 at 05:15:46 AM EST

No. For the purpose of this argument, "supernatural" means "self-aware and posessing of free will".

Which is, in fact, falsifiable. Lots of people are either not self-aware or lack free will. You can even easily test this yourself by ingesting large amounts of drugs and/or alcohol.

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

Ah, ok (4.50 / 2) (#207)
by gumbo on Fri May 23, 2003 at 01:02:04 PM EST

That's what you meant by supernatural. I got confused because that's not how it's defined in the dictionary. I'm new around here so I didn't know we could do that.

In which case let's just gurgleflurp the metafrasts and call the whole damn monkey cedric.

[ Parent ]

Learn some logic. (1.75 / 4) (#211)
by tkatchev on Fri May 23, 2003 at 01:34:45 PM EST

Something that is self-aware and posessing of free will will be supernatural because that something will violate cause and effect.

Not all supernatural things are defined to be self-aware and posessing of free will, though.

The implication is one-way.

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

My logic is just fine thanks (4.00 / 2) (#217)
by gumbo on Fri May 23, 2003 at 02:08:57 PM EST

How do you know that your sense of self and free will isn't the effect and natural processes the cause? And bear in mind these are epistemological questions and are not faslsifiable as you claimed in your last post but one. Also the logic of your last post is deductive not inductive, so you are already well off track from demonstrating with empirical evidence that you are a supernatural entity. You are reasoning by assertion.

[ Parent ]
So, by your logic... (2.50 / 2) (#262)
by tkatchev on Sat May 24, 2003 at 05:06:14 AM EST

...empirical evidence for anything is totally impossible -- how do you know that your sense of anything is not the cause and effect of you being stuck in the Matrix?

You cannot. The point is that you just have to accept (using Occam's Razor, heheh) that your senses are reasonably accurate.

And the senses of 99.9999% of the people in this world say that self-awareness and free will, indeed, do exist.

For example, the simple phrase such as "I decided to go to the Quickie Mart and buy some nachos" assumes that there is an I and that this I is able to make decisions of its own volition.


   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

Precisely my point (5.00 / 1) (#270)
by gumbo on Sat May 24, 2003 at 12:40:23 PM EST

Language dictates every sentence have a subject ("I") and an associated verb. Observing that doesn't demonstrate the existence of free will any more than "I think therefore I am" demonstrates the existence of the subject (hint: Descartes' statement is circular).

So, as I said before, empirical science disregards these problems by being pragmatic and relying on inductive methods ie. falsifiable statements validated with reproducible results. You claimed you could prove you were a supernatural entity with empirical evidence and I am happy to accept the scientific definition of what constitutes empirical evidence, regardless of the epistemological problems. So far all your claim has amounted to is that

...the senses of 99.9999% of the people in this world say that self-awareness and free will, indeed, do exist
That is not a demonstration of anything. A thousand years ago the senses of 99.9999% of people said the world was flat but it didn't make it so. The only difference between that belief and yours is that your belief cannot be tested.

I am quite sure IHBT but I'll happily keep refuting this crap all day (it's not hard). So see if you can come up with a logical argument that doesn't include the phrases "Occam's Razor", "Straw Man", "Ad Hominem", or any other philosophical notion you picked up solely from reading k5.

[ Parent ]

Lord ghod, do you even *know* how to read? (3.00 / 3) (#275)
by tkatchev on Sat May 24, 2003 at 02:37:02 PM EST

Again, let me repeat this once more, this time hopefully with simpler language.

What I say *can* be tested, verified and refuted, quite easily. You just have to accept the fact that your senses are not lying to you.

In your world, experience is "valid enough" only if it supports the prejudices you already believe in. This is not how it should be.

Normal people have no problem figuring out whether or not somebody is self-aware and has free will; in fact, this process of "figuing out" is deemed accurate enough to be used in medical psychiatry and the justice system.

So, again, are all the people in the criminal justice system simply retards who don't know what the hell they are talking about?

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

Again ... (5.00 / 2) (#280)
by gumbo on Sat May 24, 2003 at 03:58:31 PM EST

Not quite.

What I say *can* be tested, verified and refuted, quite easily. You just have to accept the fact that your senses are not lying to you.
In my world I accept that my senses aren't lying because for day to day purposes that works well enough. In the world of empirical proofs however, it is not sufficient to say "it must be so for it seems so to me". Plenty of things that are true in the world of the senses are *demonstrably* untrue in the world of empirical proofs. Much of what science has unearthed in the last century is counter-intuitive. Relativity and quantum mechanics are obvious examples of this and yet physicists work with these very real phenomena on a daily basis.
In your world, experience is "valid enough" only if it supports the prejudices you already believe in.
If the last paragraph made any sense you'll realise I'm claiming exactly the opposite, that your "world of the senses" constitutes the prejudices of perception. Medical psychiatry (as you brought it up) knows this, which is why it is often at work in the justice system exempting people from the commonly held *assumptions* about freedom of will. The people in the justice system aren't retards, which is why they listen to the psychiatrists.

So (like I said at the very start) your belief that you posses free will and that this makes you "supernatural" is good enough as a personal article of faith but you have no way of demonstrating why others must accept it.

[ Parent ]

Wait a minute (4.00 / 2) (#297)
by pyramid termite on Sun May 25, 2003 at 12:06:36 AM EST

Plenty of things that are true in the world of the senses are *demonstrably* untrue in the world of empirical proofs.

Certainly when one looks at things deeper and discovers other data to consider, then we can prove ideas that go against initial appearances - but, there's a paradox here - is there anything in the world of empirical proofs that is not based on the world of our senses? If the perceptions I have of having free will and having consciousness are not true (and there are those who say that both are illusions), then how can I trust any other observations based upon my senses, such as, there is a real world, there is are laws of nature that can be arrived at through experiment, and there is a scientific way of arriving at conclusions about what we percieve. If I can't believe what my own mind is telling me about itself, how can I believe what it's telling me about the world?

I won't touch the "supernatural" argument.

On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
[ Parent ]
I don't think we disagree here (4.75 / 4) (#299)
by gumbo on Sun May 25, 2003 at 01:01:04 AM EST

It has been said that you cannot refute the skeptic. In rigorously logical terms this is basically true because the skeptic can just keep asking "how do you know?". So you have to make assumptions at different levels for different practical purposes. Science (which can be regarded as a branch of philosophy) overcomes the shortcomings of subjective perception and of logic ("problem of induction" mentioned above) by declaring certain questions to be outside of it's remit. Karl Popper argued that statements qualify as scientific if they are falsifiable. And the more ways a statement has of being falsified (and isn't) the more reason we have to accept that statement as true.

All I'm claiming in this case is that the question of free will can't be falsified. Which is to say, it is not a question that can be addressed using the scientific method.

Your question about "how can I trust anything?" is a question philosophers have been arguing about for centuries and (disturbingly for some people) no-one has yet come up with a satisfactory answer that proves categorically that we can know anything in the absolute sense. This doesn't stop empirical methods yielding practical results. It just means we can't categorically prove that we know what we know. If you're interested some good places to start are Nietzsche (for the skeptical point of view) and CS Pierce/Quine/Popper (for the empirical view). Wittgenstein is also interesting on these questions but he's a cryptic bastard. The others can be read and understood in the original but I always found it easier to read a book about Wittgenstein than one by him.

[ Parent ]

btw (3.00 / 1) (#300)
by gumbo on Sun May 25, 2003 at 01:10:32 AM EST

Sorry about the "science (which can be regarded as a branch of philosophy)" sentence. It wasn't meant to sound so patronising. There was another sentence that juxtaposed science (as a branch) with epistemology (as a different branch) that got lost in the edit.

[ Parent ]
Let's get down to earth here. (2.66 / 3) (#303)
by tkatchev on Sun May 25, 2003 at 05:04:50 AM EST

You failed to address the question.

The criminal justice system has ways of judging whether or not a person was self-aware and posessed free will at the time a crime was committed.

This process is deemed to be accurate enough to decide who goes to jail and who doesn't.

Again, is the criminal justice system composed of retards who do not know what they are talking about?

People believe in free will not because they decided they like it better that way, but because it is the only way to accurately describe how the world works.

Copping out with "it's just an illusion in your head" is a stupid non-argument that amounts to solipsism.

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

Justice cannot be fair (5.00 / 1) (#324)
by xL on Mon May 26, 2003 at 09:39:43 AM EST

The ultimate goal for justice is to keep society healthy. Sometimes, that means imposing absolute limits on things that can only fairly be measured subjectively. Take the legal amount of alcohol a person can hold in his blood while driving. That is a statistical limit. There is no way of proving scientifically that someone is carrying too much alcohol in his blood to drive, certainly not in all cases. So a legal limit is set that has a reasonable effect on society.

The same thing can be said about free will and self control. These are not measurable traits. A definition is set that fits a profile that is expected to have a reasonable effect on society. It is politics, not science.

[ Parent ]

Solipsist! (none / 0) (#357)
by CodeWright on Wed May 28, 2003 at 04:15:30 PM EST

Why, back in my day (Periclean Athens), we used to stuff Solipsist Stoics like you in caves and make you stare at shadows!

--
"Jumpin Jesus H. Christ riding a segway with a little fruity 1 pint bucket of Ben and Jerry's rainbow fairy-berry crunch in his hand." --
[ Parent ]
Don't be fatuous (3.33 / 2) (#88)
by CaptainSuperBoy on Thu May 22, 2003 at 12:33:52 PM EST

The supernatural, by definition, cannot be proven empirically.

--
jimmysquid.com - I take pictures.
[ Parent ]
Really? (2.00 / 3) (#107)
by tkatchev on Thu May 22, 2003 at 03:36:44 PM EST

Interesting claim. Can you back up your asserion with links?

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

Certainly (5.00 / 2) (#111)
by CaptainSuperBoy on Thu May 22, 2003 at 03:48:18 PM EST

From M-W's definition: "of or relating to an order of existence beyond the visible observable universe"

If you can't follow the logic from there, you are beyond help.

--
jimmysquid.com - I take pictures.
[ Parent ]

Really? (1.00 / 5) (#169)
by tkatchev on Fri May 23, 2003 at 05:13:44 AM EST

Please elaborate.

Methinks you skipped a few steps when performing your Aristotelian logic routine. :))

P.S. I won't even mention the fact that arguing from dictionary definitions is the height of low-class idiocy.

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

No (1.00 / 2) (#187)
by CaptainSuperBoy on Fri May 23, 2003 at 09:13:11 AM EST

You have demonstrated your idiocy. You are beyond help.

--
jimmysquid.com - I take pictures.
[ Parent ]
Really? (1.00 / 3) (#195)
by tkatchev on Fri May 23, 2003 at 11:35:09 AM EST

Read what you wrote again, and see if you find the logic flaw within.


   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

You're stupid. (1.20 / 5) (#296)
by Kax on Sun May 25, 2003 at 12:03:07 AM EST

.

[ Parent ]
I may be stupid. (1.00 / 1) (#304)
by tkatchev on Sun May 25, 2003 at 05:12:37 AM EST

But at least I can think logically.

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

Are you sure? (5.00 / 1) (#311)
by Kax on Sun May 25, 2003 at 03:39:18 PM EST

.

[ Parent ]
Quite. (none / 0) (#314)
by tkatchev on Sun May 25, 2003 at 04:24:26 PM EST

Again, I suggest you go back to what you wrote and find the logic flaw within. Good luck.

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

arguing from definitions (5.00 / 1) (#253)
by pin0cchio on Fri May 23, 2003 at 11:34:10 PM EST

P.S. I won't even mention the fact that arguing from dictionary definitions is the height of low-class idiocy.

All precise logical arguments must begin with all parties agreeing on what the symbols represent; otherwise you run into fallacies of definition. For symbols that represent the colloquial definitions of English words, many American people trust dictionaries published by Merriam-Webster.


lj65
[ Parent ]
Relgious compairison (4.50 / 6) (#43)
by sto0 on Thu May 22, 2003 at 04:29:14 AM EST

`However, in my opinion, calling Otherkin delusional or insane is obviously highly disrespectful, and their beliefs are no more or less valid than any other.'

I would agree with this, of course, but in some ways Otherkin faith seems to differ from the majority of religions.

Most religions take their teaching from some revelatory book such that the teachings/stories in it are influenced, under varying degrees, from the religious deity attached to that belief system. In other words, most religions claim that the world is as we see it, albiet with some extra spiritual dimension that is revealed to us through scriptures (and religious leaders' subsequent interpretations of this, perhaps).

Otherkin seems to fundamentally differ in this aspect; the revelation is utterly internal (yes, I understand that many religions have a personal revelation as an important part too), with no reliance on texts written by someone else inspired by their deit{y|ies}.

Also, their perception of reality is altered in a very different way to religious perception of reality. Often people speak of having a ``hole'' in their lives filled when talking about their religious revelation, rather than their entire perception of reality being skewed in some way.

[Pants -- accidentally posted this as Editorial]

Faith? Religion? (3.00 / 2) (#222)
by tyshadragon on Fri May 23, 2003 at 02:40:10 PM EST

Otherkin is NOT a faith.

Otherkin is NOT a religion.

'Kin can be OF any religion they chose, whether that be Christian, Jew, Pagan, Buddhist, etc.

Just felt I better clear up that mess!

Tysha

[ Parent ]

Otherkin not a faith? (none / 0) (#351)
by Ereshkigal on Wed May 28, 2003 at 02:52:14 PM EST

If Otherkin is neither faith nor religion then comparing it to existing faiths, as has been done extensively in this forum, is an invalid attempt at justification.

I have tried to take your comment to completion, but the result is confusing:

If being otherkin has no impact on one's religion, then calling oneself an otherkin must be a statement of being. "I am a dragon." "I am a griffon." "I am a raver fae." -- and so forth.
However, you do not look like a dragon, fae, or griffon; and as you have no other person's experiences to compare it to, you cannot truly say that you 'feel' differently from what you should.
 You say you are something else in spirit, but 'spirit' is an invention of faith, and faith cannot be tacked down and examined like so much logic. How, then, do you come to the conclusion that you are not human?
'Now and then we had a hope that if we lived and were good, God would permit us to be pirates.'
[ Parent ]

keeping an open-mind (none / 0) (#397)
by vericgar on Mon Jun 02, 2003 at 06:39:54 AM EST

For me, I have my basic belief structure and religion that is my own, taken from what makes sense of the many religions I've looked into and experimented with. What otherkin is to me is an extension... my belief structure would be more or less the same without beliving I am otherkin. The difference is that while beliving I am otherkin opens up the possibilites that in a past life I may not have been human. If I was closed-minded about otherkin, calling it crazy as some have done here, then that limits my beliefs of reincarnation to only previous human lives. I've always kept as the basis of my beliefs to keep as open mind as possible so that if I stumble onto something that just makes sense and feels right, then I can accept it. I believe that most religions have some truth to them, but to get the full truth, you will need to look at as many as possible, put together what logicially fits together and feels right to you, then you will have your own truth.

[ Parent ]
This isn't even worth debating (2.84 / 13) (#45)
by poyoyo on Thu May 22, 2003 at 04:44:53 AM EST

Anyone who buys into this nonsense is so obviously immune to basic logic that trying to convince them otherwise is just a waste of time. My reaction to this is just to throw up my hands and say, go ahead and stay in your insane fantasy world, and I'll stay on planet Earth.

Normally I like talking metaphysics, but in this case, -1.

Eggzactly (3.72 / 11) (#47)
by sinexoverx on Thu May 22, 2003 at 05:27:33 AM EST

What I find most interesting about this story, is the tolerant attitudes toward this bizarre religion. If the article had been about some Christian sect and their beliefs then K5ers would be very negative about the subject. Personally I find Christainity, or any other religion to be equally unbelievable and stupid, but I find the biases here to be atrocious.

What this seems to say about people in western technological civilization is that they are attracted by the bizaare and extreme. They suffer from overstimulation and require higher and higher levels of weirdness to keep their minds stimulated. It's a type of addiction to new information and new patterns of thought. And like most addictions, it's not healthy.

[ Parent ]

Tolerance (5.00 / 8) (#62)
by thejeff on Thu May 22, 2003 at 08:43:22 AM EST

When Otherkin start making laws based on their beliefs that mess with my life, or when they start threatening people who don't believe them, then I'll start reacting negatively.

In other words, it's not that they're bizarre and extreme, it's that they're harmless.


[ Parent ]

I don't see what logic has to do with it (2.33 / 3) (#54)
by DrH0ffm4n on Thu May 22, 2003 at 07:18:44 AM EST

Anyone who buys into this nonsense is so obviously immune to basic logic

Most arguments about beliefs are so little grounded in logic in the first place.
Your aim would seem to be to disprove people's beliefs because they clash with your aesthetic values?

I'm sure you believe in some pretty fantastic entities of which you have never had any direct experience. You choose to believe what some seemingly authoritative source tells you.

---
The face of a child can say it all, especially the mouth part of the face.

[ Parent ]

He said ... (none / 0) (#56)
by sinexoverx on Thu May 22, 2003 at 07:54:46 AM EST

He said that he likes to talk about metaphysics. In other words he has a fairly open mind about God and religion. This religion howesver is just plain wacko. If you consider all religions to be equal then you have to admit that the Heaven's Gate guys were picked up by Hale-Bopp Commet and are zooming throught the universe. Zoom zoom zoom. You have to admit that Jim Jones is in heaven with his followers licking their lips from the delicious kool-aid. And on and on. it can't all be true. That is a logical fact.

[ Parent ]
So... (3.66 / 3) (#64)
by reklaw on Thu May 22, 2003 at 08:47:56 AM EST

You're saying that all religions are equal = all religions are true? Actually, no.

All religions are equal = people can believe whatever they like.
-
[ Parent ]

your argument (5.00 / 1) (#100)
by sinexoverx on Thu May 22, 2003 at 03:05:13 PM EST

Your argument that "all religions are equal = people can believe whatever they like" only works if you are outside the system. If you are a member of most any religion you can name, that is not a true statement. If you ask a devout Christian, Muslim, Hindu or Bhuddist then you have to work within the framework of the religion itself. They will tell you that all religions are not equal. Only one is true and the others are evil. And for that matter you can say the same thing about politics. All political parties are equal = people can believe what they like. But you can only say that if you are living on another planet.

[ Parent ]
Logical consistency (2.50 / 2) (#67)
by DrH0ffm4n on Thu May 22, 2003 at 09:46:24 AM EST

I might appear to be defending a religious belief system (Otherkin or whatever).
This is not the case. My argument here is with the abuse of the notion of logic in this context.
My explanation may appear to border on wankfest or chicanery for the sake of entertainment, but bear with me.

You said: it can't all be true. That is a logical fact.

I broadly agree. Your argument is from logical consistency.
The beliefs you list might contradict each other and then something has to give.

But these beliefs are not all held within the same belief frameworks.
If you have logical sytems, based on differing assumptions or foundation beliefs, then a statement can be true in one, but false in the other.
The argument for logical consistency or argument against these beliefs makes the assumption that the person that you are arguing with shares the same foundation beliefs that you do. In this case, they do not. They may share some foundation beliefs with you, but not all.

Poyoyo said: Anyone who buys into this nonsense is so obviously immune to basic logic

I simply could not see the logical fallacy in the article. It may logically contradict Poyoyo's beliefs, but that does not make it logically wrong or inconsistent in itself.

Also, there is an appeal to utility. Logic is a tool, not an absolute property of the universe. In this it is like maths or physics. If I choose to do without logic in some circumstances because I find it advantageous to my life or it simply makes me happy, I can. It might annoy people, but sometimes adhering to logic fastidiously can do that too.

---
The face of a child can say it all, especially the mouth part of the face.

[ Parent ]

It's not that stupid (3.80 / 5) (#79)
by nictamer on Thu May 22, 2003 at 10:46:47 AM EST

At least compared to christianism or islam. Granted, on an absolute scale, it IS psychosis. But so is religion.
--
Religion is for sheep.
[ Parent ]
Reality check. (4.40 / 10) (#51)
by Verax on Thu May 22, 2003 at 06:29:18 AM EST

[...]their beliefs are no more or less valid than any other.

I assume that by "valid" you mean corresponding to reality. So let's put this assertion of yours to the test. I believe that when one walks off a high cliff, one goes splat. Let's say Otherkin DragonBoy believes he can fly. Are you really going to tell me that both beliefs are equally valid?

Don't get me wrong. I do think it's good to keep an open mind, but not so open that the brains actually fall out.



----------------------------------------------
"It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish." -- Mother Teresa of Calcutta
Obviously (3.66 / 2) (#63)
by reklaw on Thu May 22, 2003 at 08:45:37 AM EST

I did not mean for valid to be taken as corresponding to reality, simply valid as a religious belief. Your comment is akin to saying "What if someone really did sit under a tree and meditate for all that time like Buddha? He'd be dead!"
-
[ Parent ]
Then anything is valid (none / 0) (#70)
by Viliam Bur on Thu May 22, 2003 at 09:57:19 AM EST

And truth is only in the eyes of believer.

I mean the deeper truth, of course! ;-)

[ Parent ]

Distinction: religious belief vs. fantasy (5.00 / 2) (#125)
by Verax on Thu May 22, 2003 at 06:45:57 PM EST

I did not mean for valid to be taken as corresponding to reality, simply valid as a religious belief.

You seem to assume that religious belief has no grounding in reality. I disagree. Consider Catholicism as a model. Yes, there are a few axioms that are accepted without proof (e.g. existence of God, that Jesus was who He claimed to be), but the reasoning based on those axioms holds up. As in math, just because you accept a few axioms without proof, you're not excused from proving later theorems. Whenever proving a system, it's preferable to keeep the numbef of axioms to a bare minimum.

So, for proof, let's say that Otherkin DragonBoy believes he can fly. If he steps off a high cliff, he can imagine his little aura wings flapping madly in the air. But he's going down, and his "belief" is shown to be invalid. He might maintain his delusion until he finds out for sure what happens at the point of death. But it's clear that the delusion is his. You could classify the supposed existence and usefulness of his wings as further axioms, but pretty soon your whole system becomes almost entirely axioms, and therefore lacks credibility.

Rather than "belief", I think it would be more appropriate to say that their "fantasy" is just as legitimate as any other "fantasy". That helps maintain the distinction between what's grounded in the real world versus what's almost completely divorced from reason.. That also avoids the (inaccurate) implication that all religious thought is devoid of reason.



----------------------------------------------
"It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish." -- Mother Teresa of Calcutta
[ Parent ]
Actually no (3.75 / 3) (#182)
by bugmaster on Fri May 23, 2003 at 08:02:07 AM EST

Commonly, "valid" refers to internal consistency, while "sound" refers to some sort of correspondence to reality. For example, the following chain of reasoning is both sound and valid:
  1. All men are mortal
  2. Socrates is a man
  3. Ergo, Socrates is mortal
On the other hand, the following chain of reasoning is valid but not sound:
  1. All men have three heads
  2. Socrates is a man
  3. Ergo, Socrates has three heads
The Otherkin beliefs fit into this second category, I think. They are valid but probably false. Of course, I am an atheist, so I could say the same thing about Christianity, Buddhism, Wicca and Discordianism. Wouldn't want anyone to feel left out.
>|<*:=
[ Parent ]
Commonly? (5.00 / 1) (#240)
by Verax on Fri May 23, 2003 at 06:26:31 PM EST

I had in mind "well-grounded or justifiable : being at once relevant and meaningful", which to me means corresponding to reality. I think this is the common understanding, whereas what you pointed out sounds more like formal logic (which, unfortunately, isn't all that common.)

However, I do appreciate your making that distinction, and I will keep that in mind. Thanks.



----------------------------------------------
"It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish." -- Mother Teresa of Calcutta
[ Parent ]
Re: Reality check (2.00 / 2) (#229)
by tyshadragon on Fri May 23, 2003 at 02:59:09 PM EST

"Let's say Otherkin DragonBoy believes he can fly."

Luckly there isn't many 'Otherkin DragonBoy's out there. I am a dragonkin and I KNOW I cannot fly whilst sharing this human body, in case you haven't noticed, humans don't have wings!

No wings, no fly

Tysha

[ Parent ]

dragonkin (5.00 / 2) (#241)
by Verax on Fri May 23, 2003 at 06:29:05 PM EST

No wings? So how do you know that you're dragonkin? What does it mean to be dragonkin?



----------------------------------------------
"It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish." -- Mother Teresa of Calcutta
[ Parent ]
ahem (none / 0) (#308)
by stfrn on Sun May 25, 2003 at 01:18:34 PM EST

Luckly there isn't many 'Otherkin DragonBoy's out there. I am a dragonkin and I KNOW I cannot fly whilst sharing this human body, in case you haven't noticed, humans don't have wings!

No wings, no fly

Uhmm, it is one thing to express your opinion when no one else has an opion on the mater but... it has been a long held beleif that dragons do not use wings to fly. Take chinesee dragons for example- no wings. So in on comment you have aleinated yourself from other people who would hold simialar opions- namely that dragons may exist.

"Man, I'm going to bed. I can't even insult people properly tonight." - Imperfect
What would you recomend to someone who doesn't like SPAM?
[ Parent ]

.....Letīs see..... (3.71 / 7) (#55)
by Niha on Thu May 22, 2003 at 07:31:51 AM EST

 ...This sounds just like a way to scape from reality...

Re: .....Letīs see..... (none / 0) (#228)
by tyshadragon on Fri May 23, 2003 at 02:56:14 PM EST

No, this just IS our reality. For many of us its not something we chose.

Tysha

[ Parent ]

Mmmm... no. (4.66 / 3) (#239)
by Mudlock on Fri May 23, 2003 at 06:24:26 PM EST

...just like a schizophrenic doesn't CHOOSE to be a schizophrenic. I've gotta show you some respect for speaking out and defending your beliefs here, that takes some guts... but, sorry, I'm just not buying it. Too many friends with too many bad experiences with looney boyfriends/girlfriends who thought they were dragons or unicorns or whatever. From what I've seen, their belief in their 'otherness' is just the most visible symptom of other mental or emotional problems, sometimes severe ones. No offense: I'm sure you're a nice, friendly, mostly-sane person, and that you're not going to hurt anyone with your odd beliefs. But I don't believe you're a dragon. Have you considered seeing a psychologist?
--
But everybody wants a rock to wind a piece of string around.
[ Parent ]
Weird beliefs (4.60 / 10) (#57)
by minamikuni on Thu May 22, 2003 at 08:14:39 AM EST

Well, I think a belief that you are a dragon or an elf is pretty nuts. Lots of evidence against, precious little for, as someone else said below. On the other hand, thinking about it, the belief that communion wafer actually transmutes physically into flesh strikes me as pretty wacky too. (Apologies if I'm misunderstanding Catholic doctrine there; I think that's an accurate description of the belief, but even if not there's no shortage of other miraculous religious beliefs that could be used as examples instead.)

The believer can always argue the point. It's not possible to logically convince someone that their most deeply held belief is mistaken. It's beside the point to argue that Otherkin belief is less rational than other beliefs; in that sense I agree with the author that it's as valid as any belief.

However, telling someone you're Catholic usually doesn't get you committed. Telling someone that you believe you are a dragon might. The important difference is not how irrational a belief is but the extent to which it's likely to get you ridiculed by society. I approve of and accept weird beliefs to precisely the extent they make the believer be nice to other people and do good things. From the above description, it sounds like Otherkin beliefs tend to be isolating and harmful. For that reason, if someone I knew said they were an elf I'd give them the number of a good psychiatrist.

different angle (4.50 / 2) (#104)
by jolt rush soon on Thu May 22, 2003 at 03:22:55 PM EST

from the way i saw it, it seemed like the alienation was a catalyst for finding one's self to be some kind of mythical creature rather than the other way around.

either way, they're certainly misaligned with reality.
--
Subosc — free electronic music.
[ Parent ]

Transubstantiation (3.66 / 3) (#165)
by Verax on Fri May 23, 2003 at 04:24:05 AM EST

On the other hand, thinking about it, the belief that communion wafer actually transmutes physically into flesh strikes me as pretty wacky too. (Apologies if I'm misunderstanding Catholic doctrine there; I think that's an accurate description of the belief, but even if not there's no shortage of other miraculous religious beliefs that could be used as examples instead.

No apologies necessary. Unfortunately, many people who call themselves "Catholic" don't believe that either. That's kind of sad, really, from a Catholic point of view. Here God makes Himself present in a very physical way, and some "Catholics" refuse to see Him right under their noses. To use a crude analogy, it's like searching for buried treasure which is buried 1/2 an inch under one's feet.

The thing to keep in mind is, for a given system, how many things have to be accepted without proof; how many axioms are there? If you accept that God exists, and that Jesus was telling the truth, (and you would only accept this if you've been given the gift of faith; it can't honestly be reasoned into or out of) then Catholicism is remarkably consistent. I've read the Catechism of the Catholic Church cover to cover, with a very sceptical eye (took about a year to do it). I received the gift of faith unexpectedly, and had led life a "devout" athiest scientist for 30 years. I wasn't about to sign on with a religion that didn't hold up to scientific scrutiny and sound reasoning; that had been my life and I wasn't about to give it up. To my surprise, I didn't have to.

So... If you believe God exists, and you believe that Jesus was telling the truth, then transubstantiation isn't such a stretch, because that's what Jesus said happened in plain English. Well, plain Aramaic, actually.

As a nit, it's transubstantiation (change of substance, but maintains the original appearance, feel, and taste), not transmutation (change of an element or a nucleotide into another).

Some claim there are "eucharistic miracles" where there actually is human flesh and blood (kinda creepy if you ask me), but I have yet to see any credible study on this, and I don't think Catholics are obligated to believe in that sort of thing.



----------------------------------------------
"It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish." -- Mother Teresa of Calcutta
[ Parent ]
This Article Sucks (4.00 / 2) (#276)
by Alfie on Sat May 24, 2003 at 02:38:23 PM EST

Apologies for the subject line. However, this story is pathetically light on research. There are too many blanks and questions left open, and many of the readers are trying to fill in the blanks without doing research themselves. (I don't blame them--it's the author's job to do basic research for a story).

A good place to start would be the webpage of Kaijima A. Frostfang. He has many good essays and thoughts on the subject. Yes, he believes he is the reincarnated spirit of a dragon. An excerpt from the introduction in the link above reads:

And no, I am not a role playing gamer gone awry. In point of fact, I have never in my life played a paper & dice role playing game. I didn't grow up obsessing over the AD&D 2nd Edition game manual. I don't play Everquest. If Dungeons & Dragons, Everquest, or that old story involving a saint named George are the sole context in which you have to conceptualize "dragon", then welcome; perhaps you'll learn something you didn't know before.

But, suffice it to say that I am a dragon. To understand what that means a bit more, I refer you to the sidebar with the various interesting things to read. And a final note: this is not an Internet Role Playing Game. It's not even the ever popular "game within a game", where a person claims to be describe real life and actually is just playing out a character describing their "real life". I'm much too boring for things like that ^_^

The essays on that page should give you a good idea of what some Otherkin believe. Also, as a bonus there is some beautiful artwork. :)



[ Parent ]
Blanks? (3.50 / 2) (#277)
by reklaw on Sat May 24, 2003 at 02:52:13 PM EST

I did research this, but there are simply too many complicated beliefs, and most beliefs are not shared by all or even most of the community.  What blanks did I leave?  What questions should have been answered?

It's an introduction, not a dissertation.  That said, the essays on that site are interesting, so thanks.

-
[ Parent ]

Sorry (4.50 / 2) (#281)
by Alfie on Sat May 24, 2003 at 04:27:35 PM EST

I did research this, but there are simply too many complicated beliefs,and most beliefs are not shared by all or even most of the community.What blanks did I leave? What questions should have been answered? It'san introduction, not a dissertation. That said, the essays on that site are interesting, so thanks.

Well, I apologize for saying your story sucks. I'm in a pissy mood today. I do wish you had done more to give a "face" to Otherkin. I realize that is a difficult task due to the many different beliefs out there, but there are dangers when presenting a non-mainstream belief system or subculture to a general audience. There is a tendency for people to jump to conclusions, or to experience a bit of culture shock. (That's what I felt when I first stumbled upon it.)

I want to say that I think it's important that we ask questions and have critical discussions. I wouldn't want posters here to hold back their thoughts and feelings for the sake of not offending a group of people. What bothers me is that many of the posters here don't seem to have a understanding of the people, groups, and beliefs which they are discussing. For example, let's say there is a religion which has a ceremony in which simple bread and wine is transformed into the flesh and blood of their God's son. Note that this is not a belief in a symbolic transformation but a belief that the bread and wine genuinely become the flesh and blood of their God's son. Then they eat it. Now, if I were presenting this religion to a group of people who had never heard of it, I would be mindful of the possible misinterpretations. As it turns out, the belief that the bread and wine genuinely become the flesh and blood of Jesus Christ (known as Transubstantiation) is a tenet Roman Catholicism. If the members of the audience to whom I was presenting this religion were to start arguing how cannibalism is wrong, then I'd say I've failed to give them an idea of what it means to be Christian. (I can think of a few criticisms of Christianity but being pro-cannibalism is not one of those criticisms.)

And I've been rambling again. Sorry! What I mean to say is we should get to know people and their beliefs before criticizing them. A lot of posters here might be surprised at how normal, in other respects, Otherkin tend to be. Also, I must say that they produce some beautiful art and stories. Anyone who does that can't be all bad in my book. :)



[ Parent ]
Yeah, (4.00 / 1) (#290)
by reklaw on Sat May 24, 2003 at 10:36:35 PM EST

I probably should have tried to give more of a face to Otherkin, but wasn't really sure how -- I just went for an point-by-point "they believe this and this and this" essay in the end.  It's really a summary, and the subject could probably do with a more in-depth treatment, but I don't really feel qualified to do it.  The few Otherkin who have dropped in have shown much more of what it actually means to be Otherkin than I could, because they've actually experienced it.

Arguments that came up like "you can prove the wings thing wrong by pushing them off a cliff" are my fault, largely, for saying "have" instead of "sense" or "can feel" in that section.  Likewise with the arguments over what "valid" means.  In my defence, I didn't know people were going to pick at words so closely -- I guess it's a culture shock as you say.  I get the feeling that some people were always going to post "they're obviously insane" whatever I said in the article.  Hopefully I gave some people an idea about Otherkin who didn't have one before, and perhaps led them to do further research of their own into the subject.

Regarding the art and stories, I'd noticed that too.  It's certainly a strong trend, and I wonder why it comes about.
-
[ Parent ]

Beliefs (4.00 / 1) (#362)
by Alfie on Thu May 29, 2003 at 03:56:50 AM EST

[...]I get the feeling that some people were always going to post "they're obviously insane" whatever I said in the article. Hopefully I gave some people an idea about Otherkin who didn't have one before, and perhaps led them to do further research of their own into the subject.

Mmhmm. I hope so too.

Regarding the culture shock angle, I think some of the more, um, strident critics here assume that because Otherkin believe something it means that the Otherkin expect everyone to believe it.

Personally, I doubt that dragons exist, and I also doubt reincarnation. I don't patronize believers by pretending that I share their beliefs. However, I also have to admit that they could be correct. Elsewhere in this discussion Snowlion has done a good job explaining how no one can "prove" the nonexistence of anything, or even prove the nature of reality. After discovering the "hidden" complexities behind what I thought were simple, obvious workings when trying to code various ideas into existence, I've learned that reality is often much more complex than I understand. I've come to expect that things are not as simple as they seem, but also I'm not a young kid anymore with the mental stamina to consider possibilities like I once did.

Regarding the art and stories, I'd noticed that too. It's certainly a strong trend, and I wonder why it comes about.

Yes, this is what interests me the most! I am in awe of people who can write beautiful stories and craft artwork. I have never been able to do it very well myself, partly because I'm scared to take chances. /:)

I dunno. I've been thinking about this often over the past few days. I'm going to have to think about it more before I can write anything worth reading.



[ Parent ]
Ignorance... (4.14 / 7) (#61)
by Imperfect on Thu May 22, 2003 at 08:37:23 AM EST

I was going to post this in reference to another comment, then another, then another, until finally it really needed it's own thread.

Just because White Wolf has gone and made a game from the Otherkin mythos doesn't mean that's where it originated in history or orignated for those who believe in it.

This mythos is really very old, some would say older than Christianity. It just hasn't gotten as much publicity in the world at large (good or bad) until recently, as a role-playing system.

So before you submit your comment about "nerdy geeks playing games," wake up and think for a second.


Not perfect, not quite.
Well, I'm awake... (4.33 / 6) (#93)
by Jennifer Ever on Thu May 22, 2003 at 01:59:04 PM EST

And I'm thinking they're still fucking idiots.

But hey, good for them, coming from a long line of other fucking idiots.

[ Parent ]

Fair enough (3.00 / 1) (#116)
by Imperfect on Thu May 22, 2003 at 04:56:11 PM EST

At least you paused and considered before slamming them into the ground.

I wouldn't go so far as you, but I doubt if any of this otherkin stuff is "real."


Not perfect, not quite.
[ Parent ]
Who knows (3.00 / 1) (#155)
by bugmaster on Fri May 23, 2003 at 12:56:35 AM EST

I actually can't tell anymore whether these people are serious, or if they are just having fun on the Internet, like the Discordians for example. Maybe the answer is "both"... fnord.
>|<*:=
[ Parent ]
The discordians are perfectly serious (4.75 / 4) (#163)
by Emissary on Fri May 23, 2003 at 04:10:24 AM EST

They're not a joke religion, like the Subgenii. They're just perfectly serious about having fun.

"Be instead like Gamera -- mighty, a friend to children, and always, always screaming." - eSolutions
[ Parent ]
There is no appreciable difference (none / 0) (#369)
by Happy Monkey on Thu May 29, 2003 at 02:36:39 PM EST

between treating Discordianism as a joke religion and taking it seriously.
___
Length 17, Width 3
[ Parent ]
Thank you (3.50 / 6) (#78)
by dreancha on Thu May 22, 2003 at 10:42:55 AM EST

I would like to thank you, reklaw, for braving the queue to post this article. I found it interesting, and personally voted it up. I hope it makes it.

Nothing like turning denial into a lifestyle... (4.20 / 10) (#80)
by porkchop_d_clown on Thu May 22, 2003 at 11:01:39 AM EST

Bet this ties in well with the trend towards extreme body modification.


--
Fishing for Men, Trolling for Newbies, what's the difference?


We're just about almost there already (4.00 / 1) (#128)
by mcc on Thu May 22, 2003 at 07:30:16 PM EST

Link (with picture. look at it.)

"A San Diego computer programmer who has spent £100,000 on tattoos and plastic surgery to turn himself into a 'tiger' wants a fur graft. ... He has also had latex whiskers implanted and surgery to his lips so he has a permanent snarl. He now wants a surgeon to graft tiger fur on to his skin, like a perma-wig.

Mr Smith, who has changed his name by deed poll to Cat Man, said: "I have a collection of old tiger pelts from the days of hunting. I want these grafted on to me. It will cost another $100,000 but will be worth it.

"When I have the coat of a tiger, I feel I will have reached my goal in life." "


---
Aside from that, the absurd meta-wankery of k5er-quoting sigs probably takes the cake. Especially when the quote itself is about k5. -- tsubame
[ Parent ]

says it all (3.50 / 2) (#146)
by ZorbaTHut on Thu May 22, 2003 at 10:48:37 PM EST

Look at the bottom of that page.

Check for more on:
...
Bad taste

Yeah, that sums up my feeling pretty well too . . . part of me really wonders how often he gets laid. :P

[ Parent ]

Interesting, but sad... (4.76 / 13) (#82)
by LairBob on Thu May 22, 2003 at 11:13:51 AM EST

I've got to admit, I'd never heard of "Otherkins" specifically before, as a modern movement, and I definitely think it's interesting that it exists, so I voted for it within the section, but overall, this just strikes me as a tragic symptom of disaffectedness and alienation.

The very fact that almost every 'Otherkin' comes from their own independent 'Other' reality should warn all but the most deluded that it comes from a deeply subjective and personal source. That's not to say that a good chunk of these folks don't deeply believe in their 'Otherness', but that anyone who knows an 'Otherkin' needs to seriously try and understand why they feel that way. I had a buddy in college who got to a point where he slept almost 20 hours a day, even more during finals and term papers--he clearly was not just really tired, but refusing to confront some elements of the stress he was under.

In some folks, it may even be akin to how some schizophrenics hear voices--it now seems, at least occasionally, to be an actual neurological effect of the way that the various components of their brains communicate. Basically, messages from one area of the brain are interpreted as 'voices' by another as they are received. (Julian Jaynes has some really interesting, if debatable, ideas on the historical implications of this possiblity in The Origins of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind.) It's very possible that feelings most of us take as internal emotions are interpreted as external forces by some folks, under certain neurological conditions.

No matter what, unless you've just got one of those (annoying) friends who just has to be different, and has a real penchant for F&SF, I'd try to take a pretty sober look at anyone I cared about who considered themselves 'Other' like this.

Some points... (4.81 / 11) (#84)
by Run4YourLives on Thu May 22, 2003 at 11:51:29 AM EST

I voted this up for one reason alone: I didn't know that this existed until I read the article, so in a way you've enlightened me.

That being said, this is just another cult based on nothing really. Hmmm... I think I just described every religion on the planet, organized or not.

What I think is interesting is why we feel the need for religion at all.

What exactly is everyone looking for? (Yes, everyone is looking, whether they find their solace in Jesus, Allah, Sex, Drugs or fancy cars, they're all searching for something more)

What is it that we're drawn to that makes us lean away from the idea that something more exists out there?

At any rate, I'd perfer an article that addresses these subjects a little more. (not like a multitude of research hasn't been done already)

You still get a +1 from me though, even though I'm not sure these folks warrant the attention.


It's slightly Japanese, but without all of that fanatical devotion to the workplace. - CheeseburgerBrown

whoops... (3.00 / 2) (#85)
by Run4YourLives on Thu May 22, 2003 at 11:52:56 AM EST

What is it that we're drawn to that makes us lean away from the idea that something more exists out there?

lean towards, that is.

It's slightly Japanese, but without all of that fanatical devotion to the workplace. - CheeseburgerBrown
[ Parent ]

Most poeple just don't want to deal... (3.75 / 4) (#96)
by confrontationman on Thu May 22, 2003 at 02:19:22 PM EST

with the fact that they are not a unique and special snow flake.



[ Parent ]
but... (3.00 / 2) (#103)
by Run4YourLives on Thu May 22, 2003 at 03:19:14 PM EST

what's to say that we're not unique?

It's slightly Japanese, but without all of that fanatical devotion to the workplace. - CheeseburgerBrown
[ Parent ]
Sure were all unique, (2.66 / 3) (#120)
by confrontationman on Thu May 22, 2003 at 05:48:42 PM EST

but mostly not in a way that is special or usefull in any way shape or form.



[ Parent ]
True (none / 0) (#358)
by CodeWright on Wed May 28, 2003 at 04:27:36 PM EST

It is up to each person to make their experience unique (provided that they so desire).

I recommend the Byzantine pole-sitting hermit approach myself...relatively harmless and always good for a laugh.

--
"Jumpin Jesus H. Christ riding a segway with a little fruity 1 pint bucket of Ben and Jerry's rainbow fairy-berry crunch in his hand." --
[ Parent ]
Goddamnit (4.75 / 4) (#164)
by Emissary on Fri May 23, 2003 at 04:14:54 AM EST

That was a good movie, but it is very flawed. People don't see that Tyler Durden is the bad guy, and it's an indictment of lost-boys style purposeful rejection of responsibility. It's a lot like Jonny the Homicidal Maniac in that way.

"Be instead like Gamera -- mighty, a friend to children, and always, always screaming." - eSolutions
[ Parent ]
More complex, I think (5.00 / 8) (#196)
by rusty on Fri May 23, 2003 at 11:36:54 AM EST

People don't see that Tyler Durden is the bad guy, and it's an indictment of lost-boys style purposeful rejection of responsibility.

I agree with you, but I also think it's an indictment of purposeless acceptance of expectation. That is, the narrator of the beginning of the movie (think the Ikea scene) and Tyler are both bad guys. It is the process of being Tyler and discovering that rejection is just as bad as mindless acceptance that the narrator comes to the realization that, basically, life is what you make it. That buying shit you don't need and blowing up public art are just two sides of the same useless coin. The point is that rebellion for its own sake is the same as conformity for its own sake, and neither is worth a damn.

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

Haven't seen it. (3.00 / 1) (#317)
by rasmoh on Sun May 25, 2003 at 09:22:04 PM EST

What movie are you talking about?  If it's any good, I'll probably watch it.  I work in a video store, so it'll only cost me about two hours. :)

'Twas the pride of the peaches.
[ Parent ]
That would be (none / 0) (#368)
by Happy Monkey on Thu May 29, 2003 at 02:34:22 PM EST

Fight Club. It's pretty good.
___
Length 17, Width 3
[ Parent ]
My personal reason... (3.50 / 2) (#115)
by SiMac on Thu May 22, 2003 at 04:49:24 PM EST

My personal conclusion is that the human mind is unable to deal with being in a meaningless world. Human existence must have some meaning for us, no matter what that meaning is. After thinking about nihilism too long, I became rather unhappy...my mind doesn't want to think about a world where no meaning exists. I need a meaning. The mildest of these meanings is that humans were created (by God or not) simply to exist. Any meaning stronger than that loses its appeal with me, since it's probably not scientifically valid. Of course, the creation of religions is another matter. Religions were created to give people (the Catholic Church, Shang priests in China, the Oracle of Delphi) control over others.

[ Parent ]
Meaning, probability, and control over others... (4.00 / 2) (#160)
by Verax on Fri May 23, 2003 at 03:45:20 AM EST

My personal conclusion is that the human mind is unable to deal with being in a meaningless world. [...] I need a meaning.

That may be true for a number of people. For me, as an athiest, I was entirely at peace with the idea that there's no meaning. Life was what I made of it and that was that. No big deal. However, without particularly wanting it or seeking it, I was unexpectedly given the gift of faith a few years back. I do like the meaning that Catholicism provides, but had I not been given the gift of faith, I would have been fine with that too. I don't need a meaning, but I don't mind having one either.

Religions were created to give people (the Catholic Church, [...]) control over others.

Really? Christ did tell his disciples to go and make disciples of all nations. But he also said that if their message was not received, that they should kick the dust off their shoes and go on to another town. That's hardly a command to deny others the free will that God gave them. What is your justification for making such a statement? Where is your proof, or at least your evidence?

Any meaning stronger than that loses its appeal with me, since it's probably not scientifically valid.

That statement itself is not scientifically valid, unless you can provide a number for that probability, (or at least a range of numbers), and can demonstrate the computations that led to that result. What makes you think that Catholicism runs contraty to science? Historically, the biggest financial supporter of scientific research has been the Catholic Church. The Church claims to be teaching the truth, and encourages people to think. The truch is one of the Church's greatest allies.



----------------------------------------------
"It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish." -- Mother Teresa of Calcutta
[ Parent ]
Prophets vs. Religions, et al. (4.75 / 4) (#284)
by Cheetah on Sat May 24, 2003 at 05:27:22 PM EST

Christ did tell his disciples to go and make disciples of all nations. But he also said that if their message was not received, that they should kick the dust off their shoes and go on to another town. That's hardly a command to deny others the free will that God gave them.
I (personally) make a great distinction between those that are inspired, enlightened, and or made prophets and those that bear the banner of a religion.

I think that, as you say, Christ was not in favor of control over the masses. He was the hero of the underdog. However, it is the nature of the inspired (taking that term in a very broad sense, including the divinely inspired) to feel a great urge to share their inspiration.

Sadly, it is in the nature of those elements of society that desire power and control to take up the message of the inspired and use it at least partly for their own ends. This is generally done slowly, and often not quite intentionally (though history does provide fanatic christian control maniacs, e.g. British kings). The end result is that, through no particular malice of any individual, the inspired message is tweaked in its words or in its interpretation to provide a control structure. That is not to say that the elements of spirit and faith are removed, but rather that they are diverted ever so slightly so that they provide enough of a grip for hierarchy to take hold.

Historically, the biggest financial supporter of scientific research has been the Catholic Church.
I find this very hard to believe. Please quote sources.

[ Parent ]
Source (4.00 / 1) (#330)
by Verax on Mon May 26, 2003 at 07:08:48 PM EST

I said: "Historically, the biggest financial supporter of scientific research has been the Catholic Church."

You said: " I find this very hard to believe. Please quote sources."

I will see what I can do. I've done a lot of reading in the last year, so I've got a fair number of books that I will have to dig through to track that down. It was somewhere around an explanation of what the real deal with Gallileo was. I will look and let you know what I find.



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"It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish." -- Mother Teresa of Calcutta
[ Parent ]
Probability (4.00 / 2) (#286)
by SiMac on Sat May 24, 2003 at 06:40:44 PM EST

That statement itself is not scientifically valid, unless you can provide a number for that probability, (or at least a range of numbers), and can demonstrate the computations that led to that result.
Assuming there is a meaning, Occam's Razor.

[ Parent ]
Please explain. (4.00 / 1) (#331)
by Verax on Mon May 26, 2003 at 07:11:57 PM EST

Assuming there is a meaning, Occam's Razor.

I'm sorry? Please explain.



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"It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish." -- Mother Teresa of Calcutta
[ Parent ]
Occam's Razor is.. (none / 0) (#389)
by SiMac on Sat May 31, 2003 at 02:25:39 PM EST

The concept that the simplest explanation is the most correct. The explanation I gave was the simplest, or at least the simplest I could think of, if you assume that there is actually a meaning to life.

More Occam's Razor information

[ Parent ]

On the Catholic Church and control (none / 0) (#390)
by SiMac on Sat May 31, 2003 at 02:32:11 PM EST

Christ did tell his disciples to go and make disciples of all nations. But he also said that if their message was not received, that they should kick the dust off their shoes and go on to another town. That's hardly a command to deny others the free will that God gave them.
Christ's motives may or may not have been pure. I'm not informed on that aspect. However, I said the Catholic Church, not Christ. Are you familiar with a little scandal that happened around Wittenburg about indulgences? How about the papal states and the various wars surrounding them, where the Church threatened excommunication? Even if the original purpose of Christianity may not have been to control others, the actions of the Catholic Church certainly show a desire to do so.

[ Parent ]
Where's your supporting evidence? (none / 0) (#394)
by Verax on Sat May 31, 2003 at 08:14:45 PM EST

Are you familiar with a little scandal that happened around Wittenburg about indulgences?

Just to make sure that we are on the same page, please present the facts (with references, if possible).

How about the papal states and the various wars surrounding them, where the Church threatened excommunication?

Again, please present the facts, along with references, if possible. Very often something is not reported accurately, or there are misunderstandings. If you've got something concrete, please present it so we can get to the bottom of this.

Even if the original purpose of Christianity may not have been to control others, the actions of the Catholic Church certainly show a desire to do so.

This argument is flawed. Look at what happens when you apply it to other groups: "The actions of Timothy McVeigh certainly show that all white people go around bombing buildings." or "Some black people in africa sold other black people in africa into slavery, so certainly all black people are pro-slavery."



----------------------------------------------
"It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish." -- Mother Teresa of Calcutta
[ Parent ]
Here are some references... (none / 0) (#399)
by SiMac on Wed Jun 04, 2003 at 11:14:44 PM EST

Are you familiar with a little scandal that happened around Wittenburg about indulgences?
Just to make sure that we are on the same page, please present the facts (with references, if possible).
Here's a bit of information, although not enough. My background is standard European history reading (you should have done it in high school). Now, I'm not Lutheran (I was raised Jewish and I'm agnostic), but it does seem as if the Catholic church was rather corrupt during Luther's time and earlier.
How about the papal states and the various wars surrounding them, where the Church threatened excommunication?
Again, please present the facts, along with references, if possible. Very often something is not reported accurately, or there are misunderstandings. If you've got something concrete, please present it so we can get to the bottom of this.
Here's a bit of information for you, from Wikipedia:
The Papal states took a severe blow in the revolutions of 1848-49, in which Pope Pius IX was temporarily overthrown and a Roman Republic declared. Their final end did not come until their unilateral annexation (often described in Italian history books as a 'liberation') by Victor Emmanuel in 1870, (see Pope Pius IX), where in one of the new King's first acts, the papally enforced jewish ghettoes were opened and restrictions on non-catholics removed. The Papacy did not accept the loss. The Pope, whose previous residence, the Quirinal Palace had become the royal palace of the Kings of Italy, withdrew in protest into the Vatican, where he lived as a self proclaimed 'prisoner', refusing to leave, to set foot in St. Peter's Square and ordering Catholics on pain of excommunication not to participate in elections in the new Italian state.
Please tell me how this was "not reported accurately."
Even if the original purpose of Christianity may not have been to control others, the actions of the Catholic Church certainly show a desire to do so.
This argument is flawed. Look at what happens when you apply it to other groups: "The actions of Timothy McVeigh certainly show that all white people go around bombing buildings." or "Some black people in africa sold other black people in africa into slavery, so certainly all black people are pro-slavery."
Read my original post. I never said anything about Christianity, I talked about the Catholic Church. The argument is better applied as "The actions of Timothy McVeigh certainly show that Timothy McVeigh bombs buildings."

[ Parent ]
Ultimate Meaning (4.33 / 3) (#184)
by zakalwe on Fri May 23, 2003 at 08:41:53 AM EST

The mildest of these meanings is that humans were created (by God or not) simply to exist.
One problem I have with this is that its just bumped the meaning up a level without giving it any more backing. Why is it a problem if humans have no real purpose, but not if God created humans, but for no real purpose? Surely unless God has a purpose in creating us, then there is still no ultimate meaning for our being here beyond the whim of a deity. On the other hand, if God does have a purpose for creating us, where did He get it from? Either we have an infinite chain of superdeitys assigning meaning, or God must be able to determine his own meaning and purpose in His actions. If God can provide purpose for his own actions, why can't we be satisfied with our own small, self-determined meanings?

[ Parent ]
Life without meaning isn't a problem... (3.00 / 1) (#287)
by SiMac on Sat May 24, 2003 at 06:46:12 PM EST

It just isn't nice to think about, because it makes you go insane. In a meaningless life, there's no reason to live. Why not exchange life for death, if you're unhappy with your life?

Some people may be completely happy with a life without meaning, but I am not. Personally, I don't know whether to believe in a God or not, but I feel that there must be some meaning in life. Perhaps it's part of my (and no doubt other people's) human nature.



[ Parent ]
not looking, belonging (4.75 / 4) (#154)
by SocratesGhost on Thu May 22, 2003 at 11:24:21 PM EST

every book and story about isolation is usually about a person trying to end that isolation: Robinson Crusoe wants to get back home and Tom Hanks in Cast Away never opens his Fed Ex package because he's determined to deliver it one day.

In the end, religion is partly about spiritual beliefs, but you don't get guidance only from a Bible, you get a from a priest or a pastor. You don't find salvation only from within the book, but also in the works that you do: being good to your neighbor, respecting your parents, not covetting your neighbor's wife.

The Bible gives almost no guidelines for how to live outside of society, it is entirely social. Sure, it has its creation myth, its cosmology, etc., but it didn't catch on as a religion if it didn't have something that people responded to, and I think that's because it's a religion for people.

Greek mythology was a scientific religion: Zeus creates rain, Apollo drives the sun, Poseidon controls the ocean and gave mankind the horse. But eliminate the science as being important and you concentrate less on God, and more on those who believe in Him.

Even in Genesis, God is one of many characters. There's some Greek myths where humans appear not at all. I think that says something to the endurance of religion and Christianity: we're here together and we should make a study out of getting along.

That's what saddens me about atheism: for the most part, there's greater antisocial behavior from the atheists that I've met. It is as though they not only rejected all religions because its not rigidly scientific enough, but have placed all social standards into limbo because there's no mechanism of enforcement and no absolute reason for any of them.

Not that it's a necessarily a bad thing or that they are factually wrong, but I better trust a person with knowable standards than those who can change their morality with the wind.

-Soc
I drank what?


[ Parent ]
My experience with athiesm. (3.50 / 2) (#177)
by Verax on Fri May 23, 2003 at 06:31:11 AM EST

That's what saddens me about atheism: for the most part, there's greater antisocial behavior from the atheists that I've met. It is as though they not only rejected all religions because its not rigidly scientific enough, but have placed all social standards into limbo because there's no mechanism of enforcement and no absolute reason for any of them.

I was raised athiest, and didn't receive the gift of faith until I was 30. But before then, all my buddies were athiests as well. Yes, we rejected religions, but not so much because a lack of scientific rigor, but because those who most loudly proclaimed that they were religious were also raving self-righteous assholes. Woops. Pardon the tangent.

The point here is that we all didn't have our social standards go into limbo. We figured that since the world is what you make of it, what works? What works is getting along with eachother. Essentially what works is all those things the self-righteous jerks were telling us to do, but weren't practicing themselves. (Since then, I've found that there were a whole bunch of religious folks around that were so well-behaved, we didn't even know that they were religious.)



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"It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish." -- Mother Teresa of Calcutta
[ Parent ]
Theism, atheism, and morality (3.75 / 4) (#193)
by TheSleeper on Fri May 23, 2003 at 11:06:56 AM EST

Not that it's a necessarily a bad thing or that they are factually wrong, but I better trust a person with knowable standards than those who can change their morality with the wind.

Ah, but what is the turtle resting on?

I don't see how theism really helps you, here. At best, it defers the issue. Religious beliefs can 'change with the wind', as well, since there's no absolute reason for those beliefs, either. In fact, the lack of such reason is what Christian faith is all about. There are plenty of examples of people who suddenly acquire or lose religious beliefs (e.g. "born again" Christians).

[ Parent ]

Good Comment (4.50 / 2) (#243)
by cr8dle2grave on Fri May 23, 2003 at 07:03:07 PM EST

You make an excellent point: religion is fundamentally a social phenomenon. I think many people deeply misunderstand religion--and this doubly true for the hyper-rational geek type--because they get too hung up on the epistemological questions rather than attempting to understand the role religion plays in shaping and sustaining social life. As you allude to, religion infuses the otherwise arbitrary aspects of social life with an abundance of meaning and imparts to them a more solid character.

OT: Greek religion(s): Maybe I misunderstood you, but I think you underestimate the social character of Greek religious life. In addition to the Olympians, worship of the pre-Dorian cthonic deities and the innumerable hearth/ancestral deities remained the mainstay of popular Greek religion well past the classical period. There were also the Oriental cults imported by the Ionian colonists: the Lydian goddesses Demeter and Artemis, and the Thracian gods Dionysus and Orpheus.

And as for the Olympians, as much as they can be seen as representative of a proto-scientific naturalism, they were also a late and mature form of a primitive totemism. The Olympians were gods of the temple, the city, and the festival, and through them the clan and tribe were bound together into the demos and polis. In the case of Apollo and Zeus it was whole of Hellenistic world that was bound together under a common identity; their festivals being Pan-Hellenic events which brought together peoples from across the Greek speaking world, from Spain to the far shores of the Black Sea and from Libya to the Balkans.

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
It all started when (none / 0) (#405)
by the77x42 on Fri Aug 22, 2003 at 02:45:17 AM EST

People were looking for the truth. The Greeks weren't satisfied with the truth of life being explained through poems or stories, so they looked to reason for the truth. After many wars and the Dark Ages, Christianity came along with a truth that many believed could not be explained by reason because faith was beyond reason.

Everyone is seeking the truth, whether you believe you will find that in faith or reason is entirely up to you, but I'm a rational being, not a faithful one.


"We're not here to educate. We're here to point and laugh." - creature
"You have some pretty stupid ideas." - indubitable ‮

[ Parent ]

Another subheading in the list (3.55 / 9) (#92)
by hatshepsut on Thu May 22, 2003 at 01:26:55 PM EST

of people who just can't deal.

Anyone who told me they were "otherkin" would get the same treatment as the people who tell me they are practicing catholics, want to be missionaries, are interested in Scientology, or any other of a multitude of oddities: a non-committal "oh really?", and a mental note on my part to never have a serious discussion about anything important to me.

I am all for imagination, reading sci-fi and fantasy, RPG's, video games and what-have-you, but I also sincerely hope that I, and anyone else who pursues these activities, will put them aside at the end of the day with the understanding that, while fun, it isn't REAL.

When much younger, I spent a day or two telling people in my class that I was really from Mars, and that my parents had adopted me, when my real family had died during our ship's crash landing. I thought it was REALLY funny at the time. What scares me in retrospect is the number of people who nodded enthusiastically and said "wow, I wish I was from Mars!". What do you want to bet that some of them are now "otherkin"?

Only Catholics? (none / 0) (#114)
by davidduncanscott on Thu May 22, 2003 at 04:43:39 PM EST

or are Protestants equally loony in your view?

[ Parent ]
All organized religions (none / 0) (#335)
by hatshepsut on Mon May 26, 2003 at 09:16:01 PM EST

are equally loony. I hereby apologize to any Catholics who took offence to my comment.

[ Parent ]
really? Why? (none / 0) (#345)
by Verax on Tue May 27, 2003 at 11:10:11 PM EST

All organized religions are equally loony. I hereby apologize to any Catholics who took offence to my comment.

I'm Catholic, but have not taken any offence. I'm just curious. What makes you think that the teachings of Catholicism are as "loony" as that group which taught that castrating yourself, then committing suicide was your ticket to catching a spaceship following the Hale-Bopp comet, which would take you to "the next level"?



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"It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish." -- Mother Teresa of Calcutta
[ Parent ]
Why? (5.00 / 3) (#162)
by Verax on Fri May 23, 2003 at 03:52:35 AM EST

Anyone who told me they were "otherkin" would get the same treatment as the people who tell me they are practicing catholics, [...] or any other of a multitude of oddities: a non-committal "oh really?", and a mental note on my part to never have a serious discussion about anything important to me.

Why would you not discuss what is importan to you with a practicing Catholic? The Catholic teaching is that reason is good and important and complements faith; they illuminate one another. What harm can befall you from having a well-reasoned discussion about what is important to you?

Is there some question that's important to you for which you have not received a satisfying answer? Has someone who claimed to be Catholic been abusive toward you? What has you giving up so easily?



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"It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish." -- Mother Teresa of Calcutta
[ Parent ]
Why would I? (5.00 / 1) (#336)
by hatshepsut on Mon May 26, 2003 at 09:24:05 PM EST

I haven't been reading replies, so I was late getting the response to the question re: only Catholics.

The fact is, I wouldn't discuss anything truly important to me with anyone who was religious (or who held other illogical views).

I prefer reason and logic to faith. If I am likely to get faith-based answers to questions that are truly important to me, there is no point in having the discussion in the first place.

I will reiterate: I have absolutely NOTHING against Catholics, or anyone else who professes to a particular religion (the catholic faith was only an EXAMPLE in my original comment, one of several), but that doesn't mean that I have to agree with you. And I certainly wouldn't want to receive faith-based answers to important (to me) questions.

Sigh. I really wasn't trying to get into a discussion on faith. And this is the second one I have managed to get into today.

[ Parent ]

You're assuming... (5.00 / 1) (#344)
by Verax on Tue May 27, 2003 at 07:20:17 PM EST

You seem to be assuming that faith replaces reason, so you wouldn't be able to have conversations based on reason with someone who has faith.

That assumption is incorrect. Faith and reason illuminate one another. You may not be able to have a good conversantion about faith, since that's not something you believe in. But you could have a conversation based on reason, becase religion does not preclude it, and Catholicism values reason highly.

Actually, you could have a reasonable conversation about faith as well. Just not one which requires you to believe what the other person believes. As a Catholic, I don't hold Wiccan beliefs. But I can still have a rational discussion about Wicca.



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"It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish." -- Mother Teresa of Calcutta
[ Parent ]
I'm the angel of death... (2.83 / 6) (#94)
by confrontationman on Thu May 22, 2003 at 02:16:35 PM EST

but I'm on sabbatical, so it's forbidden for me to reveal my super, secret, special powers and true form.



So why crazy? (4.00 / 11) (#97)
by kphrak on Thu May 22, 2003 at 02:27:32 PM EST

+1SP for an interesting article on some of the nuttiest people on earth. I wouldn't even call these guys "crazy as a loon"...more like "crazier than a shithouse rat". I'm not surprised that Otherkin can be such an appealing belief for some people, however. Especially in America, and I mention that because I'm certain that at least 75% of them live here.

I was going to write this long explanation on how it occurs because of discontent that is reinforced by advertising, peer pressure, mental problems that lead people to adopt their own version of reality, and playing way too many RPGs, but it started wandering so I deleted it all. So instead I'll talk about why people, including myself, would think Otherkin is crazy and not, say, someone like me, who believes in an all-powerful being that sent his son to die for crimes we committed against him. What's the difference?

The difference, as I see it, is that we can find a chain in Otherkin that firmly binds it to reality. The dream you had last night about a shadowy figure trying to kill you with an axe might be a supernatural warning...unless you watched a murder horror film last night. Then it's just a stupid dream caused by a late dinner and way too much late-night TV. In Dickens' A Christmas Carol, what is the first thing that Scrooge does when he sees Marley's ghost? He attempts to ground him in reality, explain him away as a figment of his imagination caused by indigestion.

In this case, the idea of an omniscient, unseen God or a Savior who arrived 2000 years ago is plausible; it's an original idea and it can't be easily bound to reality. The idea of reincarnation and nirvana, or gods that control natural forces, may seem a little hokey to a Westerner, but it can be accepted by a "reasonable" mind. On the other hand, a cult started by a former car salesman a few years ago might not be accepted because it does not seem original, especially when the salesman now has a fleet of limousines due to his injunction to cultists to sell all their worldly goods. Now there's something we can grasp -- it must be about money. That's simple enough; it can be explained and thus is not plausible.

In the case of Otherkin, the fact that believers all choose aliens, New Age beings, and things from RPGs immediately provides a grounding to reality. It's not original -- it came from the mind of Gary Gygax, whoever (I don't remember) created the X-Files, and J.R.R. Tolkien. They're lonely, depressed, and boring (at least to themselves; to shrinks, I'm sure they're anything but). We have a psychological reason for their beliefs. These two reasons immediately tell us "they believe in something we see through -- hence, they are crazy."

So yes, as the article suggests, their minds may be more open than others. Unfortunately, things that are open too wide tend to leak their contents. Incidentally, this is not a modern phenomenon; H.P. Lovecraft (famous horror-writer of the 30s) was almost an Otherkin believer himself, and wrote a story about one.


Describe yourself in your sig!
American computer programmer, living in Portland, OR.


Or... (4.25 / 4) (#98)
by LilDebbie on Thu May 22, 2003 at 02:44:36 PM EST

they could all be nuts and the originality you speak of us only necessary because without it they won't be fooled. Your right that believing your a fairy is about as plausible as believing in a omnipotent being who sent his son to get nailed to tree. The proper conclusion here is that BOTH are bullshit, one just more obviously than the other. But of course, you knew that already in the rational part of your mind that you keep tucked away when questioning another's silly beliefs.

My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

[ Parent ]
Phallacy. (2.00 / 4) (#110)
by tkatchev on Thu May 22, 2003 at 03:42:09 PM EST

A sin is not a crime.

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

phallacy? (3.66 / 3) (#132)
by melia on Thu May 22, 2003 at 08:51:49 PM EST

freudian slip?
Disclaimer: All of the above is probably wrong
[ Parent ]
You're phyred (3.66 / 3) (#153)
by mcgrew on Thu May 22, 2003 at 11:14:53 PM EST

freudian pink slip

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

Re: (1.75 / 4) (#167)
by tkatchev on Fri May 23, 2003 at 05:11:25 AM EST

No.


   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

That reply was a bit phallusy (1.00 / 1) (#178)
by davidmb on Fri May 23, 2003 at 06:31:58 AM EST

Yes, that was stupid of me.
־‮־
[ Parent ]
WTPH?! (none / 0) (#283)
by Jetifi on Sat May 24, 2003 at 05:23:40 PM EST

He didn't say being "otherkin" was a sin, and nowhere, as far as I can tell, did he equate sin to crime.

That might make for a good troll though.



[ Parent ]
Lovecraft (4.00 / 2) (#135)
by Tatarigami on Thu May 22, 2003 at 09:16:26 PM EST

Lovecraft was a materialist, and criticised the overly-devout for pinning their hopes on what seemed to him like a foolish dream. If anything, his outlook could be seen as unusually bleak and pessimistic -- his Arkham Cycle of stories was written to express his philosophy, in which the universe is a dark and nihilistic place, and Earth is a haven of ignorance and false optimism.

I think he wrote about dreams because they were a welcome escape from daily life...

[ Parent ]

Somewhat true, but... (5.00 / 2) (#226)
by kphrak on Fri May 23, 2003 at 02:52:24 PM EST

...although Lovecraft did criticize the overly devout, he did not criticize dreamers. The story I linked to seemed to indicate that the dreamers are the lucky ones, the ones who've escaped the crummy world the rest of us are stuck with. And in "The Silver Key", which I think sums up most of Lovecraft's ideas, everybody except dreamers get their share of abuse: Scientists and engineers, philosophers, Christians, atheists, and occultists. Lovecraft's alter ego, Randolph Carter, can't fit in with any of them; they're too gross, tawdry, or ridiculous.

"The Silver Key" provides a lot of insight into Lovecraft's mind...but if you need any more proof, read the sequel! In "Through The Gates Of The Silver Key", Carter finds his true self and discovers a whole set of beings he can turn into with "a slight change of angle". It's pretty clear that Carter is what Lovecraft wished he could be.


Describe yourself in your sig!
American computer programmer, living in Portland, OR.


[ Parent ]
I don't have a comeback to that (5.00 / 1) (#329)
by Tatarigami on Mon May 26, 2003 at 05:06:29 PM EST

...but now I have an excuse to dig out my Lovecraft anthologies. In the deep, dark heart of winter with a steaming cup of chai at your side and a cat in your lap is the best way to address Lovecraft...

[ Parent ]
Aliens? Where? (none / 0) (#224)
by tyshadragon on Fri May 23, 2003 at 02:46:02 PM EST

"In the case of Otherkin, the fact that believers all choose aliens, New Age beings, and things from RPGs immediately provides a grounding to reality."

Not true. There is a large group of wolf 'kin online, quite a few cat 'kin or dog 'kin, hell I even know a rabbit 'kin.

You are making a generalization on something you have little knowledge about.

Hey let me make a generalization, just for fun, all believers in Christ choose to wear pink slippers.

Tysha

[ Parent ]

Another generalization (5.00 / 2) (#234)
by kphrak on Fri May 23, 2003 at 05:18:21 PM EST

Ah, but your generalization has no basis in the article. Mine does. If an article had talked about the weird ways of Christians and the pink slippers they wear, I can forgive somebody's saying "What? All Christians wear pink slippers? That's crazy!" even if I do not. But back to the Otherkin: I didn't mention animals, but hey, while we're on the subject, let's talk about them.

So we include wolves, cats, dogs, and rabbits in the group -- does my point still stand? I believe it does. There are many people who idolize such creatures -- there exists plenty of literature making them out to be close to or better than human beings. Plus, did you notice that every one you mentioned was cute and furry? I'm surprised you didn't mention dolphins...but there are probably dolphin-kin somewhere out there too, since I've met ladies who consider themselves close relations, spiritually, of dolphins...and it's only a small step further to claim to be one in another dimension or another life.

Now, if you know some housefly-kin...octopus-kin...or skunk-kin...I would have to admit defeat and take Otherkin beliefs more seriously. But something tells me that they're harder for Otherkin to want to claim a relationship to. So I'll make another of those generalizations you seem to dislike so much: If it isn't sold on a photo-calendar in a mall kiosk, it is quite unlikely to be an Otherkin totem.


Describe yourself in your sig!
American computer programmer, living in Portland, OR.


[ Parent ]
Another generalization (2.00 / 4) (#235)
by tyshadragon on Fri May 23, 2003 at 05:37:01 PM EST

You said "the fact that believers all choose..."

Emphasis on the word *ALL*, my point still stands.

As for the generalization, you made one about 'kin, I made one about humans. As you said "It's crazy" which is exactly what I though about yours. If you couldn't see the fact that I wasn't being serious with mine then I suggest you take a break away from the computer and come back later.

I don't know any dolphinkin, which is why I didn't mention them. As for the cute and furry, I personally don't find dogs cute. Maybe I should have mentioned the snakekin and lizardkin I know of, they are not very furry, although some people do think lizards & snakes are cute.

"Now, if you know some housefly-kin...octopus-kin...or skunk-kin..."

Not met any...yet, but I won't say they are not out there somewhere.

"If it isn't sold on a photo-calendar in a mall kiosk, it is quite unlikely to be an Otherkin totem"

Unless the 'kin in question believes in animal totems, we don't have one. I personally don't have an "otherkin totem" as you put it. As for photo-calendars you should visit the galleries near christmas, I think every creature that ever existed features somewhere on the calendars there!

[ Parent ]

mythology is not the main draw (4.00 / 1) (#382)
by bluefusion on Fri May 30, 2003 at 07:19:27 AM EST

What about (as I mentioned above) the peculiar fact that dragons have been drawn in roughly the same style from Aztec to ancient Chinese cultures; two places across the world from each other and having absolutely no contact of any kind? What about people who believe they are hosting angels? You can say angels don't exist, but what about a majority religion that claims they do? Now it's a bit trickier, hmm?

For the record, I don't take most 'Kin seriously if they tell me they are chimeras, or pegasii (?) or that sort of thing. Dragons, however, I'm more inclined to believe... angels, on the other hand--well, there's something to that. (Speaking from experience, and the fact that most completely agnostic and unreligious people (even a few scientists) I have met have thought that there was something mystical and unusual about me since the day I was born)...

You can't make generalizations about people--realize that the so-called "fringe lunatics" are just that, on the fringe, and they are NOT as accepted even by the Kin community as you may think.

Azarael.
--------------------------------------

"Real? What is real? If you are talking simply about what you can see, taste, touch, hear, then 'real' is simply electrical signals interpreted by your brain."
[ Parent ]

Hard to say (none / 0) (#385)
by kphrak on Fri May 30, 2003 at 12:55:29 PM EST

I agree that it's interesting that so many cultures have thought of dragons at one point or another -- even more interesting that while basic shape stays the same, they seem to have different behavior. For example, in Europe, dragons have been associated with fire...and are extremely unpleasant creatures to be around. If I recall, the Greeks had dragons in their mythology as well (also as murderous beasts), possibly passing it to Europe. In China, on the other hand, dragons are associated with water and are peaceful creatures full of wisdom. Dinosaur/man proponents sometimes argue that dinosaurs must have shared the Earth with humans at one point due to our mythology.

I've heard, although not firsthand, that psychologists following Jung's theories think that the dragon is an archtype and thus is in the human consciousness whether it exists or not; giving an explanation why so many cultures have one. I believe a parallel explanation also tries to deal with Flood myths, that also have wide distribution around the world (the Chinese, Greeks, Sumerians, and...Aztecs was it?...not sure...all have a Flood story told in varying ways -- and that doesn't even count the one in the Bible!). It

Now I'll quickly go back to Kin-bashing. Woohoo, like shooting fish-kin in a barrel! I don't intend to generalize all Kin -- but the ones in the article certainly sound nuts to me. I know that's going to get me some flak from K5ers (and Kin apologists) who can't stand the fact that someone won't accept any take on things as potentially valid, but I suspect that, rather than discovering a supernatural difference from others, Kin chose something they admire to identify with (I'll use "totem" to describe that for brevity). So far, people have told me that Kin totems include:

  • Aliens
  • RPG-related heroes
  • Cats
  • Dogs
  • Angels
  • Dragons
  • Other fantasy creatures
  • Lizards
  • Snakes

I don't think I left anything out. As I mentioned in my first comment, people can pin this down logically. Kin are unlikely to use, say, a skunk, as their totem. So to people such as myself, it seems clear that since everything in the list is admired by at least a group of people, it may be a self-image problem that drives Otherkin. When it all can get pinned down to causes and effects, rather than supernatural phenomenon, the average person who says, "But that's crazy!" has seen through it, like a conjurer's trick. My point in the last comment was that a religion could survive in people's minds through mystery, while Otherkin could seem crazy to the outside world because people think it could be rationally explained. As a side-note, half of the attempts to discredit Christianity in its first days came from attempted explanation of what had happened to Jesus. The ancient world worked in much the same way as I've mentioned here.

Now if I saw a Kin with a totem considered repulsive by at least 99% of humans, I'd have to take Otherkin a bit more seriously.


Describe yourself in your sig!
American computer programmer, living in Portland, OR.


[ Parent ]
Okay (4.13 / 15) (#101)
by LilDebbie on Thu May 22, 2003 at 03:08:07 PM EST

So a bunch of nuts start taking their role-playing games a little too seriously and form a new religion. I'd blame White Wolf for this except for the crystal clear disclaimer they place at the front of every book. An example from Mage: the Ascension.

Mage: The Ascension is a game. It's a game about mature themes and difficult subjects. As such, it requires not only imagination but common sense. Common sense says that words in an imaginary game aren't supposed to be real. Common sense says that you don't try to do "magic spells" based on a creation derived entirely from someone else's imagination. Common sense says that you don't try to dig up agents of the supernatural just because of inspiration in some wholly fictional source. Common sense says that the game is just for fun, and that when it's over, it's time to put it away.

If you find yourself flying in the face of common sense, then close this browser down, back away slowly and seek professional help.

For the rest of you, enjoy the unlimited possibilities of your imagination.


My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

"browser" => "book" (2.00 / 1) (#102)
by LilDebbie on Thu May 22, 2003 at 03:10:16 PM EST

Given all the plagiarism articles recently, I better get the quotation right. Bastard whose site I lifted it off decided to change the language a bit.

My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

[ Parent ]
Ignorant bashing of role-players... 1 (2.00 / 3) (#131)
by Imperfect on Thu May 22, 2003 at 08:11:53 PM EST

The distinction that needs to be made is that role-players know it's a game, whilst people who believe in it as a faith treat it as their religion and are unlikely to role-play it.

Proven fact. You don't see many people who role-play Christians, or towards a similar bent wiccan-style witches (although I suppose if you created such a game you may find a niche market... hmm, marketing...), then "convert."

These religions and beliefs existed long before White Wolf got ahold of them. If they didn't have such "catching" power towards the human mind, they wouldn't have stuck around so long and wouldn't have made for such great interest in the role-playing market.


Not perfect, not quite.
[ Parent ]
Ignorant misinterpretation (3.50 / 2) (#150)
by LilDebbie on Thu May 22, 2003 at 11:07:10 PM EST

Little defensive aren't we? Did you not notice me saying I would blame White Wolf except... Also, did it ever occur to you that someone who was not only aware of White Wolf's existence but also their peculiar disclaimers which are not anywhere on their website might, oh I dunno, be a roleplayer? Hi, I roleplay. I've roleplayed a long time with a lot of systems and I still do it as an adult. So, um, fuck you for starters and accept that maybe, just maybe our weird little hobbie may have had something to do with these crazy "Otherkin" bastards.

My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

[ Parent ]
Just one problem LD ... (none / 0) (#334)
by ucntcme on Mon May 26, 2003 at 09:00:35 PM EST

"Otherkin" predate WhiteWolf. Thus to suggest that maybe they took it from WW is ... well ... kinda ridiculous. Can't blame WW for stuff that predates them.

-- Another gamer, of 20+years ;)

[ Parent ]

I love it when... (none / 0) (#384)
by Imperfect on Fri May 30, 2003 at 10:15:43 AM EST

...someone else beats me to the whole "bashing the idiot" game. =)

Not perfect, not quite.
[ Parent ]
Mage Rules ! (3.00 / 2) (#145)
by bugmaster on Thu May 22, 2003 at 10:46:48 PM EST

Mage is my favorite White Wolf game. It's the only RPG I know that actually encourages creativity over twinking (I have an online campaign in the works if anyone's interested...). But, religion-wise, I think Werewolf: The Apocalypse would be a better emulation material. At least it has an internally consistent religion with sensible history and beautifully balanced beliefs... Which is more than I can say for most religions today. So how come we don't see more of these Otherkin people discuss their efforts to restore sanity to the Weaver ?
>|<*:=
[ Parent ]
Creativity over twinking? Doubtful. (none / 0) (#367)
by McMasters on Thu May 29, 2003 at 02:24:41 PM EST

Nine out of ten players go "Hey! I'll get use -Power X- with -Power Y- to make your blood explode! I'm more powerful than you!"

White Wolf encourages player-competition, as opposed to player-cooperation, and encourages twinking. Too bad they have such a huge audience.

[ Parent ]

I disagree (none / 0) (#395)
by bugmaster on Sun Jun 01, 2003 at 12:26:06 PM EST

Er. You are saying that White Wolf is more conductive to twinking than, say, D&D ? No way. All their books place heavy emphasis on the story; the ultra-complicated combat rules that no one cares about are segregated into special expansions. Furthermore, I think that player competition is actually a good thing, if done correctly. Some of the best games I played involved two opposing player factions, trying to destroy each others' power structures. That was fun.

I suppose that, theoretically, you can make any game into a twink-fest. There's always that paragraph 23 on page 19 of obscure rulebook #67 that says how you can become invincible. However, with their flexible systems (and especially the ultra-flexible Mage system), White Wolf puts the power in the storyteller's hands.

The flexibility also encourages creative use of systems. My favorite example of this (in Mage) is a simple challenge:

Your character is faced with a locked door. He needs to pass through, preferably without too much noise. What does he do ?
In D&D, there are pretty much three answers:
  • Use the lockpick skill
  • Use Knock or a Knock wand
  • Bash the door
That's it. If you don't have the skill, you can't do it. If you do have the skill, roll the dice.

In Mage, the players usually come up with more answers than I can even remember. You can pick the lock and bash the door, of course, but you can also use Entropy ("the lock is so rusted..."), Forces ("looks like it came unlatched"), Matter ("who makes their locks out of aluminum foil anyway ?"), Correspondence ("what's the point of locking the door when I can teleport through ?"), Spirit ("The door isn't locked in the Umbra"), etc. etc.

The bottom line is, a creative White Wolf/Mage player can always find an interesting solution to any problem. The D&D/D20/etc. player is stuck with looking up dice rolls in tables.
>|<*:=
[ Parent ]

Not all 'kin roleplay (2.75 / 4) (#221)
by tyshadragon on Fri May 23, 2003 at 02:28:59 PM EST

I was a dragon BEFORE I experienced what a roleplay game was. Yes I admit to trying a bit of tabletop rpg and some larp a few years ago but I found it boring (rolling of the dice and stopping for others to smoke were the main causes for my boredom).

I've spent 11 years on Earth knowing I'm a dragon, I've spend 5 (maybe 6) years knowing about the existance of rpg, the maths don't fit.

Tysha

[ Parent ]

Seek professional help (4.00 / 4) (#274)
by LilDebbie on Sat May 24, 2003 at 02:13:53 PM EST

You obviously have issues with dangerously low self-esteem. It's called "divergence." Something is wrong with your world so you move away from it into one of your own creation. Now, I realize there are arguments against things like the "real world" and anyone's interpretation of reality is correct, but your interpretation moves very far away from the consensus view of reality and sets you only further apart from humanity.

My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

[ Parent ]
Translation: (1.50 / 2) (#292)
by Kistaro Windrider on Sat May 24, 2003 at 11:01:36 PM EST

"You don't think the same as everybody else. You have unique spiritual beliefs. You are creative and original.

That's wrong. Go put yourself on drugs to fix that, you ignorant twit."

That about what you're saying?

--Kistaro Windrider, also Otherkin
Yes, it's the same weird guy!
[ Parent ]

It's more along the lines of (4.25 / 4) (#295)
by Kax on Sat May 24, 2003 at 11:50:50 PM EST

"Stop being a pathetic loser and get to grips with your issues."

[ Parent ]
What issues? (3.33 / 3) (#302)
by Kistaro Windrider on Sun May 25, 2003 at 02:17:55 AM EST

Ah, but what issues? In what way are spiritual beliefs such as this "problems" or "issues?"

Sure, they're weird, but I fail to see, in all honesty, why anybody else should give a shit.

Tell me. Why should someone else being Otherkin matter to you?

--Kistaro W.
Yes, it's the same weird guy!
[ Parent ]

It matters (2.33 / 6) (#310)
by Kax on Sun May 25, 2003 at 03:38:30 PM EST

because 'otherkin' people are sick.  It's sympathy.  It's natural to feel bad for someone like that.  I'm not calling for their persecution but I don't accept this whole 'I'm ok, you're ok' stuff.

[ Parent ]
..and you care why? (5.00 / 1) (#379)
by bluefusion on Thu May 29, 2003 at 11:37:51 PM EST

So what exactly is it about your beliefs that make you superior to Otherkin? What is it that you feel I/we need to be "cured of"? In short.. why do you care?
Azarael
--------------------------------------

"Real? What is real? If you are talking simply about what you can see, taste, touch, hear, then 'real' is simply electrical signals interpreted by your brain."
[ Parent ]

On people who think it matters... (none / 0) (#363)
by Josh A on Thu May 29, 2003 at 06:31:42 AM EST

The judgments will continue as long as the belief that there is value in judgment is held.

---
Thank God for Canada, if only because they annoy the Republicans so much. – Blarney


[ Parent ]
Ah, Memories.... (3.30 / 10) (#105)
by The Turd Report on Thu May 22, 2003 at 03:30:05 PM EST

I remember they had a newsgroup back in the day when UseNet was semi-usable. We trolled the shit out of that group. They were all were-dragons, were-wolves, were-tigers, etc and they made up their backgrounds and posted them and talked about changing in to a wolf at night and prowling around. Trolls became: were-rabbi, were-circles, were-Pontiacs, were-dung. Then every one in a.f.k-m.n and a.a.v.f.f.f came in and trolled/meowed/flamed the place to bits.

That was alt.horror.werewolves ... (4.00 / 6) (#113)
by pyramid termite on Thu May 22, 2003 at 04:19:54 PM EST

Who could forget the 2-belo's '59 were-Pontiac? Or Windigo the Feral ...

Meow.

On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
[ Parent ]
Spiro the Werecircle! (3.83 / 6) (#117)
by The Turd Report on Thu May 22, 2003 at 05:22:33 PM EST

I need to go hit Google groups...

[ Parent ]
First, (2.00 / 9) (#332)
by it certainly is on Mon May 26, 2003 at 08:12:17 PM EST

you njeed to fjuck some ljutefjisk.

kur0shin.org -- it certainly is

Godwin's law [...] is impossible to violate except with an infinitely long thread that doesn't mention nazis.
[ Parent ]

You need Shock Treatment (1.12 / 8) (#343)
by pyramid termite on Tue May 27, 2003 at 07:11:02 PM EST

AnAlFacE

On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
[ Parent ]
Fallatious Disregard (1.40 / 10) (#348)
by it certainly is on Wed May 28, 2003 at 07:58:33 AM EST

BuTTPluG

kur0shin.org -- it certainly is

Godwin's law [...] is impossible to violate except with an infinitely long thread that doesn't mention nazis.
[ Parent ]

What's really funny is .... (none / 0) (#373)
by pyramid termite on Thu May 29, 2003 at 09:09:55 PM EST

... none of the people rating us down get it. Shpxurnq.

On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
[ Parent ]
Yup. (none / 0) (#374)
by it certainly is on Thu May 29, 2003 at 09:19:31 PM EST

Not everyone can be proud Bvngmunch alumni.

Shpxurnq.
Shpxurnq.

kur0shin.org -- it certainly is

Godwin's law [...] is impossible to violate except with an infinitely long thread that doesn't mention nazis.
[ Parent ]

This disturbs me (3.66 / 3) (#118)
by samiam on Thu May 22, 2003 at 05:44:35 PM EST

This disturbs me...I don't like trolls and I don't like people who brag about their trolling.

I once knew a well-known troll in real life. He was smart enough, but his world view was...demented. Sick. Semi-autistic and unable to have real empathy for others.

- Sam

[ Parent ]

So, you would say that ... (4.57 / 7) (#122)
by pyramid termite on Thu May 22, 2003 at 06:12:28 PM EST

... the "semi-autistic" (whatever the hell that means, and I assure you it doesn't mean shit) are demented, sick and unable to have real emphathy for others?

There's something worse than those who troll deliberately - there's those who troll accidentally because they don't know what the hell they're talking about.


Oddly enough, they seem to be the ones who bite on and hate trolls the most - funny how that works, isn't it?

On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
[ Parent ]
actually (none / 0) (#282)
by vinay on Sat May 24, 2003 at 04:40:13 PM EST

when someone says "semi-autistic," they're usually talking about Asperger's Syndrome. And

"They have a great deal of difficulty reading nonverbal cues (body language) and very often the individual with AS has difficulty determining proper body space."

So, they do appear to have a marked empathy problem, though I'd agree that they're not "demented."


-\/


[ Parent ]
AS would be the proper term ... (2.50 / 2) (#298)
by pyramid termite on Sun May 25, 2003 at 12:21:41 AM EST

... of course, but I think missing social cues and rules and lack of empathy are not necessarily related. People on the spectrum may feel empathetic towards others, but they don't always express it appropriately. And yes, they can certainly be confused, or even ignorant of what other people are actually feeling - or, just as badly, TOO sympathetic towards others. Also, there are other psychological conditions that can result in lack of empathy.

By the way, my daughter's autistic, and I'm probably AS or very close myself, so you can see why I felt a need to respond ... especially when he used words such as "demented".

On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
[ Parent ]
Apologies then (none / 0) (#361)
by samiam on Wed May 28, 2003 at 09:16:07 PM EST

I apologize for hurting your feelings in the parent post.

- Sam

[ Parent ]

So (1.50 / 2) (#126)
by The Turd Report on Thu May 22, 2003 at 06:56:00 PM EST

Since you knew ONE troll, you know about them all?

[ Parent ]
well, yes (none / 0) (#406)
by Hakamadare on Fri Aug 22, 2003 at 11:44:55 AM EST

based on the behavior of trolls on Kuro5hin (and in other places - i spent a couple of years lurking on the Nose, for example), i'd say that "demented", "sick", "semi-autistic", and "unable to have real empathy for others" are appropriate descriptors.

why did you do it?  what had these people ever done to you?  why couldn't you just leave them in peace?  it's not even like they were sharing a space with you, or crossposting their crap to your group.

-steve
---
Schopenhauer is not featuring heavily on the "Review Hidden Comments" page at the moment. - Herring
[ Parent ]

Why not just say you were trolls? (3.66 / 3) (#183)
by nebbish on Fri May 23, 2003 at 08:03:36 AM EST

If they can be fairies, why not?

---------
Kicking someone in the head is like punching them in the foot - Bruce Lee
[ Parent ]

+1 (3.30 / 10) (#119)
by Laiquendi on Thu May 22, 2003 at 05:45:41 PM EST

I'm a Leprachaun!

umm ... do something leprachaunish. [nt] (1.00 / 1) (#136)
by tang gnat on Thu May 22, 2003 at 09:20:22 PM EST



[ Parent ]
Caught ya! (1.33 / 3) (#152)
by mcgrew on Thu May 22, 2003 at 11:08:10 PM EST

Now give me the damned money. Or at least do a spell that make beautiful women want to fuck me.

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

Wish on... (2.50 / 2) (#205)
by DrH0ffm4n on Fri May 23, 2003 at 12:51:17 PM EST

do a spell that make beautiful women want to fuck me

I'm sure there's some limit to a Leprachaun's powers. </sarcasm>

---
The face of a child can say it all, especially the mouth part of the face.

[ Parent ]

No shit (2.00 / 2) (#244)
by mcgrew on Fri May 23, 2003 at 07:07:40 PM EST

Even God's having trouble with THAT one!

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

Some people believe they are otherkin (4.00 / 13) (#121)
by Big Sexxy Joe on Thu May 22, 2003 at 05:58:12 PM EST

And some people believe in God. And some people believe in Reagenomics. Some people are really fucking stupid. By the way, -1.

I'm like Jesus, only better.
Democracy Now! - your daily, uncensored, corporate-free grassroots news hour
Further Evidence (4.37 / 8) (#123)
by coljac on Thu May 22, 2003 at 06:32:31 PM EST

I tell you, there is nothing so contrary to common sense that someone will not believe it. My own studies on skepticism and religion, especially when writing and speaking about Scientology, left me with this firm conviction. I could start a cult based on the fact that I have a boa constrictor for a penis. I mean this literally - I literally believe, based on all the evidence, that I could convince somebody of this fact and furthermore that they and others like them could be persuaded to follow me and testify of its life-affirming powers to others.

+1 for providing more evidence for my hypothesis.



---
Whether or not life is discovered there I think Jupiter should be declared an enemy planet. - Jack Handey

Great! how do I benefit from your mighty power?n/t (5.00 / 1) (#174)
by livus on Fri May 23, 2003 at 06:14:48 AM EST



---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]
start by taking this free personality test [nt] (5.00 / 1) (#271)
by tichy on Sat May 24, 2003 at 01:09:50 PM EST



[ Parent ]
Easy trap to fall into (4.83 / 24) (#129)
by fluffy grue on Thu May 22, 2003 at 07:45:12 PM EST

I've known many people who believe that they're born into the wrong species, often because they have some deep-seated emotional issue which they need to distance themselves from. For a few years I'd managed to convince myself I was "really" a porcupine. Discovering "furry" stuff online didn't help at all. :)

Fortunately, I eventually recovered from that, and I think most people eventually outgrow it when they come to realize that they're just stuck in a self-destructive fantasy.

I think it's an easy pattern to get into when you have a loss of control over your own life; you start to think that there's no way that this life could really be you, and that it seems much more logical that you're "really" something else, something which wouldn't have these problems, something which just has a carefree life in a forest, and it's easy to just run with it from there.

It's easy to ridicule someone for getting into such a self-delusional state, but when the mind is under a lot of stress, weird stuff can happen, and things which make no sense at all can seem to have perfect clarity.
--
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]

hmmm, same sort of thing I wanted to post. [nt] (3.00 / 2) (#245)
by vyruss on Fri May 23, 2003 at 07:09:28 PM EST



  • PRINT CHR$(147)

[ Parent ]
Elves and others (4.55 / 9) (#133)
by Tatarigami on Thu May 22, 2003 at 08:52:21 PM EST

Based on the premise that any internally-consistent set of beliefs deserves as much respect as mine do, I see no reason to openly scoff if someone chooses to think they're an elf. (I managed to convince myself the last MP I elected wouldn't screw over the tech industry. That's arguably a bigger leap of faith.) I wouldn't deny anyone a creed that brings them some satisfaction without hurting anyone else.

It takes -- or should take -- a lot of confidence in the world and your place in it to point and laugh at the tenets someone else is living by. At the very least, anyone willing to criticise someone else's worldview should be prepared to defend their own -- without resorting to phrases like "it's obvious that" or "anyone with an ounce of sense can see".

Fair Enough (3.00 / 5) (#156)
by bugmaster on Fri May 23, 2003 at 01:47:57 AM EST

I don't actually know if these Otherkin people are serious, or if they are pulling our collective leg. But I'd take Elves over right-wing monotheistic funamentalists any day. The Elves seem to be much less likely to trample on my freedoms in the name of their One True Faith (tm). Same goes for witches and whatever else is out there.
>|<*:=
[ Parent ]
These (2.50 / 2) (#206)
by DrH0ffm4n on Fri May 23, 2003 at 12:54:52 PM EST

funamentalists sound cool. Are they like altruistic nihilists?

---
The face of a child can say it all, especially the mouth part of the face.

[ Parent ]
I've met one (none / 0) (#346)
by Shren on Wed May 28, 2003 at 12:46:29 AM EST

they're serious. any regular K5 reader should not doubt the absurdities one human mind can believe.

[ Parent ]
Insane? (3.90 / 10) (#138)
by wji on Thu May 22, 2003 at 09:28:36 PM EST

No, of course these people aren't insane. Just arrogant and stupid. Insanity is a disease you can't control. Arrogance and stupidity, however, deserve contempt.

In conclusion, the Powerpuff Girls are a reactionary, pseudo-feminist enterprise.
Please (3.50 / 2) (#278)
by Alfie on Sat May 24, 2003 at 03:01:55 PM EST

I'm not an Otherkin, but I know people who are. They're not arrogant or stupid (usually). Let's be careful with the generalizations, okay?



[ Parent ]
...arrogant and stupid?... (3.00 / 2) (#380)
by bluefusion on Thu May 29, 2003 at 11:44:20 PM EST

And to call a group of people "arrogant and stupid", of course you wouldn't... be arrogant and stupid, right? Right? Deciding that you alone have enough "common sense" to "help" the poor arrogant and stupid Otherkin.... nope, no arrogance there at all :)

Come back when you learn to tolerate people who don't look, think, talk, act and dream exactly the same way you do--in short, come back when it finally hits you that everyone on this fucking planet is different, and what works for you just may not be the best for everyone else.

Azarael.
--------------------------------------

"Real? What is real? If you are talking simply about what you can see, taste, touch, hear, then 'real' is simply electrical signals interpreted by your brain."
[ Parent ]

Changeling: The Dreaming (3.14 / 7) (#142)
by bugmaster on Thu May 22, 2003 at 10:40:40 PM EST

If they are going to rip off someone else's ideas, they should at least disguise the fact better...
>|<*:=
Older than WW. (3.00 / 1) (#149)
by Aetius on Thu May 22, 2003 at 10:53:19 PM EST

Actually, the Otherkin phenomenon pre-dates anything White Wolf has done.

But I think White Wolf handled it better.

[ Parent ]

Re: Older than WW (none / 0) (#227)
by tyshadragon on Fri May 23, 2003 at 02:53:30 PM EST

Who knows, maybe they got some of their information from otherkin?

[ Parent ]
Of course! (5.00 / 1) (#237)
by Mudlock on Fri May 23, 2003 at 05:59:59 PM EST

I'm sure they did: White-Wolf steals/borrows about 98% of their stuff from existing mythology/religion, and the audience they aim for is just-off from the kind of people who believe they are "otherkin" (sadly, they miss by a bit, miff their inspiration, and land just close enough to the D&D crowd to attract folks who enjoy abusing their purposefully-abusable rules systems). I swear, if I meet one more person who thinks the word "gangrel", or "obfuscate" was invented at W-W, I'll hit them with a dictionary. (I probably will as I'm spending all of next weekend a W-W convention. :)
--
But everybody wants a rock to wind a piece of string around.
[ Parent ]
White Wolfers (none / 0) (#364)
by McMasters on Thu May 29, 2003 at 02:12:22 PM EST

deletes long stupid rant about idiot larper White Wolf-ers, shortening it to

WW is the biggest reason people think Roleplayers are freaks these days. 'Mazes and Monsters' has nothing on the exhibitionists today.

[ Parent ]

You seem to equate WW with MET (none / 0) (#393)
by craigd on Sat May 31, 2003 at 06:11:50 PM EST

White Wolf publishes LARPs, as you recognize in your comment about WW LARPers. But they also do very good tabletop RPGs, which are no freakier than D&D.


A man who says little is a man who speaks two syllables.
[ Parent ]
Not Just MET/LARPers (none / 0) (#402)
by Aetius on Mon Jun 09, 2003 at 08:15:54 PM EST

Actually, the table top WW gamers are (often) almost as bad as the LARPers.

As someone who has played both, I've got a bit too much experience with the Visible Lunatic Fringe.

[ Parent ]

Rip off? (none / 0) (#249)
by Orfiel on Fri May 23, 2003 at 10:03:42 PM EST

By someone else's ideas, you mean the fairly ancient mythic idea of the changeling? =P

[ Parent ]
Interesting (1.14 / 7) (#147)
by untrusteduser on Thu May 22, 2003 at 10:48:43 PM EST

Would the Greeks be considered Otherkin? Because they sure don't smell human.

Unless you meant that as a racist troll... (none / 0) (#392)
by craigd on Sat May 31, 2003 at 06:09:09 PM EST

The classical Greek religion does indeed feature many non-human souls in human bodies, usually as children of the gods.


A man who says little is a man who speaks two syllables.
[ Parent ]
interface with reality of others? (3.14 / 7) (#176)
by livus on Fri May 23, 2003 at 06:27:50 AM EST

I wish you'd commented a bit more on the problems these people face with everyone else's agreed-on or negotiated reality.

For example, one of the best things about Otherkin for me has always been their accounts of their visits to the doctors. I'd love to be a witness to an otherkin telling a doctor "but that's because I have two stomachs" or whatever.

I'm just interested in that aspect of it. You sort of touch on it when you mention the antidepressants but there's more to it - as a belief it must provide far more challenges and difficulties than just staying out of the nuthouse.


---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

Same Here (4.00 / 2) (#186)
by The Turd Report on Fri May 23, 2003 at 09:12:39 AM EST

I'd like to be in the office when the Doc holds up an scan of the person and shows/tells them: "No, look, you have one, just like every other HUMAN."

[ Parent ]
Two stomachs (4.00 / 1) (#190)
by Cro Magnon on Fri May 23, 2003 at 10:03:05 AM EST

Well, as a kid, my mom thought I had two stomachs! Unfortunately, that makes my middle-aged spread twice as bad. :(
Information wants to be beer.
[ Parent ]
It's not my body (none / 0) (#225)
by tyshadragon on Fri May 23, 2003 at 02:51:35 PM EST

But most otherkin know that they are in/have a human body so we know we don't have two stomachs. I am a draconic soul being hosted by a human, this isn't my body so I know there is nothing physically abnormal about it that has been caused by being an otherkin.

Tysha

[ Parent ]

so it wasn't you then (5.00 / 1) (#267)
by livus on Sat May 24, 2003 at 05:54:20 AM EST

Ah, I can see how if you think you are in a human body there won't be quite as many of these issues. But I have been privy to exchanges before amongst otherkin (particularly the vampires) who definately describe having problems with medical professionals due to the way they think of their bodies.

So, in your estimation the majority percentage of otherkin are hosted are they?

---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]

Three steps to religion (3.72 / 11) (#179)
by davidmb on Fri May 23, 2003 at 06:48:18 AM EST

1. I tell everyone that I turn into a carriage clock and fight crime whenever my TV tells me to, but I don't really believe it. I'm a big stinking liar.

2. I tell the same story to everyone, and believe it. I'm a loony and get happy pills from the doctor.

3. Other people believe the same thing and we band together, both in real life and online. Bingo! A new religion.

The question is, are these people at step 2 or step 3? I suspect step 3, so yay for religious freedom!
־‮־

shiftin' (4.00 / 1) (#203)
by jt on Fri May 23, 2003 at 12:31:33 PM EST

1. I tell everyone that I turn into a carriage clock and fight crime whenever my TV tells me to, but I don't really believe it. I'm a big stinking liar.

Dude, I p-shift into a '68 Shelby Cobra every 3rd wednesday, and sometimes fridays too!

[ Parent ]

4. Prophet!! (n/m) (3.75 / 3) (#250)
by Conspir8or on Fri May 23, 2003 at 10:31:11 PM EST



[ Parent ]
Good basic summation (2.75 / 4) (#181)
by The Arkadian on Fri May 23, 2003 at 07:29:45 AM EST

A fairly well-written piece; far more accurate than some attempts to sum up Otherkin beliefs without getting overly complicated discussing Aspecting, Hosting etc.
Regards, The Arkadian <========|===0
nostalgia and my two cents (2.50 / 3) (#185)
by bukvich on Fri May 23, 2003 at 08:56:09 AM EST

Does anybody else remember localroger's "walk in" story that got voted down in a hail of vitriol in about two hours?

It was the same subject, well written, and the discussion (him in the corner of the boxing ring covering up and six people pummelling him) was quite entertaining.

Anyway, basic logic, occam's razor, and modern scientific methods make this irrelevant for nearly all of us. The only argument for is that dogmatic skepticism is ultimately self-refuting, and you never really know. But you can't. Look up occult in the dictionary. Occult == hidden.

Do you (none / 0) (#360)
by CodeWright on Wed May 28, 2003 at 05:07:35 PM EST

have a link to any comments on that voted-down article?

--
"Jumpin Jesus H. Christ riding a segway with a little fruity 1 pint bucket of Ben and Jerry's rainbow fairy-berry crunch in his hand." --
[ Parent ]
One in every basket... (3.12 / 8) (#189)
by Kistaro Windrider on Fri May 23, 2003 at 09:57:58 AM EST

Considering the sheer number of users at K5, it should come as no surprise that at least one of them is Otherkin.

Check my username. <I>That</I> alone, or that Googled for, should be a good indication that I may have a slightly different perspective on this item.

Anyway: Something that people should remember (from reading these posts) is that, generally speaking, this is held as a reincarnationalist spiritual belief. What, exactly, is so utterly implausible about other worlds actually existing somewhere, and reincarnation screwing itself up and dropping someone in the wrong species?

*ducks a flying tomato*

Good point. I admit that the odds of a world <I>just coincidentially</I> having species somehow exactly like Earth mythology seem next to nil. There is, of course, the inevitable waving-in-the-face of the "Infinite Monkey Theorem" (although monkeys have been proven to be poor random-character generators- they have a serioius bias for the letter "S"), stating that every possibility must occur with an infinite number of trials. A more plausible hypothesis flying around: Otherkin are nothing new, we're just coming out of the woodwork. Who do you think <I>told</I> the original myths, weaved the tales?

Again, remember that this is a spiritual belief- a really, really unusual one, but still a spiritual belief- and can't reasonably be analyzed by scientific reasoning. (In short, nothing I say can convince the atheists out there- y'all seem to be the majority- that I'm <I>not</I> stark raving nuts.)

A final point is the definition of "insane" vs. "different." Insane implies that one's quality of life is impaired, or that one is a danger to onesself or others due to the situation being considered as insanity. Liking garlic ice cream is different. Shooting up a McDonalds with an AK-47 is crazy. Otherkin spiritual beliefs are different. An airplane hijacker who believes he channeled the directions to do this directly from Archangel Fred is crazy. (People who believe that there <I>is</I> an Archangel Fred, Avatar of Plumbers, are different.)

Weird? Sure. Harmless? Yep. Might as well let us be nuts in peace? Why not?

Anyway, I'm essentially throwing myself to the wolves with this post. Ask questions; tear me down. I'll follow the thread.

--Kistaro Windrider, Otherkin
Yes, it's the same weird guy!

What, exactly, is so utterly implausible... (4.00 / 1) (#191)
by NoMoreNicksLeft on Fri May 23, 2003 at 10:19:11 AM EST

What, exactly, is so utterly implausible about other worlds actually existing somewhere, and reincarnation screwing itself up and dropping someone in the wrong species?

That the only evidence ever given for reincarnation isn't evidence for reincarnation at all? Memories of people long dead might be credible or not, but either way only prove that memories can be transferred in some metaphysical way. Numerous studies and anecdotes suggest that a person's memory, and certainly not a few snippets of it, do not equal that person's "soul", or whatever you want to call it. Otherwise, amnesia would be equivalent to death.

In addition to that, you're suggesting reincarnation where there could never be any real evidence at all. A person who claims to remember being a Confederate soldier in a former life can at least be checked out to see if his story is consistent with history, and in some cases could even be checked for factual accuracy of said memory. But if the fat smelly kid that likes comic books claims that he is the fifth reincarnation of the Zoobatah king of the 5th planet orbiting Alpha Centauri, exactly what about that can be believable at all? Doesn't this qualify as "utterly implausible" ?

--
Do not look directly into laser with remaining good eye.
[ Parent ]

Good point- scientifically, which this ain't (5.00 / 2) (#192)
by Kistaro Windrider on Fri May 23, 2003 at 10:50:48 AM EST

As taken as utterly scientifically and forgetting that this is a spiritual belief, yes. It is utterly implausible in a scientific context.

I expected to be challenged on this point. It relies on the assumption that reincarnationalist beliefs are semi-reasonable- not the "PHEEL the LUV" new-age (rhymes with "sewage") nauseatingly fluffy "nothing ever goes wrong in life- no, really" rather unreasonable reincarnationalist beliefs, but more the Hindu-ish ones. But I agree: other than personal beliefs, anecdotal unevidence, more-than-slightly questionable claims, and blatant faking ripped verbatim from history books, there's no evidence.

As your example? Yes, that does qualify as "utterly implausible." People who come into Otherkin forums and mailgroups with "remarks" such as that tend to get incinerated by a toxic volley of flames on the spot, a sport which I generally participate in only as one who causes the person in question to shout his inconsistencies with his own story to the world. (I'm evil that way.) Note that it's not an entirely common occurance compared to the number of (relatively!) reasonable people. (Although it's the unreasonable ones you remember. It's very true that Otherkin can be a serious ego trip for some- such as the person who was literally run out of a forum yesterday claiming to be the "King of All Dragons" and we should all worship him. He lasted about three hours under a barrage of 28 incredibly sarcastic replies, which isn't bad for a forum that tends to only get around two posts an hour during off-peak times.)

My comment of implausability is not requesting whether it's actually <b>scientifically</b> correct or not, but potentially percievable as a possibility, discarding the fact that the entire concept of reincarnation is easily consdered garbage with standard Western rationalist reasoning.

--Kistaro Windrider
Yes, it's the same weird guy!
[ Parent ]

Interestingly enough... (5.00 / 5) (#197)
by Back Spaced on Fri May 23, 2003 at 11:42:53 AM EST

My comment of implausability is not requesting whether it's actually scientifically correct or not, but potentially percievable as a possibility, discarding the fact that the entire concept of reincarnation is easily consdered garbage with standard Western rationalist reasoning

Actually, your concept of spirituality fits quite well within "standard Western rationalist reasoning."

Allow me to elaborate. Reincarnation, as it is generally percieved in the western mind is, quite literally, the transference of an object, termed the "soul" from one corporeal body to another. People who deny this kind of event generally do so from what might be termed a scientific or "matierialist" perspective. What is lost is the fact that thos who defend such occurances are doing so from the same materialist perspective. In the materialist perspective, the soul is an object. It may not be made of the same material as our more mundane bodies, but it is an object none the less in the way it is treated and the position that it occupies within our concept of the world. People who believe in such things even create new types of matter for souls to consist of (ectoplasm, for example) and can go so far as to outline a set of laws for the "spiritual" world.

The irony of this is that it has nothing to do with spiritual belief altogether - it is simply redefining the world of the spiritual in materialist terms. Making it palatable to the materialist mind, so to speak, a mind that the modern occultist possesses as strongly as the modern physicist.

Here is another concept of reincarnation: a year or so back, I read some excerpts from the journal of my great grandfather who was a cowboy in Texas. One of the things that struck me most profoundly in his writing was how similarly that I myself have felt in similar situations - how he felt on the train when he first went west for example - but it never occurred to me to think that I may be possessed by his ghost. We like to think of ourselves in some way as fundamentally different from others, but the simple reality is that there is a great deal of similarity between people, and the more one digs, frequently the more similarity one finds. Likewise, with billions of people on the planet, I would hardly be surprised to find someone similar to myself in appearance, tastes, capacties and yes, even experiences (your monkeys at their typewriters again). Therefore, I myself believe in reincarnation. But I believe in it not in the sense that some ectoplasm floats from my at my death to explore the world for 40 days before re-enterring itself in the flesh of an unborn child, but in the sense that from time to time a person like me emerges into the world in a similar way to that in which a musical theme might reccur from time to time in a symphony. Likewise, not just people are reincarnated, but ideas, stories, civilizations... there is nothing incomprehensible, complex or mysterious about this. It is simply an observation of the world.

Likewise, I believe in ghosts. But not ghosts that appear for mediums and cover people with slime. A person exists in their brain and body, but not just in their brain and body. As we grow, we interact with and alter the brains and bodies of others, and the world around us. (After all, if the brain is the center of the self, and the hand is an extension of the brain, the pen an extentsion of the hand, the book an extension of the pen...) Our brains and bodies exist like spiders at the center of great webs of ourselves that we have spread around us. Ghosts, then, are what remains of the web when the spider is gone. So we exist on in the memories of others and in the material extensions of our minds that we have left behind. This "frame" can drive people to grief, or center itself on others. Some gradually collapse to dust, others mutate and become the driving force behind entire civilzations, as in the case of a Virginia planter, general and president, or simple Hebrew carpenter.

This is obviously not very compatible with otherkind concepts of reincarnation, so really what is not being argued here is "spiritual" vs. "materialist," but one type of materialism vs. another. You both have a lot of common ground in your beliefs, which explains not only how scientific materialists and otherkinders understand one another so well, but probably why you fight so hard.

Bluto: My advice to you is to start drinking heavily.
Otter: Better listen to him, Flounder. He's pre-med.
[ Parent ]

Beliefs (5.00 / 3) (#198)
by Kistaro Windrider on Fri May 23, 2003 at 12:06:06 PM EST

Reincarnation, then, in the sense of passed genetics, and ghosts of continued memes and remembered memories?

As you stated- that view doesn't match mine, but it is a very, very interesting way to look at things.

My views on the soul are about as typical as they get for polytheistic reincarnationalists: the soul is the "spark" of conciousness that can only be destroyed by really, really weird situations. After one life is over, you optionally hang around as a ghost for a while- a free point of conciousness- but eventually reincarnate as... well, something. Not always the right something.

How'd I wind up with that view? Please see the main article's section on "awakening" (a term I, personally, absolutely hate but don't have any better ideas).

On the soul vs. the brain: It's been a lively, interresting, and recurring debate and I honestly don't know what I think in that area. I do believe that while incarnate, a soul is mostly limited by the capabilities of the brain. It's still the soul driving the decisions- choosing which way the Random Neuron Generators fire, but that's about its limit. Views subject to change without warning, but it's what you get when you have an Otherkin who works at a science museum.

--Kistaro W.
Yes, it's the same weird guy!
[ Parent ]

And more beliefs. (4.00 / 1) (#316)
by Back Spaced on Sun May 25, 2003 at 08:55:11 PM EST

Reincarnation, then, in the sense of passed genetics, and ghosts of continued memes and remembered memories?

Reincarnation more in the sense that something that happens is likely to have happened before and will happen again. Ghosts in the sense that what constitutes a person extends beyond their own bodies.

How'd I wind up with that view? Please see the main article's section on "awakening" (a term I, personally, absolutely hate but don't have any better ideas).

You inherited that view, as with most things in our culture, somewhat indirectly, from the ancient greeks. Even your dichotomy of soul vs. body (or in your case, brain), comes from them. In the case of the argument of soul and brain, it's a fight that's never going to be won - the "soul" and "brain" are concepts from two different worlds of thought, and they don't fit into an either/or proposition.

If we want to imagine where the idea of the soul came from, we have to begin by looking backwards in time, before even the invention of writing, during that vast majority of human history where humans lived in small, mobile groups. One of our common ancestors is hunched over the body of a dear friend who has been tusked by a boar. One minute the wouned man is bleeding, moaning, talking. The next, something happens, and he is not. Our ancestor is at a loss to explain exactly what has transpired. Physically, the bleeding, dying man does not appear much different from the corpse. If a living man were to hold his breath and shut his eyes, the difference would be indistiguishable without close examination. Impossible, even, for someone who did not feel for a pulse. And yet, something is different now. The animating force is gone. In the future, this man's descendants, among which you and I number, will break this animating force into a thousand components, describe and classify each one. But that is far in the future, and what our ancestor has is only an observation: that something has changed. Something seperates the corpse in his arms from his friend of a few moments ago. In his mind, he names this something. You and I translate that word as "soul." There is a reason that ancient people's equated the soul with breath, or that even today we have a saying about the eyes being "mirrors of the soul." The soul is not something that is hidden, invisible. Rather, it is exactly the opposite - it is in front of us, all the time. We see it constantly in the eyes of those living around us, in the mirror when we shave, at night when we awaken to the soft snoring of those we love.

There is no conflict between the soul and the brain. The soul is not some ectoplasmic mass that sits enthroned in a hidden chamber of the skull guiding the body. The soul is not a thing at all. It is the observation of life. The brain is matter, a piece of sophisticated tissue that tugs the strings. Two different things entirely.

Bluto: My advice to you is to start drinking heavily.
Otter: Better listen to him, Flounder. He's pre-med.
[ Parent ]

Another 'Kin Steps In (5.00 / 1) (#378)
by bluefusion on Thu May 29, 2003 at 11:29:04 PM EST

: if the fat smelly kid that likes comic books claims that he is the fifth reincarnation of the Zoobatah king of the 5th planet orbiting Alpha Centauri, exactly what about that can be believable at all? Doesn't this qualify as "utterly implausible" ? :

Of course it does--and like Windrider said, this sort of thing gets torn apart in Otherkin communities as well, just as fast (if not quicker). This is simply because we are NOT any more encouraging of unrealistic and unbelievable concepts as anyone else--we just generally seem to have the capacity to suspend our disbelief until we can face the facts and figure a newcomer out. However, I personally hate that whole "acceptance" bit, and tried to get away from it as fast as possible, with the equivalent of "alright... I'm extremely unusual...maybe I'm this type of Otherkin... maybe I'm this type... well, experience this group has had is remarkably similar to mine; OK, I'll look into this on my own, without this group around to keep encouraging their particular beliefs... alright, thanks for the help, everyone...bye." A few months of soul-searching later, and it turns out that for the most part I have not found any other belief or system that establishes quite the same characteristics as those I feel, and so I have come to the realization that I am Otherkin--but without trying to "fit in", without trying to gain approval of any kind. I did this on my OWN--took some people's experiences, mulled them over, and left to ponder the whole thing myself until I came to my conclusion. I hope that this lends a bit more credence to the concept that maybe, just maybe, we're not all in this to gain approval--that there's a genuine, valid reason for our beliefs. However, I honestly don't need anyone to believe me at all, as I'll explain later, since I don't think being Otherkin has anything to do with whether others believe you or not.

It should be rather obvious that memories do not equal a soul; like you said, that would mean amnesia is death when it's not at all. However, there is NO WAY TO SCIENTIFICALLY validate the existence of the soul other than to note (completely detachedly, of course) that every group of people on the planet since the dawn of man have believed in this concept in some form or another. Notice I said every GROUP, not every person. Regardless, the fact is there.

Science is persuasive, but looked at objectively it is simply its own religion as well--yes, it makes the most sense for most of us out there, and the principle of Occam's Razor applies, etc. but can we actually prove ANYTHING about science without relying on science itself? No! So how is this different from any religious tradition, which self-enforces itself but if the underlying logic disappears it cannot be proven at all?

In Christian philosophy, for example, God created the world in seven days. Relying on all the accounts of this amazing "God" and his power, his goodwill, his love for humankind, etc., it makes perfect sense inside of Christianity that something like this would happen. Yet science collapses the theory--once you step out of the Christian religion, nothing actually makes the slightest bit of sense. However, can science make the slightest bit of sense without using science itself to prove it? Notice a pattern here?

With this said, I am Otherkin. I do not generally enjoy discussions with MOST other people like myself because far too often I find that I can simply not take their beliefs seriously. Your bit about the fat kid from the comics store is dead-on accurate--if someone tells me they are a daemon-fae-dragon-vampire, as much as I like to be open I realize that NO ONE here, not even Otherkin, can really accept anyone else's belief without question--it's just not going to happen. Religion has always been about finding one's own spiritual calling--the last 2,000 years have perverted that mission, however.

So, yes.. I believe (and know) that there are others out there like me, like Windrider here; but I also do not believe every maladjusted teenager is an Otherkin simply because they feel like they don't fit in. I don't unequivocally believe when someone tells me they are a dragon-fae-werewolf-vampire-demon-shadow-hunter-cat-dog-bear. Therefore, I do not expect or require anyone else to believe what I am. If I am confident in my beliefs, I have no need to force them on anyone else, or seek approval. This is the way religion of any kind was intended to operate, isn't it? Power of the individual; finding something that fits oneself and only oneself...

In many ways I fit the mold of what might be deemed the "Otherkin poseur". I'm a teenager and I'm not terribly social (I admit, I don't like people all that much, but I don't dislike them either). I am not ashamed to admit this, because I think it is irrelevant. Very, very strange things have happened to me all throughout my life, since a very young age, and my first Awakening shock was of an extremely psychic nature--ie. I had not heard of or read anything about Otherkin at any time beforehand. Needless to say that after my experience I did seek out that community, took some brief comfort there, made a few friends, and left--because I did not enjoy playing host to any random kid who came along and decided being a vampire was "trendy". So I left... and my beliefs (and experiences) still hold their conviction. This is more than I can say for most religions, so what about this exactly is so very unbelievable?

In closing I'd just like to mention the remarkable similarities between ancient Chinese and Aztec/Mayan dragon designs. Two cultures from opposite sides of the world with no contact of any kind drew remarkably similar designs--does this not intrigue anyone else? Examples of this happen throughout history. Can we honestly prove that there are no dragons? Nope. Angels? (not in a Christian sense, as most religions have them in one form or another)... can't figure them out either. Fae? Who knows.

Food for thought.
--------------------------------------

"Real? What is real? If you are talking simply about what you can see, taste, touch, hear, then 'real' is simply electrical signals interpreted by your brain."
[ Parent ]

Science and Religion (none / 0) (#383)
by zakalwe on Fri May 30, 2003 at 08:49:30 AM EST

but can we actually prove ANYTHING about science without relying on science itself?
No, but on the other hand you can't decide whether the sky is blue without relying on those same methods science uses - empirical evidence. Once you've accepted that such evidence is valid, that the world behave in a similar manner to the behaviour you have already observed, you have all you need to justify science. Anything extra, like belief in religion, Otherkin, reincarnations of Zoobatah, requires additional assumptions to the ones you already share with those professing science. In effect, by acknowledging that observations are a valid way of getting knowledge, you have already admitted scientists beliefs are justified, but since they have no reason to accept your unqualified belief, they are under no obligation to give it any credence.

Can we honestly prove that there are no dragons? Nope. Angels?
No, but thats rather beside the point. You can't prove the non-existence of practically anything. I could claim to be an all knowing God, to justify all claims I've made in this post - would you be under any obligation to believe it? The default position should be to require evidence for something before we believe it.

[ Parent ]
Many Worlds Theory (none / 0) (#272)
by Matrix on Sat May 24, 2003 at 01:33:04 PM EST

Good point. I admit that the odds of a world just coincidentially having species somehow exactly like Earth mythology seem next to nil.

By any chance, did you read the "Multiple Universes" story posted by SciAm a short while back? Very interesting stuff... What I got out of it is not only is it possible that there's a world with species exactly like those out of Earth mythology, its almost garunteed. (If, big if, these theories are right) There are classes of universes out there with totally different mathematics and physics (something our three-plus-one dimension brains can barely concieve of!), so why not universes that are mostly the same except for a few changes to the laws of physics which allow for, eg, dragons?

There are, after all, infinitely many of the things. Which seems to imply that anything that can exist does exist, for very, very large values of "can".

And you're wrong, there is no Archangel Fred, Avatar of Plumbers. Everyone knows Fred is the Avatar of Librarians!


Matrix
"...Pulling together is the aim of despotism and tyranny. Free men pull in all kinds of directions. It's the only way to make progress."
- Lord Vetinari, pg 312 of the Truth, a Discworld novel by Terry Pratchett
[ Parent ]

A good read (none / 0) (#288)
by Kistaro Windrider on Sat May 24, 2003 at 07:36:27 PM EST

Yes, I did read that and found it quite interesting. I disagree with part of it- the implicit assumption that human actions are guided by chemical and random processes and, therefore, there is no true free will- but other than that, yeah, that's sort of what I was getting at with that "it's gotta be somewhere" thing.

--Kistaro W.
Yes, it's the same weird guy!
[ Parent ]

Free Will (none / 0) (#307)
by Matrix on Sun May 25, 2003 at 11:58:18 AM EST

Well, I think the chemical/random processes are a simplifying assumption. ;) After all, we've already established that we have (as of yet) no way to describe souls mathematically, much less investigate or examine them. So there's no way one's going to be able to fit them into physics models, which are inherently mathematically-based. So assuming that everything is a result of random chemical processes is a decent way to simplify assumptions. If you assume that the universe can split and that there is free will, then there must be multiple universes - but this is a much less interesting proof, scientifically.


Matrix
"...Pulling together is the aim of despotism and tyranny. Free men pull in all kinds of directions. It's the only way to make progress."
- Lord Vetinari, pg 312 of the Truth, a Discworld novel by Terry Pratchett
[ Parent ]

Definition of Insane (3.00 / 1) (#391)
by craigd on Sat May 31, 2003 at 06:00:33 PM EST

IMHO, someone whose brain produces delusions is insane, even if those delusions do not harm their quality of life.
Of course, this is not to be interpreted as me saying you are insane; I just have to disagree with you about what it would mean if I did. In my view, there is a difference between someone with harmless delusions and someone with a religion that claims the existence of souls, gods, reincarnation, whatever - none of these have any objective existence, but unlike a delusion they do not have an objective nonexistence.


A man who says little is a man who speaks two syllables.
[ Parent ]
Are you sure? (3.83 / 6) (#200)
by bigchris on Fri May 23, 2003 at 12:14:55 PM EST

"However, in my opinion, calling Otherkin delusional or insane is obviously highly disrespectful, and their beliefs are no more or less valid than any other"

A valid argument is one in which it's impossible to have the premises all true and the conclusion false1. The central belief of Otherkin is that they are either spiritually or physically a creature from mythology. I would suggest that this is a false premise, therefore their belief would be invalid. So I cannot agree with you when you say that "their beliefs are no more or less valid than any other".

1. Introduction to Logic, Harry J. Gensler

---
I Hate Jesus: -1: Bible thumper
kpaul: YAAT. YHL. HAND. btw, YAHWEH wins ;) [mt]

Tautology (5.00 / 1) (#212)
by Kistaro Windrider on Fri May 23, 2003 at 01:34:55 PM EST

You're contesting the definition of Otherkin. Tell me, how can you prove that one's soul- something not yet scientifically measurable- is human?

All right, you think you can? Prove to me your soul is not a Galapagos tortoise.

--Kistaro Windrider, Otherkin
Yes, it's the same weird guy!
[ Parent ]

Invalid premise (5.00 / 1) (#242)
by panZ on Fri May 23, 2003 at 06:54:54 PM EST

Can you prove to me that you do or do not have a soul?

The author is trying to interchange to english word "valid" with "accepted" to feel all warm and fuzzy about his open mindedness. These people can belive whatever they want, it doesn't bother the general, sympathetic majority so long as it poses no threat to our well being. This is acceptance.

Validity is a whole other beast. All things being equal, it is more likely that these Otherkin are socially displaced and depressed and trying to find something to make them comfortable with their situation. This is neither bad or good. The existance of a sould is not provable, therefore validity cannot be established.
"Some days are good days to die and some days are good days for breakfast."
[ Parent ]

By valid, (none / 0) (#246)
by reklaw on Fri May 23, 2003 at 07:12:53 PM EST

I meant compared to other religions or any other belief one holds as a matter of faith. You are essentially arguing that all faith is invalid ("The existance of a soul is not provable, therefore validity cannot be established."). That may be your opinion, but I would imagine you would think twice before saying to a Christian/Muslim/whatever that their beliefs are invalid because they are unprovable.

Something can be valid without being proven.
-
[ Parent ]

Actually... (none / 0) (#247)
by Kistaro Windrider on Fri May 23, 2003 at 07:33:21 PM EST

Scientifically speaking, no religious belief is valid for the given reason. I doubt that's going to stop the Pope in his tracks, however.

So, the beliefs of Otherkin are not definitively invalid compared to other spiritual beliefs.

--Kistaro Windrider, Otherkin
Yes, it's the same weird guy!
[ Parent ]

if(A then B) != if(!A then !B) (5.00 / 1) (#291)
by panZ on Sat May 24, 2003 at 10:54:20 PM EST

I would imagine you would think twice before saying to a Christian/Muslim/whatever that their beliefs are invalid because they are unprovable.

I said "validity cannot be proven." This does not correlate to saying it IS invalid. I say "if A then B", it is falacious to correlate that to "if !A then !B" like you are trying to do. Because something can't be proven as valid, doesn't mean it is invalid. It simply means neither case can be proven, the jury is out, you are in a grey area, not enough information to solve the given equation....

As a completely unrelated aside, I would not think twice before asking a judeo/christian/muslim to prove the validity of their beliefs or soul. I do this to my Christian family all the time, it pisses some of them off. Of course, it pisses me off that they think they know the form and function of my being and the universe so much better than me and it is their job to save my "soul". That is just insulting; I can't justify being pesimistic about this world; thinking it is a passing moment and there must be a better life afterwords. My "soul" doesn't need saving, just Guiness.
"Some days are good days to die and some days are good days for breakfast."
[ Parent ]

validity (none / 0) (#294)
by reklaw on Sat May 24, 2003 at 11:18:05 PM EST

I said "validity cannot be proven." This does not correlate to saying it IS invalid.

Alright then, you were saying that all faith cannot be proven valid. I suppose that's pretty much the definition of faith. However, remember what I said in the article -- it wasn't "Otherkin is a valid belief" or "all beliefs are valid", rather it was "their beliefs are no more or less valid than any other" (people have got upset about this bit too, but I think it was implied that I meant beliefs of a religious nature). You've argued that validity can't be proven in a religious context, and indeed it can't be proven here or for any other matter of faith, hence it is "no more or less" valid, as I said. Why do people on K5 seem to enjoy using the dictionary and technicalities of syntax as arguments anyway?

Back to the point: Yes, I know it can grate when someone of any religious stripe tries to convince you that they know the ways of the universe and want to share them with you, just as much as it can if you are religious and an atheist believes that they know better than you because religion doesn't fit into their worldview. I, personally, am agnostic, because it's the only position that you can justify without restorting to faith -- absolute disbelief is still faith. If you're after hard facts then you can do nothing but sit on the fence, but hard facts are not always the way to approach a situation. As you say, the people who piss you off are attempting to save you within their belief system -- ask them to respect your own beliefs, but remember the motivation behind their actions. Intentions count for a lot in my book.
-
[ Parent ]

Tis the modern way... (none / 0) (#313)
by DrH0ffm4n on Sun May 25, 2003 at 04:02:09 PM EST

Why do people on K5 seem to enjoy using the dictionary and technicalities of syntax as arguments anyway?

Since Wittgenstein & Derrida, most modern philosophical discourse is on the nature of syntax and semantics.


---
The face of a child can say it all, especially the mouth part of the face.

[ Parent ]

Circling in on tangential thoughts (none / 0) (#327)
by panZ on Mon May 26, 2003 at 04:10:52 PM EST

Why do people on K5 seem to enjoy using the dictionary and technicalities of syntax as arguments anyway?

I know it seems like knit picking but its easy to miscommunicate semantics in a text based, worldwide forum and ambiguous semantics make productive discussion pointless. Tools for communication are as important as discussion itself, otherwise you crash satellites in to mars and fun stuff like that. You were essentially arguing against a point I was not trying to make (which is probably my fault for trying to learn English in California).

I wholly agree, atheist are just as whack/bound to faith as organized religious folk. Yes, our persuit of knowledge and purpose is what defines us but so does finding better questions than "Does God/soul/purpose exist". I would say faith in mankind is more important than proving or disproving existance of a soul. Often, in these types of discussion when I've exercised the Socratic method to my puny intellect's extent, I find a more important questions than those of life the universe and everything; like, can we go to Disneyland and get a beer? j/k

"Some days are good days to die and some days are good days for breakfast."
[ Parent ]

We agree then :) (none / 0) (#328)
by reklaw on Mon May 26, 2003 at 04:23:41 PM EST

And yeah, there does seem to be a lot of potential for misunderstanding in discussions with only text -- someone in another thread seemed think I meant the exact opposite of what I really meant just because of my phrasing...
-
[ Parent ]
Tautology? (none / 0) (#251)
by bigchris on Fri May 23, 2003 at 10:51:51 PM EST

"However, in my opinion, calling Otherkin delusional or insane is obviously highly disrespectful, and their beliefs are no more or less valid than any other"

Premise: calling Otherkin delusional or insane is obviously highly disrespectful. I would agree that this is true.

Conclusion: their beliefs are no more or less valid than any other. I would say this is false, if only because other beliefs can be shown to be false.

Therefore this argument is invalid. I was focussed on the wrong thing, I should have been focussing on the author's argument.

Incidently, a tautology is a statement that is true in every possible case. I don't think that you meant that my argument was true in every possible case. ;)


---
I Hate Jesus: -1: Bible thumper
kpaul: YAAT. YHL. HAND. btw, YAHWEH wins ;) [mt]
[ Parent ]

To put it simply... (5.00 / 2) (#220)
by Imperfect on Fri May 23, 2003 at 02:22:34 PM EST

...the author suggests that Otherkin are as provably as Christianity. I can suggest that the premises are false for both of them, but this mere suggestion does not oughtright invalidate the conclusion, as I have proof for neither.


Not perfect, not quite.
[ Parent ]
Interesting (4.14 / 7) (#231)
by CENGEL3 on Fri May 23, 2003 at 03:13:39 PM EST

These beliefs really aren't all that different from the sort of "Animistic" beliefs present in many hunter-gather societies.

In a sense they aren't any less self-consistant or rational then many of the major modern religions.

While some might point out that "Dragons" or "Elves" aren't creatures that really exist and therefore the beliefs must be fabricated because such creatures are fabrications. The very same arguement could be pointed out for Christainity and "Angels".

Application For OtherKin (4.00 / 8) (#248)
by divinus on Fri May 23, 2003 at 08:24:14 PM EST

For a long time people have used these themes as an outreach to otherwise isolated individuals.

You don't fit into culture or society, and you feel persecuted?

It's not because you have no social skills and a bad disposition... its because you just aren't human!

Luckily, you're better than human. In fact, you can be anything you want. Faerie? Werecreature? Dragon? Elf? How about a mix?; Have you considered a elven weredragon?

Even better... All those pics you draw of yourself as a furry.... Those are really just your -true image- showing through. You really are an attractive anthropomorphic cat, not just another boring old unattractive human.

Providing fantasy settings for this kind of thought has been the marketplace for many RPGs, obviously (whitewolf), several comic lines(xmen anyone?), and books (anything Deryni).

The best part is, there is a natural built in excuse for being anything you like in that it can be claimed that the source material was actually influenced by the existance of the creature at hand, and not vice versa.

I'm really a hobbit. Tolkien met one and wrote books about them. I'm really a Rician vampire; we influenced her. this is my friend Bob "Dark Sanguine Mage" Smith, he's a Stokerian vampire; his people wrote a book about their secret race and published it under the pen name... Oh, but last week I was a Kinder. You think Hickman/Weis just came up with that on their own? They're some of the oldest Kinder on this planet. Over a thousand years old!

The problem is, naturally, when people's fantasies become realties.

I know a girl who thinks she's a part fae part daemon part vampire. She actually participates in cutting and feeding rituals.

Is it a problem when counterculture become enablers for selfdestructive behavior?

I mean, these are some seriously fucked up people, and they have other people reinforcing their delusions of grandeur.

I'm ashamed to know this....but (5.00 / 1) (#289)
by spectra72 on Sat May 24, 2003 at 07:41:31 PM EST

Tasslehoff was a Kender not Kinder.

I'll now go and weep in the corner for having that bit of knowledge.

[ Parent ]

Difference between this and religion (3.00 / 3) (#257)
by Eater on Sat May 24, 2003 at 12:56:16 AM EST

I have read through a lot of comments that compare these beliefs to the more "standard" religions, and would like to make an arguement against that comparison. People turn to this belief (I will not be so polarized as to call it a dillusion this time, for that is not the issue I want to talk about) because they don't feel they belong in the world, because they want to escape it, or, as the author said (and I don't mean to be twisting your words here), "have been put on anti-depressants, or are lonely". For these people, this belief of "Otherkin" gives them a reason, or rather an excuse, for being the way they are - it makes them feel they are "special", that they belong when they really do not (at least not in that way). Most real religions, however, provide no such thing. Aside from the simple "only good [practicioners of religion X] go to [paradise/salvation in the afterlife of religion X]" thing (and can you honestly say that you know ONE religious person who is religious for that reason?), there is really nothing of a "personal" benefit in becoming a religious person. You don't get to believe that you are different from everyone else, you don't get told that you are special, or better than everyone in some way - that is what makes a cult, appeal by glorification, a sort of bribe for the ego (of course, some cults are based on the glorification of another, and these are less distinguishable from religions). Because of this, religions attract a different sort of people for different sorts of reasons.

Eater.

Ogh. (4.00 / 5) (#261)
by Farq Q. Fenderson on Sat May 24, 2003 at 01:56:39 AM EST

These people are annoying. They're otherwise creative/imaginative people who're taking themselves far too seriously, and have the balls to be arrogant about it to boot.

For example, I'm a silly discordian so I believe and disbelive all kinds of bullshit at will. But I'm not so stupid (or annoying) as to pretend that anyone else gives a shit, unless what I'm saying is meant to be funny (whether true or not.)

Otherkin: I'm a Faery!
Discordian: Yeah, I've sucked some dick myself, but you're not my type, sorry.

farq will not be coming back

French ML About otherkins (2.50 / 2) (#268)
by vrykolaka on Sat May 24, 2003 at 08:04:12 AM EST

Hi,

I moderate a mailing list in French about otherkins, since September 11, 2000.

The address is
http://fr.groups.yahoo.com/group/empyree/

After subscribing, you will receive a form. Replying to it is mandatory.
-- Force & respect Vrykolaka

peeking under the veil (2.50 / 4) (#269)
by Eight Star on Sat May 24, 2003 at 12:23:14 PM EST

In Star Trek they describe humanity as curious adventurous, and noble. In reality much of humanity is comprised of willfully ignorant, closeminded, racist fuckheads. (or at least so was my perspective once upon a time) 'Humanity' is not reaching for the stars, a few other people are. I have difficulty self-identifying with humanity. When I was slightly younger I would refuse to admit that I was human, other than biologically. What I was, I did not know.

I think that the prime cause of the Otherkin isn't delusions of grandeur or a need to belong, it's a sense of 'otherness', the other issues are secondary. I don't think like other people and I react to emotion in uncommon ways. If I believed in dragons and elves, or even souls, it would be easy for me to explain this otherness in those terms.

Put another way: If someone has a microchip implated in the brain that inhibits all emotions, is their mind still human? What if it amplifies all (or certain) emotion? How much of a divergence from normal humanity does it take before a conscious entity shouldn't be considered human? What if the divergence is caused by mental illness, or force of will? Is a monk who sets himself on fire and sits still in protest really the same kind of psychological entity as a primate who wanders around looking for things to eat, kill, or mate with?


I don't think that's just you (none / 0) (#293)
by RyoCokey on Sat May 24, 2003 at 11:14:42 PM EST

I have difficulty self-identifying with humanity.

Relax, that's not just your perception. We have a little trouble identifying you ourselves.



"Seems to me the whole world has lost a basic virute, that of patients." - travlight
[ Parent ]
Sorry, but that is a dillusion of grandeur (4.00 / 1) (#315)
by Eater on Sun May 25, 2003 at 05:19:38 PM EST

You consider yourself to be above the rest of the wabbling, drooling, stupid, selfish, ignorant, self-centered, inscet-like heap of humanity, that you somehow float on top of it, blissfully removed from its disgusting existence. The truth is that you simply do not recognize the evil inside yourself and the good inside others, or perhaps you try to deny that you are really like that. Humanity as a whole is a little less than the sum of its parts (in some ways), but individuals vary, and are usually better in character than the whole. As for not being considered human, you stop being considered human when you stop being so... human. It's not something you can escape or do away with, and emotion is not merely a part of the brain that can be switched off, it is part of your thinking process and to do away with it would render your mind incapable of functioning on its own (which would make you a comatose human).

Eater.

[ Parent ]
Who is deluding whom? (3.66 / 2) (#333)
by ucntcme on Mon May 26, 2003 at 08:46:00 PM EST

Firs tof all, it is delusion, not dillusion. I think if you are going to accuse someone of something, you should at least be able to demonstrate you know what it is, an can spell it.

So you can be educated on what it is you are accusing someone of, here it is:
" Delusional  beliefs of possessing exaggerated power, importance, knowledge or ability."

Believing one to be different, even better, is not a delusion of grandeur. If it were that simple, you are guilty of it as well. Indeed, so are nearly every one of us on this site. Now onto the rest of the comment.

Quite honestly, there are those of us who have gone beyond, or "transcended" what you perceive to be our basic nature. Your refusal to acknowledge that possibility, indeed likelihood, is indiciative that you seek to bring others "down to your level", rather than rise yourself.

Fact of the matter is, there are those who do rise beyond the things you call evil. You deign to tell another what his/her truth is, when you cave zero knowledge of understanding of it. Indeed, you are proving his/her point, and deriding your own.

You deride the poster for wanting to be something other than human, the implication being that human is less than ideal, or even something we'd rather not be. Yet in your own post you refer to being human as something sorrowful or wrong to be; by saying that humanity is less than the sum of it's parts and that it is something to be "escaped".

Unfortunately, many humans have succombed to the idea that human kind is somehow infantile or a threat by it's very nature. Much of this can be attributed to the Christian and like religion(s) that states that we are all "born in sin"; that we are bad from the start.

Many of us, fortunately a growing number, have gone beyond that controlling belief to realize that we are not inherently bad.

In a society where we are taught that we are all inherently bad or evil, and that only through perseverence can we hope to become better than what we are, it is not suprising that many who do not have these "evil tendencies" would indeed feel out of place.

It is most unfortunate that this belief that the "good ones" are the exception as opposed to the norm. If it were the opposite, that those who are "evil" were the aberrants, our society would be much better off. We are a product of our environment, and as we can get this perception altered, we will indeed change the world to a better place, despite the naysayers that revel in being "among the dregs" and even worse, seek to bring others there.

Quite frankly, I find it offensive and illogical that humans are somehow ingerently bad, evil, sinful, or less-than noble, etc. by nature. Sure, humans have thoughts they attribute as evil, but these are no more "natural" than the thoughts they have laebelled as "good". It is rather perverse, IMO, to say that when someone has an "evil" though, or when some man htinks lewdly about an attractive woman, that this is natural for mankind, but that the noble thoughts he has the rest of the time are not natural. The most logical attribution is that neither is more natural than the other.

This "phenomenon" of people feeling non-human due to their "noble" or "non-bad" ideals, emotions, and thoughts/fellings reveals our racial identity. If we want to be a "noble" race, we must perceive ourselves of that way first. Ostracizing the good is not the path to a better racial identiy.

[ Parent ]

Yes, I think that you are getting to the point... (3.00 / 1) (#339)
by chanio on Mon May 26, 2003 at 10:46:30 PM EST

I believe that the roles of your discussion are pointing to the answer of what I believe is an error of our times :). That is relaying everything to logic. In logic, everyone has to divide things in good and the oposite. That dissection is a way of studying things, but is not reallity. Just a dissection of a more complex matter.
So, religion is the seeking of another way of perception. Like drugs in a way.
If you keep active inside a sort of belief, you may get into something new. But most society, don't have time to percive things, so they just subscribe to an idea, and believe in the leaders :) .
That's the ill part of everything. Everybody is getting apart of the thing, not only the new religions...
________________
Farenheit Binman:
This worlds culture is throwing away-burning thousands of useful concepts because they don't fit in their commercial frame.
My chance of becoming intelligent!
[ Parent ]
Nothing like a spelling error... (5.00 / 1) (#347)
by Eater on Wed May 28, 2003 at 12:56:13 AM EST

...to spoil a good arguement, eh? Well, if you have no other straws to grasp than my poor spelling, you are in bad shape indeed. But I see you do.
I will not pick appart your arguement and point out where you contradict yourself, or pick on petty grammatical errors, because I have no interest in such antics.
So then, you think I believe humanity to be evil and born in sin? I was merely alluding to what the author of the comment said about humanity (though I admit some exaggeration). As for what I think about humanity, I think that which is realistic: humanity certainly can rise above or below its current level, just like lightning can hit me tomorrow on a sunny afternoon. But the sad, plain truth of it is that it won't - it hasn't in the past, and it doesn't look like it is about to now. But I don't have a problem with that - we've accomplished a hell of a lot more than the other animals on our planet, and if a big rock wipes out our civilization tomorrow, it will have been a pretty good run (though I certainly have no wish of that happening - don't get me wrong). You say there are good people? Sure, there are plenty of good people. Everyone is a good person. Even Hitler was a good person sometimes, I'm sure of it. Everyone is also a bad person, and in the end, the whole is in many ways less than the individual, and in some ways more (note that I DID say that in my last comment).
But then I ask, who the hell is the author of that comment, and you for that matter, to presume that YOU are a good person? That you are a better, kinder person than everyone else? I am not trying to drag everyone down to "my" level, I want to raise everyone to the level of humanity - a level that, for individuals, is higher than you think. In this, you grossly misinterpret what I am trying to say. It is not a noble or "non-bad" nature that makes you feel non-human, it is your arrogance. Stop lying to yourself, and admit it. Sure, perhaps you - just you - are truly a good person, but the likelyhood is that you are simply a mistreated person - someone who encountered someone else's bad side a few too many times - and now must feel better than that person to compensate. Humanity is both good and bad - it is imperfect, and so are you - and while some good people are ostracized for being good, a great many are for being arrogant enough to presume themselves to be better.

Eater.

[ Parent ]
Notes (5.00 / 1) (#375)
by Eight Star on Thu May 29, 2003 at 10:20:28 PM EST

I don't usually think of myself as non-human anymore. Whether I am or not depends on how you define 'human' (and 'I').

I don't consider Humanity evil. As stated, many humans are willfully ignorant, closeminded, racist fuckheads. I would not generalize them as wabbling, drooling, stupid, selfish, self-centered, or insect-like.

I don't consider myself 'good'. I think differently. I have all the same human instincts and failings. Non-humanity is not about 'rising above' those instincts it's about having something else, something that isn't just the product of 4 billion years of evolution. We are all little more than animals, but most are very little more.

I don't consider myself unique in my non-humanity. in my post, I classed everyone who is reaching for the stars as non-human. You could argue that this drive is the result of evolution, but then I ask: why is it so uncommon?

You say we've accomplished more than the other animals on the planet. I agree, but who is the 'we'? Those who make real advances are few and far between. So much was done by a minority of people who were, in one way or another, very different from the general population. Why credit 'humans'?


[ Parent ]

That's where you lose it, right there (5.00 / 2) (#381)
by Eater on Fri May 30, 2003 at 12:33:56 AM EST

You claim that progress is made by a few - call these smart people, good people, people who make an effort, whatever. But the truth is that is simply not true. Progress is made by the whole, and a figurehead at the front (who is, granted, usually very devoted and capable, if not the most capable of the group) is chosen to represent that "step forward" in our civilization. This is only natural, as humans, being pack animals, want a group with a single, perfect leader. It is hard for the human mind to understand the concept that everyone is great, but very easy to look up to one great individual (in the case of progress, this is the one great individual in a given field, be it Einstein or the leader of a construction project). There are, in reality, far more people "reaching for the stars" than you think. They are simply reaching for different stars than you, and thus you may not recognize that, and they may not recognize you. It is easy to look at an ant hill and say - "these ants crawl about aimlessly, and then there are these few ants who march in with food upon their strained backs", but if you take a moment to examine the ants, you'll see that each one is doing something vital to his society, and the job of the ant that brings food is just as important as the job of the one that stores it, but because they all march in different directions, from afar they seem aimless.

Eater.

[ Parent ]
summary : ants clone vs diversity (none / 0) (#398)
by chro57 on Wed Jun 04, 2003 at 02:38:38 PM EST

I try a little summary of this interesting thread:

On one hand (argument "ants"):

humanity is seen as something global, shared.
Like ants, everyone has is role, for the function of society. The "noble" people reaching for stars can only be sustained thank to the stupid work and battles of the others. they should not be bad-looked.

On the other hand (argument "nobles vs vils"):
"My ideal is : love, compassion, hope.
Most "human" people aren't displaying these behaviour.
So I am not human."

And now for my opinion:
Ants are not self-conscious.
We are not ants. We have no need for slavery other than the one of the machines.
"Nobles feeling people" may just be a bunch of
privilegied people who never really suffered, but
it doesn't change : their sentiments are nice and unusual.

--
This comment is stupid, useless. A waste of your time and of mine.

[ Parent ]

you mean that story of Alexander the Great... (none / 0) (#338)
by chanio on Mon May 26, 2003 at 10:21:16 PM EST

|  Is a monk who sets himself on fire and sits still in protest ...
Isn't it that one of the reasons why Alexander the Great (i think) stopped his idea of advancing through Asia? That story of the monk that burned himself infront of all the army? (sorry if i am wrong. just guessing)
________________
Farenheit Binman:
This worlds culture is throwing away-burning thousands of useful concepts because they don't fit in their commercial frame.
My chance of becoming intelligent!
[ Parent ]
Vietnam (none / 0) (#350)
by Bill Melater on Wed May 28, 2003 at 02:52:03 PM EST

There were, I believe, a number of Buddhist monks who set themselves on fire to protest the VN war. I've been told that they were basically Vietcong patsies and drugged to the gills. Any way you spin it, however, it's an impressive act of will.

I haven't heard the Alexander story before ... wonder if he stopped for marshmellows ...



[ Parent ]

GRAMMAR GRAMMAR (3.66 / 2) (#301)
by cbraga on Sun May 25, 2003 at 01:28:04 AM EST

s/otherkin/marklar/ and you'll know what I mean...

ESC[78;89;13p ESC[110;121;13p
21st Century Cargo Cults (3.75 / 4) (#305)
by bolix on Sun May 25, 2003 at 10:22:30 AM EST

[Insert Trend Here] / Faith = New Religion

I believe it was Toffler who said that alternative based religions mushroom as science progressively discounts traditional religions.

Its not quite the Cargo Cult phenomenon or Clarkes prediction that any sufficently advanced science is indistinguisable from magic. What we have here is people straying from stock "boring" religions towards the fringe metaphors, anything which represents their interpretation of reality. Its a lively and thriving community and worthy of the same (dis)repect accounted towards the older religions.

The otherkin trend mentioned above is hardly new. Scientology is based on it. Egyption and Atlantean Psychics made fortunes in the last 200 years. Heavens Gate, Jonestown, Oral Roberts, the Bakkers, the Manson family, Aum Shin Rin Kyo (?), Shirley McLaine and the Raelians. Humanity is hardwired for belief systems. You want to believe so you make X guru a prophet/parental figure.

Be assured, I envy the courage of faith but bad science is always worthy of derision. A leap of faith is as prone to error as any personal decision.

Terminology (4.00 / 2) (#306)
by Eriswerks on Sun May 25, 2003 at 10:58:54 AM EST

It seems that a lot of the terminology the author is using (Awakening, Sleeper, etc.) is identical to that found in a roleplaying game called "Changeling: The Dreaming." I don't think the game was ever terribly popular, but it is indeed about people "awakening" to the fact that they are fae who only seem to be human. Did the Otherkin community (or just the author) borrow their terminology from this game, or was it the other way around? The same publishing company made the much more popular "Vampire: The Masquerade" game, and in that case I'm quite certain that the game contributed a lot of vocabulary to vampire enthusiasts of all sorts.
------------------------------------------------
There is no enemy, anywhere.
Terminology (5.00 / 1) (#396)
by vericgar on Mon Jun 02, 2003 at 05:32:43 AM EST

Much of the terminology used was around long before the game. It is rumored by some that the game was based on the otherkin communiy, but as far as I know that's just a rumor.

[ Parent ]
an agressive society + a lot of information (3.00 / 1) (#337)
by chanio on Mon May 26, 2003 at 10:06:06 PM EST

I think that people need to own the right of deciding their way of living.
But yet, society is impossing another way of doing things, by success, the fear of being unemployed, different sort of violence and repression.
Become a witness of the increasing aggression in the content of advertisements...
But contradiction, oposition is not a way of freeing from all these. You merely become the non-violent part of this reality.
So I think that the only way of defending oneself from the imposition of a certain and not chosen conditioning is imagination. (remember John Lennon?)
You would be then able to choose a certain conditioning. Because a life without conditioning, I think that is only possible after a big shift in human life as a whole.
________________
Farenheit Binman:
This worlds culture is throwing away-burning thousands of useful concepts because they don't fit in their commercial frame.
My chance of becoming intelligent!
Is Don Quioxte Taken? (3.66 / 2) (#340)
by thio on Mon May 26, 2003 at 11:37:53 PM EST

I have always had a fondness for Don Quioxte.

If these folks are strong enough to believe.. (3.00 / 1) (#365)
by McMasters on Thu May 29, 2003 at 02:14:40 PM EST

..that they are magical space otters, you'd think they would eschew the human-based happy pills.

Right up there with sel-proclaimed vampire lords asking you for your Shoppers' Club card.

Excuse my bad spelling.. (3.00 / 1) (#366)
by McMasters on Thu May 29, 2003 at 02:18:11 PM EST

..but I'm being CONTROLLED BY AN ETERNAL HALF VAMPIRE MOOSE.

Or something. Take a look at a lot of these folks - they will strive to be 'more special', even in their own groups.

"I'm a Fairy."
 "Well, -I'm- a half Fairy, half Monkey."
"Well, -I'm- a half Fairy, half Monkey, half SPACE PIRATE."
 "That is three halves, you can't do that."
"Mundane."

[ Parent ]

To most 'Otherkin': (3.66 / 2) (#370)
by McMasters on Thu May 29, 2003 at 02:37:30 PM EST

People don't dislike you because you think you are a giraffe.

People dislike you because you say "I am a giraffe, and I am better than you."

xoxoxo

Believe what you like. (3.50 / 4) (#377)
by monkeymind on Thu May 29, 2003 at 10:28:59 PM EST

I see no real difference in claiming you are a dragon/alien/bear etc and that when you die you will go to heaven/valhalla/nirvana etc.

Niether statement can be proved to hard core rationalists but if it helps you make it through the day without damaging yourself or anyone else.

Then good luck to you.


I believe in Karma. That means I can do bad things to people and assume the deserve it.

Generalizations (2.33 / 3) (#400)
by exZERO on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 12:36:09 PM EST

I agree with the above post.  We shouldn't generalize these crazy people.  We laugh at them individually, even behind their backs if we must.

Don't generalize the insane...there's many different types of mental illness, all of them valid and in this case, stupid.
<<Zero_out>>

state of the art destructive capability.. (1.00 / 2) (#401)
by shrubbery on Mon Jun 09, 2003 at 07:17:18 PM EST

As a nano-cyborg, I can hardly believe that they are really as superior as we are to humans. Especially since I can lift 1000lbs and have diode-laser eyes. Yeah I know, diode lasers don't do anything yet, but we're working on something more powerful.. honest!

Otherkin (none / 0) (#403)
by Zuca on Tue Jun 17, 2003 at 05:34:43 PM EST

I want to add a little, and change something, many of you look at otherkin as people who are hiding, or running away from normall life, want to feel special, and in some cases this is true.. But to confess it simply, I'm otherkin, I never had a pre-fase like they say it.. I awakened out of nothing, no basic or anything, I'm a draconic otherkin (dragon) Yet before I awakened I knew nothing about dragons, never read anything fantasy or science fiction... so I ask, where did it all come from then ?? The dreams, and visions, was I so creative as to devise a new species for myself before even finding out it already existed ??

Elven, adjusted and happy.... (none / 0) (#404)
by Sfox33 on Thu Aug 21, 2003 at 05:37:13 AM EST

Greetings,

First of all I wish to say to reklaw, it is a good article, one of the better ones I have seen in my time. I am saddened that I came accross it a little too late, but figure, perhaps my comments will still be seen. Many of the comments on this article and the subject matter sadden me though, as much I was happy to see a good article on the subject.

Ok, now to the hard part, yes, I believe I am otherkin. But before I get hit by various rotten vegetables, please hear me out. Then hit me if you still wish to do so.

I came to the realization that I was non-human many many years ago, before White-wolf, before the internet. Even before I understood energy use fully, or practiced any sort of magic.

The only thing I knew was that for some reason I didn't fit in, and I missed a place that I could not find anywhere on this world. And I tried for over a decade to find this place. I looked everywhere. Knowing people would not understand, I got scared and was quiet about my beliefs. For 16 years.

Yes, that is a very long time to live a lie, and to ignore feelings stirring within you. And a very lonely time if you can't tell anyone about that you feel you don't belong, and that you seek your home.

My life was not especially hard, nor was it traumatic, there was nothing in there to suggest that it was escapism for me. I grew up in europe and was well educated, traveling throughout a lot of the world before my 6th birthday and speaking Greek and German to boot.

By the time I came to the states I already knew that I believed I was not fully human. There I learned English. Once the time of the web came, I searched for many many hours for more information on my beliefs, tried to find that place I missed again, and again could not find any on the subject. I gave up for a while.

Eventually in 1998 I found the online communities. I knew already a fair amount of my heritage, before I signed on. There I met people who understood what I felt, and even found some that had the same memories as I did. Down to specifics. Memories I never spoke to anyone about. Memories that there was no way for a random observer to guess.

Ok, now before I hear a lot of things about that I'm not fully adjusted to this world, or that I feel something is lacking in my life. Not in the least. My life has only gotten better as the years went on. Working full time I make a pretty decent living. It is so good in fact I paid off my mothers dept, and fully retired her earlier this year.

As we speak I am way on my way of being a respectable and published author and am the CEO of a non-for-profit group. In time I even have plans to open several businesses. This is not some lonely overweight kid sitting in the basement of my mothers house. As for physical looks, I'm 127lbs, attractive, blonde, and have several men chasing me. There is really nothing pointing that I would need to escape this world. And yet I still believe I am elven. Does this make me a bad person?

Get ready to toss your arguments out the door, because I don't fit any of your conceptions of an otherkin. Otherkin in my mind are not superior to anyone else, but just got born into the wrong species. We live, we learn and we grow. The only thing in my opinion which makes kin hide in basements is not being able to get over the homesickness and adjusting to the here and now. Once they do, the sky is the limit. I have seen some very successful otherkin, who are fully aware of who and what they are, and who live by it. They make the world a better place, even if the rest of the world don't know they exist, even if they walk most of their lives alone.

SSilverStar
PS: So if I ever write a story about my experiances at home, and someone comes out and says: ohh that sounds familiar, will people also accuse them of reading too much of my fantasy drivel ;P. Just wondering.

HELP! (none / 0) (#407)
by D abraxas on Thu Jan 15, 2004 at 01:22:04 AM EST

i've never heard of "otherkin" before, i guess i'm one... but i dunno what kind of otherkin i am, HOW CAN I FINd OUT? i feel like trapped in this body of mine, just as if it is a shell or something, on the last few months i begun to feel desperate, i felt so thin, in my dreams i always look like a demon, and people is always scared of me, in my dreams i kill every one that stands in my way, iv'e dreamed of killing men, women, boys, girls, elders, pregnant, babies, every single human being i destroy, i love nature, i dreamed of a giant revolution, earth mother turning against mankind, beasts and plants fighting against humans, and i am with them, i had a vision too, of and old woman with horns and a staff made of wood with skulls in it's top, filled with strange sings and symbols, this woman was huge, like a giant, had this giant owl and giant wolves by her side, i called her mother night, now i believe she's some sort of entity related to nature and night... all this makes me feel confused, i feel a lot of anguish, i don't like been human at all, some one could tell me what the heck's going on with me... i realized i was someone or something else somewhere in the past, i feel like there's something dark within me now, calling me to be stronger, harder, better, telling me to destroy humans, to avenge nature and earth mother... sometimes this feeling is to srong, i can barely control myself, don't wanna hurt thos who i love, but i fear that if my trueself comes out, i'll do more than hurt... some one, somehwere, please, i really really need advice....
"my spirit remains unconquered... blessed be all forms of life but mankind"
[ Parent ]
Otherkin: A Short Introduction. | 407 comments (388 topical, 19 editorial, 0 hidden)
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