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History of the word "Suntherian"
DustWolf
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Post: #1
History of the word "Suntherian"
Hello everybody,

Every now and again when I read about this word I wind up frustrated with how people misrepresent it's meaning. I realize that this is probably in part because -- well you have no way to know the truth. So here goes:

The word "Suntherian" was originally defined during a discussion on a previous iteration of the Werelist forums in 2005. The contents of this forum have since been lost (the site went offline and as far as I can tell, the admins of the site don't have any backups), but what has survived are some of the mentions that the various parties involved in that conversation, also left elsewhere.


The thread on that Werelist forum was authored by the younger me. I had created a thread asking if my experience of Therianthropy could be what is called Contherianthropy. I was pretty sure this was it, however I didn't want to just assume, I wanted to ask someone else so that it would be objective. Various members of that forum joined in on that conversation as well as Jakkal (a firm proponent of the idea that I was wrong about what Conterianthropy is) and WordWolf (a voice of reason).

Jakkal's main argument against my position, was that Contherianthropy was defined by Lion Templin in 1997 as always having the same perfect ratio of animal and human. I argued this was impractical, because every therian (being human) experiences feelings and emotions and these affect how much of the animal or the human surfaces at a given time, therefore the ratio not being unchanging.

The discussion polarized, with Jakkal continuing to maintain, that the literal interpretation of Lion Templin's words, although impractical, was the only correct one and that only Lion Templin himself could say otherwise. And so WordWolf, with the intention of resolving the stalemate, introduced a new word: Suntherian. It was to mean the exact same thing as "Contherian", except that WordWolf, rather than Lion Templin, was therefore authorized to define how his words were to be interpreted, given that he was the creator of the word.


WordWolf discussed his position on his Christian Therianthropy forum (which has since survived as an archive). And Jakkal discussed her position in her Livejournal (which is also still around). However as the original conversation was lost, people who researched the word in the later years, were getting a distorted image of what the intention behind the whole thing was.

To my dismay, even people considered legitimate sources of information on Therianthropy, have later appropriated the meaning of the word, to be somehow separate from Contherianthropy and more flexible, which it never was. And needless to say, people who were inclined to accept Jakkal's position, had thought of the word as the needless nonsensical abomination that Jakkal portrayed it to be.


Given that it's been 13 years since I had that particular conversation, I don't care if you prefer to use the word "suntherian" or "contherian". My main concern here is that by distorting the meaning of the word, people have produced descriptions of what a "suntherian" is, that matches nobody's experience and only creates confusion. This is bad for the community, because it causes people to have arguments about nothing and detracts from the goal of creating a clear explanation of what the Therianthropic experience actually is.

As I've discussed here on Therian Guide, it seems that many people experience Therianthropy as Suntherianthropy (or Contherianthropy, if you must; though many prefer to use neither of the two words). It seems some people become more like suntherians as they grow older and as they learn to become more integrated with their animal aspect. And some do not.

Most notably, some people describe a "sliding-scale" experience, which has been associated with modern appropriations of the word "Suntherian": meaning they sometimes become more likely to experience their animal aspects, and other times less likely to do so, which I -- being the original Suntherian -- have never experienced. Perhaps there is something of note here to be described in a new word or so.


Hopefully in the future we come up with words for better reasons than to resolve Internet arguments.

LP,
Dusty

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2018-11-25 12:22
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WolfVanZandt
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Post: #2
RE: History of the word "Suntherian"
Thanks for the history lesson, Dust. I didn't remember the conversation, though I remember it happening.

It doesn't look like the practice of coming up with words for weak reasons has abated any.
2018-11-25 15:46
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LycanTheory
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Post: #3
RE: History of the word "Suntherian"
Based on this, I can't help but wonder what benefit, if any, there is in trying to split hairs in describing individual experiences.

Therianthropy, to me, seems to be far too contingent upon who experiences it to be able to draw out particulars and create sub-categories of the experience.

Why aren't people satisfied with "therian"?

Lyc

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2018-11-25 20:52
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Post: #4
RE: History of the word "Suntherian"
(2018-11-25 20:52)LycanTheory Wrote:  Based on this, I can't help but wonder what benefit, if any, there is in trying to split hairs in describing individual experiences.

Therianthropy, to me, seems to be far too contingent upon who experiences it to be able to draw out particulars and create sub-categories of the experience.

Why aren't people satisfied with "therian"?

Well, there are experiences specific to sun/contherians that others do not experience.

One excellent example is that the suntherian is never completely human, therefore it becomes hard to answer the question "What would a human do in this instance?" (and there are instances where the suntherian really has no way to know that something they did was not a choice a human would make). Those who are not suntherian and in fact experience m-shifts know perfectly well what a human perspective is like, since they are human all the time when not shifted.

"Splitting hairs" is therefore a convenient way of identifying who understands and can relate to the problem. It can be useful.

But yes, many people just go with "therian" and have no problems with that. The difference is only useful to know sometimes.

LP,
Dusty

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(This post was last modified: 2018-11-25 22:43 by DustWolf.)
2018-11-25 22:41
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Post: #5
RE: History of the word "Suntherian"
Thank you for the explanation DustWolf; it finally makes sense to me.
I also never feel 100 percent human but I am not a suntherian because I do experience an ebb and flow.
(This post was last modified: 2018-11-26 9:25 by CrocutaAbIntra.)
2018-11-26 9:25
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Post: #6
RE: History of the word "Suntherian"
Thank you for shedding light on that, Dusty. I always wondered what it meant but now I understand. Smile

Honestly, I really believe I'm a Suntherian. The shifting thing hasn't been happening at all but I feel like I'm always shifted. I feel like it always was this way, and if I ever shifted in the past it was learning I was a therian in the first place. Your post helped me today Dusty.

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But that's the walk that makes you the strongest.
(This post was last modified: 2018-11-26 12:01 by SolivagantSoul.)
2018-11-26 10:25
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elinox
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Post: #7
RE: History of the word "Suntherian"
I wasn't around for the entirety of the contherian/suntherian creation, so I'm confused. Confused

Maybe you can elaborate @DustWolf ?

The term/definition of contherianthropy - a therian that is fully integrated and does not have a purely human or animal side. They do not experience any type of shifting

and

sun/syntherianthropy - a subtype of therianthropy often categorized as an individual being integrated with their theriotype, so much so, that they only experience minor shifts that are not as intense as a therian. Suntherians do not shift, but their therioside/human ratio varies (which I think is where the sliding scale concept comes in).

But contherian and suntherian are THE SAME THING? In my years in the community, this is the first time I've ever heard someone say they were supposed to be the same thing? In my notes of this stuff, I don't have anything backing that up, hence why I'm confused.

Despite me fitting the definition of a suntherian (either Dusty's version or the sliding scale version), I don't personally use the term any more because it's more confusing than it's worth. When I did use it, I usually had to describe what I was talking about anyway, which defeated the purpose of using the term in the first place.

As I've gotten older, I agree with @LycanTheory in that we simply don't need to break down therianthropy into even more, confusing and poorly defined, sublabels.

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2018-11-26 15:11
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LycanTheory
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Post: #8
RE: History of the word "Suntherian"
(2018-11-26 9:25)CrocutaAbIntra Wrote:  Thank you for the explanation DustWolf; it finally makes sense to me.
I also never feel 100 percent human but I am not a suntherian because I do experience an ebb and flow.

I suppose the proper term to describe experiences like ours would be "Vacillant", then and I'm guessing most who identify as suntherian probably are Vacillant instead.

Lyc

(2018-11-26 15:11)elinox Wrote:  Despite me fitting the definition of a suntherian (either Dusty's version or the sliding scale version), I don't personally use the term any more because it's more confusing than it's worth. When I did use it, I usually had to describe what I was talking about anyway, which defeated the purpose of using the term in the first place.

As I've gotten older, I agree with @LycanTheory in that we simply don't need to break down therianthropy into even more, confusing and poorly defined, sublabels.

Aye, I think it may be fitting to recognize these terms for their historic value but aside from that, I don't honestly see any value. Most of the "shifters" I've spoken to have said they feel like their theriotype to some extent, most of the time and as Dust has said, it seems that therians become more integrated with age.

Hmmm

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(This post was last modified: 2018-11-26 15:32 by LycanTheory.)
2018-11-26 15:18
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DustWolf
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Post: #9
RE: History of the word "Suntherian"
(2018-11-26 15:11)elinox Wrote:  sun/syntherianthropy - a subtype of therianthropy often categorized as an individual being integrated with their theriotype, so much so, that they only experience minor shifts that are not as intense as a therian. Suntherians do not shift, but their therioside/human ratio varies (which I think is where the sliding scale concept comes in).

Aye this is an example of the new appropriated definitions of suntherianthropy that have been floating around, which are wrong.

(2018-11-26 15:11)elinox Wrote:  But contherian and suntherian are THE SAME THING? In my years in the community, this is the first time I've ever heard someone say they were supposed to be the same thing? In my notes of this stuff, I don't have anything backing that up, hence why I'm confused.

Yes the reason anything to justify this is missing is because the original thread on the Werelist from 2005 has been lost with that iteration of the forums. All whoever wrote the definitions had to go off, was the two reactions by WordWolf and Jakkal, which read out of context, I suppose would be reasonably interpreted as suntherianthropy being something more flexible than contherianthropy.

But if you read into the humorous tone of WordWolf:
Quote:In fact, it is what is USUALLY meant by contherianthropy.

However,
since there's a diehard core of people who insist
that the guy who coined the term
"contherianthropy"
gets to define it,
and his outdated definition does not fit most
"contherians",

I've circumvented that problem by inventing a new term.

SUNTHERIAN.
...you will probably be able to surmise that the only reason the word "Suntherian" exists is in order to circumvent Jakkal, otherwise it's the same thing as what Contherianthropy actually is in real therians. Tongue


Otherwise as for practical use it's basically what Lycan said, that a lot of people who experience m-shifts also experience suntherianthropy to a degree. So these terms are not really the best thing to use to explain these experiences, as there are separate dimensions of integration with the animal and separate ones that dictate how the person thinks and whether or not they've ever experienced being human.

We need to basically go back to the drawing board, talk about experiences and then come up with new labels for that.



(2018-11-26 15:18)LycanTheory Wrote:  
(2018-11-26 9:25)CrocutaAbIntra Wrote:  Thank you for the explanation DustWolf; it finally makes sense to me.
I also never feel 100 percent human but I am not a suntherian because I do experience an ebb and flow.

I suppose the proper term to describe experiences like ours would be "Vacillant", then and I'm guessing most who identify as suntherian probably are Vacillant instead.

The term "vacillant" is no better than "suntherian" or "contherian" except it was used more in the otherkin community. The only reason we've had this debate about using term vacillant instead of suntherian is because the proponents of it happened to be Otherkin.

The word itself still fails to note for instance the distinction for instance between mine and CrocutaAbIntra's experience, where he experiences a sliding scale from more to less likely to experience a human mindset, which I do not experience.

I think all of these words belong in the bin.

LP,
Dusty

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(This post was last modified: 2018-11-26 16:23 by DustWolf.)
2018-11-26 16:08
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WolfVanZandt
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Post: #10
RE: History of the word "Suntherian"
I could go with that (the bin, that is). The purpose of the Lenowill scale, and he most definitely wasn't in on the original discussion, is to recognize that we're not talking about discrete states, but a continuum of states.

Even "no shifting" has diversity. I don't feel like a mixture of human and non-human- I feel flat-out non-human. That's hwy I keep saying that I'm not a wolf or a human - I'm a werewolf. That's my experience. I had a human and a wolf persona until 1978, and then the human vanished. Wolf was all that was left. Mt state arises from dissociated state, so what I experience is probably different from someone who has never shifted at all.
2018-11-26 18:06
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