RE: Hypothetical explanation for Otherkin
I identify as otherkin in a psychological sense. I'm still exploring spirituality and my own beliefs, so I cannot draw a contrast or even comparison there, unfortunately. I will touch on it, however.
What I will say is that it is possible for the human mind to develop an identity around most anything it comes across- animals and mythological creatures are culturally present from such a young age that it's no wonder. In this case, it doesn't matter whether one biologically exists while the other only exists within old books and texts. Its cultural presence matters, when you boil down to it. Wolves, for example, are very present as a symbol both being the "bad guy" and also be the "very embodiment of freedom and the wild", as a dog food brand portrays them. This image is common in many cultures and is often cited as the reason for the sheer amount of wolf therians.
This is the very reason I don't doubt those who identify as trees, or perhaps even machines. We cannot truly know how the brain of another species perceives information with their senses, so different from ours, let alone how they process it. Our realities are all different, though of course there are parallels due to relative structural uniformity among individual species, we still cannot truly know how another species or being processes or experiences reality, much less another person. So we cannot use biological, physical existence as a baseline of legitimacy- because we are not that being. We cannot use brain wiring or chemistry as "proof", because genetically, we are not the animal we identify as. So to say another's identity is null and void because "it doesn't have behaviors that ___ or cannot be observed" is just, well, dumb and illogical. You don't even need to share behavioral characteristics of an animal to identify as said animal so why base the legitimacy of someone's identity based upon that?
On spirituality, I will say one thing- if souls exist, it doesn't make sense to me that they'd be that of a specific animal because spirits are not a physical, biological being- animals change over time, so would the spirits then not have to change? If anything, souls may take preferential shape. At least, that is what makes sense to me. Thus, it doesn't make much sense to me to say one has the "soul of a ___"- rather that it's the body which the soul prefers to take physical shape in, if one believes in reincarnation and past lives. I would like to add some otherkin believe in multiverses and such where their species might exist- to me, this just seems like another way to make themselves seem more "legitimate" (which is sad), but that belief makes just as much sense and has just as much proof as other spiritual beliefs, from the standpoint of a "nonbeliever". ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
I think it just all comes down to a bias of "legitimacy" and using "real animals" to help drive perceived legitimacy home. Ultimately, we just know what we feel and what we are, no matter what we use to excuse this or that or justify it, all we has is this deep-seated feeling that "this is me". Nobody else can experience that for us. So to me, those who identify as dragons, trees, wolves, insects or otherwise are just as "legitimate" as the other. We have no scientific proof in this community, do we?
To give you a direct answer- having a fondness for something and developing an identity around it is possible, but that seems more like the wishful thinking in a lot of fluff and "wolfaboos" and other similar people than it does the painfully real feeling of "this is what I am" from many otherkin, who often share extremely similar experiences with therianthropes (coming from both an otherkin and therian) that often stem from a very young age... and therianthropes are just as capable of this. It's separate from copingkin/copinglink, that's for sure, but what you describe doesn't seem like true therianthropy or non-human identity.
So my ultimate answer would be, "not all otherkin, and certainly found among all groups". Of course if it happens naturally, and it's more apt to happen at a young age, there's nothing wrong with that, they couldn't help it- if they still feel it's them, that's all that matters. Not how they got to that point for the most part. After all, at the end of the day, we are all still physically human. I'm sure that's how most of our identities develop here, considering the aforementioned cultural presence of animal symbolism. And that's fine.
Psychological - INFP - Artist - Fursuiter - Student of Psychology
"Of course it's happening inside your head, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?" -J.K. Rowling
(This post was last modified: 2017-04-25 15:21 by Sonja.)