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Hypothetical explanation for Otherkin
Misha
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Post: #1
Hypothetical explanation for Otherkin
Otherkin here meaning those who identify as mythological creatures.

From watching Jordan Peterson, I have learned that mythology explores human nature and experience metaphorically in a surprisingly insightful way. When I showed an academic paper on therianthropy to one of my best friends and he came across otherkin, he was very sceptical of people identifying as mythological creatures, which is very understandable and something I can relate to at least to an extent. He is a very liberal person like myself but found this idea testing. I explained it as mythological creatures representing parts of human nature. Elves show the intellectual, utopian and big picture thinking side of human nature. Dragons are great and beautiful creatures and they have a strong presence, sometimes they hoard great wealth and sometimes they are very wise. It is these things that people see or desire within themselves and so they grow a fondness for the creature and end up developing an identity around them. The fact that there are otherkin who believe in magic means this makes even more sense as an explanation, but still makes a lot of sense for those who don't.

What are your thoughts on this.

Fluffy hyacinth macaw to the core with the power of a human brain! cawsmile

My blood belongs to the sea, my heart the sky, and my brain the cosmos

"I would rather spend my life close to the birds than waste it wishing I had wings" - from House, M.D.
(This post was last modified: 2017-04-25 10:06 by Misha.)
2017-04-25 10:00
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Sonja
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Post: #2
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.

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(This post was last modified: 2017-04-25 15:21 by Sonja.)
2017-04-25 14:38
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elinox
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Post: #3
RE: Hypothetical explanation for Otherkin
To add to the psychological reasoning behind otherkin, the human brain is complicated and we don't fully understand it. For some people who've experienced trauma or PTSD, identifying as otherkin helps get them through their terrible experiences. For others, it may be a chemical balancing act within their brain that's caused them to associate with a certain species. And for others still, imprinting from a young age can be common. That doesn't make otherkin experiences invalid, rather just a different perspective on how they've experienced their lives so far. At its core, the very definition of otherkin is simply: "an individual who identifies on a personal level, in some way, as something other than human".

And coming at this from a spiritual perspective, some of us who identify as otherkin subscribe to the reasoning as being from past lives, reincarnation, the multiverse theory, etc. As @Sonja said, how can we know what exactly makes up a soul? If I feel my soul is something, who are you, or anyone else, to tell me my experiences are invalid?

The other thing to keep in mind, is that for some people, (myself included) when you've exhausted the search for what you're feeling with earthly animals, sometimes the only other option is to look into extinct or mythological creatures to explain your experiences. That doesn't make them any less valid, just different.

Believe me, when I was first exploring the possibility of being otherkin, I wasn't happy about it because I thought the same as you: otherkin are just RPers and wishful thinkers and confused kids. But when I couldn't find a single earth animal that matched my experiences or feelings, what else was I supposed to do? Just ignore them? That seems more foolhardy than admitting I'm otherkin. *shrug*

In the end, we're all experiencing something that makes us think "other-than-human" so what difference does it make if you call it therianthropy or I call it otherkin? Tomaytoes, tomahtoas. The experiences are real. Wink

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2017-04-25 15:49
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Kieran
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Post: #4
RE: Hypothetical explanation for Otherkin
One theory I've heard is that creatures like dragons and griffins and all that could be a combination of real animals. Like, say someone either was exposed to these different animals like birds and lizards, or had previous lives as them, and our brains for whatever reason decide to mix then up Tongue maybe because we don't know enough about birds and lizards to really identify as one, or we subconsciously latched onto dragons instead.

But I can tell you for certain I don't identify as a dragon for the anthropomorphic traits. My dragon kintype is smaller and much, much more animalistic. More like a bird than a typical dragon. I only call it a dragon because I have no better word to describe my phantom shifts. My m shifts are also kind of a combination of bird and whatever else. I think that's how it is for a lot of otherkin, too.
2017-04-25 19:16
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Misha
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Post: #5
RE: Hypothetical explanation for Otherkin
Thank you for your responses. It's always nice to see things from another person's perspective. I see your argument that if our identity is psychological then it is no less legitimate just because you identify as a mythological creature, it is a strong argument. The one weakness is that an animal identity has something solid and real to be based on, but that isn't a strong criticism unless someone can articulate it better. One of the main reasons why I explained otherkin the way I did is because society and academia will find it easier to accept people who identify as real animals, so I have always had the plan of advocating for that first. And then argue in favour of otherkin using the argument you have presented after animal identity has been accepted. After watching a lot of anti-therian and anti-otherkin content, I feel this is the only way we will both be taken seriously. I will certainly not deliberately invalidate an identity that is just as legitimate as mine just because it undermines the acceptance of my identity (that would make me a hypocrite), but we also have to be tactful in how we advocate for our acceptance.

Fluffy hyacinth macaw to the core with the power of a human brain! cawsmile

My blood belongs to the sea, my heart the sky, and my brain the cosmos

"I would rather spend my life close to the birds than waste it wishing I had wings" - from House, M.D.
2017-04-26 16:33
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Syan
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Post: #6
RE: Hypothetical explanation for Otherkin
Fictional and mythological animals don't have to actually exist in reality in order for there to be a basis of it. They exist as thought forms and it is in your thoughts that make the creature real even if it doesn't actually exist in the real world.

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2017-04-27 13:57
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Dreamsearch
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Post: #7
RE: Hypothetical explanation for Otherkin

(2017-04-27 13:57)Syan Wrote:  Fictional and mythological animals don't have to actually exist in reality in order for there to be a basis of it. They exist as thought forms and it is in your thoughts that make the creature real even if it doesn't actually exist in the real world.


Perfect! I see the imagination of any people as a whole Universe, and if we can see, fell, or have any idea about it so the thing actually exists somehow. Just to remind people that thoughts have a physical representation as processes in the brain, but the real Thoughts are not physical.


(2017-04-25 10:00)Der_Hyazinth_Ara Wrote:  Otherkin here meaning those who identify as mythological creatures.

From watching Jordan Peterson, I have learned that mythology explores human nature and experience metaphorically in a surprisingly insightful way. When I showed an academic paper on therianthropy to one of my best friends and he came across otherkin, he was very sceptical of people identifying as mythological creatures, which is very understandable and something I can relate to at least to an extent. He is a very liberal person like myself but found this idea testing. I explained it as mythological creatures representing parts of human nature. Elves show the intellectual, utopian and big picture thinking side of human nature. Dragons are great and beautiful creatures and they have a strong presence, sometimes they hoard great wealth and sometimes they are very wise. It is these things that people see or desire within themselves and so they grow a fondness for the creature and end up developing an identity around them. The fact that there are otherkin who believe in magic means this makes even more sense as an explanation, but still makes a lot of sense for those who don't.

What are your thoughts on this.


Well, I'm pretty rational about things and sometimes too superficial, but I'm sure that we can't ignore the actual reality, so I believe that every feeling and mind construction has physical reasons, I can say in my case that probably my interaction with the furry fanbase was a trigger in my identity, but the metaphysical feature that I found about it its my desire to accept, it's just my choice and choices are the truly representation of the soul's identity and desires.

(This post was last modified: 2017-07-26 15:52 by Dreamsearch.)
2017-07-26 15:45
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Louvel
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Post: #8
RE: Hypothetical explanation for Otherkin
I only have a small thing to add as I've had this debate with a lot of people since finding my kintype.

I think and this is vastly my own (spiritual) opinion that I believe the mind needs to be spiritually open to such things as mythology and the creatures it entails I like the theory of the basis of animals being combined which is shoes a lot throughout ancient Greek and epyption mythology as well as in parts of pagan and Wicca practices (apologies if this is the wrong word) I however cannot relate my kintype to this, as fallen angel and angels in general are not of the human earth but rather other planes above or below and in my case walking it but never made? I think this might be confusing so I'm sorry Smile

As above, so below, as within, so without, as the universe, so the soul…
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2017-07-26 16:11
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StarDolphin
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Post: #9
RE: Hypothetical explanation for Otherkin
I believe these creatures could exiat in a different plane of existence, considering reality as ut is known and eplained is vastly not understood across science. There are still questions.

On the psychological explanation it seems to make sense for paychological therian/otherkin
However way you chop it, the feelings are there , real and can't be denied. And it would be unhealthy to do so.

On sonjas note on reincarnation about the soul having a prefered form/identification, thats pretty much my belief which is why i believe in a spiritual sense identifing as a ceartain creature is a choice. At least from my spiritual standpoint. But thats a topic for another time Wink

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(This post was last modified: 2017-07-26 17:25 by StarDolphin.)
2017-07-26 17:24
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