DustWolf Wrote:I used to believe that having words for all of these experiences was a good thing. I used to run a therian wiki and there every experience was defined in it's "true" form. But over the years I've learned that Therianthropy is more of an experience that appears to be shared by multiple people and only by coming together and learning about these experiences, can we understand if they are in fact similar or not. More often than not, formulating some kind of definition of "true" Therianthropy becomes a problem. Not only are the experiences often not the same (one may experience Therianthropy as being the animal and seeing the world trough it's eyes, another merely as identifying as one), there are often people who are obviously legit Therians but who's experiences vary wildly (some people experience mental shifts, others only phantom shifts, yet both are considered Therians).
One of the largest flaws that I see with trying to establish a clear and cohesive, static definition of therianthropy boils down to how we describe things and in order to articulate an experience, we must do just this. If you take ten different people who experience the same event together, regardless of what it is, you'll get ten different explanations of what happened. Sure they might align with each other and will probably be similar, one can get the gist of the point from any or all of these people but there's bound to be variances due to individual perception.
Take that number of ten and turn it into ten thousand, perhaps, spread these people across the globe, from each and every culture and language known to mankind and the story becomes extremely diverse as it's told by everyone. You'll have perceptional variation due to cultural influence, language barriers, socio-economic influence, religious influence, a whole myriad of variables which must be taken into consideration.
I believe that for this reason alone, the best we can come up with at this time is the vague "A person who identifies as a non-human animal on an integral, personal level" definition. Personally, I don't take issue with the vagueness of this definition at this point because we've had no one, to date, who's cataloged the experiences of every therian they can reach, combed over them and pointed out the similarities or come out with some viable statistics, even.
I don't believe that the definition "A person who identifies as a non-human animal on an integral, personal level" is an intentional dumbing-down of what therianthropy is, it's just the best we have at this point which is broad enough to encompass the general idea of what we are, while respecting the fact that many of our experiences can and do vary quite a bit.
Which begs the question of can we narrow down something more specific? I believe we can and I believe we eventually will, however, this requires each and everyone of us to get active and involved in participating in research and calling for more research to take place as an entire community. It also presents the problem of many therians being very private and reserved in sharing everything with is another issue all unto itself.
It's been said that the therian community is not lacking information or data but rather that we're drowning in it and I believe this is true. The thing is, it's not been cataloged or organized in such a way where anyone could overview and draw reasonable conclusions from it in a timely manner. It would probably take an entire team of dedicated researchers years to comb through everything that's on TG alone, let alone the other resources out there such as Werelist and AHWW.
To answer your question, Dusty, I don't believe trying to come up with and define this stuff is a bad thing at all but I think it's putting the cart before the horse, so to speak. To me, it makes much more sense to encourage more experience sharing and if one were to go a step further, we could begin thinking of how to framework something together where these experiences could be easier compared and contrasted, cataloged and converted to actual, objective data which could then be used to base one's conclusions and terms on.
That's my take.