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Plant Therians
HoneyNut
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Post: #21
RE: Plant Therians
As a potential insect therian myself, I should talk a bit about it I think. Recently, I have been having doubts about my therianthropy, amongst many reasons because of how insects are hardly sentient beings. While it is still certainly possible to identify with plants and insect, as far as therianthropy goes, it is hard to see how these types of therian can actually exist from a certain viewpoint.

In the end, it all depends on how you view therianthropy, whether it be behavioural or spiritual or psychological or experience based.

You see, she had a skinful and she couldn't stop,
Like a pitbull, in a china shop,
And all the King's social workers, the Gurkhas and the cops somehow,
Couldn't love you back to life again, now.
2018-01-05 16:02
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WolfVanZandt
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Elephant in the room
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Post: #22
RE: Plant Therians
My point HoneyNut, is that it shouldn't depend on how we view therianthropy - not if we really want answers instead of just playing around with the concepts that pop into our heads. If we really care, it only depends on how therianthropy is. That's what we should be aiming at.

Dusty, of course plants "sense" things - just like our retinas or a CCD device senses things. Those sensations are even processed (plants follow sunlight because they sense light and translate the reception of light energy into specialized turbidity of membranes in certain places). That sensation and perception is probably completely mechanical, though. It's a baseline sensing.

We don't think like our theriotypes. We, like everyone else, develop a "theory of mind" (it's a technical term so, if you're interested, you can look it up) of how other people, including our theriotypes work and then we internalize that theory of mind. Although plants and animals probably don't think (I mean, it's debatable and at a stretch someone might call what a computer does "thought" but, according to the world as we know it currently, they don't think.) but "theory of mind" is not necessarily linked to reality. Like science, it offers models that can help us understand the world around us. Models don't have to be accurate - they just have to work (mind you, they do have to be reliable and they have to produce useful information).

A theory of mind for a plant or machine is perfectly reasonable. Ever heard a mechanic talk to cars (I don't mean cussing them.)? What they're doing is translating their internalized understanding of mechanics into a "if the car could think, it would be thinking this" scenario. They are approaching the car "as if it could dialog with them". And in the dialog, the car is "telling them what's wrong," and that seems to work for some very good mechanics.

If that's what's going on, and I have no reason to believe anything else, then what a plant therian is doing is in no wise different from what a wolf therian does - or do you really think that werewolves are magic?
2018-01-05 18:32
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DustWolf
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Post: #23
RE: Plant Therians
(2018-01-05 18:32)WolfVanZandt Wrote:  Dusty, of course plants "sense" things - just like our retinas or a CCD device senses things. Those sensations are even processed (plants follow sunlight because they sense light and translate the reception of light energy into specialized turbidity of membranes in certain places). That sensation and perception is probably completely mechanical, though. It's a baseline sensing.

Sensing is what you describe here. Perceiving is having some kind of an internal structure that corresponds and symbolizes the state of an aspect of the outside world.

When we use our eyes we see objects around us when our cones and rods fire. But we perceive it when our brains process those inputs into an image, that is temporarily accessible within the structures of our brains. It is possible to perceive without sensing, such as when we dream or hallucinate, or when we recall a memory of having seen something.

I agree that plants sense aspects of their surroundings, such as when I pointed out humidity and light level. I don't think however that there any way you could justify their ability to perceive it though.

And even if you assume that sensing is somehow equivalent to perceiving, in the mind of a therian, the experiences an oak would have, have nothing in common with what a human therian would be able to associate with oakhood.

So even if oak therians existed, they would have no basis for determining their theriotype.

(2018-01-05 18:32)WolfVanZandt Wrote:  A theory of mind for a plant or machine is perfectly reasonable. Ever heard a mechanic talk to cars (I don't mean cussing them.)? What they're doing is translating their internalized understanding of mechanics into a "if the car could think, it would be thinking this" scenario. They are approaching the car "as if it could dialog with them". And in the dialog, the car is "telling them what's wrong," and that seems to work for some very good mechanics.

Aye it's reasonable, but it's not therianthropy.

I had a correspondence with a multiple personality patient a few years back (it's mostly published on USENET if anyone wants to read; alt.support.dissociation), who took on identities of animals and objects he encountered in daily life. One day he was the dog that liked to sleep on his face when he was homeless. Another day he was a dumpster, or the signpost that he could see in the street from his room. I have no doubt his experiences were as real and complete to him, as my therianthropy is to me. I however don't think those experiences were therianthropy.

LP,
Dusty

If you think I hold something against you, you probably misunderstood.
The only person I hate is myself.

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(This post was last modified: 2018-01-05 18:53 by DustWolf.)
2018-01-05 18:46
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WolfVanZandt
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Post: #24
RE: Plant Therians
Actually, I think that it is exactly therianthropy. Or, I repeat, do you think that therianthropy is magic?

A wolf therian doesn't "think like a wolf". They think like they think a wolf thinks. There's been a lot of discussions about this on were forums and it's pretty clear that this is what's happening. A plant therian, in the same way, thinks like they think a plant thinks. And that's not stupidity on their part. It's simply using a theory of mind to form a model to help them understand plants.
2018-01-05 18:52
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DustWolf
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Post: #25
RE: Plant Therians
(2018-01-05 16:02)HoneyNut Wrote:  As a potential insect therian myself, I should talk a bit about it I think. Recently, I have been having doubts about my therianthropy, amongst many reasons because of how insects are hardly sentient beings. While it is still certainly possible to identify with plants and insect, as far as therianthropy goes, it is hard to see how these types of therian can actually exist from a certain viewpoint.

From the perspective of the argument I was making. Bees do have a nervous system and thereby a perceptive ability. Furthermore compared to plants, their experiences are extremely compatible with the senses a human would have. Bees perceive images, they have a sense of smell. It is possible to observe bee behaviour and relatively accurately infer their internal states (mental processes).

It is far more likely that as a human therian, you could experience something that you could recognize as having been experienced by a bee, than the same argument for plants, fungi or bacteria.

I am not a bee therian, but I imagine that for instance a homing instinct could be experienced in a way that you could verify your inner experience with the rules and exceptions in bee behaviour.

Take for instance the wolf comparison. Popular documentary sources will sell you a baby&bathwater theory about how wolves behave in packs, which I reject, because I know what it's like to be a wolf and I can see that a wolf in the same circumstances does behave as I would. They break the rules in special circumstances, such as when they are tamed by a human, because that is how wolf feelings work. I know them inside out since before I learned anything about them, that is how I know my theriotype is wolf. You can do the same thing for bees.

I doubt you could possibly do the same thing for oaks, or if you could, you would have no arguments to support the claim that your theriotype is exactly an oak and not a birch, or a tulip or someother. I'd apply the same reasoning to unicorns, which offer no experience difference between themselves and plain horses.


(2018-01-05 18:52)WolfVanZandt Wrote:  Actually, I think that it is exactly therianthropy. Or, I repeat, do you think that therianthropy is magic?

A wolf therian doesn't "think like a wolf". They think like they think a wolf thinks. There's been a lot of discussions about this on were forums and it's pretty clear that this is what's happening. A plant therian, in the same way, thinks like they think a plant thinks. And that's not stupidity on their part. It's simply using a theory of mind to form a model to help them understand plants.

You are oversimplifying and I don't care to engage in your straw-man argument. Therianthropy is a complex experience and it is certainly not that "you think you're a wolf".

We've had ages of questioning on this very forum, to support that bit at least.

LP,
Dusty

If you think I hold something against you, you probably misunderstood.
The only person I hate is myself.

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(This post was last modified: 2018-01-05 19:14 by DustWolf.)
2018-01-05 19:05
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Kisota
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Post: #26
RE: Plant Therians
What about living things we classify as animals, but which have basically completely decentralized nervous systems and lack motility? Sure, they have nervous processes to sense at a faster pace than something which lacks nerves. But a mental state? Seriously dubious.

So, a sea sponge therian is a proper "therian" based on taxonomy, but a plant is not. Where do we draw the line?

And like WVZ was saying, it's highly unlikely our mental processes are actually replicating our theriotypes.
Quote:A wolf therian doesn't "think like a wolf". They think like they think a wolf thinks.
sums it up pretty well.

Regardless of the theriotype "label" we semi-subjectively place upon our experiences, the experiences are still the product of human brain function. From speaking to phytanthropes and machine-kin and such (as well as otherkin at large), I've seen little reason to justify taxonomy-based distinctions between experiences.

If the experiences are different enough to warrant separation, the separation should occur naturally. But if a dragon or plant or machine personally finds therian circles valuable for comparative experiences, I think it's plainly absurd and exclusionary to say "okay fine but you're not a really real THERIAN because that means ANIMAL." Since a person's specific 'type is already very specific, no information is to be gained by creating secondary theriotype-based terminologies.

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2018-01-05 20:52
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WolfVanZandt
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Post: #27
RE: Plant Therians
There is nothing simple about theories of mind, and there has been quite a lot of research to support it as a major dynamic in cognition. Therianthropy is most certainly not a "just thinking you're a wolf," and how you got that from what I said, I don't know. Certainly not from the whole collection of my posts.

But here's the bottom line question: are you so confident that I'm wrong that you really want to make it a rule on this forum that "The only valid theriotypes are cognitively complex animals?"
2018-01-05 21:12
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DustWolf
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Post: #28
RE: Plant Therians
All I'm saying is those experiences are not Therianthropy. Overly broad definitions serve nobody. In my opinion.

Though it may escape a part of our younger audience, I am my own person with my own opinions and just because I don't see something the same way as you, it's not the end of the world -- you don't have to care about what I think, to get to be your own person. Nor is it implied that because I am a site admin, that I must somehow always agree with everybody. If somebody wants to change my mind about something, you'll just have to try to convince me.

(2018-01-05 21:12)WolfVanZandt Wrote:  But here's the bottom line question: are you so confident that I'm wrong that you really want to make it a rule on this forum that "The only valid theriotypes are cognitively complex animals?"

Contrary to popular belief, I have never let my personal opinions guide site policy.

LP,
Dusty

If you think I hold something against you, you probably misunderstood.
The only person I hate is myself.

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(This post was last modified: 2018-01-05 21:37 by DustWolf.)
2018-01-05 21:14
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Hy McCaw
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General of the Therian Guide Air Force
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Post: #29
RE: Plant Therians
I will have to go with the less popular side here. Quite frankly, plantkin have more in common with objectkin than therians. Plants are alive obviously, but they do not have conscious experience. Even if they were conscious, plantkin still cannot be classed as therians. Therians are those who identify as non-human animals.
Last time I checked, plants are not animals. In biology there is a system of taxonomic classification in which plants are in the kingdom 'plantae' and animals are in the kingdom 'animalia'. It simply makes no sense to class plantkin as therians.

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2018-01-06 0:55
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WolfVanZandt
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Post: #30
RE: Plant Therians
Gyah, how boring you would be if you agreed with me about everything, Dusty. Please don't change your convictions. You may actually be right.

But it seemed like this thread stated a forum policy and my question was, "should it be a forum policy?"

It may turn out that my brief exposure to these rare theriotypes was not enough to allow me to completely evaluate what was going on.

But the importance of including even rare theriotypes is that, if we really want to know what therianthropy is and how it works, and we want to move beyond opinion to fact (or at least workable solutions), then those rare theriotypes provide information that might give us the answers we need. If there are plant and machine (and other) theriotypes out there, we can't afford to leave them out of the equations.

It's not a matter of which one of use is right or wrong. It's a matter of how we, as a people, should manage our business.

Ara, if all you look at is that "therian" is a word that means "animalia" (or, actually, "higher animalia") then it doesn't make sense to include plants, but in our usage, "therian" doesn't mean "higher animalia". It means a people who have distinctives that go beyond the word. In fact, no word can completely capture it's referent and a major error in linguistics and research is in confusing the word with the thing. The question is not, "What does the word "therian" mean?" but "What is a therian?"
2018-01-06 2:02
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