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Sometimes the mind, it boggles - The Fucking Bluebird of Goddamn Happiness [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Zoethe

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Sometimes the mind, it boggles [Jan. 15th, 2010|10:13 am]
Zoethe
[Current Mood |indescribablebaffled, again]

The other day Ferrett pointed to an article about people experiencing depression because they can't live on Pandora. In the comments, someone linked to a site started by people who believe they have the souls of the Na'vi (I'm not providing a link because I don't want to encourage readers to harass those people; that's not the point of this entry). These people saw Avatar and were so enraptured with the portrayal of the Na'vi that they believe they have found their true being, that they are Na'vi captured in the bodies of humans.

Here's where it gets weird (yes I do recognize the irony of this statement):

Some of the most vitriolic responses to this claim are coming from "otherkin," people who believe that they possess the soul of an animal within their human form. The most tireless attacker is a woman who identifies herself as a "bipedal wolf/manta ray." She is outraged that these people would make such a ridiculous claim to the souls of beings who are, not just fictional, but so recently hatched from the mind of James Cameron.

That's an important distinction. I don't know much about the politics of the otherkin, but I do know that lots of them believe they are actually dragons or unicorns or other mythical beasts trapped in human form. It could be that the wolves and bears and deer otherkin all look upon them with a sort of silent disdain, or it could be that they are accepted - I just don't know. But identifying the the Na'vi? Apparently Right Out.

From the outside, this seems to be splitting hairs. But from the inside, I imagine that it feels like one's legitimacy as an otherkin is challenged by the claims of a bunch of upstarts whose chosen creature lacks the cachet of actually existing, or at least having a long history in myth and legend.

Thinking about this, I have more understanding - and accompanying horror - of how holy wars can start over the damned silliest thing. Because from the inside of the issue, it's hard to keep perspective.
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[User Picture]From: simianlovedoc
2010-01-15 03:21 pm (UTC)
This reminds me of something I came across a while back, otakukin. People who think they have the souls of... wait for it... anime characters.

Ain't enough *facepalm* in the world for any of them. Other, na'vi or otaku.

For the record, I saw Avatar and liked it. Not depressed because I can't go there and my soul is my own.
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[User Picture]From: thessalian
2010-01-15 03:30 pm (UTC)
*chuckle* Ah, yes, you beat me to the 'otakukin' reference. :)
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[User Picture]From: zeldakitty
2010-01-15 03:21 pm (UTC)
I really love your mind and how it voluntarily moles around through these tunnels of possibility. You offer thoughtful possibilities to what I would usually just write off as whacko and not give further thought... my own mind is enjoying the fruits of yours these past couple of days...
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-01-15 03:32 pm (UTC)
It's fun to start writing this stuff and wonder what I can offer beyond, "You can't make this shit up!!!"
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[User Picture]From: kibbles
2010-01-15 03:22 pm (UTC)
It's because Otherkin are on the bottom of many food chains. No one takes them seriously, there are plenty of reasons people pick on them, and so on.

So here is the opportunity to put someone under their own heel, so why wouldn't some Otherkin embrace that?

You see it in a lot of groups in the minority. Look at the Mommy Wars. Or how light or dark your skin is as a POC matters. Or immigrants who resent the ones that come after them. Time and time again a group that faces some oppression will GLADLY jump on another.

Think of how racist most people that are considered 'rednecks' or 'trailer trash' are.

When you have little power, grabbing what you can has some appeal.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-01-15 03:33 pm (UTC)
Good point.
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[User Picture]From: thessalian
2010-01-15 03:30 pm (UTC)
I imagine the otakukin - people who believe that they are the direct real-world incarnation of anime or video game characters - might be a bit more sympathetic to the perspective. But then, otherkin don't like the otakukin either because claims like that make people take them less seriously.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-01-15 03:34 pm (UTC)
I'd like to see the opinion of otakukin - but not enough to go looking for it!
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From: caudelac
2010-01-15 03:37 pm (UTC)
And to a certain degree, I understand how it happens-- the Na'vi were meant to be sort of the new Klingons, and their way of life is deeply entrenched, much as a retelling, of a deeply worn and rooted myth of deep spirituality and connectedness to things... it's an old and deep culture painted blue and made to be really awesome (I don't want to say Noble Savagery, I really don't). So I can get why people would feel a legitimate deep connection to these things. They do reflect things which are known to be spiritually resonant.

But yeah... otherkin and otakin would so have this kind of reaction. There isn't much that can make them look worse, after it all, and everyone picks on the new kid.
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[User Picture]From: custardfairy
2010-01-15 03:50 pm (UTC)

Warning: Judgement Ahead

I typically take a 'live and let live' attitude to this sort of thing. I mean, there are limits - like I won't turn off the lights at work so my (fictional) VAMPYRE coworkers will stop squinting and hissing at the lights or anything, but if they want to believe they're a vampire or a unicorn, then ok. That doesn't mean that I'll believe it, or that I'll necessarily take them seriously. I think if someone strongly identifies as another animal or creature that's fine by me as long as they're still reliable, honest, trustworthy, ethical, and have a sense of humor.

The problem that I continue to run into is that so many people who identify as otherkin have also turned out to be major flakes and in complete denial of reality aside from their otherkin-ness, and I don't put up with that shit regardless the shape one's soul might take.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-01-15 03:53 pm (UTC)

Re: Warning: Judgement Ahead

First, I LOVE that icon.

Second, please tell me you are exaggerating about your co-workers. Otherwise it's time for a roll for san.
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[User Picture]From: geekjul
2010-01-15 03:56 pm (UTC)
I've heard of otherkin people before and it always makes me ponder where the line is between quirky/weird and mentally ill. I suspect I would draw it in one place and they'd draw it in quite another. But, as always, if they aren't hurting anyone, more power to them, I guess.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-01-15 04:03 pm (UTC)
There are definitely levels of crazy that are mostly harmless. We all have some of it, I expect.
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[User Picture]From: anivair
2010-01-15 04:08 pm (UTC)
otherkin bug me. I get looking to animals for inspiration. I get thinking about and working with animal spirits for strength, cunning, insight, whatever. I don't get thinking that you are a dog in the body of a person. To think that seems to deny a) that you are human and b) that humans are a perfectly valid animal. What's wrong with being human?

this is also not behavior that you EVER see in nature (the thing that otherkin seem to revere). I've never had a dog who was a moose in the body of a dog. Such a thing would never occur to a dog, who would likely, if he had any thought about it at all, just want to be better at being a dog.

that said ... if I were to accept the idea of otherkin as being linked to some sort of primal representation of nature found in animals or whatever, i would certainly still mock the idea that anyone out there is really, in their soul, Na'vi, a race that didn't even exist when their soul, as it is, was put together. Even if you want to go the extremist route and suggest that they might not have a fully formed soul till, say, the age of five or so that is still many many years before anyone even had a loose idea of what Na'vi are. Hell, even cameron didn't know what they looked like till a few years ago. the concept art looks nothing like them.

Meaning: I see their point. Saying that you're an Anglerfish/Meercat hybrid in the body of a fat man is really kind of dumb, IMO (and reeks of self hate) but at least those things exist. I can imagine them as part of the world and I can envision you (the fat man in question) as connected to them as other life forms. the Na'vi are not real, are not life forms, and anyone who is "linked" to them or otherwise shares a mystic soul with them is basically either deranged or they can't just accept fiction as fiction.
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[User Picture]From: andrewducker
2010-01-15 04:11 pm (UTC)
I've met dogs that thought they were people. And seen numerous animals that were raised amongst other animals to the point where they clearly thought they were that animal.

But that's just socialisation for you.
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[User Picture]From: sacramentalist
2010-01-15 04:14 pm (UTC)
People are crazy, yo. I'm sticking with not believing in an all loving, but temperamental desert god.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-01-15 04:19 pm (UTC)
The turtle from Small Gods?
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[User Picture]From: 28bytes
2010-01-15 04:20 pm (UTC)
So the question then becomes... once the Na'vi otherkin become accepted within the otherkin community (or become a majority and thus don't care what the others think), I wonder whom will they mock and vilify as ridiculous and illegitimate.

Someone should really put together an otherkin legitimacy hierarchy chart.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-01-15 04:23 pm (UTC)
That would be a source of SUCH contention.
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[User Picture]From: roaming
2010-01-15 04:36 pm (UTC)
As an LJ friend of mine commented in response to Otherkin being pissed off because Na'vi are not as "real" as their avatars:

"What if it 'hatched' from the mind of James Cameron because he is actually a reincarnated Na'vi, and that's how he knows so much about them. He didn't make it up, he's just remembering from far, far away."
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-01-15 04:43 pm (UTC)
I love that SO HARD.
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From: scarfman
2010-01-15 04:39 pm (UTC)

more understanding - and accompanying horror - of how holy wars can start over the damned silliest thing

Perhaps this post and your post yesterday about Robertson ought to have a common tag.

I once wrote this in a comment to theferrett, on a post about bullying in fandom*: I've been meaning for years to write an essay about how fandom is a symptom, or a consequence or a something, of whatever it is in us that drives us to religion, in those of us who have rejected religion or just haven't grown up with it permeating society like it used to before the Enlightenment. Because fandoms do meet many of the same human needs that organized religions meet; and, as theferrett noted, ennable many of the same negative behaviors religion does. But it's a great, big meaty topic that needs to be done right and I'm too lazy not interested enough to actually research; I'd rather write my fanfiction and draw my crossover cartoons.

* That I would link to, but he allows reader editing of tags.

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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-01-15 04:46 pm (UTC)
Well, if I get inspired you can then just link to me. ;-)
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[User Picture]From: bart_calendar
2010-01-15 04:40 pm (UTC)
I am Boba Fett.
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[User Picture]From: anivair
2010-01-15 06:17 pm (UTC)
Me too, what a coincidence! Though, sometimes I have feelings of insecurity that mead me to believe that i might be a clone instead. But I'm a little short to be a storm trooper.
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[User Picture]From: kathrynrose
2010-01-15 07:29 pm (UTC)
This post broke my brain. I have nothing to contribute right now, but I may later. I just wanted to say I was here.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-01-15 07:42 pm (UTC)
Hee! Sorry, I am amused by breaking you. I know that's bad of me.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-01-15 08:36 pm (UTC)
Yes, it is a child's dream, and for some people very hard to give up.
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