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Thread: Therian Daily Thought - The 5th!

  1. #311
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    TopBrass said it beautifully:

    There is definitely a kind of romanticized ideal of living in harmony with nature and self-sufficiency among the therian community, but I think most people would not take it too seriously as some kind of universal principal that all people must strive towards.
    I really admire the hunters and raisers of their own meat. Or even just gardens! I've semi-fulfilled some of my own goals through all the travel and fieldwork I do. Buuuuut this part is also really true:

    If one becomes a survivalist or expert outdoorsman, that's necessarily going to come at the expense of other things.
    ... like a stable social life, financial security, a yard, a dog. :c Hell, I'm damned lucky to even have the relationships I do. Not a lot of people want to marry someone who they have to follow around the country, and who then STILL LEAVES for a good portion of the year.

    *****

    My thought: I have been having a few more dreams about wandering in landscapes lately. It's really pleasant. That's a common theme of my dreams, but until recently I'd hardly had any like that in ages. It's satisfying.

    And this time of year is a very pleasant time for the inner animal, too. SO much life springing into being, so many good smells, sights, sounds.

  2. #312

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    I always want to "migrate" in the spring and this spring was no exception. I was going to travel this year, but those plans got smashed into the ground 2020-style so it didn't happen. Next year god dammit. I suppose I can just see it as a necessity. This year's trip would have been rushed. I can prepare with an extra year, and I can tell myself that maybe in another reality I got in a horrible car wreck on the trip, and I narrowly avoided that by not traveling.

  3. #313

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    Though I wish the current state of the world was completely different, at least one up side of lockdown is I have been able to go out into nature every day. I've been anxious and low worrying about what is going to happen next as 2020 seems to just keep throwing horrible things at us. But having extra time to be out by the river and countryside is helping. It's good for inner dog. I've also taken time to follow more instagram accounts 'ran by' whippets, seeing cute little faces in my stories every morning also helps my mood!

  4. #314
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    I don't have the energy to become a political jack of all trades, the bigger my world, the more out of place in it I am. The more complex it is the stupider I feel.
    I'm not even meant to be here.

  5. #315

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lopori View Post
    The more complex it is the stupider I feel.
    I'm not even meant to be here.
    I feel the same way, pretty much.

  6. #316
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    Amen to that, Lopori. You put it better than I could. I'm a horse. I go to work, I put on the metaphorical collar and bridle, and I kinda get lost in what I do. But then I come home and suddenly there's all this time to sink into existential dread in a world that's on hellfire. Trying to ignore Revelation steadily coming true. I don't want to know all this. I'm a horse. I don't want to understand how much everything sucks. It's scary. It's terrible. I don't want it. I don't want to be here. It's not right. I want to get me and my wife right the hell outta here. We should be out on pasture, not sweeping chunks of dried shit left behind by the raging monkey demons called humans. I'm a horse. She's a horse (if you squint hard enough). This is not our job. This is not our place. We never signed up for this.
    A negative number was raised to a power that is not an integer.

  7. #317
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    I can't imagine therianthropy not involving human imagination to some degree. How could it be otherwise? I do subconsciously coyote-brained things, but to demystify that a bit, the subconscious can be trained. And to state the obvious, I don't have canine DNA. I don't know why this concept regarding imagination should be controversial. Of course therians are going to sometimes be wrong about themselves or their animal. If they never are, then hey, I'd like to speak to that real-life Dr. Doolittle/Speaker-To-Animals.

    Human physiology and human neurological wetware mean that human biases and imagination are often at play. What are your thoughts?

  8. #318
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    Definitely agree, and I've gotten guff for saying it, from people who had a semi-"magical" view of their own therianthropy or thought their insights about animals were inherently true because of their therianthropy. Some of those people have started to rethink a little.

    There's naturally got to be some amount of subjective conceptualizing to see one's own weird experiences as relating to specific animals.

  9. #319
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coyote Jones View Post
    I can't imagine therianthropy not involving human imagination to some degree. How could it be otherwise? I do subconsciously coyote-brained things, but to demystify that a bit, the subconscious can be trained. And to state the obvious, I don't have canine DNA. I don't know why this concept regarding imagination should be controversial. Of course therians are going to sometimes be wrong about themselves or their animal. If they never are, then hey, I'd like to speak to that real-life Dr. Doolittle/Speaker-To-Animals.

    Human physiology and human neurological wetware mean that human biases and imagination are often at play. What are your thoughts?
    This was mentioned in the STDC.

    The most immediate question is what role biology plays in thought. Biology, our physical bodies provide the basis for our consciousness, but it cannot be reduced to it, ie. it is not DETERMINED by it. One has to follow Descartes here(in my opinion). What is the alternative? If one believes that our thoughts and beliefs are determined by our genes, then one is following in the same school of thought as Hitler and Himmler.

    By the late 1930's the Nazis had succeeded in imprisoning or putting to work in slave labor conditions dissidents, 'undesirables', and criminals. Himmler wasn't just the head of the SS, he was also chief of the German police. The next step after taking care of their "real" enemies was to begin arresting people who had not yet committed any crimes, but were believed to eventually become criminals. The Nazis believed that the human mind was directly determined by physiology, that it was one's genes that determined a person's thoughts, and thus one's genes that determined who was successful, who was a failure; who was a criminal, who was an upstanding citizen. If biology determines our thoughts, then it must be true that subjective social conditions like poverty and wealth have nothing to do with the beliefs one comes to have. If they did have an impact, then that would be the same as admitting that biology does not determine thought, and the entire line of thinking falls apart. This shouldn't be controversial. Atomic physics provides the basis for molecular physics, but the latter cannot be reduced to the former. Molecular physics provides the basis for cellular biology, but the latter cannot be reduced to the former either. In the same way, while our physiology provides the basis for our ability to think, it cannot be reduced to biology. How can the IDEA of the number zero be encoded in one's genes? There's not a scrap of evidence to support this idea of genetic determination of ideas.

    Language itself solves an impossible conundrum for vulgar physicalists as well. If the physicalists were correct, then it must be that human language is already pre-programmed into our genes(this was Chomsky's idea). It's obviously nonsensical because language is totally arbitrary from an objective standpoint: why does cat mean cat and not dog? Simple because we have decided to agree on its meaning. That is not set in stone and meanings change all the time. This may seem unrelated, but it is very important. Without language we could not have what we recognize as thought. Can you conceive of a form of thinking in which you could not think about thinking? By definition impossible. This refers to the issue for physicalism called the epistemic gap.

    A lot of people in the community seem to have this kneejerk reaction to ruling out a genetic determination of therianthropy. People may be predisposed to certain behaviors, but without the subjective element of belief, thought, interpretation, then they remain simple beliefs. The idea that one is a wolf or whatever, how could that possibly exist in genes? It's a very nonsensical idea that seems more suitable to a Sy Fy b-movie than anything else. Many seem to be terrified to acknowledge that therianthropy at its most elemental level is simply a belief that one has about oneself. All beliefs are a product of their subjective, social circumstances, not genetics. It's impossible to ever go back. Even with something like a religion, it is constantly changing and always impossible to go back. Every time you have a new spin on a religion claiming to the "true, original" form of that religion, it's always just a thin veneer behind which something completely new and unique is hiding. With the Protestant Reformation, Lutherans and Calvinists claimed to have recovered the original doctrine of Christ and his followers. The reality is that they were just articulating a new ideology appropriate to the rising urban middle class who would become today's capitalists.

    That is just an example, it really applies to all kinds of beliefs. This also makes it not just improbable, but essentially impossible that therianthropy could have existed in the past. As a modern belief, it's a product of modern times. One COULD look through the past and try to find things that superficially resemble it, but this would be what we historians call an anachronism. It is a mystification and falsification. Even if you have something that superficially looks like its the same, when it is seen within the historical context of its existence it is revealed to be something entirely unrelated to modern beliefs. This is especially apparent with, to use one example, neopaganism. Neopagans seek to consciously model their beliefs as a replication of some ancient religion, but any serious analysis always reveals heavy influences of gnosticism and protestantism. Even more specifically, this notion that one has a personal relationship with the divine in the way people think about it today is essentially a product of the 1830's religious revivalism movement in the US.

    All this to say that acknowledging the bare reality that our reality makes us, and we in turn make our reality. To acknowledge this means to acknowledge that we could have turned out differently. To use a metaphor used by Stephen Gould, who I am very fond of, if it were possible to turn back time and watch the history of evolution play out again, life would develop differently. Our identities are the result of a series of contingencies. When we acknowledge that we aren't necessarily the way we are it raises a number of uncomfortable questions about our beliefs. Namely, WHY do we actually believe the things we do about ourselves?

    One reason that it seems likely to me that nothing like therianthropy ever existed in the past was that there really was a sort of human community in the past. Even just as recently as 200 years or so ago 90% of the human population were farmers, usually living in small communities where everyone knew everyone else and usually lived there their entire lives. That kind of social stability hasn't existed in most places in over a century, and this is one of the reasons we see a skyrocketing rate of mental illness. Of course it isn't possible, or even necessarily desirable to 'go back' to the way things used to be.

    When we're dealing with animals and nature, there are two things that people tend to do. One is projection, that's talked about a lot here so I won't get into it. 'Projecting' purely human characteristics onto animals where they simply don't belong. The other is just as important, if not more so: displacement. Modern life in a lot of ways is pretty awful. No other reason for the explosive growth of mental illness, depression, anxiety, suicides, etc. What we call 'nature' is a space upon which is a projection of the absence of the things we find negative in our society. It is a kind of inverse of projection. People who are dissatisfied with modern life can then seek to find their humanity in what is fundamentally inhuman because it's a blank canvas seemingly free of what is inescapable in capitalist society. Imagination does play a big role here.

    I think this also leads to a seeming paradox: in older forms of society where there was less of a divide between humanity and nature, it is probably actually LESS likely for something like the belief that one is an animal to be something that exists because people in such a society will be more psychologically secure in their existence as humans. Indeed, the IARP's own research into therians concluded that compared to furries, therians "Experience considerably lower psychological well-being". It would be interesting if more specific demographic data could be collected. Race, profession, and socio-economic background including that of parents and grandparents. I have a feeling that therianthropy tends to skew towards white, middle class people. It is one thing to note that therianthropy seems remarkably absent from blacks, asians, indians(as in, actual people from India), etc, but even more specifically that it tends towards a definite social background. This would be a definite death knell to any notion of genetic determination here. Only time will tell.

    One thing to keep in mind is that people, outside furry especially, readily identify therianthropy as a belief, not a condition. Not simply random people either, but even among academics who have studied the subject therianthropy has almost universally been considered from the standpoint of religion and belief. It is of course not a religion, but the salient point being is that it's seen in the same general framework as alternative beliefs.

    I am not sure if you were saying so, but almost certainly the behavior therians ascribe to animality is subconsciously trained. The alternative would be notion of non-human species being genetically imprinted, which again, we can just instantly dismiss as absurd and nonsensical. Even mental shifts can certainly be considered this way. Looking at the ecstatic religious experiences of medieval nuns and religious ascetics for example, reveal similar things, but perhaps even more extreme. It wasn't mental illness, yet we don't see this kind of thing today generally. It was conditioned behavior, such was the strength of their belief and the context of society at the time. That's what I believe the most likely explanation is myself, at least.

    Also important to point out at this point that this kind of belief isn't really a choice. If it was a choice, then it wouldn't really be something one really believed in. Beliefs are only a 'choice' in the most indirect sense that perhaps different decisions we made with our life could have led to a different set of contingencies that would have led to us coming to different ideas.

    My two cents. I think a lot of people are going to be too emotionally invested to really think critically about why they identify as a therian, but no skin off my back really. I have burnt all my beliefs and values to the ground more than once, and probably will do so again. I don't consider myself an iconoclast, but rather almost any position or belief that one can come to have is capable of being decontextualized and then popularized as something entirely different, or even the exact opposite of the original notion. This goes back again to the arbitrary, or rather socially relative nature of language. Something means whatever people agree it means. If people collectively decide that something I believe about myself actually means something different, then I drop it. Sometimes, the only way to be faithful to something is to destroy it.

  10. #320
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    In the past I fell into the classical fluffy way of thinking that being X animal predisposed me to display X traits. That X behaviour and X perception came from X animal. It was one way of validating my experiences, to compare and measure against my understanding of X animal. It was a gradual process.
    I don't feel stupid for going through that phase. It was a step along the way: being X animal ultimately predisposed me to learn more about X animal, and to learn more about other animals; it made me open to input about X animal. It made me put serious effort into researching X animal. It made me want to understand X animal rather than just pretend I did.
    And the more I understood X animal, the more I let go of the childish way of thinking I had inherited my quirks from X animal. It made me act less like X animal. And at the same time, it made me feel more in touch with X animal. It made me more at peace with it. Saying a thing like "I'm a horse" feels sufficient now. I don't need to add "because", it's not necessary to add all sorts of "yes I know I'm a human" type disclaimers. I'm a horse.
    A negative number was raised to a power that is not an integer.

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