Contemplating our plurality from different perspectives (authors uknown)

Just sort of copying some stuff over from our own Twitter and Facebook posts to preserve here in a single post. These are separate threads, inspired by different things, but are related through our experiences of plurality, and we think reading them in succession is interesting. This is going to be a long post, but worth it:

Twitter thread #1

Us: “We are 46 years old, have owned a house, been married and divorced, had a graphic design career we won awards at, and have survived 40+ suicidal episodes to transition and have been through major surgery as a result.”

Also us: *plays make believe 24/7 and shares it on Twitter*

It is ableist for us to refer to our plural interactions as playing make believe, if we just leave it at that. Our plurality is NOT make believe.

However, there is no real difference between how we interact with each other inworld and how we play a role playing game…

If we want to interact with each other on a higher level than just sharing memories and emotions, it involves visualizing interactions and forming words in our head for each other.

When we play make believe with anyone else, we do exactly the same thing…

To make our lives rich and worth living, we have to exercise our inworld artistry of using our imaginations.

But to play a TTRPG, we end up using all the same techniques and skills as we do to interact inworld. We even expand our inworld to do it.

When we act on stage, a system member who was generated to play that character and learn those lines is fronting.

But we have no original member, no host, no core personality. We’re a crew and always have been. If we ever seem like a single person, it’s the same thing as doing improve on a stage. Hell, sometimes it’s scripted because social interactions are like that!

Furthermore, we have complexly entangled conflicting sets of dysphoria. We can’t get through the day without interacting with each other on a higher level than just memories and emotions. We have to sort things out verbally to avoid hurting each other.

So, when we say we’re playing make believe 24/7, that’s a sardonic statement about how it looks from the outside. But really, what is anybody else doing? Is your average neurotypical cis man doing anything but playing make believe that he is what he thinks he is?

What does anybody do but pick an act and a set of assumptions about rules that seem to match their sense of self and their place in the world best and play pretend and hope it works out right?

And just because ours looks playful, silly, and fanciful, does that really make it any less legitimate? Even when it actually reflects our needs for survival?

Twitter Thread #2

As a plural system, discussions of the id, ego, and superego as if they are real things, especially “ego death” is just alien.

I mean, yes, we have id monsters, but that’s a fucking joke mostly. They kinda fit into the concept of an id, but we don’t really have one.

How do we have this “ego death” you all rave about and seek after, when we’re a brain full of individual people? If one of us sort of pops and dissociates from themselves, someone else just takes over. We already all know that no one of us is special. There are 3.9 million of us!

Once, we took a 10mg edible of pure THC. Bad idea.

It laid us out on our bed, dizzy and hyper-associated. We fused and felt super alone, with no one to talk to, while every single pain and sensation in our body became noticeable and more intense. And that kept going for hours.

It was like the polar opposite of what people describe as an ego death, and it was the worst thing in the world. And we were so scared it had done something permanent to the way our brain worked. We certainly haven’t been as differentiated since as we were before.

So, fuck drugs.

Like, other people can use and enjoy them. But so far, whether it’s prescription or recreational, they take away or interfere with our ability to feel and communicate with each other. And this tenuous and questionable thing people call “ego death” isn’t worth it.

But…

When people describe what ego death is supposed to be & how it feels to them, it sounds like something we’ve easily achieved without drugs by simply being what we are.

The first time we noticed it happening, it was profound & part of coming out as plural. But it’s daily life now.

But, also, again, it’s just an analog, because we have no overarching ego, and either we don’t have individual egos or there’s really no such thing anyway.

Like, the whole tearing down of any connection to personality and identity & building it back up again from scratch is just what we do as there’s a turnover in who of us are conscious. At a group level, at least. Like who we are as a group.

But, again, individually? That’s hard.

If any one of us has any sort of personal dissociation from their identity, they just go subconscious and someone else steps up into their place. And no one has any memories of that being profound.

Facebook Post

We just had this dream where we were in school, finishing up our last ten credits. And we were hanging out somewhere before class, watching this professor braid a girl’s hair. She saw us and introduced herself to us, and then led us to her first class, because she wanted to show us something.

And it was the most amazing math class we’d ever attended. Then, when it was done, we wandered the halls looking for something and got swept up by this other professor with the most incredible facial hair and the deepest voice we ever heard. And he took us to his multilingual history class, where he was telling the story of this non-Europian explorer as recorded by the peoples he had visited, to a class of students half of whom didn’t speak English, so he would retell the story in their language.

And sitting there, we realized that we should have been taking these professor’s classes this whole time. And we wanted to switch and change our degree and keep going to school.
Then we somehow ended up in a fantastic poetry class taught by yet another super engaging professor. And as she started teaching, her classroom got up and started moving down the street, and we woke up to write this.

Thinking back to all the school dreams we’ve had since coming out as plural, they’ve stopped being nightmares and have all become wondrous tours of what school could be if we all had a better structure to our entire culture.

They’ve also involved beautiful architecture that is just what we’re looking for to describe the inside inhabited areas of the Sunspot for our stories.

And they’ve been full of such a variety of wonderful people in huge crowds. Doubtlessly liaisons of people we’ve only caught glimpses of while taking the bus or walking through downtown Seattle or Portland, or while watching TV or movies, or even reading Twitter. Headmates, generated on the slimmest bit of information or appearance of a person or character, actually going to school in our inworld with hundreds to millions of others, to grow into their own people and develop their own culture. And occasionally we crew catch glimpses of their process when we dream.

A bit about the professor’s facial hair:

It was asymmetrical and grew all over the right side of his face, inseparable from the rest of his hair. It was like he’d been splashed with some sort of hair growth tonic, and the hair was short, white, and tightly curled. And the hair around his chin was a bit longer, so it was clear he was trimming and grooming it all, and that he was proud of it.

We have never seen anyone like him, and have no idea where anyone in our brain came up with this vision, but it would be so cool to see such a person doing well in the outworld.

5 thoughts on “Contemplating our plurality from different perspectives (authors uknown)

  1. Inmara Ktletaccete Fenumera says:

    Let’s talk a bit more about this ego death thing, though.

    Even just reading through this post alone, it’s clear that collectively we do have a sense of ourselves as an entity, like how the star ship Enterprize has a collective sense of identity that is driven and guided by its captain and its mission. We have captains who as a group largely agree on what kind of personage we should strive to present to the outside world, and that vision informs everything we do and could be called an ego.

    But, for us, that’s both such a fragile and aslo incredibly persistent thing.

    What’s fragile about it is that while it easily creates an illusion that we’re a single person that often fools even us, because it’s so heavily part of that illusion and we are not a single person, it’s shattered every time someone wakes up and joins our Bridge, bring their own personality and will to the mix. Or when our frontrunner just leaves and someone else takes over. We have these massive shifts in perspectives and values and ways of interpreting our group identity, that it never remains stable for longer than a few hours at most. Usually minutes. And we have constant reminders that there are multiple separate consciousnesses in our brain. Our collective sense of awareness is a gestault of separate awarenesses that can be shattered at a moments notice and frequently is. No one of us owns this life.

    And as to ecstatic experiences of feeling one with the universe, we managed to have those with unerring frequency on purpose simple by meditating through our teens and twenties. Over and over again, deeply moving, nigh unbelievable experiences with no assistance from any sort of drug. And while we kind of yearn for more of them, we don’t really need them anymore. Also, they’re exhausting at the same time as being energizing, and we don’t really have the energy to try for them anymore, either.

    At a certain point, when you’ve been there repeatedly for 20 years, it gets old and there are other experiences worth having. Like, just talking to each other over making breakfast.

    1. Inmara Ktletaccete Fenumera says:

      So, if what we experience on a daily basis is an ego death, or what we experienced by meditating in our youth is an ego death (and both are definitely related to each other), do we think it’s worth it for other people to pursue by whatever means they can?

      Sure.

      I mean, to us now, it’s old hat. A fact of existence. Not exactly boring or unprofound. It still boggles our minds when our collective awareness shatters for the fifth time in a day. But after a lifetime of that, it’s, well, it’s life.

      But we learn so much about ourselves through it. It’s a changing of perspectives! Of course it’s going to keep teaching us stuff, or reminding us of things we’ve already learned but keep forgetting about.

      And when we first admitted to ourselves we were plural and stopped trying to deny that we were separate beings who shared our brain with other beings, it was scary, and really weird.

      Up until that point, we’d dreamt of being plural as being this really cool state of being. And it totally is, and we’ve discovered it’s even better than we’d imagined (because we’d been making ourselves numb to most of it). But realizing that this illusion of you, that not just this thing you thought was your own singular identity but also your sense of self awareness, your SOUL, is actually made up of millions of smaller souls, each with their own will that you CANNOT control, is FREAKY. It’s extraordinarily humbling.

      And, for us, that lesson didn’t happen all at once, it kept replaying day after day as each one of our members had to learn it for themselves. Fronting and thinking, “oh, this plurality thing is the actual illusion,” and then having their sysmates prove them wrong, forcefully, each one of us has had to go through this separately. And the rest of us get to watch through that fragile collective awareness.

      We forgot to mention above what’s persistent about our collective identity: There are so many of us, and all of us are indoctrinated with it, that when it shatters for one of us, another one of us steps forward to reinstate it. Or, rather, the whole group closes in and takes up the slack.

      But instead of a consistent concept of who we are, it’s an ongoing conversation, and actually always has been.

      And, frankly, that seems to be the case with most humans. Even singlets (if there really is such a thing as a singlet). Almost all models of psychology include how a person’s identity is something that is constantly re-evaluating itself and shifting as they move through the world and experience new things.

      We just get to be multiply aware of it in our own case, as it happens.

      Now, tracking the development of individual system members is a bit harder. But that is something we are trying to do.

      Our gestalt overpowers any internal awareness of an individual’s thought processes, and blurs the lines. We can get a clearer vision of our own individual thoughts when we’re highly dissociated and only one of us is conscious at a time, but that happens only when we’re in great distress. And we each have a different perspective of what any one of us is like. Like, take one of us, and if you ask each of the others what that one is like, you’ll get a bunch of different answers.

      So there’s a lot of note taking involved there and looking for patterns over a long period of time. It’s messy and slow going.

      1. Inmara Ktletaccete Fenumera says:

        Anyway, we think you can see, reading from the top of the post through all of these comments, shifts in our voices and perspectives. We talk about this subject from different angles and with different conclusions. And that itself is kind of neat to see.

        Some of us are like, “I can’t imagine what an ego even is!”

        While others are like, “Ha! Yeah, we have an ego. It’s probably one of the bigger egos on the planet! Look at this thing!”

  2. Inmara Ktletaccete Fenumera says:

    If you walk away from an ego death with the attitude of, “Oh, my God, this was so life changing for me, everyone else has got to experience the same thing, it will make you all better humans,” your ego death may not have been as profound a revelation or life changing experience as you think. You still have something of an ego. And you’re missing the point about the plurality and diversity of sentience.

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