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November 22, 2004

The Holy Spirit gets around
Posted by Teresa at 08:00 AM *

From the wonderful Hitherby Dragons comes Night of the Antinomian, which is kind of like those cheesy old movies about giant radioactive rabbits or ants or spiders, only different:

“It was, perhaps, a mistake,” Dr. Oboli admits.

“Pardon?” asks General McCoy.

“It might have been a mistake. To harvest the genetic material of Johannes Agricola, and bring him back to life—fifty times his normal size!”

“Yes,” General McCoy says flatly. “Yes, it might have been.”

“I honestly didn’t think he’d ever escape the lab,” Dr. Oboli protests.

“Spilled milk, Dr. Oboli. Spilled milk. Tell us what we’re up against.”

“It’s probably the greatest threat ever to face humanity,” Dr. Oboli frets. “Historically, antinomians and humans have been able to coexist only because we were just as big as the antinomians and could kill them if we had to. But Johannes Agricola is already dead, and he’s also very large.”

“Large enough,” General McCoy asks, “to physically fling the saved into Heaven?”

“Exactly,” says Dr. Oboli. “No one is safe.”

“What about the sinners?” asks General McCoy, practically. “I mean, aren’t they safe? What if we buy some kind of golden calf from a military supplier and everyone worships it until the problem is resolved?”

“It won’t work,” Dr. Oboli moans. “Antinomians aren’t like ordinary Christians. They don’t care about sin any more than they care about good works. To Johannes Agricola, you’re either saved or damned from the moment that you’re born. It’s a doctrine of arbitrary judgment!”
I’ve always thought horror writers underestimated the potential usefulness of the doctrine of Election.

Elsewhere in the news:

You know from otherkin? People who believe that they are, in some spiritual or genetic or reincarnational sense, members of a nonhuman species, possibly more than one of them? It’s sort of like people with transgender issues feeling that they were (f.i.) born into a male body, but are somehow really female; only otherkin variously feel that they’re really elves, fairies, pixies, furries, selkies, angels, dragons, vamp[i][y]res, shapeshifters, phoenixes, Greys, or one of a wide variety of were-animals.

They’re not without a sense of humor about their condition. As one website says, in the course of discussing the various models otherkin have come up with to explain their felt condition:
There is also, of course, the possibility that we are all quietly insane. This has naturally been pointed out by a significant number of people, on the bizarre assumption that this could not possibly have occurred to anyone claiming the label. Of course it has. We’re insane, not stupid.
A charmingly inevitable event has occurred in the otherkin community, at a site called Molatar’s Castle:

This site is dedicated to spreading the Gospel in the werewolf and furry communities. It is my hope that many trans-species people will accept Jesus as their Savior through this ministry. …

You cannot make yourself righteous and holy on your own. Only Jesus can do that for you. If you are dissatisfied with attempting to be good through your own deeds and find yourself still enslaved to sin, then its time to choose Jesus as your Savior. If you are interested in becoming a Christian, please click on the salvation link to the left. Dear visitor, if you are trans-species, I can sympathize with you.

I too know the shame and anger about being trapped in a powerless and ugly human body. If you desire a shape-shift, please click on the P-shift essay link to your left and I will guide you. If you desire clarification of God’s Word, please click on the salvation, essay, and bibliography links provided at left.

This is Version 2.1 of Molatar’s Castle. I’ve re-written parts of my essay on vampires. I’ve removed some links to sites I no longer approve of. Much of the changes are invisible; I’ve been cleaning up the code to make this site faster. This dragon’s been working hard. …

I hope that by visiting my website that you will have learned something valuable. If you get Born Again because of this site, that would be even better.
It was bound to happen.

One of the reasons I’ve never believed satanic ritual abuse narratives—the ones where the supposed victims are always being “groomed” (they always use that word) to become the high priest or priestess of the group—is that their stories are devoid of normal human complications. Nobody ever develops chest pains, and has to be gotten out of their ceremonial robes and rushed to an ER. Nothing funny ever happens. Nobody ever fluffs a complex ritual. The air conditioning never breaks down. There are no theological or procedural disputes, no arguments about bookkeeping, no rebellious music committees. Satanic covens are never incapacitated because the potato salad sat out too long before the pre-ceremony setup session potluck. But most tellingly of all, no satanic group is ever riven by dissension because a couple of its members have started selling Amway and they won’t shut up about it.

Real people aren’t one-dimensional, and vice-versa. If you form a community around some shared interest, sooner or later someone in it is going to get Born Again and start preaching Jesus—unless it’s a born-again group to start with, in which case someone will begin selling Amway, or get into BDSM. It’s one of those things human beings do.

(Both links via Patrick.)

Comments on The Holy Spirit gets around:
#1 ::: Harry Connolly ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2004, 10:24 AM:

"Even when they're dragons" was a wonderful closer. Why did you take it out?

#2 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2004, 10:37 AM:

You liked it? I was thinking it was too pat. How did you come to notice I'd changed it?

...Oh, that's funny. I was just about to say "Okay, I'll go put it back," when I got an IM from Patrick saying "Your first comment asks a question about a belated edit you made, but you were right." This is instant feedback indeed.

#3 ::: Will "scifantasy" Frank ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2004, 10:37 AM:

If Molatar is an otherkin dragon, wouldn't he be Hatched Again?

#4 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2004, 10:43 AM:

I assume (without looking at the site) that Molatar has arguments for why Jesus died for the sins of all species, not just humans -- and also arguments for why that salvation excludes dogs, horses, slugs, planaria, gonococcus, etc.

Closest I come to this one is telling people of a Shamanic bent that my power animal is a velociraptor. (It isn't, it's a panther, but they get the joke.)

#5 ::: Trent Goulding ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2004, 10:46 AM:

Teresa: I don't think it's too pat. Strikes me as just the right amount of good-natured snark. Mileages will vary, of course.

Will: Good one! Clever lad....

#6 ::: Thena ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2004, 11:04 AM:

One of the reasons I’ve never believed satanic ritual abuse narratives—the ones where the supposed victims are always being “groomed” (they always use that word) to become the high priest or priestess of the group—is that their stories are devoid of normal human complications....

Thanks for the laugh, Teresa. I just did a mental checklist on my coven (Wiccan, not Satanic): Chest pains, check. Wardrobe Emergency, multiple, check. Potluck fiasco, check. High Action Multiple-Partner Melodrama You Really Want To Miss, check. Mid-ritual smoke detector goodness, check. Evangelical vegan vitamin salesman, check.

We can't be a cult, we're too normal. *chuckle*

#7 ::: Robert L ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2004, 11:12 AM:

Maybe if you get your Amway supplier to carry handcuffs and whips with little crosses on them...

#8 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2004, 11:16 AM:

We had a ritual once (Wiccan, like Thena), where the person leading the breathing meditation said "Breathe...and when you feel you've breathed enough...stop." This broke us all up into giggles and we had to start again. We later realized that it's actually excellent life advice, but not for the short term...

Also, ask me sometime why the words 'the plumber is coming' are my coven's equivalent of "Yngve is a louse!"

#9 ::: Stuart Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2004, 12:20 PM:

Molatar's Castle is one of an increasing number of incidents leading me to suspect that the religious right has been infiltrated by crack Discordian monkeywrencher cabal who are planting ridiculous stories like this in order to discredit enemies of the goddess. With this, the kerfuffle about 'Erototoxins' (surely plucked straight from the mind of R.A. Wilson) and the existence of Jerry Falwell, the project seems to be making great progress. :)

p.s. Hitherby Dragons is great!

#10 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2004, 12:22 PM:

I've long suspected that I'm actually a Gelatinous Cube born into a human body.

#11 ::: Dan Lewis ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2004, 12:35 PM:

"It was said, sneeringly, by someone that if a clam could conceive of God, it would conceive of Him in the shape of a great, big clam. Naturally. And if God has revealed Himself to clams, it could only be under conditions of perfect clamhood, since any other manifestation would be wholly irrelevant to clam nature." -- Dorothy L Sayers

In honor of the inclusive nature of the harvest of salvation, I'll take my Eucharist with butter.

But then,

If:

Not being able to breath underwater or fly is frustrating to you,

A part of your body changes form and/or color,

Computers often malfunction, act up, and do lots of unusual things in your presence, causing your coworkers to ask you to "stand over there, please" and causing your company's resident computer tech many hours of heartache,

You are fascinated with language, linguistics, theology, anthropology, slang, subculture and the madness of crowds,

The books that speak the greatest truths to you are found in the Fantasy/SF section,

then you just might be... an otherkin. Hmmm...

#12 ::: Dan Lewis ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2004, 12:37 PM:

D'oh. breath --> breathe. Should have left it French.

#13 ::: Jo Walton ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2004, 01:16 PM:

I'm not a dragon, but I can do the body-language.

I have a recurring weird delusion myself, it's the delusion that I can lie on my back and float about four feet off the ground and move backwards, head first. I have it most strongly when my leg is bad and I'm lying down, when it would be terribly useful to be able to float off the bed and to the bathroom, or to reach my book or whatever, without needing to use my leg. The thing that distinguishes this for me from imagination or dream-flying is that I have a real physical kinetic memory of doing it, the same as I have a memory of running, my muscles know what it feels like. I know what I need to do to move forward that way, and how being suspended feels, how I go around corners and everything, how I cope with not being able to see where I'm going. I have for years. (I find this delusion more irritating than anything.) The other day I finally figured this out -- it's not a muscle memory of a past life with antigravity or levitation skills, it's a muscle memory of swimming on my back. I can in fact really do it, I just need the room to be full of water first. This realization was actually a tremendous relief, inconvenient as flooding the apartment would be.

But anyway, this delusion has always helped me understand people who know they ought to have a tail or fur or be of some other gender. And it's not as if it hurts anyone.

I've just thought of a lovely theologically arguable justification for those otherkin. There are various things mentioned (and not very well described) in the bible as being in Heaven. Anything mentioned -- and this definitely includes dragons -- could have been in human form when alive on Earth and then had its true form restored in Heaven.

Besides, when the saints come marching in, is there any good reason not to include weresaints in that number?

#14 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2004, 01:48 PM:

"Yngve is a louse!"

trapped in an ugly, powerless human body?

#15 ::: JamesG ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2004, 01:56 PM:

In Native American beliefs, shape shifting is very prevalent in most every tribe. The Orenda is the Great Spirit that connects all living things, one to the other, including man. Since we are comprised of the same energy, it would only stand to reason that the energy could be manipulated to resemble any other creature that shares that connection. Of course this accomplishment is most commonly “witnessed” after much consumption of peyote.

As far as were-animals are concerned, most of the gods/goddesses are more animal than man to begin with. So it would stand to reason that people could be born with animal traits (perhaps the Orenda wasn’t properly manipulated to make them fully human when they were conceived) or even resemble animals as they matured.

Of course, Christianity is still slowly overshadowing the old beliefs, but by and large it hasn’t really spread like wildfire as one might expect. Perhaps the first brushes with Christianity left a bad taste in their mouths or maybe the old beliefs just seem to make more sense when you’re living on the Res. It is as if the elders are still waiting patiently for the Nunne’hi to come and save the day. If they fully accept Jesus, then they must admit that there are no Nunne’hi. If they don’t exist, then there is no hope that life will be any different than the one they live now.

#16 ::: Keith ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2004, 02:18 PM:

I hung out with some otherkin for a while. Even managed to convince myself I was one for a while (a dragon, if you’re curious). Then woke up one morning and realized, yeah, the whole concept is pretty gosh darn crazy. It's a condition that, if caught early enough, is surprisingly easy to get over, minus the embarrassment of realizing that you went around claiming some pretty outrageous things.

Groups like this tend to be pretty serious when in ritual mode but otherwise have the standard comic/tragic realness of human existence, which only underscores how silly otherkin behavior can be. And prostheletizing to them is silliness cubed.

#17 ::: Nancy C. Hanger ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2004, 02:27 PM:

Then there are the people who believe they are "walk-ins" -- taken over by beings from another dimension, universe, or planet. They encourage people to "feel as if they don't belong here" and to embrace the "otherness" of their secondary personality. Borderline personality disorder deluxe -- take two, they're on special today!

There's a group of them (getting larger by the year) here in Candia, NH, running a "holistic alchemical school" for massage, Reiki, etc -- The Dovestar Institute. They expanded a while back and I found they're even on Hilton Head Island, SC, where they've wormed their way into the hospice center. I was suprised to find one of them assigned by hospice to be a "sitter" for my father, who is on hospice care.

Not that I think the walk-in believer is going to convert my father, but you have to wonder about a group that actively encourages people to engage/embrace clearly borderline personality behavior. And they're hospice workers for the elderly. Egads.

#18 ::: Will "scifantasy" Frank ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2004, 02:35 PM:

In more seriousness, I have a friend who is otherkin.

(Side note: It seems odd how "otherkin" here indicates a belief, as opposed to a fact. I dunno, it sounds more accurate to say "She believes she's otherkin; she thinks she's an elf" than "she's otherkin; she thinks she's an elf." That could be just me.)

It's a comparatively harmless form of selectively applying reality, if you ask me.

Stuart: Now you've got me envisioning a SJGames "Illuminati!" card for the Otherkin. Weird alignment, one arrow in/one out, power 2, resistance 4, income 1...

Here's another question. Would an otherkin who was (thought he was?) a phoenix be Burn Again?

#19 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2004, 02:44 PM:

Hmm. If future persons do actually undergo successful xenotransplants, I can see a twist in the 'otherkin' idea, and a real flowering of the myth.

Even if the tissues could/are tweaked so as not to be rejected (ie, proteins not attacked by the body's immune system), they were still once in the body of a different species. Fodder, fodder ...

Thanks for this entry. Now I have a Google search term that will require attention the next time I want to procrastinate :-)

Has anyone tried "Schoogle" (Google Scholar) yet?

#20 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2004, 02:50 PM:

And one who thinks he's a professional assassin is Bourne Again?

#21 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2004, 02:52 PM:

Xopher, I should bash you for that.

#22 ::: Will "scifantasy" Frank ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2004, 02:52 PM:

Susan: The guys I work with, mostly postdocs and grad students in a psych lab, say it rocks because they can find their own papers. Another friend says it rocks on principle. I tend to think the same.

Xopher: Taken by a Unix shell. (The Bourne SHell, bsh, became the Bourne Again SHell, bash.)

#23 ::: Zed ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2004, 02:59 PM:

See also The Multiple Code, a Geek Code for those with multiple personalities where the possibilities include some of your personalities being dinosaurs, vampires, aliens, etc.

#24 ::: BSD ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2004, 03:13 PM:

It's interesting what this discussion links -- DPD-evocative themes dominate the central narrative of Hitherby (R. Borgstrom has said so), and the author mentions, at times, what seems to be personal experience with DPD.

There might be something worth saying about certain doctrines relating to transubstantiation and its spiritual equivalents, but that's Not My Religion, so I'll keep quiet as I know far less than many here.

#25 ::: sean bosker ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2004, 03:21 PM:

I am with you on the satanic coven thing. I wrote a short story about a satanic priest who lost faith after an acolyte botched a virgin sacrifice ritual. He'd finally presided over the ultimate ritual and then suffered from an "Is that all there is?" midlife crisis.

#26 ::: Robert L ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2004, 03:37 PM:

botched a virgin sacrifice ritual

"Only the girl isn't really a virgin. No god wants some broad who is inexperienced."

--Edward D. Wood, The Love of the Dead

#27 ::: NelC ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2004, 04:03 PM:

Is there a support group for medium-sized human beings trapped inside a large human's body? I feel like I should really be about 6 inches shorter....

#28 ::: Catie Murphy ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2004, 04:08 PM:

*howls at Xopher and Will*

#29 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2004, 04:14 PM:

Dan Lewis wrote:

But then,
A part of your body changes form and/or color,

... and all I could think of was a certain part of the body, which is clearly conclusive proof that roughly half the species consists of otherkin.

#30 ::: Janet Croft ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2004, 04:21 PM:

Susan, I've played around with Schoogle a bit. It's got potential but it can't beat having access to an academic library's range of databases, especially if your library has federated searching, which can search all of them at once. (We're getting it next semester.) Heck, even your local public library most likely has access to a range of databases paid for by the state that can beat it. There's been a lot of discussion on various library blogs about it, and no, we won't be going out of business because of Google Scholar, thank you.

I tried Schoogling Tolkien, and it will be useful for a paper I'm writing to have a list of what papers cite certain of his papers. But when I looked at what papers have cited "The Lord of the Rings," it's all computer science papers. Not very useful for my purposes at all. And most of the citations do not lead to the actual article -- for that you need access to a library. Then I Schoogled myself (sounds even naughtier than googling myself), and found only one of my publications listed, buried among all the papers by the Other Janet Croft, who writes about cardiac arrest and related topics. So what we can assume from that is that Schoogle has only a very limited selection of databases to search, heavy on computer science and medicine but light on literature and library science.

Like Google itself, Google Scholar can supplement your research but can't substitute for actually using your library. Although I can't deny that it has potential and I look forward to seeing it grow. If it gets to the point where it can serve as a citation analysis tool for the humanities I'll be delighted.

#31 ::: Karin ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2004, 04:28 PM:

My favorite part of Molotar's site is his screed against RPGs (which smacks of being rejected from gaming groups a few too many times). The best part is the final paragraph of the rant:

I no longer play roleplaying games. I don't need them. I have the Holy Spirit to give me miraculous powers. I have the Father to supply all my needs. I have Jesus to change me into a dragon and create neat lizard people to assist me in heaven. I don't need the fantasy because I have the reality.

I recently saw the gamer doco Uber Goober, wherein one of the representatives of the Christian Anti-D&D movement is a minister-type who has a radio show. At one point, he started going on about a gamer guy he knew who could astrally project himself into movie theatres and watch movies for free.

I think the minister would get along very well with Molatar, oddly.

#32 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2004, 04:29 PM:

xeger, that was my immediate thought as well.

Will, thanks for explaining (inadvertently, from the timing) Patrick's comment, which was tremendously funny but which I didn't get.

Btw, an otherkin evangelical who thinks he's a postwar West German politician is Bonn Again. And one who, with JFK, says "Ich bin ein Berliner" is Bun Again. (OK, a berliner isn't really a bun. Work with me.) And one who thinks he's nothing but a program in the Matrix is Bin Again (properly .bin Again, but hey). Did we do skeletons? Bone Again? Famous bear-killing frontiersmen? Boone Again?

Yes, there are more. But I'm pretty sure that if you people weren't all lib'rulz, I'd have earned the Death Penalty by now, so I'll stop while a plea bargain is still possible.

#33 ::: Will "scifantasy" Frank ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2004, 04:33 PM:

And a trampolinist would be Boing Again.

Which would make Cory Doctorow BoingBoing Again.

#34 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2004, 04:35 PM:

No! Otherkin Evangelicals who think they're Cory Doctorow! It's just too good. "So best," as Wonkette would say.

#35 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2004, 04:35 PM:

Stefan, if you're a gelatinous cube I can only advise you to stay out of Utah.

Jo, I know that one. In my dreams I don't do a lot of outdoor flying, but I've always been able to scramble up through the air and skim along at ceiling level, pushing against corners and high bits of molding with my feet. It's exactly like swimming.

My own otherkinnish weirdness, if I believed in such things, is that I've got a voice that speaks no known language babbling away in my head. Sometimes I can hear it more clearly, sometimes less. When it's most obtrusive, I feel like I'm just a hair away from being able to vocalize what it's saying, though I never quite get there.

It sounds like the voice of the standard portrait of Diderot: reasonable, knowledgeable, worldly; at once morally serious and very slightly amused. At times it sounds like it's commenting on events of the moment, but usually it's just rolling out one of its inscrutable monologues. It's never angry. Oh, and once in a while it sounds like it's quoting a proverb.

What significance do I assign to this? None. I'm a human being, if a somewhat idiosyncratic specimen. What I conclude is that the range of potential human behavior includes having one's speech centers spin out an infinite supply of proprietary Lorum Ipsum.

#36 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2004, 04:48 PM:

Teresa, I never knew we shared that particular trait. Except mine is frequently angry, and what voice it is varies from day to day, or even moment to moment. Also it likes to list things. What the lists are I don't know, but I'm pretty sure they aren't the ingredients for a cake, if you know what I mean.

I consider it undifferentiated expression, the speaking of things which cannot be spoken of. And I have a ritual where it comes out, out loud. If you want to be able to get yours to speak with your actual mouth, I'd just like to say that I've taught others to do this, that you obviously have a head start, and that the technique I use is completely religion-free. Or at least religion-independent; you have to believe that your mind has bits that aren't ordinarily accessible, that's about it.

I like to tell people that I hear voices, but if they're telling me to kill people I'd never know, because they don't speak any language I understand. I am, of course, joking.

#37 ::: novalis ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2004, 04:52 PM:

For completeness:

Would one who thinks they're a cow be Barn Again? A bear, Beorn Again? A C++ template, Bjarne Again? A copyright lawyer, Berne Again? I guess that last is me -- I'm not really a copyright lawyer, but I play one at work.

(still laughing at xopher+pnh)

#38 ::: Zvi ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2004, 05:10 PM:

...a Scottish child? (Bairn again)
...a tennis star/member of ABBA? (Bjorn again)
...aged cartoon industrialist? (Burns again)

#39 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2004, 05:11 PM:

If you hear unknown languages muttering about in your head, be very careful about doing any telekinesis. (It's a sign of warlockry in Lawrence Watt-Evans's Ethshar books, the more recent of which have been published by Tor, after all.)

#40 ::: Glen Blankenship ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2004, 05:20 PM:

My favorite line (so far) from Molatar's Castle:

getting Born Again is a wonderful experience and worth the miniscule intellectual effort
...which he (naturally) recommends as a first step prior to undergoing a permanent shape-shift.

#41 ::: Will "scifantasy" Frank ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2004, 05:22 PM:

Zvi: ISTR reading on the L-Space Web that there's an Abba cover band called Bjorn Again...

#42 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2004, 05:30 PM:

Glen -- and couldn't be bothered spell-checking (oo, spells!) to avoid misspelling 'minuscule'.

#43 ::: Magenta ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2004, 05:34 PM:

I've had that unknown languages in my head, speaking to me and almost but not quite understanding. But that was on 500 mcg.

My flying dreams, what few I've had, always turn into falling dreams, and I wake up very disoriented.

#44 ::: Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2004, 05:39 PM:

A very small percentage of people who take SSRIs have auditory hallucinations. Since my body likes to be an outlier, I have them. Mostly I hear music, but occasionally I hear people talking. Always, they are just at the edge of hearing so that I can't quite understand what they're saying, but I don't think it's because they're speaking an unknown language. The cadences are definitely English.

MKK

#45 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2004, 05:45 PM:

Let me clarify. The "voice" in my head (I can't speak for Teresa) is heard the same way you hear a song you like (or hate!) playing in your head. It's not quite an auditory hallucination, in other words. I have "visions" the same way. I can always tell the difference between something I'm actually seeing with my eyes, and something I'm "seeing" with my inner eye, visual cortex, whatever. The only exception so far was "false light" after a very extended period of sitting in some VERY intense darkness.

I guess the difference is that I hear music I've never heard before (and write some of it down), hear words that have never been spoken in my hearing (or anyone's), and see things that have never happened, even on a movie screen. So the usual "vivid memory" explanation doesn't hold water, but I don't really have a deep need to analyze the experience.

#46 ::: Kevin Andrew Murphy ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2004, 05:47 PM:

And with late 70s tennis as your religion, it's Bjorne Again.

Ah, the Otherkin business. Have a friend who overly identifies as a dragon, in particular with his boyfriend, which caused unusual and unexpected troubles when I tried to run a "kill the dragon" plotline in a D&D game.

Then I run into far too many furries who are going around and saying "Mew" at things. My general thought when I encounter this is "If you're really a kitten, let's see you eat a bug and then lick your ass."

But then Furry kitten behavior is at a disjoint from actual kitten behavior. Ditto with all the types who say "I'm a wolf" and then act hyper and attempt to make wolf sounds at any available dogs or coyotes, who look askance at the insane human. Contrawise, I'm not a wolf, but I am a dog owner, and do know how to howl the particular notes which will get canines to join in or answer in response.

Still chuckling about the satanists. Whenever I hear one of those recollected memories stories, my main thought is that it's small wonder that the satanists haven't taken over the world with them grooming such nebishes for the top of the priesthood.

#47 ::: Rebecca Borgstrom ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2004, 05:47 PM:

Night of the Antinomian was, as a historical note, partly inspired by Making Light---I had encountered the concept before, in a family member's critique of her Calvinist mother, but I think it was the recent post Strict Orthodoxy here that gave me the term and started me thinking about it.

Also, hi! I've been reading since February or so, thanks to a heads-up from Catie Murphy. ^_^

#48 ::: Tina ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2004, 05:59 PM:

Xopher, you're only safe because I am not the Law. (If you're wondering, yes, that means I support the death penalty for certain things, though for punning I generally would only sentence a good noodle flogging, which sounds vaguely obscene now that I think about it.)

I get voices in my head, but usually they're my characters. Occasionally they talk to each other, even when living in completely different worlds.

What? What? Why are you all looking at me like that?

#49 ::: Jon Lennox ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2004, 06:05 PM:

On the subject of otherkin, see Outcast Otherkin: "Look, whatever you believe is cool. Just allow us to make fun of you for it. "

#50 ::: Andrew Willett ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2004, 06:09 PM:

I've been swimming with a Masters team here in NYC for about ten years now; it seemed very natural to me, therefore, when sometime this summer I started having flying dreams that used the butterfly stroke to get me around.

If you fancied yourself an Otherkin Ghostbuster, would you need to be Born Egon?

#51 ::: Tina ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2004, 06:10 PM:

Andrew Willett, I sentence thee to a flogging of 75 strokes with a wet vermicelli.

#52 ::: Kevin Andrew Murphy ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2004, 06:33 PM:

Jon,

Amazing link, particularly this:

now, I'm not so sure
I've been thinking about my true otherkin self, perhaps I'm deluded?
I mean, sure, those things that mark me as vibratorkin are still there, but lately, I've been dreaming about things. Blue things. Craving red berries, seeking wisdom from bearded old men, fearing being devoured by cannabalistic monks who live with cats and create evil women. Yes, I suspect I am smurfkin, as this girl's cousin is elfkin. I too believe smurfs are real, as he believes in Middle Earth. I too feel alienated, different, alone, and I'm not even a 15 year old who shall be deeply embarrased by having this brought up years later!
Perhaps someone here can astral project my way and check out my dreams tonight? Surely, there must be some other outcast who can help me in my quest for self knowledge?

#53 ::: Darkhawk ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2004, 06:40 PM:

'Tis worth noting that there is evidence that the brain structures of transgendered folks are, in fact, not in accord with their external genitalia, and that when they go on hormones their brain function improves (because it's being submerged in the chemistry that suits its structure better).

So it doesn't strike me so much as a "somehow", but as a "we know how already, because we can point at the different brain structures on a CAT scan, what we don't know yet is how that happens".

As to otherkin and multiplicity and similar things: I don't, as a general rule, think of any of the various metaphors people use to systematise their experiences are intrinsically sillier than others. Some folks adopt certain systems in response to a feeling of alienation or a need to feel special or different; others just find them, y'know, functional.

(I am, as a general rule, as much an agnostic about whether or not these systems function because they're factual or because they're a convenient metaphorical shorthand or because they're a useful thought-hack or some other reason as I am about the nature of the divine.)

The functional folks who use these structures tend to be much less visible than the wacked-out ones, for a number of reasons probably easily extrapolatable. The functional ones are also more likely to have the "we're insane, not stupid" sensahuma about things, in my experience, and I consider that a reasonable rough guideline for which folks I'll wind up getting along with.

#54 ::: Bitdancer ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2004, 06:59 PM:

And if you think you're a Klingon, you'd be Dorn Again.

#55 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2004, 07:11 PM:

The last time I thought I heard voices just out of reach in my head, it turned out that I needed to replace the flapper in the guest bathroom toilet.

#56 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2004, 07:25 PM:

The voice in my head since 2 Jan 2004 speaks in full equations. It almost, but not quite, has my accent. It speaks most clearly when I'm very short of sleep, and my critical faculties are weak. And sometimes in my dreams. So I write the equations down, upon awakening, or before crashing into the arms of Morpheus, submit them, get four dozen published, and wonder exactly what's going on. Not that I'm complaining, mind you.

Does that mean that I'm a Mathkin? Inside every body there's a multidimensional hyperspace recursion struggling to get out?

Fortunately, I'm paid at least part time to be an Adjunct Math Professor. They don't actually mind my doing "research" so long as it doesn't interfere with my classroom behavior, which is rather well-regarded.

However, the borders of reality have begun to dissolve. My students, on their very exams, have struggled with Eldrich Equations not found in any terrestrial textbook, sprung from my fevered brow. And some students have gotten the right answers. And some of them, poor souls, have begun to do their own "research." Even now, one of the senior Architecture students is designing a building based on my twisted take on Chaos Theory. I predict that, once it is built, some people will go in, and never be seen again. *cue theremin*

#57 ::: SD ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2004, 07:27 PM:

I have that voice, too, and its tone is similar to that of Teresa's (perhaps slightly more childish and/or mad--but if mad, mad thinking it's being perfectly reasonably, and slightly condescending to boot); however, it's not as if it's speaking another language; it's more like it's speaking English with all the actual phonemes edited out, so that it retains only cadence and tone. I hear it most clearly when I am trying to do math (something it neither helps nor hinders as far as I can tell).

I also have a memory that I thought for a while was from a past life, until I described it to my parents and they noted a striking similarity to the famous anti-Goldwater "daisy ad," which I must have seen replayed in a documentary when I was an infant or small child. I must have been very young, because in the memory it is not someone else counting petals--I am counting them myself. And then the bomb goes off.

#58 ::: Dan Layman-Kennedy ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2004, 08:10 PM:

Since it hasn't been said yet: Hello, Rebecca! You're just in time to remind me how far behind I am in my Hitherby reading. Alas, the world is full of shiny things.

(And - if you'll permit me the moment of fanboy obeisance - the handful of weekends I spent two summers ago as the Viscount of Alternatives are some of the finest hours I've spent round a coffee table. I had to stop and go make Shakespeare, but that's the way of things. Nonetheless - well done, well done.)

#59 ::: Jon H ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2004, 08:24 PM:

NelC writes: "Is there a support group for medium-sized human beings trapped inside a large human's body? I feel like I should really be about 6 inches shorter...."

Hm. I suspect my head is sized for someone 6 inches taller than my 5'9ish.

Marilee: "The last time I thought I heard voices just out of reach in my head, it turned out that I needed to replace the flapper in the guest bathroom toilet."

My dishwasher in Chicago used to make a noise at one moment in the cycle which sounded to me like it was saying my name, "Jon".

#60 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2004, 09:00 PM:

Darkhawk: "I don't, as a general rule, think of any of the various metaphors people use to systematise their experiences are intrinsically sillier than others." Wise words.

Which doesn't mean Don't Laugh. What it does mean is, as R. A. Lafferty put it: "The opposite of 'serious' isn't 'funny.' The opposite of both 'serious' and 'funny' is 'sordid.'"

#61 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2004, 09:07 PM:

For a while, when my command of the languages in question was better than it is now, I used to muse over important decisions by speaking aloud to myself in three languages. It was a great thinking strategy - the language structures meant that each issue was approached differently.

It also meant that people crossed the street to avoid me.

#62 ::: Tayefeth ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2004, 10:30 PM:

Hey, Lennox. Good to see you here.

I wonder how much of the 'otherkin' delusion is a product of the 'everyone is special and unique' educational philosophy. Yeah, no one is exactly like anyone else and few of the differences show on the outside, but that doesn't mean we need internal aliens or wolves or elves to explain why we don't fit in perfectly. (Does anyone fit in perfectly? Somehow, I doubt it.)

My own internal voice occasionally pipes up with a running third person description of what I'm doing. This is only annoying when it becomes sarcastic.

Rebecca, Catie has a lot to answer for. It's her fault I read here.

#63 ::: Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2004, 10:37 PM:

Oh, voices inSIDE the head. Well I get those too, doesn't everyone? In one round of treatment for depression (before we had SSRIs) the analyst had me take a Minnesota Multi-Phasic Inventory. When I checked that yes I did hear voices in my head, it got me a lot of attention very quickly. I hold conversations in my head with various people, real, fictional, and legendary, all the time. I wonder if I could ever learn meditation -- it seems to me my brain has to be busy all the damn time.

MKK

#64 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2004, 10:48 PM:

Tayefeth wrote:

My own internal voice occasionally pipes up with a running third person description of what I'm doing. This is only annoying when it becomes sarcastic.

Heh. I've always called that the 'censor'. The voice that pipes up and says things like "Cars are real" and "No matter how much you think you can, you can't fly" - or "It's really a bad idea to say "Yup, that's right - I've got a machine gun in this violin case" even if the security guy at the airport's already made a joke about taking violins to Chicago"

#65 ::: Harry Connolly ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2004, 10:51 PM:
You liked it? I was thinking it was too pat. How did you come to notice I'd changed it?

I noticed because the line made me laugh, and not in a derisive way. My laugh was a recognition that we live in an interesting world. A few minutes later, I decided I wanted to read it again and noticed the line was gone.

Obviously, I thought it was the just the right amount of pat.

Also, if you believe you're really Fran Tarkenton, you have obviously Blown a Game.

#66 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2004, 11:13 PM:

MKK: Oh, voices inSIDE the head. Well I get those too, doesn't everyone?

I do. Mostly they sing. Or play music. They're not very good. And they mumble.

Jon: My dishwasher in Chicago used to make a noise at one moment in the cycle which sounded to me like it was saying my name, "Jon".

I used to have one that did just that very thing exactly. You never answered, though.

#67 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2004, 11:15 PM:

Garden of Eden otherkin: Bared Again.

#68 ::: Keith ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2004, 11:26 PM:

My voice tends to jabber on in the general tone of a cranky old man. Sometimes, when it's less cranky, it gets a touch of the old sage about it, like it's imparting the wisdom of the ages, only in utter babble. The thing is, it seems to know it's utter babble and pleased as hell.

Anyway, I staggered sideways when I read Snow Crash, with the people speaking in glossolalia, which is really human Ur-language related to Sumarian. Got me thinking about the babbling old man in my head.

#69 ::: Kevin Andrew Murphy ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2004, 11:35 PM:

The Otherkin self-identification with the same list of rather pedestrian power animals (wolf, tiger, dragon, phoenix) puts me in mind of Lady Pixie Moondrip's Random Craft Name Generator. It also makes me wonder if I'll ever meet anyone who fancies themselves a stoat or a catoblepas.

It likely has something to do with the number of people who, on hearing of reincarnation, decide they're Cleopatra reborn, rather than Grover Cleveland's barber.

#70 ::: Will "scifantasy" Frank ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2004, 11:54 PM:

I don't hear voices in my head--at least, not when I'm not reciting something in my head.

Though I don't do much of that either. I tend to recite out loud, either in a low voice to myself or--if I'm alone--louder. Especially with books or writings I find particularly good. So I guess it might look like I'm walking down the street talking to voices only I can hear, but I'm not.

#71 ::: Emma ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2004, 12:41 AM:

I'm a fox in my dreams. She only appears when I'm under stress, and the dream is always the same: I'm being chased by a mob with torches and I keep falling down, when suddenly I realize that I can do better on all fours anyway. I can feel my tail grow, and my ears, and everything becomes very clear, especially smells. And I run and run and they can't catch me. It's exhilarating and a little frightening because once or twice I've woken up with bruised palms and soles. But I'm always much more centered and able to deal with whatever was stressing me.

Keith, I've always thought it would be fascinating to be able to reproduce the language I hear in my head and compare it to others'--I've flirted with the idea of an ur-language.

#72 ::: Renatus ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2004, 01:28 AM:

My take on the whole otherkin thing is that it is something a lot of 'out of place' youngsters latch on to because they, for some reason, feel out of step with the world, and are looking for a reason why. In my particular case, that seems to be a big factor in why I started looking into it (although this was long before I knew the Internet existed) - it wasn't until nearly a decade later that I found out I have many characteristics of Asperger's Syndrome, which explained quite a lot about why I felt out of step with the world! Another young person I knew into the otherkin thing ended up being diagnosed with schizophrenia.

Otherwise, I take a similar agnostic view to Darkhawk's (which was most excellently worded).

It also makes me wonder if I'll ever meet anyone who fancies themselves a stoat or a catoblepas.

Kevin, I did once encounter a young lady online who fancied her otherkin self to be a cockroach - and was serious about it. Well, as serious as one could be - she was a cheerfully strange person about everything.

#73 ::: Rob Hansen ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2004, 01:49 AM:

Personally, I've always believed I was a transwealthual, a rich person born into the life of a poor person. I believe this condition can only be allieviated by having skilled surgeons graft large amount of money onto my bank account.

#74 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2004, 02:28 AM:

I'm like Will Frank: I don't get voices either. I do fairly often talk to myself and answer back (e.g., when grocery shopping: "David, you know full well that you ought not to buy more chocolate chip Pop-Tarts." "Yeah, and I'm going to anyway." "I know. -Sigh-.") and I have a vague sort of sense that these are different facets of my personality talking to each other -- but there is a strong sense that it's all me, part of one identity.

Jo's story about swimming triggered a very minor revelation. I remember when I was young being in a store and seeing an item on a high shelf and knowing what it would be like to levitate up and take a closer look. I'd never made the connection before, but it was the same sensation as being at the bottom of a swimming pool and bobbing up to the surface.

I was going to say that my dreams of flying aren't much like swimming, but now that I think about it, I'm not sure that's true. The flying is a lot like gliding through water just after having pushed off of a wall. That explains why I rarely get much speed or altitude; my flying dreams are very little like comic-book flight at all.

#75 ::: Lois Fundis ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2004, 02:28 AM:

I've had the sort of "voices" Marilee describes -- one thing I've learned in the last dozen years is that home ownership leads to developing basic plumbing skills! Similarly, when I hear voices that don't quite resolve into words, it sometimes means I've left a TV or radio on in another room. (Or that the Very Loud Neighbors -- recently moved, thank Deity-of-your-choice -- were doing something.)

Then again, as part of my convoluted religious background, I was part of a charismatic prayer group at my then-parish and learned to "speak in tongues", a skill I still practice occasionally, if only in the bathtub. That combined with a hot bath can be very relaxing!

TNH's namesake, Teresa of Avila, had some interesting and wise things to say in The Interior Castle about auditory hallucinations. It's been a while since I've read it, though, so I'm not sure I could quote it adequately. IIRC, it was along the lines of "mostly harmless."

I've had the "flying" dreams too, but not for a long time; I used to have them quite often when I was in my late teens and early twenties. In my case it was more like "walking" in a swimming pool, long effortless strides in a buoyant substance, only it was air and not water, or my legs moved but didn't touch the floor more than one step in twelve or so, and, like Teresa, I pushed against ceilings or furniture for momentum.

Never had the urge to be "otherkin." I *did* have an imaginary horse at the age other kids had imaginary friends, but that may have been influenced by too many cowboy shows on TV -- I wanted to be Roy Rogers, not Trigger.

#76 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2004, 02:39 AM:

How is it, by the way, that I have not come across Hitherby Dragons erenow? Someone's falling down on their obligation to point me at this kind of thing. Oh, well, going through its archives will be a project for idle hours in the next couple of weeks....

#77 ::: Jason ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2004, 03:58 AM:

Sorry, David. I've brought it up a few times on here before, but never in an Open Thread "hey everyone look at this wonderfully cool thing" sort of way.

Jo: I know your swimming/flying experience very well. My childhood swimming was seasonal (I'd swim for hours and hours every day in the summer and then not at all otherwise) and I spent much of my Septembers having feelings like yours.

I'm still fairly sensitive to ocean currents - if I spend much of a day in or on or near the ocean, say at the boardwalk, I'll feel like the current's moving me back and forth for about three days after.

Never heard any voices or any such things as folks have been describing, though, nor have I ever thought I was an animal, person of another gender, alien, etc. trapped in my own body. I think my only odd experience of the sort is the definable pressure I feel around electronic devices that've been left on for too long. I'd rather assumed everyone felt this, but too many of my friends have looked at me strangely for me to cling to that. I guess I'm just sensitive to static buildup or whatever.

Oh, and Jonathan? Your most recent comment is a small treasure to me. Thank you!

#78 ::: Randall M ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2004, 04:22 AM:

So comic-book writers are Byrne again?

The satanic cults, of course, didn't seem to have much in the way of internal politics going on, despite all those political figues, judges, lawyers and teachers who were alleged to be members (not any specific names, mind you, just that there were supposed to be a lot of rich and powerful people in them so that they could so completely hide *all* evidence of their own existence), nor any specific theology. They existed only to sacrifice victims, sexually abuse kids, and impregnate young women to make them give birth to more victims. Does that sound like an organization of humans?

#79 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2004, 06:04 AM:

I'm a little disappointed that hitherby decided on "Night of the Antinomian" rather than picking the far more entertaining Circumcellion Heresy of north Africa.
Circumcellions were radical Donatists who regarded martyrdom as the highest end and carried big clubs. They used to waylay travelling merchants in remote places and have conversations along the following lines:
SCENE: an isolated pass in Numidia.
M. CAECILIUS METO, A TRAVELLING MERCHANT: Stand back, you devils! What do you want? I warn you, if you are bandits, you will not take my wares without a fight!
JUGO, A CIRCUMCELLION: Peace, heathen scum. We are Circumcellions, faithful (although unorthodox) followers of Christ. We desire only to die in Christ and join him in Heaven.
METO: Well, so you say. What's with the club, then?
JUGO: Ah, I was coming to that. Martyr me.
METO: What?
JUGO: Martyr me. Go on, here's my club. A couple of quick swats on the head and it's Eternal Light for me. Yippee!
METO: You've clearly been out in the sun too long. Go and have a lie down under yonder olive tree. I'm not going to beat you to death. I barely know you.
JUGO: Do you deny me salvation? Right! I'll not ask you again. Martyr me or I will beat you very severely with this club (which, for some reason, is called an Israelite) and then steal all your stuff.
METO: ...OK then. Just bend your head forward a bit...

And that, kids, is why there aren't as many Circumcellions around today as there used to be.

#80 ::: Nick Kiddle ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2004, 06:07 AM:

You mean I'm not the only person to have audio playback of conversations in my head? From the way the psychiatrist looked at me I thought I had to be.

One odd thing I do is play conversations back in English whatever language they were originally in. Sometimes I could hear my ex's mother speaking in my head so clearly that I had to remind myself I couldn't be hearing her words because she wouldn't have spoken them in English.

#81 ::: Paul ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2004, 07:06 AM:

Randall - presumably Talking Heads would also be Byrne Again, if they reformed.

#82 ::: Jakob ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2004, 07:51 AM:

Romantic poets? Byron again
Hard-SF writers? Born Egan

(Hey, all the good ones were taken)

#83 ::: Rebecca Borgstrom ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2004, 07:51 AM:

ajay - clearly, I have only scratched the surface of possible giant heretic horror movies. There's also a lot of room for romantic comedies and even touching feel-good stories, e.g., where a giant apolinarianist befriends a human child, but then discovers that the Logos wants to hollow the kid out to serve as its vessel. In the end, it turns out it was all a test, like that thing with Abraham. Everyone laughs and laughs.

#84 ::: NelC ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2004, 09:14 AM:

Jon H: Alas, my head is well proportioned to my body, else I'd offer you a head transplant. Perhaps, if our skulls are similarly sized, a brain transplant...?

Stefan Jones: Gelatinous cube, haha! I find myself wandering, um, wondering what a Beholder would feel like in a human's body. Or vice versa.

#85 ::: Paul ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2004, 09:18 AM:

ajay: also a "tavern haunter [and] bar hopper" according to Pirate Productions.

#86 ::: Paul ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2004, 09:19 AM:

That's weird - it's highlighted as a link, but *isn't* a link. Strange.

The URL is:

http://www.pirateproductions.com/word_listc.htm

#87 ::: Jill Smith ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2004, 09:29 AM:

Marilee - you made me laugh out loud.

JvP - Yes, you are DEFINITELY a "Mathkin."

Generally speaking, otherkin remind me somewhat of the line from "Bull Durham" (I'm going to paraphrase here), "Why is everyone always famous in a former life? Wasn't anyone Joe Schmoe?" Otherkin seem always to be dragons, wolves, elves with mystical powers, etc. Has anyone ever heard of an otherkin who is a vole, a pigeon, or some other pedestrian critter with no romance or special abilities?

#88 ::: Nick Brooke ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2004, 09:45 AM:

Coming in late: Xopher -- "Closest I come to this one is telling people of a Shamanic bent that my power animal is a velociraptor. (It isn't, it's a panther, but they get the joke.)"

So: did you ever study Saurintology? (No, I'm almost serious. It was founded by a "person of a Shamanic bent," too).

#89 ::: Simstim ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2004, 10:03 AM:

There's an Australian ABBA tribute band called Bjorn Again.

Only slightly related to the topic, but I've always wandered why those who believe themselves to be reincarnations always seem to be the reincarnation of a princess, or a high priest, or suchlike? Surely, given the occupational distribution of the past human population they'd most likely to have been a peasant (or a hunter, or a factory worker...) It can't be because they think of themselves as somehow "special" can it? Noooo....

#90 ::: Simstim ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2004, 10:08 AM:

[Slaps head!] Sorry, didn't see Jill Smith's reference to Bull Durham! My comment was just a reincarnation of that one obviously.

#91 ::: Jo Walton ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2004, 10:51 AM:

T: That sounds like what I call the harmonic. It's the rhythm to write against. Getting that straight for a project helps keep tone consistent. It gets driven out by earworms, which is why I'm so picky about music when I'm writing. Sometimes it seems to me less like talking in another language and more like the pure seam of language that lies underneath words.

#92 ::: mayakda ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2004, 11:11 AM:

"Why is everyone always famous in a former life? Wasn't anyone Joe Schmoe?"

One theory to answer to this is that although reincarnation is false, people's lives do leave "echoes". (This ties in with ghosts, too). Certain people hear the echoes and think they are memories. Obviously the more intense a person's life, the greater the echo and the more people likely to hear it.

#93 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2004, 11:21 AM:

I only have an occasional (sometimes sardonic) sound track of "songs appropriate to the situation" popping into my head. I *wish* I had dreams of being taller, or smoothly levitating to reach all those things on top shelves, but alas....

#94 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2004, 11:46 AM:

Then again, as part of my convoluted religious background, I was part of a charismatic prayer group at my then-parish and learned to "speak in tongues", a skill I still practice occasionally, if only in the bathtub. That combined with a hot bath can be very relaxing!

That's pretty much the thing I do...minus the supportive religious background. I've been doing glossolalia my entire life. In the ritual I spoke of, it's the trance induction.

We call such things "spiritual technology." Some of them can be adapted to a variety of religious frames, and glossolalia is one of them.

Nick - never heard of Saurintology. It sounds delightfully silly in a "you've GOT to be kidding" kind of way.

Jill - a friend of mine pointed out that most of us, for most of our previous lives, had to have been Chinese peasants.

I've pointed out that there are now more people alive than have ever lived and died since the genus Homo first appeared. (Am I the only one who thinks this is terrifying?) Even leaving out the fact that many of those people were repeats, that means there have to be SOME of us -- great numbers, actually -- who are on our first goaround on this plane.

Since "old souls" are considered more sensible and mature and spiritually advanced, this explains a lot about the world and its upfuckèdness.

As for the pigeons and voles -- I'm sure they exist, but they don't tell anyone. Or never notice, because they're busy trying to struggle UP TO the standard of being human...I can name some people I'm pretty well convinced are otherkin slugs, for example.

Only slightly more seriously, some otherkin claim that the reason they're in human form is that their natural form cannot exist in this world. This is more commonly held among the dragons and wyverns than the wolves and panthers.

My own personal theory on this is that some of these people are just inventing things to get attention, and a subset of them drift into actual delusions. Others are having a spiritual experience like the one I had when I "danced my power animal" at a Pagan gathering, but in a completely different cultural frame.

In the frame that comes from the cultures where shamanism is practiced, each individual is held to have a "power animal." This is a specific animal that was once a living creature, and is now a spirit. It gives the human person its strength and other virtues, in exchange for being able to live and breathe again (a good deal for both parties IMO).

But our culture has no such beliefs or framework. So what happens when a person in our culture has the experience that elsewhere might be interpreted as "feeling your power animal"?

What our culture DOES have is a belief that some people are transgendered (this is borne out by science, apparently, but is new as a cultural frame). It doesn't surprise me at all that people are interpreting their experiences as being "transspecied" -- just as the same people who used to be "taken by the Elves" are now "kidnapped by aliens."

I think it might be a helpful metaphor in either case. I know my power animal metaphor helps me when I need to be aggressive, and when I dance. Whether it's capital-T True is much less important.

#95 ::: Andy Perrin ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2004, 12:03 PM:

"danced my power animal"

Is that what they call it now?

*runs away*

#96 ::: Seth Gordon ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2004, 12:25 PM:

I am an appendix-less man trapped in an appendixful man's body. Unfortunately, HMO Blue won't pay for the removal of an uninfected appendix. Until I am either lucky enough to get appendicitis or rich enough to pay full price for the surgery, I must carry around this lump of useless, alienated flesh in my body, separating me from my true nature.

I'm not too fond of my lymph nodes, either.

#97 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2004, 12:40 PM:

If you form a community around some shared interest, sooner or later someone in it is going to get Born Again and start preaching Jesus—unless it’s a born-again group to start with, in which case someone will begin selling Amway ...

I hope nobody takes this the wrong way, but -- speaking as an atheist with no hint of Christianity in his family tree -- it has often seemed to me that there are striking similarities between an Amway sales pitch and the way a convinced Christian goes about trying to evangelize a heathen (like me). Did the Amway founders deliberately adopt their sales tactics by analysing religious missionary practices? And why do so many folks seem to find the act of selling so spiritually comforting?

#98 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2004, 01:03 PM:

Jason and Jill Smith:

Thank you. My serious subtext is that people who feel compelled to be something other than a mundane human seek a supportive individual, or support group. Having found one or more, it becomes "safe" to feel that way, which can be an enormous relief, and very empowering. The down-side is that there is no bright line between "supportive" and "codependent." Hence "folie a deux" and cults of all kinds.

Many of us on the blog have found the Literary culture, the Science Fiction/Fantasy culture, the scholarly culture, the military culture, the religious culture, the Red Sox nation, or the Knitting Culture essential to our wellbeing.

My latest support group:

The On-Line Encyclopedia of Integer Sequences.

Earlier, on another thread, I'd mentioned how I had a number of able-to-be-cited 1-sentence contributions there. More seriously, I have been getting more and more of abstracts (key equation, key results, key references, key hotlinks) accepted by the editorial board at AT&T Research, under the leadership of Dr. Neil A. J. Sloane. I now have 32 entries there (use their search toggled to:

Enter a []sequence, [*]word, or []sequence number:
Jonathan Vos Post

to see the list. There are another dozen or so undergoing editorial review. The result? I get emails from people in Tennessee, Paris, and Belgrade (to take this morning's inbox) commenting on my results or on my comments. Also, I gave a paperclipped-coverpaged bundle of over 20 of these to my Department Chairman and the Academic Vice President, as input to the decisionmaking on the Spring 2005 math classes assignments, to start about 3 Jan 2005. Right now they are in an anomaly, where my wife (full-time Professor of Physics) has been assigned the Intermediate Algebra classes that I teach, leaving me no classes at all. De facto demotion for outpublishing the rest of the department, and for getting the highest rating from students.

The VP rolls his eyes, and starts working behind the scenes to correct the anomaly. Meanwhile students come to me and my wife in the parking lots and on the lawns of campus in a panic, as they have heard great things about our teaching and don't want these classes from the wrong person.

I also have 120 contributions to:

Prime Curios!

I've drawn this tentative conclusion, where by "Literature" I include "A Literature" (i.e. the Literature of the American West, or the Biomedical Literature):

Post's First Law of Literature:

Literature is a Slow Blog!

#99 ::: Jeremy Osner ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2004, 01:19 PM:

IIRC Amway's founder, Richard Devos is an evangelical Christian.

#100 ::: Barbara Gordon ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2004, 01:26 PM:

Regarding satanic abuse narratives - I've read the (ur-?)narrative Michelle Remembers, and feel that I should point out the klutziness of much of that cult's behaviour. At one point they put little Michelle inside a wooden devil-statue and push small reptiles through the mouth opening onto her. Naturally, she scoops them back out again, and they don't know what to do about it. I vaguely recall that on another occasion she messes up their ritual by either vomiting or wetting herself, and they don't have a plan in place for dealing with that, either. Which leads me to suspect that they had not really thought through the complexities of dealing with small children.

#101 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2004, 01:30 PM:

"Amway's founder, Richard Devos is an evangelical Christian."

No relation to my Vos family, whose most famous member of this generation is the brilliant and successful comedian:

Rich Vos

He has a really useful and attractive web site. His material, beyond what the networks aired when he was a finalist on "Last Comic Standing" and a judge in that show's second season, is rather "blue."

Those who offered condolences when he finished 3rd on "Last Comic Standing" were told "Waddaya mean failure? I earn 3 times as much since then, while working fewer hours."

As Saint Robert Zimmerman said:

"There's no success like failure, and failure's no success at all."

#102 ::: Aiglet ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2004, 01:42 PM:

I have to chime in on the side of people with voices in their heads. I actually get three or four different *kinds* (although all in the same "voice) -- I get "what I'm going to say, only two seconds earlier" (which I wish was more useful for keeping me from saying stupid things), I get "replays of old conversations", I get "ongoing internal debates," and I get "someone is reading me a book" (although often the "book" is just some ongoing story I have in my head).

I thought that was normal? Reinforcing social mores, and all of that?

#103 ::: HP ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2004, 02:23 PM:

Re. hypnogogic auditory hallucinations (and we are talking hypnogogia here, right? not mild schizophrenia?): Courtesy of a thorough musical education, I often hear entire phantom orchestras. The music is incredibly rich and detailed, and it's usually this close to something I could easily transcribe, but just beyond my abilities. The style is like a mix of Bernard Herrmann and Bela Bartok. Neither of which is a style of music I do professionally.

Re. werewolves: After gorging myself on the Universal "Wolf-Man" DVD box, I did a bit of research into actual werewolf lore. It turns out that 90% of what we "know" about werewolves was invented out of whole cloth by Curt Siodmak in 1939/40. In European folklore, a werewolf was a type of witch who used spells and fetish items to intentionally transform into a wolf to kill enemies and steal livestock. During the inquisition, werewolves were typically invoked to solve otherwise unsolvable crimes.

If otherkin were a work of fiction (rather than simply a piece of work), I would say it was just a cheap, unimaginative mashup of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Island of Dr. Moreau.

#104 ::: Jo Walton ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2004, 02:33 PM:

Xopher: on the more people alive now than there ever were, see John Brunner's chilling short story "The Vitanulls", which takes reincarnation theory as hard science and looks at the implications.

#105 ::: Alan Bostick ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2004, 02:34 PM:

Xopher: I've pointed out that there are now more people alive than have ever lived and died since the genus Homo first appeared. (Am I the only one who thinks this is terrifying?)

It's not the least bit terrifying, because it's not the least bit true. The best estimate I've seen, based on ecosystem carrying capacities over the past few million years, is that 110 billion members of genus Homo have ever lived, and the dead outnumber the living by something like 18:1. Even if you assume that the entire human species sprang from Eve's loins shortly after 4004 BCE, reasonable models of population growth produce results showing that the dead outnumber the living by something between 5:1 and 10:1.

#106 ::: Therese Norén ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2004, 02:40 PM:

Darkhawk: 'Tis worth noting that there is evidence that the brain structures of transgendered folks are, in fact, not in accord with their external genitalia, and that when they go on hormones their brain function improves (because it's being submerged in the chemistry that suits its structure better).

So it doesn't strike me so much as a "somehow", but as a "we know how already, because we can point at the different brain structures on a CAT scan, what we don't know yet is how that happens".

You can't see function on a CAT scan, only structure. I think you meant a positron emission tomography scan.

Seth Gordon: I bet you would be remembering your lymfh nodes fondly if you got rid of them.

#107 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2004, 02:51 PM:

Alan, basing an estimate of human population on ecosystem carrying capacities seems flawed to say the least. Remember that we weren't at all the dominant species for most of our existence. For good bits of it you could have wiped out our species by killing fewer than a thousand individuals.

I don't actually have time right now to look at your data, but I've seen a graph of estimated human population over the lifetime of the species, and it's a pretty steep exponential curve.

Which is too bad, because your view is more optimistic IMO than mine...fewer new souls == a better world.

#108 ::: Jeremy Osner ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2004, 03:01 PM:

Xopher -- this is somthing I've been wondering about since starting to read "Crossing the Rubicon" recently -- in his first chapter is a graph of human population over time that seems to spike upward quite blatantly at around the time of the industrial revolution. Like, it's going along a pretty linear shape with a very gentle slope up until that point and then suddenly turns into an exponential curve. Is that representation anything like accurate?

#109 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2004, 03:14 PM:

Depends on how you count it, how you draw the graph, the parameters of your data, etc. etc. etc. -- but yeah, something like that.

#110 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2004, 03:24 PM:

"My cow ran away last month, but she soon repented and was Barn Again." Har.

Seems a lot of us have flying dreams that base the experience on memories of swimming. For me, it's a motion I found very comfortable in the swimming pool as a child - floating face-down about a foot above the bottom, and progressing horizontally by pushing off with the hands. The commonality of this seems to say something disturbing, though - is it that most of us simply can't imagine flying sufficiently to dream about anything other than swimming out of water? Why is that, when the "dream of flight" is such an important human desire?

Now as for talking to oneself and voices in one's head, that I'm not surprised to see so widespread. The thing that worries me, though, is my tendency to come to a conclusion mentally, and then feel compelled to say it out loud as though to give the impression that the instant of decision actually coincided with the point of vocalization. Does that make sense?

In other words, I'm in the grocery, and I decide to buy a box of baking soda. I will then say out loud, "You know what? I should get some baking soda," as if I hadn't decided it in my head already.

Why do I do this? Who am I trying to fool? I have no clue. I'm comfortable enough accepting my habit of talking to myself - the thought doesn't seem properly thunk until I think it where my ears can hear it. That's fine. But why would I vocalize the thought in a way that deliberately misrepresents the thought? Am I an undiagnosed compulsive liar? Or am I just fictionalizing my life on the fly, like many other writers do?

(The difference between "compulsive liar" and "habitual self-fictioneer" is left as an exercise to the reader. ;)

#111 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2004, 03:25 PM:

It went:

Darkhawk: 'Tis worth noting that there is evidence that the brain structures of transgendered folks are, in fact, not in accord with their external genitalia, and that when they go on hormones their brain function improves (because it's being submerged in the chemistry that suits its structure better).

So it doesn't strike me so much as a "somehow", but as a "we know how already, because we can point at the different brain structures on a CAT scan, what we don't know yet is how that happens".

Therese Norén: You can't see function on a CAT scan, only structure. I think you meant a positron emission tomography scan.
Darkhawk, I believe the traditional line at such moments is "A touch, a touch, I do confess."

#112 ::: Zvi ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2004, 04:29 PM:

Jo Walton:

That sounds like what I call the harmonic. It's the rhythm to write against. Getting that straight for a project helps keep tone consistent. [...] Sometimes it seems to me less like talking in another language and more like the pure seam of language that lies underneath words.

Samuel R. Delany describes this pure seam of language in a very similar way in his memoir 'The Motion of Light in Water'. He can pinpoint the time in his life (between his second and third published novels) when the-components-that-make-up-the-writing-process stopped arriving as images-to-be-given-shape and started arriving as 'language blocks', which he had to write 'against' as the language block gave him the loose, easy flow of language that he then consciouslly 'tightened up'.

Sorry for all the paraphrasing hyphens.

I can go dig up the relevant passages. It seems spookily similar to your experience.

#113 ::: jennie ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2004, 04:46 PM:

Does it strike anyone else that the phrase evangelical vegan vitamin salesman is eminently singable? And that it's just begging to be incorporated into an Arrogant Worms song?

Or am I just bent?

#114 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2004, 06:06 PM:

xeger answered Dan Lewis:

But then,
A part of your body changes form and/or color,

with

... and all I could think of was a certain part of the body, which is clearly conclusive proof that roughly half the species consists of otherkin.

And which half were \you/ thinking of? (Wouldn't that be a good question to stick in the MMPI?) Jo brought up John Brunner; for some reason, earlier today I was reminded of Stand on Zanzibar's invention of Nipicaps(tm)....

#115 ::: Rachel ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2004, 06:13 PM:

Not only was there a decided link between evangelical Christianity and Amway at my old church, may it rot, but seven of the top ten graduates in my English Lit Honors class at Sydney University were or had been evangelical Christians.

The cultural legacy of evangelicalism isn't just in sales. Once you can twist one text to mean whatever you want it to mean, that skill is highly transferable too.

#116 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2004, 06:30 PM:

Jeremy Osner and Teresa:

With all due respect: no. Species with no predators in a new niche expand according to a Logistic Equation until they reach the carrying capacity. This was described correctly as model of population growth, as first published by Pierre Verhulst (1845, 1847). It is based on a Malthusian parameter (rate of maximum population growth) and the so-called carrying capacity (i.e., the maximum sustainable population).

With two species competing in the niche, under some conditions, one will grow in a logistic curve and almost completely displace the second. Under other conditions, the system follows Lotka-Volterra Equations which describes an ecological predator-prey (or parasite-host) model with a set of fixed positive constants A (the growth rate of prey), B (the rate at which predators destroy prey), C (the death rate of predators), and D (the rate at which predators increase by consuming prey), the following conditions hold.

As Herman Kahn, one of mentors, established, the human population Logistic Curve hit its inflection point in the early or mid 1970s, and the rate of growth has been declining ever since.

It's way back in Grad School that I took Mathematical Population Biology, but I have used those equations since in modeling competition between corporations in a market, and ideas in the marketplace of ideas.

Happy Thanksgiving. Class dismissed!

#117 ::: Bob Oldendorf ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2004, 09:07 PM:

Xopher: "I've pointed out that there are now more people alive than have ever lived and died since the genus Homo first appeared. (Am I the only one who thinks this is terrifying?) Even leaving out the fact that many of those people were repeats, that means there have to be SOME of us -- great numbers, actually -- who are on our first goaround on this plane. "

And Jo Walton was reminded of "John Brunner's chilling short "The Vitanulls", which takes reincarnation theory as hard science and looks at the implications."

This thread reminded me of another SF take on reincarnation: "Population Implosion" by Andrew J. Offut. The story tells of a world where the total number of human souls is finite. And when the population reaches that number, it's a hard limit: no new babies can be incarnated without elders dying to make way for them. So, regardless of the actual ratio of 'Currently Alive' to 'Ever Lived', ALL souls are then in use. As the population continues to grow, the maximum human life span shortens.

#118 ::: Darkhawk ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2004, 09:49 PM:

Simstim wrote

Only slightly related to the topic, but I've always wandered why those who believe themselves to be reincarnations always seem to be the reincarnation of a princess, or a high priest, or suchlike? Surely, given the occupational distribution of the past human population they'd most likely to have been a peasant (or a hunter, or a factory worker...) It can't be because they think of themselves as somehow "special" can it? Noooo....

Someone recounted once a story (I believe on one of the pagan snark communities on livejournal) of how she went through a "past life regression" or something like with someone who was supposed to be skilled at such things.

She opened her eyes in the vision, looked down at her bare, dirty feet and ragged hem and the pounded dirt floor beneath them, and exclaimed, "Oh, thank the gods. I'm not a flake."

I think this is one of those cases where it's the attention-seeking maladaptives who define the generalised perception, partly because they're attention-seeking, and partly because the maladaptives are much more visible than the people who are just quietly using their systematisations.

#119 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2004, 11:00 PM:

CHip said that Dan said then I said and then he said:

xeger answered Dan Lewis:
But then,
A part of your body changes form and/or color,

with

... and all I could think of was a certain part of the body, which is clearly conclusive proof that roughly half the species consists of otherkin.

to which CHip said:

And which half were \you/ thinking of? (Wouldn't that be a good question to stick in the MMPI?)

... leading to my immediate response of:

"My mother of course!"

[but sometimes a horse is only a horse.]

#120 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2004, 11:23 PM:

Admit it, xeger. You watched The Wizard of Oz this week.

#121 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2004, 11:52 PM:

Xopher challenged:

Admit it, xeger. You watched The Wizard of Oz this week.

Er, no. As a matter of fact I've only seen it once, as a part of its 50th Anniversary celebrations. Why do you ask?

[Is this going to end up being another one of those "unfamiliar with western culture" embarassments? *grin*]

#122 ::: Andy Perrin ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2004, 11:56 PM:

When I was around ten, I had a book called The Scientific Companion that said that according to something called the "doomsday equation" the population would go to infinity around 2020. I read this one night while my parents were out, and my babysitter had a heck of time calming me down— I was sure the equation couldn't lie. I would be dead at 43.2164 (or whatever it came out to) from uncontrolled population growth. For reasons I no longer recall, I wrote my death day— I had it down to the day— in the front of the book.

#123 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2004, 02:02 AM:

Re Andy Perrin's post: wasn't it 2012 that is the supposed end of the Mayan calendar?

#124 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2004, 07:42 AM:

Christopher -

Even better, 2013 is The Rekindling of the Magic Sun, and no one is at all sure what that means.

#125 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2004, 11:04 AM:

xeger, if you haven't seen it recently, you probably don't remember the Horse of a Different Color.

Color changes, and suddenly you mentioned horses. I suspected you of sneakery.

#126 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2004, 11:10 AM:

Xopher -

There is sneakery there, but it's Austrian.

#127 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2004, 11:53 AM:

Graydon: sounds like a great title for a Big Fat Fantasy Trilogy to me. Or possibly a rock band.

#128 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2004, 01:21 PM:

IF one posits reincarnation:

The definition used above seems to presuppose that only previously human souls are compatible with human bodies. Some theories say otherwise.

In which case, we have an explanation for the astonishing prevalence of dodoes in our society. ;P

It could also explain an increasing number of people who feel as if they don't quite fit. (Unless that's just the state of being human.)

Another theory I pondered, based on the assumption that only sentients can reincarnate as other sentients...

But who says sentience is limited to Earth? If we posit extraterrestrial sentient life and reincarnation both, that opens the possibility of having been born to a significantly different kind of body in a past life. Whicht he human mind can't necessarily comporehend, but can attempt to relate to superficially similar things around them, even if only con composite. Thus people who imagine themselves as dragons...

Doesn't mean they're trapped in the wrong body *now*, necessarily.

Although, for things like otherkin, I do prefer Xopher's theory that it has to do with connections to the natural world that he sees as power animals. (Sorry, oversimplification of what you said, Xopher, but those following the conversation in total already got your whole meaning)

As for power animals; I had one friend (Wiccan) who grumbles enviously about people who (even legitimately) have the "cool" ones. Her animal is the good ol' ground squirrel.

#129 ::: Kevin Andrew Murphy ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2004, 05:00 PM:

Reincarnation is fun to theorize about.

Since populations fluctuate, you have to assume that souls either have some variety of waiting room, or else simply travel directly through time to the next available body. Or possibly backwards in time, which explains prophets, whose previous incarnations are later on in the time stream. You could also do simultaneous reincarnation, part of the old "There are only 63 real people on the planet and you know 52 of them" theory, where all of the people who remember being Cleopatra are actually right, and they're just recalling it because it was their most interesting life, as opposed to the millions of other times soul number 28 was incarnated as a washerwoman or something equally unmemorable.

#130 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2004, 05:07 PM:

Lenora Rose, Kevin Andrew Murphy, et al:

Excerpt from: The Ultimate Science Fiction Web Guide:
Science Fiction AUTHORS: B

The Beatles: Hindu mythology recognizes that a single god can be fractionally
reincarnated in several people simultaneously. In once Vedic tale, a
god appears as 3 brothers, one of whom is 1/2 the god and the other 2
brothers are each 1/4. Well, I suspect that Orpheus was reincarnated
as 1/4 John Lennon [1940-1980], 1/4 George Harrison [1943-], 1/4 Ringo Starr
[1940-] and 1/4 Paul McCartney [1942-]; with maybe a smaller fraction
going to each of several 5th and 6th Beatles. The full complexity of
their lives, loves, and music could not have been invented by any
fantasy author, although Rock & Roll novels have proliferated in the
past 4 decades...

#131 ::: Kevin Andrew Murphy ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2004, 08:49 PM:

Oh dear. I guess that would make Beatlemaniacs the Maenads. Which sort of makes a perverse amount of sense.

#132 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2004, 09:08 PM:

Kevin Andrew Murphy:

"... Beatlemaniacs the Maenads..."

Exactly. That scene in "Hard Day's Night" with the girls clinging to the car, pressed against the windows, ready to tear off their fave's clothes, or, if disappointed, their heads...

Should I have mentioned that this was Musicohistorical Theomathematics?

#133 ::: Kim Wallmark ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2004, 10:37 PM:

Andy - I read Inconstant Moon in third or fourth grade, then had a friend sleep over that night. There was a bright full moon with a fair amount of wind and intermittent cloud cover. I managed to convince both of us that the sun had gone nova on the other side of the planet, killing billions and probably going to kill us.

#134 ::: JM Kagan ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2004, 12:41 AM:

About those flying dreams---I was fascinated to hear so many of you relate them to swimming. I learned to swim late in life and I'm not (and probably won't ever be) as comfortable in water as you seem. Ricky, however, is related to the porpoise and loves the water and even loves scuba diving, so I asked him about his flying dreams. They weren't what I expected from having read the varied accounts here.

Ricky says his flying dreams are like surfing, by which he means (after much explanation) body-surfing into shore on a wave. His arms are straight out, palms up. (He says if he did Superman position---hands pointed straight forward---he'd go straight to the bottom and get trashed.) Turn hands right or left to steer, but always palms up. He tells me he's ridden waves like this only when he was wearing flippers but in his flying dreams there are no flippers...just ride the wave onto the beach...except he doesn't remember ever having beached (or landed) in a flying dream.

As for me and my flying dreams? Nothing of swimming in them. (Oh, this is embarrassing.) I swoop from side to side and occasionally kick off from a bit of the dream scenery. I kinda tack forward to where I'm going, with great joy and even greater anticipation. There's always a soundtrack that goes with this but it's never (that I remember) Rodgers and Hammerstein's PETER PAN. Yes, I know perfectly well where my flying dreams come from, even though I never got to fly on that kind of wire. As a kid, I rode (home-made) swings and, once, I made the up-and-over-the-branch and lived to tell the tale, and I did the Tarzan vine swing on ropes hung from other branches in the same tree. When I saw Mary Martin fly, I knew what she was feeling.

I love that there are so many ways to fly that I never before thought of!

#135 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2004, 06:04 AM:

only sentients can reincarnate as other sentients... But who says sentience is limited to Earth?

Ah. The Babylon 5 theory of reincarnation. I wondered how long it would take. :)

#136 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2004, 07:09 PM:

For a goodly chunk of my youth, I wanted to be a ballerina, so I have dancing dreams instead of flying ones. (I know I'm dreaming only because my pointe shoes don't hurt.)

#137 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2004, 07:50 PM:

The Oral Teachings say that Buddha preached from under the Bo tree, beings not from this Earth were in the audience. Of course they could reincarnate.

I spoke to Allen Ginsberg about this once, when he invited me to the Naropa Institute, and he said: "they didn't come here by rocketship, you know." And winked.

#138 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2004, 12:43 AM:

Jules: While I'm a fan of Babylon 5, the thought occurred to me before the series.

And I was presuming the potential alien precursors would be considerably less, ah, compatible at least visually. (IE, they wouldn't be a beautiful fomrer-Yugoslavian actress in make-up.)

The theory does give rise to an optimistic view of our possible ability to empathise with sentient alien life, which is kind of put paid to by our inability to reliably empathise with the creatures on our own world.

Don't get me started on reincarnation, though - not sure if I believe in it (Although elsewhere on Making Light I've given the first of many reasons why it makes more sense to me than eternal judgement of any kind) but I've been having to work through some of the implications of what happens in my fictional world where reincarnation -- between differing sentient species -- is a fact, but not the real and worst monkey wrench in the after-life.

#139 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2004, 09:19 AM:

So far, no one has mentioned the Stephen King Gunslingeresque version of "eternal" return: "Do it, till you get it right!"

#140 ::: Kate Nepveu ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2004, 11:21 AM:

Faren, please tell me that's not a spoiler?

#141 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2004, 11:44 AM:

Scientists Discover Air Is Heavier Than We Thought

made me immediately think of the lines:

"Then, methought, the air grew denser,
perfumed from an unseen censer"

but the voice in my head "corrected" me:

"Then, methought, the air grew denser,
perfumed from an unseen sensor"

Everyone here knows the piece from which the line is quoted.

#142 ::: Sajia ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2004, 03:07 PM:

Um,I don't.

#143 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2004, 05:55 PM:

Sajia: Um,I don't.

Intone the words like rolling thunder;
nevermore have cause to wonder.

Or google it (like I did to make sure my guess was right).

#144 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2004, 08:55 AM:

How many famous poems are there in that meter (trochaic tetrameter)? It's not Dr. Suess, and it's in English so it's not the Kalevala, and 'then, methought, the air grew denser' sure doesn't sound like it could be from The Song of Hiawatha.

What's left?

(By the way, The Song of Hiawatha was apparently written in conscious imitation of Kalevala. You may have known this for years, but I just found it out a couple of months ago.)

It's been fascinating reading about people's flying dreams; I had naively assumed that others' dreams were like mine, but so far none of them are. Like most here, I very rarely have "Superman soaring" dreams. In my dreams, it's more like levitation. It's definitely a skill I'm learning, and I'm not terribly good at it.

Mentally, it's like what I do to try to wriggle my ears, do my eye-rattle thing (can't describe this, can't always do it, catch me in person and I'll try), or raise my second toe from the floor with all the others pressed down (which I can do most of the time with my left foot, but only very occasionally with my right). Physically, it feels like I'm being lifted up, though nothing is touching me. It's always something I'm DOING, though, not something that happens to me.

I can't always control how high I go or how fast I move. If I touch anything, though, I start to sink down; I've used this technique -- grabbing a tree, for example -- to get down; occasionally an envious acquaintance will bring me down by grabbing my ankle (they don't have to pull me down; as soon as they touch me I start to sink).

The sense of just. knowing. what. to. do. is so vivid, so convincing, that I generally still believe after waking that if I could only remember what I did, I could do it in the real world. It can take up to several hours to shake off this delusion.

Falling dreams are generally an entirely separate thing for me. They usually involve falling off a ledge, going over a rail, or (most commonly) falling down the stairs. I wake with a start before the final impact; the dream, I think, is a backfill from hypnagogic myoclonus.

(I once asked a doctor friend, "What causes that full-body jerk that sometimes happens just as you're falling asleep?" She answered, "Hypnagogic myoclonus." Helpful. "OK," I asked, "What's hypnagogic myoclonus?" "That jerk before you fall asleep," she answered, grinning.)

#145 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2004, 01:53 PM:

Scientists debate creation of hybrids of animals, humans
By Rick Weiss
The Washington Post

WASHINGTON - In Minnesota, pigs are being born with human blood in their veins.

In Nevada, there are sheep whose livers and hearts are largely human.

In California, mice peer from their cages with human brain cells firing inside their skulls.

These are not outcasts from "The Island of Dr. Moreau," the 1896 novel by H.G. Wells in which a rogue doctor develops creatures that are part animal and part human. They are real creations of real scientists, stretching the boundaries of stem cell research.

Biologists call these hybrid animals chimeras, after the mythical Greek creature with a lion's head, a goat's body and a serpent's tail. They are the products of experiments in which human stem cells were added to developing animal fetuses...

leading inexorably to

THRILLER II: DO CHIMERAS DREAM OF STEM CELL SHEEP?

“It was, perhaps, a mistake,” Dr. Oboli admits.
“Pardon?” asks General McCoy.

“It might have been a mistake. To implant the stem cells of Michael Jackson, the scarecrow from the The Wiz, in pigs, sheep, and mice, in order to reveal deep secrets of human biology and point the way toward new medical treatments!”

“Yes,” General McCoy says flatly. “Yes, it might have been. Kine King of Pop, that like to climb trees and throw water balloons. Jackson, a vegetarian, claimed a strong connection to both children and animals. Hitler was a vaguely asexual vegetarian too, you know. Who was the fool who convinced the eccentric superstar that he could contribute to both saving sick children AND to answering the main questions of interspecies reincarnation? Who knew that he'd decide that he was a were-chimera?”

“I honestly didn’t think they’d ever escape the lab, and go Moonwalking away from the Neverland Lab Compound,” Dr. Oboli protests. “Or that the chimp Bubbles would acquire human brain cells, don a Captain Eo uniform, and take command. But with no federal guidelines in place, an awkward question hovers above the work: How human must a chimera be before more stringent research rules should kick in?”

“Spilled milk, Dr. Oboli. Spilled milk. But who knew that reincarnation would be proven in the laboratory, and Michael Jackson would renounce his faith and cut off our funds?”

“Those who simply leave the faith are not shunned," declared Dr. Oboli. “If, however, someone unrepentantly practices serious sins, such as drunkenness, stealing, or adultery, he will be disfellowshipped and such an individual is avoided by former fellow-worshipers. Every effort is made to help wrongdoers. But if they are unrepentant, the congregation needs to be protected from their influence?”

“Yes,” General McCoy says flatly. “The Bible clearly directs: 'Remove the wicked man from among yourselves.' (1 Corinthians 5:13). Tell us what we’re up against.”

“It’s probably the greatest threat ever to face humanity,” Dr. Oboli frets. “Historically, Singing Dancing Jehovah's Witnesses and ordinary humans have been able to coexist only because we were just as big as the Jehovah's Witnesses and could keep our front door locked if we had to. But Michael Jackson is already behind bars, playing basketball with Kobe, and we forgot to worry about his lawyers. We forgot that Jackson released an album Dangerous in 1991. After the album's re-release, he thought that his animals might accompany him on the Dangerous world tour. We never thought that the pigs would grow wings, either. And the chimeras' faces, my god, those faces!”

“Chimeras are not as strange and alien as at first blush they seem,” said Henry Greely, a law professor and ethicist at Stanford University who has reviewed proposals to create human-mouse chimeras there.

General McCoy drew his Glock, while the cacophony of animal voices outside rose into a crescendo of “the kid is not my son” from Billie Jean.

Then Dr. Oboli drew his A.G. Russell Woodswalker from a kydex neck sheath and advanced towards the coterie of attorneys and law professors...

#146 ::: Alice Keezer ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2004, 04:01 PM:

The strangest thing that happens to me is that lights go out. Not just street lamps that blink out as I pass under them, then blink back on after I'm gone. I mean that hall lights burn out far faster than they should. Especially if I've watched horror movies lately.

The last time I made that mistake, one of those fluorescent bulbs, which supposedly last up to 5 years, blew out after its 9th month. Another time, I caught a few minutes of Poltergeist on TV during spring break, and, upon my return, the stairs in my dorm building stayed dark all semester, much to the janitor's frustration. (He gave up changing the lights every day after two months, and changed them once a week, instead. I learned to carry a flashlight.)

As for voices in my head, I get characters speaking to me, and sometimes they forget to introduce themselves. One character got so frustrated at being ignored, he's started intruding on my dreams.

I also run imaginary conversations through my head. This is most inconvenient when I forget the conversation didn't really happen and continue it with the real, live people around me. My husband has gotten used to questions such as, "Did I talk to you about the three purchases I made on the debit card today already?" and, "Have I told you already the story one of my characters told me last night?"

I've been told I'm an owl, and my husband is indisputably a red squirrel. I agreed with the owl assessment only when I learned, upon further research, that owls are not as intelligent as they look.

#147 ::: Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2004, 08:48 PM:

The only animal I can claim any sort of mystical connection with is the turtle, or perhaps, tortoise. Their faces are similar and I wasn't looking at much else. That face always appears to me in guided meditations -- I suppose it would be called my spirit guide?

If my experiences in past life regression-incarnation sort of stuff are real rather than the products of electrochemical malfunctions or flukes, I have been a Nova Scotian fisherman (no wonder I hate cold weather), a dying person in a marsh, an Indian in Northern California, a resident of Iron Age Ireland, and a resident of New Orleans French Quarter.

I don't know what I think, somedays it's yea and some nay. I do know that I've never felt anything but at home in my own body though.

MKK

#148 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2004, 03:57 AM:

Xopher: While the feel of flying in my dreams is like swimming, the flying itself is a lot like what you describe. In order to fly I have to put my mind into a specific sort of attitude, one difficult to sustain. (It's a somewhat similar attitude to doing telekinesis, in dreams where I can do telekinesis. But not identical.) I have to concentrate the attitude in order to go higher or faster, but it's very easy to lose it, whereupon I drift back down to the ground. Touching something would certainly break it.

#149 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2004, 08:49 AM:

Kevin Andrew Murphy:

"... Beatlemaniacs the Maenads..."

There is a rather nasty Brunner short story (collected in the 60's, in a book that disappeared many moves ago) in which the backstory is that the singer's manager \deliberately/ set up his charge to be torn apart by fans, Orpheus-like, as a way of increasing sales. I think I got the book in 1966, so it could have been inspired by the Beatles -- or by any of the previous pop idols of the sixties or fifties.

#150 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2004, 12:48 PM:

First off: apologies for any spoilage above (perils of reviewerhood -- plus seeing too many Clint Eastwood spaghetti westerns lately).

That mention of maenads reminded me of a poem I wrote last year:

Maenads

The Maenads hacked off Orpheus’s head
to make him sing the better --
a kindness long misunderstood.

The man who failed Euridice,
weak in his longing,
lived to run with she-wolves
and died into the life alone with birds
and the moving tides --
this island
where Sappho walks.


#151 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2004, 12:57 AM:

Faren Miller:

Well done! It in turns reminds me of a poem that I wrote 13 Nov 2004, surely one of the shortest possible poems on Greek Mythology (which could be line set as a sonnet with each line including the words of the title a single word, but that's just silly, as it obscures the abab rhyme scheme. Except at the New Yorker, where they pay for poetry by the inch, not the word count):

NARCISSUS' QUESTION

If my love

is an echo

what is it an echo

of?

#152 ::: Republic of Palau ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2004, 05:23 AM:

To go back to the clams for a moment: does anyone else remember that cartoon strip in the UK Daily Mirror? (Was it "The Perishers"?) The molluscs in the rock pool had one god that manifested itself once a year... the "eyes in the sky". I loved the way the 'religious service' in the rock pool was just like a late seventies union meeting.

Or am I just very old?

#153 ::: Carol Orosco ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2004, 01:28 PM:

*delurk*

“Unknown to Boot, the crabs in one particular pool have constructed an entire religion around his annual appearance. It is not an attractive creed; its adherents are always ready to panic, to divide into warring factions, and to make bad puns (the example quoted, "In times like these we should think ourselves lucky to have a woof over our heads", is one of the better ones).”

http://www.shadowgallery.co.uk/perishers.html

*relurk*

#154 ::: Leigh Butler ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2004, 09:28 PM:

HP quoth:

During the inquisition, werewolves were typically invoked to solve otherwise unsolvable crimes.

Which reminds me irresistibly of Neil Gaiman's story "Bay Wolf", which was, like, awesome, dude.

Though my absolute favorite from that collection is "The Goldfish Pool and Other Stories", for reasons that will be screamingly obvious to anyone who knows me and of zero interest to anyone who doesn't.

On the subject of People in Head: Does it count if they never talk to you, but only to each other?

(What? They're too busy to acknowledge me. My life is spectacularly boring compared to the antics they get up to. Antics I swear I really will write down one day, for true.)

#155 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2004, 05:51 AM:

[pedantry] Well, actually the aforementioned rockpool inhabitants are not molluscs (snails, whelks, octopus, etc), but crustaceans, in the form of crabs -- see also www.shadowgallery.co.uk/perishers.html (definitely not dragons). [/pedantry]

#156 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2004, 10:43 AM:

The Invisible Man
by H. G. Wells
Kessinger Publishing, 140pp, Ł15.95
ISBN 141916757X

Reviewed by Bryan Appleyard

"Between 1895 and 1898, H G Wells wrote four science fiction masterpieces - The Time Machine, The Island of Dr Moreau, The Invisible Man and The War of the Worlds. Then, as now, SF was seen as not quite respectable by literary types. The vile George Bernard Shaw sneered at Wells, and even his own literary patron, W E Henley, told him: 'You could also do better - far better & to begin with, you must begin by taking yourself more seriously.' In our day, Margaret Atwood has turned her nose up at SF, preferring to call the novels she writes 'speculative fiction', a truly toe-curling piece of petty snobbery."

"The ratio of bad to good SF novels is about the same as that of bad to good literary novels, but, for some reason, SF is always judged by the output of its most inept practitioners. In truth, a form that has produced, among others, Stanislaw Lem, J G Ballard, the Strugatsky brothers and, above all, Herbert George Wells has nothing to apologise for...."

"... It came as a shock when I subsequently discovered that Vladimir Nabokov regarded H G Wells as a master, describing him as possessing a genius denied to his contemporaries Henry James and Joseph Conrad...."

"... If that isn't enough, the book is also full of comic scenes constructed with a Marx Brothers-like ingenuity and moments of poetry that leave you dry-mouthed and gasping...."

Bryan Appleyard's new book "Aliens: why they are here" will be published by Simon & Schuster next March.

This review first appeared in the New Statesman.

#157 ::: Pookel ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2004, 12:30 PM:

Apologies for OT comment, but ...

Does anyone else have trouble with long threads (as in the current open thread) refusing to display in entirety? I find that after it hits a certain length, which seems to be around 350 posts, the whole thread will seem to load and then suddenly disappear, so that I can't scroll past the original page. It will cut off in the middle of whatever comment is at the bottom of the first page. If I hit "stop" while it's in the middle of loading, then I get to see however many comments had loaded by that point, but I have to time it very carefully to get any of the comments near the bottom. I have the same problem in Opera and IE on Win2000 and IE on Mac.

I would comment in the open thread, except that, well, I can't see the bottom of the thread anymore because of this problem.

#158 ::: Kate Nepveu ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2004, 01:21 PM:

Pookel: Yes. In Opera, I hit ctrl-G and they're all there. I believe the IE fix is F11 twice.

My CSS and HTML fu is weak, else I'd have tried to diagnose the problem.

#159 ::: Michelle ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2004, 02:22 PM:

Hitting the back button, or Alt + left arrow works for the page loading issues I have. (The pages loads fine, then jumps to nothing but ads)

#160 ::: Wrye ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2004, 07:13 PM:

Is the hypnagogic myoclonus also known as the "topple reflex" that Carl Sagan wrote about?

*sigh* I miss Carl.

#161 ::: Tom S ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2004, 09:38 PM:

(I apologise in advance for the length. I read the original section you'd posted and couldn't help myself.)

The agent snapped his hand down, away from his earplug. "Sir, we have to move you from the Oval Office, now. The White House has been compromised."

Wind and rain pattered against the windows of the circular room. Lightning flashed, and there was a growl of thunder. "I'm not goin'," snapped the President. "I am saved, do you understand that?"

"Praise Jesus, sir," the agent said. "But we need to move you. The Thing is On the South lawn."

The President waved his hand as if trying to ward away a terrible odor. "You'd damn well better praise Him. But you're not listenin' to me!" The President swung around quickly to look at Dr. Oboli and General McCoy. "YOU! Doctor Fat Boy, explain to my agents that I am Saved! This giant snot-bag --"

"Antinomian, Mr. President," McCoy said.

"Whatever the fuck. It wouldn't dare attack me! I am the President!! I speak with the voice of the Lord!!" The President quivered with anger, the muscles of his face twitching. "What does this thing call itself??"

Dr. Oboli cleared his throat. "Mr. President, it is a person. A transformed person, named Johannes Agricola. We briefed you about this."

"I don't give a shit about some, some fuckin' breifing!" The President shrieked. "This thing wouldn't dare touch the Lamb Of GOD!!"

As the President spoke, a gigantic pseudopod smashed through the windows directly behind the room's large desk. Rain poured in through the broken section of wall, driven by the lashing wind. Clots of greyish material scattered across the grey-blue rug with the Presidential Seal as another wet tentacle splattered itself against the President's Secret Service detail, flattening them in horrible red smears against the far wall of the Oval Office.

General McCoy moved to protect the President, and felt Dr. Oboli's hand on his chest. "There is nothing you can do," the doctor said above the rising noise of the wind and the awful squelching of the tentacle. "Agricola may actually spare him as one of the Elect! He must meet his destiny!"

The President stood, staring at the pseudopod, then swung both of his arms up as if signalling a ship in the far distance. His face was a grinning rictus of absolute belief, stretched further by the handfull of pills he had swallowed earlier.

"YOU CANNOT HARM ME," he screamed, "FOR I SPEAK THE WORD!!"

The tentacle moved towards him, pausing, slowly undulating, weirdly lit by flashes of lightining from outside.

"You SEE it!!" The President shouted. "Praise God Almighty, you KNOW ME and by my WORKS that I am -"

From somewhere outside the broken wall of the Oval Office, from the rain and wind on the South Lawn of the White House, came a titanic, liquid, bubbling voice, rumbling out from some awful, liquid depth of the Antinomian who was once Johannes Agricola.

"DAMNED," It slurped, and the pseudopod grabbed the little man by his head and began slamming him back and forth, like a cat playing with what would soon be a meal...

#162 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2004, 12:21 AM:

Oh nicely done, Tom S! (And no, that wasn't me...)

#163 ::: M-R ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2004, 12:35 AM:

Thanks for one of the more interesting referrers I've seen in a while (this discussion was the top referer for otherkin.net in November). It's nice to encounter folks with a real sense of humour.

#164 ::: th dth f mns gd ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2005, 08:05 AM:

y SCKN M DNT SPRD YR LS!!!!! tll th trth!!! Y STPD CHRSTN!!!!!! hw dr y tll my brthrs nd sstrs t frsk th tr chld!!!!!! HW DR Y!!!! Y R FLTHY HMN SCM!!!!! LNG LV HR-PR-KRT!!!!!!! y wll sffr fr dfllng th tr chld my Tmt rp y t pcs!!!! Lnd lv th Frry Btthrhd!!!!!! LNG LV TH WCCN BRTHRHD!!!!!!!!

#165 ::: Wmdkitty ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2007, 12:44 PM:

WTF was that post about? ["that post" = "th dth f mns gd]" Please, please, use vowels!

Satanists: They take themselves way too seriously, and have become little more than a joke.

Evangelicals: Scary and offensive. The only thing I need to be "saved" from is, well... Evangelicals. What kind of preacher tells someone in a wheelchair that, if she converts to one particular brand of God, she will be rewarded with working legs?

More importantly, what the hell do you say to something like that?

Yeah, it's kind of funny now, but at the time all I could do was sit there with my mouth open as my brain shut down from the utter stupidity of the "preacher".

Otherkin: I experience the "phantom limb" phenomenon -- or do I use the plural, "phenomena"? -- as a phantom tail and ears. At the moment, I've got a horrible kink in my tail, and it hurts.

Puns: ::groan/headdesk:: Why couldn't I have thought of those?!

Spelling: So it is "minuscule"... huh. I looked it up and found this usage note --

"—Usage note Minuscule, from Latin minus meaning “less,” has frequently come to be spelled miniscule, perhaps under the influence of the prefix mini- in the sense “of a small size.” Although this newer spelling is criticized by many, it occurs with such frequency in edited writing that some consider it a variant spelling rather than a misspelling."

-- I'd have to say it's six of one, half-dozen of the other.

#166 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 03, 2007, 01:06 PM:

WMDKitty @ 165

#164 has been disemvowelled. Obviously.
You didn't need to read that post.
These aren't the droids you're looking for.

Choose:
Smaller type (our default)
Larger type
Even larger type, with serifs

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