In Essence
: agreement
: explanation
: members
: our statement

Media Reviews
: books
: films
: comics
: games

: essays
: yowlings

: courts

Writings : Essays
Multiplicity and Community
by Laric, 6/22/01

"No matter where we are... everyone is always connected." - Lain, serial experiments lain

Is the rise in multiple ways of life simply an issue that has only been noticed now, or is it that which has linked us all along? In order to pull together as a species, there must always be the capacity of humans to connect with one another. Otherwise the creature itself fails; any mass that cannot keep its cohesion will ultimately self-destruct.

As multiples or those on a multiple frame of life--all these varieties of terms are tripping me up, I swear--we have the useful trait of recognizing within us and containing a certain amount of more direct control over how we adapt. We have or develop an inherent sense of communities and societies because we mirror--or vice versa--them with our internal structures. After a time of living as a group plural, we begin to stop thinking in terms of but a single individual, and more with the capacity of the collective in mind. Even when I work through personal matters, I am -always- aware that there are others whose well-being depends on how I carry myself, and that I am hinged upon them as well. Again, I speak from personal experience in this, so my apologies if I overstep my bounds.

This is less a privileged gift than simple experience; other cultures than that of American (which I hail from) can be more or less prone to the individual needs over that of the community. Some of the Asian nations, particularly that of Japan, are excellent examples of this--sometimes it is more important to keep the waters smooth than to dig up personal victories at the cost of others. We see the ability of being able to 'work well in groups' as more and more important in this interconnected world of the digital and chemical. Internally, we follow these principles because otherwise the system breaks down and we begin to have pesky issues, such as one person vengefully taking out the body for an all-nighter just before another person's big presentation the next day.

It has been suggested to me that, although the argument can be made either for the mass size giving rise to frequency or simply social conditions, the trait to contain different mindsets within a single skull is one with necessary evolutionary purpose. As size of the physical mass of the species grows, it must continue to keep the bridgework of connections within. We can see this in our own minds with multiplicity--again, this is an assumption made primarily from our own experience, but as our system refined itself, our vessels for internal communications also increased in importance and fine distinctions.

We -know- that identity is fluid. It is that we haven't yet, as a species, always realized how to take responsibility for it. We are taught to sever ourselves from one another to be 'healthy', to refuse all external evidence if need be and give ourselves our own validity. We are told to not be responsible for the actions of others, and by this, we cannot accept the infinite within ourselves, or the fluidity of identity. It is either black or white. It is either our fault, or someone else's entirely--a choice which falls more and more, unfortunately, towards the latter.

We have an entire culture of denying our own roles in things. We sue fast-food chains for coffee which is hot. Is it any wonder that people have fallen to the idea of "DID" as an easy excuse for their own actions? The backlash against multiples has been simply incredible. We have been the latest hot topic for anyone seeking a little publicity, sympathy, or absolution. We have been splashed across tabloids and used to spice up cheap paperback novels. We have been stalked by ooh-ing dabblers and symbol-clad priests. If our experience with our selves is not mainstream enough, we are dismissed as being further delusional, or, even better, faking for some ulterior motive. Above all, we are also considered a fad--one which must be demystified by an irate psychological community at all costs.

Unfortunately, multiples are a group which is highly open to exploitation. Because we do not have as concrete a scientific 'proof' with which to judge multiplicity--and, many would argue, this is impossible--nearly anyone can attempt to reap the 'benefits' of the label and take few of the penalties. As has been said, claiming that one is a multiple has become an instant way to be assumed that one's life has been filled with tragedies that no one else could possibly imagine and therefore grants one the pretty gold star of the brave survivor who yet should still be coddled by those around them. Going back to the Asian lands, it is almost stunning how filled the popular media--from manga to anime to literature--is with multiplicity, but one is expected to handle it and continue on rather than have the excuse to go on a massive spree of destruction and blithely set the blame on someone else.

(Pardon the bitterness; we have had poor experiences in the past with people attempting to 'out-multiple' us, or to excuse all their rudenesses as something 'we would understand, being the same way.' I'm not certain about anyone else, but I'd rather pour a heavy dose of chlorine into their section of the gene pool. What possible status is there to be gained in 'out-multipling' someone? How disturbing.)

Anyway. The understanding of others.

We use it to sculpt that which we would communicate with. We use it to be able to consider other people as equally important to our selves--if not more so--and to be able to understand them back. We have the ability to put our own egos aside and taste that of others, seeing through their eyes and listening to their thoughts, feeling what they feel. Is multiplicity a disorder? How can it be, when its primary gift in practice is to be able to let a mind adapt and comprehend others in the species? Without this trait, there could be no solidarity within the human race.

To those who would fault multiple identities, I would say this: how can you condemn me for the very things that let me understand you?