In Essence
: agreement
: explanation
: members
: our statement

Media Reviews
: books
: films
: comics
: games

: essays
: yowlings

: courts

Writings : Essays
Souls and Bonds and Ourselves
by Sammi and Katra, 7/9/01

Quick! Traveling Court rides the wave to get their two cents in now, before the torrent of Summer crashes down in rants and thoughts.

We're plural.

We're also not a part of the SoulBonding community directly, so we don't know if there are unspoken etiquette rules that divide the politely responsible from the people who Reb tends to go into fits over. So it's likely that the same people who are generally being irresponsible with blaming all their bad behavior on soulbonds are probably being kicked by other soulbonders themselves. We hope. (As a note, we still really like Lyn. Half the reason why Summer hasn't gone completely rant-open on their bad experiences with SBers is because of Lyn's good counterexample in her nifty existence. Anyway.)

But you know what? I think Traveling Court needs to have an eye kept on them.

The idea of soulbonds and society and all of that doesn't get to them in the same way that it gets to the people who--let's take Laric's terminology--are in the old school. They don't worry about if they're real or sane or any of these things.

And I think they SB.

Bear with me. Listen to this and ask if this sounds familiar:

When we're sitting around and, say, playing a video game or reading a really good book, it's instinct for us to.. let's call it start to pick up on the traits we see. This is a normal reaction for people. We all shape ourselves on so many levels depending on what we absorb.

After a time, we pick up fragments of people--and we know we do. All this spare whatever-ye-call-it in the backs of our heads, the raw material that we dip into when we need things, that coalesces around this grain of an idea of a person. Like an oyster and a pearl. Our fragment turnover rate is nothing extraordinary... we just pay attention to it a lot, and let them go when they end.

We can feel these people strongly or less strongly at times; we can recollect these fragments when we see old books we haven't touched in years. The thing is, we have felt such patterns before. They're fragments for us, with all the limitations and potentials that they possess. We can recognize them, prod at them, decide if we want to let them stay or not. They have their distinctive voices and feelings, and do indeed bear with them the feeling of 'not-me' that we consider to be the stamp of a separate persona instead of an overlapping of a group.

Is this soulbonding?

If they were given the space to grow, they might remain in the same sort of capacity that people like soulbonders have. With enough time, they'd be n equal ground with the rest of the Court members, and possibly even move up to being on the front crews. In other words, they'd be regular members of this internal multiple family--which is, logically, all they are to us, for it feels like they start in the same way as any other persona. In other words, it's simply another source of picking up crew from the outside world.

But the difference is that we don't give these fragments time to stay and develop themselves. We're already juggling space to try and fit the rest of us in--why add more people to the list who we're not even sure will be able to function decently in the rest of the collective? We're multiples--those who are near the front run the risk of having to occasionally work on their own, and I don't think a carbon-perfect copy of Sephiroth could do that for us. Maybe if we trained him up and had him adapt? But why bother, when there are so many of us otherwise?

And yes, they can fight and complain--but no more than we already do. Lately, Traveling has been more and more sneaky *glances at Kat* and I strongly suspect they haven't been throwing out their 'play-fragments' (as they like to call them) when they've been done. Take for example the strong suspicion that they're harboring the entire crew of Dynasty Warriors 2 in here under the table. Yes, that's all I need. Thirty Chinese generals here and glaring at each other or occasionally slipping out the back for a quick drink.

But they don't bother us. Well, we're used to it, but we also don't really find anything status-related in being able to rattle off how many or what kind or how loud they are. The true admiration is for when we can handle it without a fuss and keep on working. Plus, whenever Cao Cao gets snotty at Liu Bei, we can just shut them both up by noting that neither one of them knows Chinese fluently. Again, that stew of resources in our minds didn't get enough poured into it, and hence they could probably do a good job of French but not their supposedly native tongue. (Meanwhile, Sun Quan's snuck out with his sister and father to go loosen the saddles of the other two's generals' horses.)

Whatever it is, it's nothing more different than what we are already. Would there be a change if our heads weren't half so full? Maybe... but maybe not. Our bet's that it's not. Just like daily life for us, it's not what or who or where they are that's important. It's what we do now. I could pick up the entire Roman pantheon and jam it in here with us, but for practical purposes, they'd be just as equal as all the rest of us. I could let Traveling keep Jiang Wei expressly so I could watch him fall off a horse again and again in real life, the body having not a whit of ability to ride although his mind may be inclined towards it.

They're not things I'd join a circle for. They're nothing I'd show off or tell others about how they might bother me. This is daily life for us. It's just nothing special.

So these people rise and are dismantled again. They're like brief candles in the night filled with stars, and we see them go by in endless array. We know they're not us, but they could become us eventually. Maybe if we had the space for them.