The Alterhuman Media Project

I Don't Know A Single Thing My Guy: Philosophy For Alterhumans

Self-examination has always been a part of being alterhuman. It has always been part of being alterhuman because it’s important. It’s important because it’s always been part of being alterhuman.

I see a lot of this kind of circular logic.

And while that’s a very extreme example, it’s symptomatic of something I’ve noticed for a while now: nobody has a really satisfactory answer for why we should introspect. The integrity of the community! So people understand themselves! Fluff prevention! Well, why are those important? I’ve yet to find something that makes sense to me.

This is frustrating, because I actually agree with the sentiment! I do in fact think introspection is good for you. So I’ve been thinking really hard lately about an answer that will satisfy me, and you, when we ask:

Why should I bother thinking critically about my alterhuman identity?

Well, I would argue that the more you understand your identity, the more you understand what you need to do to be happy, and how to do it. If you learn through self-examination that you don’t like crowds, then you know avoiding crowded placed will make you happier, right? Similarly if you have a good handle on who you are, and why, and how, you’ll be better equipped to make decisions that are best for you.

You’re more easily able to talk about something when you understand what you’re talking about. The ability to communicate is an incredible tool of ours, and your questions, opinions and advice about alterity will all be better conveyed the better you understand yourself. If you care enough to call yourself alterhuman, you probably care about being part of the community. Getting involved means communicating, communicating means understanding what you’re trying to say, understanding means knowing yourself.

Perhaps most importantly, knowing who you are gives you an indomitable sense of validity which you just can’t get externally. You will feel safe and secure in yourself no matter how pressing the questions get, however much the outside world tries to push and pull at you, because you know who you are and you have the evidence to prove it!

All of these things contribute to you feeling and being your best self.

If you find yourself thinking back to making your first post in the otherkin tag and being aggressively grilled, and you’re shaking your head, I don’t blame you. Somewhere along the history of our communities, intentions started to drift, habits became traditions, and everything went a little bit askew.

When I asked people to weigh in on the value of heavy questioning earlier this month, I saw so much focus on gatekeeping “people who just want a pat on the head and to be told they’re valid”, which was very disheartening. Self-examination is supposed to serve you, not the people asking the questions. Anyone who prioritizes “the integrity of the community” over the welfare of the actual members might be in need of some introspection themselves.

Another very reasonable issue you might raise is that a lot of people just can’t self-examine without causing harm to their mental health. Established standards in the community tell you it should be easy, but it’s not! They also tell you it’s essential, which is also untrue! Introspection is like yoga or exercise or healthy eating in that it’s good for you, but it’s also a lot of effort and you’re probably fine without it. If you feel your sense of self is too soft to be poked at, I trust you, and I’m not gonna make you do anything.

That being said! If you feel you are capable of a little critical thinking regarding your identity, I encourage you to at least try it. Our very own Question Of The Month posts are designed to get you thinking about your alterity, and you can respond how and when and why you want to.

Because the truth is, introspection is like a muscle, and you’ve got to use it to improve it!

Sapere aude!

That’s Latin for ‘dare to be wise’, and I think it sums up a lot of my feelings about introspection. It’s hard, and sometimes scary, but ultimately rewarding. I want the alterhuman community to be a place where people self-examine because they want to, on their own terms, for their own benefit. Let’s all try to work towards that, shall we?

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