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Fictionkin and the Suspension of Disbelief
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Jarandhel Dreamsinger
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Saturday, 3rd December, 2011 - 12:35 pm
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I believe in fictionkin. I have no difficulty fitting them into my paradigm, since I believe in an infinite multiverse and in a truly infinite multiverse there will be an infinite number of worlds that match any given story.  And an even larger infinite set that are close to the events of the story but not quite an exact match.  I have no problem with that, and in truth two of the lives I remember are fictionkin, though I don't tend to talk much about either of them publicly.

But I realized today that my belief in fictionkin has limits.  Not entirely rational ones either.  If the multiverse is infinite, then ANY story is out there, no matter how bizarre or childish, as long as it was self-consistent.  But if I heard of a smurf otherkin tomorrow, or someone claiming to be a walk-in from Super-Hero City, or a CareBear-therian… I really don't know that I could take them seriously.  That probably says more about me than it does about their beliefs, but that's apparently the limit of my ability to suspend disbelief.  

What's yours?

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Arethinn
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I’ll have to think more about the question, but it’s ironically amusing that over the weekend someone joined the SFBayOtherkin meetup group who claims to be embodying the spirit of Peter Pan and thus to be palling around with Tinkerbell. (Not this guy.) His responses to the join quiz – “What’s your kintype; how long have you been awake; what would you like to see” – were, lower case intact, “peter pan; about 10 years; tinkerbell, discussion”. As you can probably guess, from input like that I was guessing troll, or someone confused about the nature of the group at best. But it seems he’s sincere in his statements, and mainly joined to talk to people with firsthand experience of “fairies” rather than having to read secondhand. Given that I have experiences with “fictional” beings myself, I’m hardly in a position to throw stones, but I did warn him that the concept of fictionkin was sensitive to say the least, and he was likely to meet resistance online, especially since his particular situation was pretty much tailor-made as “oh god, this person can’t be serious” trigger words. (I don’t know if he’ll actually come on Saturday or if I turned him off to the idea. I reserve judgement, if any, until then.)

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Jarandhel Dreamsinger
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*nods* The “Equestria” description in one of the threads on the otherkin LJ community is what really did it for me.  I actually like MLP:FiM, but even with what I believe about infinite universes and every story being real somewhere, I honestly can't suspend my disbelief enough to take Equestria seriously as a spiritual realm to which someone astrally travels and has meaningful experiences with.  I really just can't.

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Arethinn
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Tuesday, 13th December, 2011 - 2:32 pm
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I got the impression he was speaking in a more general way of a realm populated by equines (which, well, Jonathan Swift did no worse, although of course Gulliver’s Travels is just a satirical fantasy) of which what we think of as MLP was an “echo”. I do have to admit that’s sort of a strange thought, though; I’d accept, for example, that what Tolkien wrote “echoed” some actual reality somewhere in the multiverse (he himself talked about things coming through unbidden), but putting MLP in the same category, well. Yeah, I do have difficulty with it. I think fictionkin and realms that are literally simply cartoons without some kind of real physical or spiritual/folklore referent behind them are hard for me to accept.

(p.s. about “Peter Pan”, he never showed up. After he explained himself I took him seriously for the purpose of the email exchange, but I think I might have scared him between my initial response, my warning that many people were likely to think the same off the bat, and then the infodump on otherkin/faery links.)

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Jarandhel Dreamsinger
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I ran into something else that is hard for me to accept, in this same vein.  KI2K, an otherkin claiming to be the Knight Industries Two Thousand.  KITT.  You know, from Knight Rider?  I believe in fictionkin, I believe in machines that have souls, but there's just something about this particular one that really strains my credulity.  

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Arethinn
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Thursday, 12th January, 2012 - 2:34 pm
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It’s just such a specific character. It’s like claiming to be the reincarnation of a famous human.

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Frostfall

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Being fictionkin myself… well, somewhere between fictionkin and multiple… I'll try and give my two cents ,and explain it as I see it.

 

I don't see it being at all different from any other branch of otherkin. Yes, fictionkin tend to work more with modern myths than ancient ones and some people think “well Legend of Zelda was created in this lifetime, how could someone identify as Link?”. However, if we work under the idea that time isn't exactly linear and borrow a multiverse theory, then who's to say? I tend to say that art and expression are ways of tapping into things beyond this world, thus authors as vessels and could very well be describing something that was/is/will happen somewhere else. Some say this crushes creativity or ideas being unique, but I don't agree. Take dragons, for example; does someone claiming to be a dragon in general invalidate the story of Pern or The Hobbit? No. Why would that change if someone claimed to be a dragon from Pern, or Smaug? They are one version in a possibly endless multiverse.

 

Trust me, I understand how people would raise an eyebrow to all of it. Sometimes I still go “is this really real?” and have doubts, but with all the experiences I had had as well as the experiences of those closest to me… it's real. Maybe it's only real to the people experiencing it, I don't know. Even if that were so, does it matter? It doesn't harm anyone. Live and let live, right?

 

As for someone claiming a specific person… Yes, it is like claiming to be the reincarnation of a famous person. However, most fictionkin will outright state that (with the multiverse idea) they are merely one version and they are nothing special. That is true for myself; I claim at least one very specific and well known identity as “me”, and combined with the multiple thing, most people would look at me like I am insane. But I'm… nothing special. I don't want to be. I'm the guy in the corner sipping tea with his nose in a book, minding his own business. I just happen to have a miniature universe in my head, and feel like I have lived many lives in a variety of places and situations. No one has to believe me. I merely want to be understood and accepted, which is quite different.

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Jarandhel Dreamsinger
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It's not the idea of fictionkin itself that bothers me… I remember two lives of my own that fall in that category.  While I don't believe that art necessarily taps into other worlds, I do believe that in an infinite universe (multiverse) there are an infinite number of worlds that match any given set of parameters.  Including those provided by works of fiction.  (I think they would still have to be internally consistent, though.)  There's just something about certain specific settings and characters that make me unable to suspend my disbelief, even if their existence would be a logical consequence of the things I do believe.  Equestria and Kitt from Knight Rider fall under that category.  I think that I would react the same way if I saw people claiming to be Smurf-Kin too, or Gummi Bears.  There's just something about those particular stories and settings that I have a mental block with.  I can't take claims of having been them seriously.  I'm not even sure why, exactly, it's just a step too far for me.  

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Jarandhel Dreamsinger
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Friday, 13th January, 2012 - 4:08 am
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Weirdly enough I think I would have less of a problem with someone claiming to be a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle-kin than I would a Kitt from Knight Rider-kin.  Make of that what you will, I can't explain it.

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Frostfall

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Jarandhel Dreamsinger said:

There's just something about certain specific settings and characters that make me unable to suspend my disbelief, even if their existence would be a logical consequence of the things I do believe.  Equestria and Kitt from Knight Rider fall under that category.  I think that I would react the same way if I saw people claiming to be Smurf-Kin too, or Gummi Bears.

 

Ah, yeah, that is understandable. I can't say much because honestly, as I said in chat I just don't care what people think as long as they can sort of work it out to make sense… but I can see how that mental block would be there. :]

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Gryneos

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I agree about sometimes being unable to take a kintype seriously. I also feel that for some of them, it really is just about getting some attention, and they don’t truly feel a kinship of any kind. For the rest that are serious about these seemingly ridiculous kintypes, I’ve had the thought that there is a connection.

That is, some popular forms or entities can manifest in multitudes of individuals. Through the concept of simultaneous time, anyone can be anything, plus the reverse of that, any number of times. I kind of see this as like how some of the higher spiritual beings, like Archangel Michael can be in as many places at once as needed of him. The same can be true for the spirits that make up these other beings.

Now there is one thing that’s come to mind recently with regards to fictionkin, and that is with the idea of infinite universes, the inspiration for those writing the fiction has to come from somewhere. While we do all have imagination, some of us appear to be not only better at it than others, but truly attuned to other universes as if all we were doing was being a reporter of that realm. People then could find it appealing to them because there is a previously unknown connection to that place. Then they discover that connection and become fictionkin.

I understand people may have had this observation already. So, I apologize if it’s been presented elsewhere and I haven’t seen it because I’m not as heavily into all of the otherkin forums as the rest of y’all ;) I don’t think I am fictionkin, though. I love the Pastoral section of Fantasia, but I’ve never felt I was one of those centaurs, nor did I ever think I was Newton on The Mighty Hercules ;)

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I don’t really have a problem with any specific ‘background’, but will have difficulty believing depending on how it’s presented. I’m willing to suspend disbelief over near anything so long as the person comes across as reasonable and as if they’ve thought it through while even with more common/reasonable things I am inclined to be skeptical if a person comes across as… non-serious. 

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As fictionkin myself, and having been around many fictionkin already, it always seemed natural to me. I mean, correct me if I’m wrong, but weren’t the first famous group of otherkin Tolkien elves? My personal believe on time and the multiverse is that if something has been imagined in one universe, it’s real in another one. I sort of see it as a tree with infinitely-reaching branches. Some universes may seem very far-fetched compared to the one we currently live in, but I’m sure that things we take completely seriously here might be a laugh and a half in another universe. The kintypes I have the most trouble with are those for inanimate objects, whether they’re real or fictional. Hopefully someday I’ll get the chance to talk to someone with an inanimate kintype, though, so I can ask them what it’s like!

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Jarandhel Dreamsinger
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Friday, 7th November, 2014 - 11:56 am
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Blu said: 
As fictionkin myself, and having been around many fictionkin already, it always seemed natural to me. I mean, correct me if I’m wrong, but weren’t the first famous group of otherkin Tolkien elves?

Are you referring to the Silver Elves, or the Elf Queen’s Daughters?  To my knowledge, neither group were Tolkien elves.

Blu said:
My personal believe on time and the multiverse is that if something has been imagined in one universe, it’s real in another one. I sort of see it as a tree with infinitely-reaching branches. Some universes may seem very far-fetched compared to the one we currently live in, but I’m sure that things we take completely seriously here might be a laugh and a half in another universe. The kintypes I have the most trouble with are those for inanimate objects, whether they’re real or fictional. Hopefully someday I’ll get the chance to talk to someone with an inanimate kintype, though, so I can ask them what it’s like!

I agree, though I do still think the story needs to be internally-consistent for it to be real elsewhere.  In my worldview, it’s a function of the multiverse being infinite; along the same lines as a monkey on a typwriter with an infinite amount of time eventually typing out the complete works of Shakespeare by random chance.  Except, with a truly infinite amount of time the monkey would actually type out an infinite number of copies of each of Shakespeare’s works and an infinite number of variations thereupon.

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Blu
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Jarandhel Dreamsinger said
Are you referring to the Silver Elves, or the Elf Queen’s Daughters?  To my knowledge, neither group were Tolkien elves.

Ah, please forgive me then. I really do need to study up on my history… Perhaps I just made the connection because of the time period it was in? There was a huge boom to the popularity of science-fiction and fantasy during that time; I know that much.

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Jarandhel Dreamsinger
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No worries.

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Arethinn
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On the topic of any connection between the Elf Queen’s Daughters and Tolkien, while I don’t think they were Tolkien fictionkin in the sense we would now use that phrase, I do think they were influenced by Tolkien’s depiction, almost perforce – much the same as it’s difficult to think of “fantasy” elves even today without them owing something to him. The founders called themselves Arwen and Elanor, which are both from Tolkien (Elanor is the name of one of Samwise and Rosie’s daughters, but it’s an Elvish name for a small yellow flower they saw in Lothlorien, “sun-star”).

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