the_choir: (Fireez)
"I'm a human being, dammit! You can deny me all you want but you can't deny Ben Sisko. He exists! That space station -- those people -- that future -- they exist!(pointing to his head) In here. And in the minds of everyone of you who read it. You hear what I'm telling you? You can pulp the story but you can't destroy the idea. That future is real -- I made it real!"

"But I've been wondering... what if it wasn't a dream? What if this life we're leading... all of this... you and me - everything... what if all this is the illusion?" "That's a scary thought." "I know... but maybe, just maybe, Benny isn't the dream -- we are. Maybe we're nothing more than figments of his imagination. For all we know, at this very moment, somewhere, far beyond all those stars... Benny Russell is dreaming of us."

From the DS9 episode Far Beyond the Stars, in which Benjamin Sisko hallucinates about being a SciFi writer in the 1950s... or maybe, it wasn't a hallucination after all. Who knows?

Facets

Jan. 10th, 2007 05:31 pm
the_choir: (Fireez)
Those of you who also read my personal journal will know that at the moment, I'm re-watching the whole series of Deep Space Nine, which, next to Millennium, is just about my favourite TV series ever, mostly because it does what good SciFi should do: tackle important issues through the medium of a story.

Today, I watched the episode Facets, in which Jadzia Dax, a joined Trill, goes through the ritual of zhian'tara. And it suddenly hit me that the way joined Trills function, are, is a pretty good analogy to the way our system works.

Now, a quick and dirty explanation of joined Trills for all the non-Trekkies who read this: a joined Trill is a humanoid lifeform that shares its body with a non-humanoid symbiont. Because the symbionts live much longer than their humanoid hosts, they go through several hosts in their lifetimes. Each time a symbiont is joined with a new host, the memories of the previous hosts are not erased, but added to the memories of the new host (and of course, the mind of the new host is added to the "database" of the symbiont). They are aware of other presences in their minds, and have access to some (though by far not all) of the memories and skills that the previous hosts had. Of course, this is a very trying experience for the new host - they suddenly discover new personality traits that weren't there before, memories of events they didn't actually go through themselves etc. Because of this, the hosts are chosen very carefully, because if they're not strong enough, their personality might be erased, or rather, taken over by that of one of the previous hosts.

Sound familiar? To me, it does.
See, we're heavily on the median side of the whole plurality spectrum. It's very rare that I'm all alone. Most of the time, one or more of the others will be there with me, a presence at the edge of my mind. And if one of them fronts, well, I'm there, too, a presence at the edge of their minds. The person who is with me most of the time actually isn't a person at all - she's a unicorn, a walk-in spirit who's been with me since ever I can remember. Yup, I've been plural all my life, just not in the way most people see it, which is why, before I started identifying as plural and a soulbonder, I had indentified as otherkin for some time. Still do, actually.

Now, back to Star Trek and the Trill. Just like the current host of a symbiont has access to some of the memories and skills of the previous hosts, I have access to some of the memories and skills of my headmates. Due to limitations of the human mind and body, those are mostly so-called "soft skills" - self-assuredness, social skills, determination, stuff like that. Of course, it's not all sunshine and bunnies, because it's not only their positive traits that rub off on me. And then there's stuff like mannerisms, posture, shifts in language etc.
Now, a joined Trill doesn't really shift through hosts, like a "full" multiple shifts through fronters. Most of the time, the joined Trill will present a pretty even (if somewhat quirky) facade to the world, one which is dominated by the personality of the current host. Whatever happens inside, stays inside. Same here, essentially, even if the others do front. At least IRL. Like it or not, we can't risk the upheaval that we'd surely cause if we didn't present ourselves as more or less normal.

A really interesting and fascinating thing about that episode was the ritual that was preformed. The zhian'tara ritual is a ritual in which, one after another, the previous hosts' memories are removed from the symbiont telepathically and projected into the body of somebody else, for instance a friend of the current host.
While I was watching that, I was thinking, hey, that would be so cool if that worked with my headmates, too. If I could project them into other people and then really, bodily interact with them. Also, during the ritual, the current host got the chance to ask their previous hosts some questions about them, stuff they couldn't find out before, because the answers were clouded in emotions, or being protected by the previous host. Now wouldn't that be neat :)? Being able to ask your headmates questions which you couldn't get answers to the ususal way? Because, well, at least in our system, I'm shut out from some things. I don't know everything about them - mostly because they don't want me to know, or because their (and, often, my own) emotions muddle up the communication.

Anyway, even if you don't like Deep Space Nine or Trek, if you ever happen to catch that episode, watch it. It's actually one of the better portrayals of a certain kind of plurality that I've seen on TV. Sure, it has the violent alter - Joran, a psychopath - but I like how it gets mentioned that even this psychopathic former host has something positive to add to the mosaic of the current host.

And now I'll leave you with two quotes that I really liked:
"What is a person, if not the sum of their memories?" - Lela, first host of Dax
"It feels like a part of myself is missing" - Dax, talking about what it is like to not be able to access a previous host's memories during the ritual
the_choir: (Fireez)
[livejournal.com profile] child_recalled asked me to post an entry about the neurological and neurochemical backgrounds of memory formation and their implications for multiples, and since the mysterious workings of the mind are one of my main interests, I'm all too happy to oblige.

A note to the reader: I'm not going to go into great detail here, but rather oversimplify things as a means to make them more understandable. If you're further interested in neurology and memory, I recommend getting a textbook from your local library.

"If your soulbond is from France, why can't you speak French?"
"You say your headmate is a pianist, but you can't play the piano!"
"If you have a pilot in your brain, you should be able to fly a plane."
"You're just making them up, they don't exist!"

Stuff like that has been posted to communities and personal journals of plurals more than once. And it's also not uncommon for the plural persons themselves to ask such questions. After all, we claim to be several distinct, individual people, each with their own personalities, personal history and memories.
So why can't we access the skills that some of us possess? Does this mean we're all fake, and that it's nothing but the imagination of the host?

Maybe. I can't discount, on a rational basis, the arguement that I, and other multiples, are just making everything up.
But what I can do is shoot down the arguement that if you cannot access one of your headmate's skills, this constitues as proof that you're making things up.

Memory as such isn't some mystical woo-woo thingy, floating around our brains like clouds across the sky. A memory, especially one that is the basis of a learned skill (such as a foreign language, riding a bike, playing the piano), is formed by the neurons in certain areas of the brain setting up new neuronal pathways or, in some cases, fine-tuning old ones. To be able to ride a bike, neuron A has to make connections to neurons B, C and D, which in turn have to make connections to neurons E and F. You can think of it in terms of joining several computers to build a network.
And, like with building a network of computers, this takes time. Most skills, especially the more complex ones, take a lot of learning before they can be executed with confidence. New pathways don't appear out of the blue, from one second to the other. That would be hideously uneconomical, because learning actually takes a lot of resources and puts considerable strain on the body, and so our brains don't form pathways for stuff that's not important (read: that we don't seem to really need, because we're not repeatedly being confronted with the need for the skill).

So, the bottom line is: If the pathways aren't there, the memory isn't there, and the skill is unaccessible
Now, let's take a look at the brain of a plural. Plurals, like everybody else, posses one, and only one, brain. This brain does what every brain does: it takes care of the body and guides it through the challenges of life.
Let's say this brain belongs to a girl named Jen. Jen lives in the USA, and has never been to France, nor has she ever heard one word of French in School, or from friends, neighbours etc. Now Jen is plural, and one of her headmates is a French girl named Marie. Does this mean Jen should be able to understand French?

If you've been reading along with half your brain turned on, you should be able to answer this for yourself: of course not, because the physical body and physical brain of Jen never had any contact with the language, and therefore the need to build pathways for French never existed. No need, no pathways. It doesn't matter if Marie would like to be able to speak what she thinks of as her mother tongue. The only thing that matters is that there never was a physical, tangible need to speak French.

Let me put this in a little analogy.
Think of the plural's brain as the family computer. It has a certain hardware, let's say a 10GB hard-disk, 256MB of RAM, and a G-Force2 graphics chip. This hardware configuration was bought because it was perfectly all right for the tasks that the original buyer, Jen, needed it for - she doesn't game much, and wanted to save her money for other things. Now, she gets a new roommate, and this roommate, Marie, is a big gamer and wants to play a game with some really high-end graphics. Well, she won't be able to, because the computer lacks the hardware which is necessary for that purpose. If she wants to game, she'll first have to talk Jen into buying new hardware. This then has to be bought and installed before Marie can play WoW.
It's the same with learned skills: most of the time, they're going to need a lot of new hardware before you can have fun with them.

So nope, not being able to access certain skills that your headmates have doesn't invalidate your existance, because it's just not possible. Same as it would be ludicrous to demand a 100-m-dash from a plural whose body is bound to a wheelchair just because one of his headmates can walk.

Meezes

Jul. 24th, 2006 05:15 pm
the_choir: (Fireez)
Half of my f-list has done this already, so I decided to be a sheep along with them ;). So, without further ado, here are the Meezes (animated dolls) of the Choir's main frontrunners!

Do you recognize them all ;)? )

...we had tons of fun making those :) and I think they came out quite nice. Ash's is awesome, and Mal's just makes me fall off my chair with laughter every time.
the_choir: (Fireez)
Tweaked the info on the voices a bit, especially the parts about Draco's and Malak's origins, because they are rather... muddled and complicated. But I tried my best to make it understandable *sweatdrop*. These guys are just too complicated. Also removed the links to the userpics, because, well, some of the boys now have just too many *gives Malak a sideways look*.

Userpics!

Mar. 17th, 2006 09:15 pm
the_choir: (Fireez)
We now have 34 slots for userpics, yay! Which means that not only can everyone have more pics, but also that I can have a pic for those entries that are made by me alone (the orou is more of a house symbol), and Dannyl can get some pics without any of the others having to clear one of their slots.

I think I'll go on a hunt for nice pics now...

News

Mar. 7th, 2006 01:44 am
the_choir: (Fireez)
As Draco hinted in his last post, we might be gaining another bond. But I'm not entirely sure.

One problem is, even with my insourced voices, I don't know how or why they become a bond, as opposed to remaining a story/rp character. I don't know what makes me so sure of Soraya being a bond and Sarah not being a bond, despite the fact that Soraya doesn't hang around all that much more than Sarah. The only thing I know is that, somehow, I know. Something tells me that X is a bond while Y isn't. Should be simple, shouldn't it? But it isn't. Because knowing doesn't always come that easily. I tend to doubt myself a lot.

Especially if the might-be-voice is outsourced. Apart from Ash, I've never had any outsourced voices that I'm sure of. Ash made it easy for me, she made herself known without any space for doubts. This new presence, hm, I'm not sure of. He might be a bond, but he might as well be, well, sort of residue energy from some of the others - he has a few things in common with some of the choir -, or wishful thinking.
But one thing that has had me thinking since midday is that the moment I encountered him in the book, I knew something about him that I shouldn't have known, a fact that is only revealed later on in the series. I only discovered it to be true because I was snoping around on a lj comm (damn my curiosity for leading me to spoilers).

*ponders* The mind works in mysterious and murky ways...
the_choir: (Surrounded by idiots!)
aka DAoC with the boys

F: "And our mission for tonight is... stand next to the cleric and look pretty."
M: "Oh, I can handle that. I'm good at looking pretty."

D: "Did we just get killed by a bunch of smurfs???
M: "Yup. And wearing a dress, too."
D: "How utterly embarrassing."

D: "Ha! Level 41! We're big, we're mean..."
M: "... we're still wearing a dress."
D: *rolls eyes* "Yeah, thank you very much for reminding me."

And for this, they shall be punished )
the_choir: (Fireez)
As I was flipping through my collection of movie soundtracks, I found this song... which is, and always will be, my song for Draco.

Phil Collins - Son of Man )

Edit: color quiz results
Color quiz results for the Choir )
the_choir: (Surrounded by idiots!)
Draco: "Since I couldn't watch Empire, how about we watch Arac Attack now?"
Me: "You're fucking kidding, are you? I'm afraid of spiders!"
Draco: "Sissy." *grumpy* "If you need me, I'm off to raise the dead." *goes and turns on DAoC* "Girls. Sheesh."

... and he's not even a Necromancer!
the_choir: (Default)
Updated the info to include Mono or Poly and everyone's marital (well, ok, dating) status.

Oh, and some day not very far from now, I'm going to take Malak and Draco and chain them together for at least three days. Their constant vying for "Alpha male" status is really unnerving. Most of all because they're both my best friends, soul brothers even. But they just don't seem to get it.
the_choir: (Surrounded by idiots!)
Having the choir present at a movie is hilarious. Ash first got totally excited about Aslan and then went on to criticise the tactics in the final battle ("Oh, no, you can't do that, stupid! Argh!").
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