Imagine that you live in a house with two friends, and there’s only one car for visiting other people. The car looks the same from the outside no matter who’s driving it, and others sometimes confuse you and your friends because they just see the car coming. But once you arrive, they figure it out and everything is fine.
Now imagine that instead of a car, we’re talking about a human body. Jill has three friends, but only one of them is ever around at a time, and they look and sound a lot alike. They’re separate people even though they seem to be one friend, based on appearances.
These two situations are the same — one from our side, one from yours. Let’s put our heads together and bridge the gap. Let’s form an understanding about plurality.
You’re probably going to find that our FAQ is somewhat different from those elsewhere. We are, as always, focused on an “inside” perspective, and we invite you to figure out how it relates to you.
Good evening, everyone!
That isn’t a question. But thank you!
What is Plurality?
Plurality is the term we use to refer to the phenomenon of the one-car house mentioned at the top of this page. Except instead of a car, it is a human body. And instead of people driving somewhere to speak and interact, they are coming to front, using that body to interact with the rest of the world. This is also called “multiplicity”.
Why introduce it this way?
Frankly, we don’t think that it’s a very well understood concept, and starting from the other way around is (in our opinions) not very effective for explaining it to a larger audience. It is much better for your sanity (and ours) if you start from the people and the world move on from there (much later) to what it looks like from your perspective.
What we want for you to understand is what our world is like, what our experience is like.
You mentioned a world?
Yes, in addition to people, there is also a place.
I can only speak for us and our system, but there is a fair sized world there. It contains mountains, oceans, even a big city. I could probably write a whole novel about that place (we kind of did – it’s not the same, but it’s similar), but what really matters is that it’s not that different from the world you are used to, just a little more free.
This is sometimes referred to as a “gateway system”, and not everyone works this way.
What’s it like to be in front?
Life is a great deal like singlets (that’s as opposed to plural systems) would live theirs, honestly. You eat, you drink, you go to work. The only real difference is that there are other people nearby who can help you, including taking over the driving if you need it.
What’s it like not to be in front?
From the subjective point of view of front, and the memories that we hold in front, and which are easiest to write about on this site, not being in front is a lot like dreaming. The sense of consciousness and presence in the front-world is possessed by the shared body, not the individual people. When someone comes to front, they put on that mantle and everything that goes with it, and remember where they were by memory, like recalling dreams. They talk to other people who are not in front by something like telepathy. And those people who were not in front, who might have gone elsewhere in the other-world and have other experiences, they will have to remember them like remembering a dream when they return here, too.
Like dreams, people have various amounts of success remembering. This is sometimes called the “glass wall effect”.
How is interacting with everyone else outside, in this world?
It is honestly a bit confusing. People want to assume that one body equals one person, but for us, that is not true. There is one person who is here more often than not (me, fuzzyjayling) because I am the one that is best at doing things like working our job. Dove likes to play Minecraft and interact with people online. (She wants to do more, but it is understandably difficult.) Sparrow likes ecstatic dancing. (Well, she did it once and wants to do it more.)
Sadly, we have to all pretend like we’re one identity, one that is none of us and all of us.
The difficulty really comes in that explaining that we are separate people tends to blow fuses in people’s brains. They want to know how that is possible, they think it’s crazy, whatever. We are just sitting in here helpless to do much about this attitude, which is why we’re making this site now.
But.. But.. There are only so many hours in the day! How is it practical?
Yeah, tell us about it.
Got another question?
Email us at site at feathersong.org.