this post was originally made on pillowfort in .
small thoughts on a more personally useful shortform definition of 'alterhuman' that i've been rolling around in my head:
people with non-typical experiences of species identity, embodiment, narrative identity and personal mythology
two things i like about it:
- it massively decenters nonhumanity compared to other definitions, and makes it clearer what we mean when we say 'alternatively human'. i feel like definitions like 'alternatives to humanity and alternative humanities' get read either two ways - as 'nonhumans, etc' because people aren't aware of concrete examples of what 'alternative humanity' looks like, or 'nonhumans and humans, ie everyone'. i see a lot of people uncritically using the term under the first definition, and a lot of people criticizing the term under the second :B
- it describes experiences, rather than identities, which means
- we're not constantly trying to retroactively fit a definition across all the emerging groups that we intuitively feel should be included
- it feels less like it's transcluding the label onto people in those groups who may not want it
- it makes it clearer why certain groups come together in this coalition despite being superficially different
two things i'm concerned about:
- most people don't know what terms like 'embodiment' and 'narrative identity' mean either. on the one hand, i think that's just a symptom of people not thinking about these as axes of identity at all (because there's Only One Way you can experience them, therefore it's a non-experience). on the other hand, the purpose of a definition like this is to... y'know... explain it to people who don't know what it is.
- it might remove the point of being different from hegemonic humanity too much. there is ultimately a reason the word 'human' is in the term. we intuitively feel that these differences impact the idea of 'human' as a category, and i think that's meaningful to remark upon.
i dunno, i think there's still a lot of thinking to be done about What Alterhumanity Is, but i also think we've done enough at this point to update our discourses at least a little bit. thoughts?