this post was originally made on tumblr on the . it also got some interesting additions from shyocean here.

tiny-duck asked: Hey, I was wondering if you could expand on what you wrote in some tags “any criteria of Selfhood can be an axis of plurality and any axis of plurality can be mediany”? It’s a very interesting idea and I’d love to hear more about that! Have a nice day!

hoo boy a different facet wrote that when wei were manic so let me see if i can actually reconnect to whatever the fuck i was trying to articulate there

alright. what is the Self?

dracula from castlevania scoffs: 'a miserable little pile of secrets. but enough talk!'

the self is an individual person as the object of [their] own reflective consciousness“ according to wikipedia. that means the primary criteria of selfhood is ego, or the ability to experience an ‘I’. but i think for a lot of plurals there are several more aspects for which enough difference might cause us to identify that difference as a different self. these are aspects that we just can’t compare and contrast in singlets. i would identify (some of) these as:

  • personality - like i said in the post that tag is from, everyone experiences different sides of themselves in different contexts. but if the set of behaviours, cognitions and emotional responses across all contexts is reasonably different, that’s grounds to conceive of that set as belonging to a different person.
  • memory- you can identify all the same ways as someone else, having presently the same feelings and identity, but have a different conception of that identity based on past memories. you could be a different person on the basis that those memories tell a different story about the present or provide a different framework there.
  • interpersonal identity - that is, your self as a function of how you relate to other people. this can be on an individual level (you might not identify another headmate’s partner as your own or the body’s parents as yours) but i mean it moreso on a broader scale. you might be a different person because you consider yourself as belonging to a different culture, gender or orientation group, religion, or any identity-as-label-as-community, really.

it goes without saying, but these aren’t objective quantifiable categories. i’m just divvying up the philosophical space like this for the purposes of illustrating a point: in plural systems, a sufficient difference in the experience of any one of these things could prompt the system to consider that state-of-experiencing its own person. on the other hand, a sufficient similarity in the experience of any one of these things could prompt the system to consider that the same person, regardless of other differences.

like, wei fluctuate wildly in how ‘separate’ wei are. sometimes the only thing keeping us together as median is the fact that we all actively identify into that (particularly because we actually manifest inworld in separate bodies a lot). on the other hand, i’ve seen plenty of ‘angry!me, child!me, girl!me’ type systems who still consider themselves all individuals.
it’s up to the discretion of the individual/s to decide how numerous and how big these kinds of differences need to be to count.

so we arrive at a mental map that looks something like this:


thinking of plurality like this, by the way, is why i totally accept the idea of BPD and schizospec systems - who overwhelmingly seem to be median, in my experience. i mean, wei consider muirself schizogenic, and a lot of my formulation of these axes comes from what’s described the EASE scale and muir actual lived experiences of those things.

simply put, medianhood is the nonbinary of the self-other binary in every way there can be a difference there. and i think taking a closer look at what those ways can be is going to help us establish a greater understanding of medianhood in plural spaces (because, you know, it’s still underrepresented as fuck) as well as plurality as a whole. as long as we don’t get too prescriptive with it, that is. there are almost certainly different ways you can chop this up, and almost certainly other things that might make a being-other that i haven’t thought of.

frankly, i think plurality and particularly medianhood have huge implications for the field of philosophy of self, and i’d love to turn more attention to that