Harmony, Chaos, RuneScape and Quoilunetary Nonhumanity
The very simplest way of explaining this concept is the following sentence: "I never said that I owed her money." Seems a simple statement, yeah? Place emphasis on one word, read it again, and then place emphasis on a different word and read it. "I never said that I owed her money," implies a flat-out denial of the concept. However, "I never said that I owed her money," is a clear 'I implied it but never said it, and you can't hold me to that'. And emphasis on other words brings the exact meaning of those emphasized words into question, and so forth.
But while that concept is universal, it's difficult to see as it stands how that applies to alterhuman experiences. So we're going to delve into the source of one of my current linktypes, RuneScape, and we're going to explain things the way a warpriest does, using the setting's available godly philosophies to explain a past experience.
The two we'll be looking at today are Serenist and Zamorakian philosophies, particularly the Elven questline, and we're choosing this because Seren's ingame dialogue includes her explaining why Zamorakianism doesn't fit the questline. I, however, say it does, so let's compare and contrast how they both fit, and why they're both valid, and why if you're determined enough you can be absolutely convinced that the other's an idiot.
Seren is the crystal goddess of light; associated heavily with integrity, harmony, prudence, wisdom, and tranquility. Simply put, she is a pacifist who believes that if two parties can meet in the middle and find harmony, the best possible result can be achieved.
This is contrasted heavily with Zamorakian philosophy. Zamorak is known best as the god of chaos, although his philosophy heavily centres strength through personal strife. He believes that almost all obstacles and challenges in life can be beaten if one just never gives up, and that through surviving those obstacles, one is made a better person. He also believes that order brings stagnation: with no reason or need to do something different, people will do what they have always done, thus, chaos is necessary for improvement and achievement.When Seren left the elves, her main followers, scrambled to put together a leadership that might replace her. Modelling the humans, they chose a monarchy, which was undercut in short order by Clan Iorwerth. (Iorwerth is one of the two military elven clans.) Iorwerth, following a dark power, overthrew the monarchy and shut down the elven kingdom entirely, forcing every elf that wasn't trapped to flee or swear allegiance to them. They were later overthrown by the remains of the other seven clans and the player character, the kingdom was restored as a republic, and eventually Seren came back.
When asked about Zamorak's philosophy, Seren references this: "[Order only brings stagnation.]" "Perhaps, but there is also imagination and community. When sharing with others, we can learn to see the world differently. Look at all my elves accomplished. It was undone for a time because of chaos. It was harmony that restored them." [Post- The Light Within dialogue.]
Note the emphasis on harmony, and how she looks down upon this. However, she does agree that the elves are stronger without her, evidenced by her refusal to lead them again after her return: "I will not leave you, not again, but I will not lead you. Let me, here and now, recognise this council as the true leadership of the elven people." [The Light Within quest dialogue.]
Zamorak ingame has never spoken about this event, it's on the other side of the continent and he doesn't much care about what Seren does so long as she stays away from him. However, speaking as my linktype, a son of Zamorak, and a warpriest of Zamorakian philosophy and religion, I feel qualified to explain what his philosophy does say about this event, and how it differs.Zamorakian philosophy places emphasis on the chaos, and how through it, one becomes stronger. Seren says that she recognizes the clan council of the elven republic to be its true leadership. This council did not exist until after she left and left her followers to deal with the aftermath. Even so, their first attempt at fixing the situation was to create a monarchy, which was overthrown almost immediately.
Arguably, their first attempt via wisdom and harmony – modelling their new government after a human form of government that evidently worked, and by choosing their monarchs to represent them best – failed miserably. However, Iorwerth's assault forced the remaining elves to think of another solution that there was no historic precedence for. The clan leaders chose to go into hiding until someone else had overthrown Iorwerth, which didn't happen until the player character did so, over two thousand years later. Those elves who did not go fully into hiding instead created a resistance, aiming first to stop Clan Iorwerth from obtaining death magic that would have cemented its rule perhaps permanently, and then by taking it down once it was properly destabilized.
Their second attempt at a form of government, truly equal across all eight clans, is evidently better than their first attempt: it withstood the next upheaval of Seren's return and refusal to govern them again, and she gave the council her blessing. The solution they found through harmony and tranquility failed. The solution they found through chaos succeeded.
Seren places her emphasis on the fact that through the Iorwerth domination, the remaining elves worked together to find a solution. Zamorakian philosophy states that they never would have found that solution or learned to work together had their lives not been thrown into utter chaos.
Seren focuses on the harmony that is the method of survival, Zamorak focuses on the chaos that caused invention of an improved method of survival. Seren disavows chaos, disregarding that it is anything but an obstacle that needs to be overcome, refusing to see it as something worth seeking out. Zamorak disavows order, arguably incredibly similar to the Serenist ideal of harmony, and states that it only brings stagnation and is incredibly fragile and meaningless. Through this, the two philosophies are radically opposed, both disavowing what the other praises.
Compare this scenario to one more personal and recognizable to those who may read this: any scenario in which someone is put to their limits, any scenario potentially traumatizing. Serenist philosophy asks for integrity, that one stays true to oneself throughout it all, and harmony, to seek a peaceful solution. This is easily taken down by any situation in which one needs to change in order to survive, however, it also is best represented by the growth of the aftermath when it is time to rebuild. Zamorakian philosophy asks for strength, to find a way through no matter the cost, and celebration of strife, to recognize that there is a point to the pain. This is easily taken down by any sort of emotional trauma that leaves scars, however, it also is best represented by the ability to take any punches thrown and to recognize the good of recovery and what that means for the future.
Thus, in a situation of aftermath, both celebrate the growth and the strength necessary to survive, and meet up perfectly in the middle in any situation in which one is honest with themself, survives the ordeal, and recognizes that they are better than they were before.
Radically opposed, and when you tilt your head and squint, they lead to the same conclusion of a better tomorrow than yesterday was.
As my last point, the question of 'and what exactly does this have to do with gray areas of the alterhuman community?' requires an answer. Not all cases will fall under this, but here's a couple scenarios to think on. Someone who has a parallel life in another world: are they otherkin, or are they otherhearted? Someone who places emphasis on the differences between themself and their parallel life may recognize the other as their counterpart, but not quite them, too similar to be anything but family but too different to be the same person, like twins separated at birth. But someone who places emphasis on the similarities, recognizing the other as a reflection of themself, may say that they're otherkin, not so separate as to be family but too similar to be anything but the same person, if in two different situations.
Take further something psychological. Someone with executive dysfunction, an uncontrollable focus mechanism, emotional dysregulation, ostracization from their peers, and a lack of understanding of metaphors or half-truths may go to a pediatrician and be diagnosed as autistic. If they never go to that hypothetical pediatrician, but instead find themself online and hunting for answers, they may discover the otherkin community and come to the conclusion that they are Fair. Where one reads the apparent difference between themself and others as recognizing that they do not psychologically think the way others do, and thus being othered; one recognizes it as others having a gut feeling that they are simply not human, akin to an uncanny valley effect.
Lastly, consider someone who takes up believing themself to be a unicorn as a child, to deal with ostracization from their peers. Something along the lines of the last scenario. Years later, after growing up and discovering a friend group and no longer facing any ostracization, they determine that they still identify as a unicorn. They do research and understand that if they put in the effort over several decades and ego alteration, they may be capable of releasing that coping mechanism turned integral part of them, and letting it go.
Are they otherkin, or a copinglinker?
If they consider themself otherkin, then one can assume they would be disinterested in using ego alteration over a course of decades to let go. If they consider themself a copinglinker, then they may be interested, or they may not, but it would be more likely that they would at least consider the option before deciding either way. And if they do decide against it, does that make it otherkin? As the difference between the two is defined and largely accepted that otherkin is involuntary and copinglinking is, one might argue that they would still be a 'linker, as one cannot choose to be otherkin.
But are they keeping a linktype that they chose and are still choosing, or are they choosing to embrace a kintype that already exists?
I suppose which one it is depends on how you want to look at it, and where you want to place your emphasis of the experience. And no matter how someone else may look at it, the only one with final say is the one who experiences it in the first place.
Both conclusions lead to the same place, in the end: an alterhuman identity, and an experience worth exploring and talking about. No matter how one understands it, or what they ultimately decide to call it.