December 21st, 2005

antetarsal chiaroscuro (pic by waywind)

Predators and prey

nicked_metal: "Attraction to novelty is the mark of the predator."

I read that post, hit that line, and thought, "Oooh, now that's a great topic to spin some thoughts off of for next_of_kin." (I still owe it to myself, and him, to do so for "The Utility of Pretension," too; I've just been a flake.) But along the way it spun into a broader thought on civilization, instead.

I mean ... "Predators like novelty!" It's the sort of thing that sounds like it really ought to be some sort of litmus test to add to the "Am I a dragon?" pile; and heaven knows that, practically by definition, anyone who has enough social cojones to call themselves other-than-human in public could quite fairly be branded a novelty-seeker. Dragons are predators. QED.

But ...

Taking a broader view of Otherkin, it immediately falls apart. After all, the same statement applies quite equally to those who consider themselves elves and unicorns, and other such not-quite-top-of-the-food-chain species; and 'kin or furries who identify with "prey" species, from badgers and ungulates down to rabbits and rodents. All of which people are quite deliberately moving toward the fringe -- seeking novelty -- to fill some sort of inner need, be it spiritual or social.

If anything, a broader look at Otherkin and other such fringe thought groups shows just how far society has upended "predators like novelty."

The sort of people who have a strong likelihood to find themselves in fringe thought groups are the ones whose needs aren't getting met in mainstream society. The freaks. The loners. The intellectuals. Exactly those who, long ago and far away in a zebra pack, would be wandering around the outside edges to get picked off by the lions.

But that behavior, as far as I can tell, sure makes us happier than trying to fit in at the bottom of a pecking order we don't really have any interest in anyway.

Today, it's the "prey"* that gains from openness to novelty. Strange and beautiful world we live in.


* I expect to be widely misquoted or misunderstood here, but I'm not sure how to put it any better. I'm speaking only in the savage-wilderness evolutionary sense outlined in nicked_metal's post and the zebra-pack analogy thereof. Like it or not -- all thoughts of Otherkin aside, us fringe types by definition are the stragglers of the herd. That's all I mean to say here.
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