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Brainstorming and making some progress

Tawn previously posted a list of preferred and also needed types of writings and information for this Project, so while I'm posting anyway, I'm running back over the list and noting what we have so far and what we need (or need more of). 

Completed so far:
~Overview/intro to Project Shift
~Tawn's "What is Therianthropy?" article
~Strill's "Are You a Therian?" article
~Essay on physical shifting (by Tawn)
~Various shifting and therianthropy terms (mainly mine; I'm adding some more in this entry as well)

Needed, preferred, or in the process of being written:
~Introspection on therianthropy and one's particular theriotype(s); advice, explanations of it, techniques, etc.
~Alternate (non-therianthropy) forms of animality, animal connections, and animal spirituality (totemism, daemonism, personal symbolism, etc.; these could be written in separate articles, or any/all of them combined in a single article, depending on how the author(s) want to go about it)
~'Shifter's Disease'
~Advice on sharing with family, friends, and other people
~The therian community--interactions in it, advice, its changes and developments over time, etc.
~'Becoming a Therian' (I'm currently working on this one, whenever I can finish it up to a satisfactory extent)
~Question & Answer or an "FAQ" (I have some questions listed in this entry for it, and feedback for some more is encouraged; I, or with others too, need to finish writing answers for the questions)
~Purpose and problems of using therian labels and definitions (I might try to write that one sometime)
~Various possible origins/causes of therianthropy
~And other essays of advice, therian-related information, or personal experiences that contributing authors would like to share on Project Shift

In that latter section, the ones not written or completed yet, I feel that we need to only finish a few of them before Project Shift should be ready to go online and public on its site, and from there those articles and information can be added to with more writings, little by little.  I'd love to see this project in the next few months or less to make that step into the information being on the site for it and thus beyond just this LJ community, although we need to still at that point maintain this LJ group and encourage people on the PS site itself and other places to make more contributions of information and writing for the site so that it can grow further.  We need to take PS from a concept and gathering of potential articles, to having it officially go online and public, to be developed and built further after that; but I think we're still a few writings/articles short of that right now.

Onto some ideas and Q&A things I've thought to put in articles:


Are contherians in a constant state of shift, or always “half-shifted”?

No, even though many people attempt to define contherianthropy by that.  Contherians do not have the ability to shift into their theriotype(s) because they are 100% humananimal all the time in a fully human-animal integration.  This does not, however, mean that those who shift have theriotypes not integrated greatly into him/herself, but this has to do with human-to-theriotype integration, not theriotype-to-self integration.  Contherians can’t be “half-shifted” or in a constant state of shift because it renders the application of the term “shift” meaningless in this case on the account that if there is nothing for the contherian to shift into, they can thus not be constantly shifted into that thing.  [If Akhila keeps his site up and the “Contherianthropy FAQ” there, it can be linked to in this part.]


Can a person “become” a therian?

In the past, this question would be quickly met with a blatant “no, therians are born as such”, and currently most therians online hold to this belief particularly since such a large number of therians have consistently stated things along the lines of “I have been this way [a therian] for as long as I can remember”.  Until recently, few if any people have come forward to openly speak in sincerity about some therians, including their own selves, not fitting within that standard.  This should not at all be confused with ‘becoming a therian overnight’ or some such superficial explanation and reasoning for not being born a therian.  The truth of the matter remains in that we have no verifiable enough proof that any person is necessarily physically born a therian, let alone that it is an absolute requirement for every therian to believe he/she is such since physical birth.  Overall, this topic can be a controversial matter that has yet to be discussed extensively enough to better settle conflict between the different reasoning on it from some therians or groups of therians.  [I may add more to this part, but at least they’ll be added a link to my essay on this (after I finish it of course) for further information on the topic.]


Can a therian have a theriotype that is an insect, monkey, fish, [insert other rarely claimed theriotype]?


How can a therian with a carnivorous or omnivorous theriotype be a vegetarian or a vegan?  How can an herbivorous-theriotype therian tolerate or like eating meat?


I am always my theriotype(s), does this mean I don’t mental shift?  I have fluctuations and times when I feel more or less my theriotype(s) but I am always it/them; is this contherianthropy or suntherianthropy?


Can therians be Christians?  Can they be atheists?  Can they be [insert some other spiritual or religious belief]?  If so, then how?


What do my phantom wings indicate?  Another theriotype? A totemic influence?  Something else?


What traits of a therian (or possible therian) are human and which are not?  Or how can the person tell which are which?



A few more definitions I wrote (and I can also make short, concise ones for more quick reference parts of the site):

Cladotherianthropy: A term coined to describe a broader kind of theriotype that is not species specific.  It denotes therians who have a theriotype that is not one species but encompasses a broader spectrum of related animals.  Some consider it to refer to having an entire genus as a theriotype, however, there are many animals that have only one identified species under a genus, and thus in numerous cases it would not be appropriate to denote oneself as a cladotherian with a theriotype that is of a genus with a single species.  However, this may lead some to argue that because their theriotype’s genus has, for example, two or three species within it they must be a cladotherian because their theriotype encompasses that whole genus.  There can also be the concern as to how broadly of a theriotype the term applies to, in which during the origin of the term it was applied to a therian with an entire class (Reptilia) as the theriotype as well as ones which have theriotypes fitting suborders.  Another example is it can also be used well in describing a single theriotype that encompasses many animal species of the same taxonomic family (or class, order, etc.) without necessarily including all species within that family (such as many feline species, yet not every species of feline).


Exactly where the lines are or should be drawn regarding uses of the term cladotherianthropy is unclear, especially since it is a term that has always been used rarely, and around the time it was coined only few people felt the term properly fit them, and since then it has grown widely out of usage.  Something else that is clear about the term is that cladotherianthropy should not be applied to indicate someone who is unsure of their theriotype’s specific species but are still searching for that species-specification.  Instead it is intended for application to those therians who have theriotypes which actually are broader than an exact species, in that the cladotherian is not “still searching” for their theriotype’s species but that they have already found the conclusion of “it is not a specific species”.  As also, cladotherianthropy should not be confused with having multiple theriotypes (although a person could be a cladotherian and have another one or more theriotypes), because the breadth of the cladotherian’s therianthropy is not a matter of having a large number of separate, single related species as theriotypes.  But instead the cladotherianthropic theriotype is itself so broad and non-specific that it includes or encompasses many related animal species without actually being separately those species as theriotypes.


Polywere: a therianthrope who has more than one theriotype/therioside.  Some therians dislike this particular term and will use “polytherian” instead or may avoid using either term altogether.  It should not be confused with a polymorph/polyshifter (a type of otherkin which, simplistically-speaking, is a ‘kin-type that shifts between many, many types of creatures, organisms, or sometimes non-living things).


Phenotype: This term is still in usage by some therians online, as is “wereside”.  Phenotype helped move more therians away from the wereside terminology, but the term was eventually decided to be changed into theriotype (or therioside) in order to get away from the misnomer of a phenotype being a biological term about the observable expression of a genetic trait.  Theriotype was decided over phenotype because of this on the account that phenotype gives the implication that a therian’s “animal sides/types” are expressed physically in one’s body (in ways beyond behavior and instead with physical appearance, forms, organs, etc. being abnormally like that of the person’s animal-type, rather than human).  The continued usage of the term phenotype for a theriotype is not forbidden in general but it is largely unpreferred, as also is the term wereside.


Therianthropy: The state of being a person who is, feels, or believes he/she is in part or whole (non-physically) one or more non-human animals on an integral, personal level.


And also, at some point I wrote up some paragraphs of more information on Project Shift, which can be used on the site if desired:


This project is meant to revive and, in some form, update many therianthropy resource texts that have been lost due to the shutting down and other loss of sites which contained them.  These are mainly focused on “newbie” materials—those directed at informing people new to the online therianthropy community, or new to the concept or just terminology of therianthropy about those things—or as they are sometimes called “Therianthropy 101” texts, but some other types of therianthropy-related information are part of Project Shift as well.  So we encourage a variety of people to read the material here.


With the online therian community being dependent on its members in order to supply material and information, when an informational site is shut down, or a person who wrote educational texts about therianthropy (and its related subjects) but he/she left the community, those texts are often times taken with that person, or the texts are otherwise lost from being viewed when the information sites shut down.  This is a normal trend, but the problem that has arisen in the past two or three years for the community is that little to no sufficiently good resources and texts have been produced and displayed about therianthropy topics (beyond personal therianthropy and forum discussions) in order to fill that niche of those ones that were being lost from online viewing.  Thus there are some members of the therian community who have taken note of this and decided to contribute some of their time and effort into replacing as well as updating this information that has been lost from more practical public access (so as not to be so limited to forum threads and a large scattering of sites with bits and pieces of moderate information and Therian 101 material).


We want to help increase the amount of people who come across therianthropy online and look for basic to moderate information about it without them having to weigh down therianthropy boards in as many questions and threads of redundancy of the same Therian 101 and other similar types of material.  There have also been numerous changes and developments in the ideas, acceptance, common views, and so forth found in larger therianthropy sites and their members as compared to a few years ago and back, and thus some materials needed to be re-written as updates to reflect these changes.  We understand the importance of having such informational resources as what we are striving to compose with Project Shift, and we want to aid in the better communication of various information about therianthropy to new people whether they are therian or not, as well as other members of the therian community.


Aug. 12th, 2008 03:48 pm (UTC)
Ah, life! How I love.
You are so brilliant.

If I think of more questions I’ll mention them. Off the top of my head one might be something along the lines of: ‘My behaviour really mirrors [insert animal here], does that mean I’m a therian?’

I loved the explanation of PS, it just captures everything so well.
I agree we only need to finish a few more essays to go ‘live’, so to speak. The very basics. So that would probably include terms, what therianthropy is, and maybe shifting, do you think? Some words on entering the community as well probably. And of course what PS is. We’ve got most of it. (:

On a technical note, I’m going to redo the layout entirely this week in complete CSS so that it can be as flexible as possible with the least amount of headache (hoping that wont blow up in my face, knock on wood); goodbye tables. I hope that works out. Any colour suggestions? =D
Aug. 13th, 2008 05:59 am (UTC)
Yep, I'll add that question to my list, and also see if I can continue to think of some more. And something I didn't think of until today--Savage wrote an interesting and helpful article on the difference between therianthropy and totemism, which I'll ask her if we can add it to Project Shift. As also, Bewylderbeast's essay on not being a therian will make another good addition (saw that in the thread at Trueform Within).

Hmm, I don't know what color theme to go with for the site, though something with a dimmer background color would be nice (not necessarily a really dark background where the text is, but something midtoned--just not bright). CSS would be useful for the site, although coding and making CSS designs drives me crazy a bit (well, my experience with it for Werelist wasn't too bad, but it took awhile to get used to it, and a lot of time to do it; if I had the patience, I'd possibly do my own site in CSS :P); you're probably better and more patient at it than me xD.

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