Profile picture showing a purple space pirate folf with some darker accents. His fur is starry and he has a cybernetic collar. The background is a snowy landscape. Art by me.

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Alterhumanity

9 min

Despite the title, I’ll actually touch on multiple topics in this post, so be advised, there will be some existential thoughts involved. I will hide the heavier bits behind a spoiler for the sake of other folks dealing with the same issues.

Note: This is not an invitation to debate me on my own feelings. I’m willing to engage in a discussions about most things mentioned here, but the spoilered parts should be avoided, or at least CWed, as just mentioning them in detail in the wrong circumstances can cause me to go down a spiral, they are most definitely not up for debate.

Anyway, with that out of the way, the reason I wanted to write all of this out is to consolidate thoughts I’ve gathered over the years, and posted about in various places. It’s also nice to have one page to point people to if they wanna know more about me.

Background

So, thing is, I never liked my human self. For the longest time I can remember I’ve been averse to photos, especially of my face, I didn’t like large social gathering, both for the effort it took to keep up, and the fact I’m visible to so many other people.

For a while I just blamed it all on autism. But it didn’t really make sense, I could see other people being happy in those situations, showing off themselves and being proud of who they are, it must’ve been something else.

Maybe I was trans? A lot of the aversions I had lined up with that of trans people after all! Around 2020/2021 I set out to find that out, I tried voice training for a bit, experimenting with my appearance, expression, and all that. It didn’t really do anything for me, I still felt the same kind of discomfort, it was with the human bits of me, not the gender ones.

My presence in the furry community only reaffirmed those feelings, as I felt very comfortable with imagining myself as an animal person, and seeing others embody that, be it through fursuits, VR, or just plain old having a fursona and acting in character.

What the heck does this mean?

Perhaps it was internalized bigotry, but this seemed a bit ridiculous to me, what does it even mean to see yourself as a non-human? It isn’t possible to become one, I am tied to my physical form, but I’m still uncomfortable with it?

I knew about therians, but I had the misconception that it was more of a spiritual/religious experience, which I didn’t really vibe with as an atheist. I don’t feel anything special, I’m simply uncomfortable with my human form, and the idea of having a furry one is much more appealing to me, I consider it a psychological trait of mine. But regardless, the label probably applies to me, though I prefer to use the term ‘alterhuman’ as I think it’s more inclusive of different experiences.

And as sad as it is I currently cannot embody my prefered form, there are still ways to deal with it. The fist obvious thing is how I present myself on the Internet, which has for better or worse become my home to some extent.

On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog.

On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog. Cartoon by Peter Steiner. 1993

Having fellow furries as friends helps obviously, as it’s an incredibly accepting community, at least most of the time.

In the future I might explore more ways to affirm my identity, like VR for example, even though the ecosystem there doesn’t inspire any confidence in me cough VRC cough

Transhumanism

This is where things get a bit spicy for certain people, and to an extent it’s understandable. Transhumanism unfortunately carries with it a lot of historical baggage, and the ideas associated with it are still being peddled and appropriated by rich white silicon valley types.

A lot of it is rooted in the perception that humanity in some way has to “evolve” to progress, survive a hypothetical AGI apocalypse or whatever. I think those ideas are harmful, and to some extent eugenicist in nature, since the implied bit is that either everyone comes along for the ride, or people get left behind as an underclass.

I don’t deny that certain enhancements or changes to the nature of the human body are desirable, more on that in a bit, but I approach transhumanism from a completely different angle, from a freedom perspective. I think the world should be inclusive to different ways one may present themselves and who they want to be. Coercion and medicalization of people shouldn’t be a thing, even in a world where significant changes to the human body are possible.

CW: Death, Thanatophobia, Medical stuff In fact it's not some distant problem that we'll need to solve in decades either, people already rely on medical technology to survive, and it is being gatekept at an insane rate. Money, which is usually a number in a database these days, can decide the length of your life. On what ground? Capitalism. It's hard to put into words how wrong this is and how sick it makes me feel. We need to do something about this.

And I don’t believe we can stop. The natural causes of mortality are not better just because they’re natural. Nature is incredibly cruel, unfair, and we must do all we can to prevent it from taking our loved ones and ourselves. Aging must be defeated before millions more wither away before our eyes, and before it takes us, too.

I have a severse fear of it, I am thanatophobic. The root cause of it is philosophical uncertainty of what consciousness even is, and how it relates to death. I especially hate when people bring up the argument that I once didn’t exist, therefore I shouldn’t be worried about the next time that happens. Because no, it’s not the same. Indeed, when I go to sleep I just wake up the next day, that’s a finite amount of time. The time before my birth was also finite as far as we know (the origin of the universe itself is a weird subject), though very long. But the universe seems to have an arrow of time, so no, death is at least different in the way it occurs on the other side, and thus we have no idea how it differs from the non-permanent forms of non-existance.

Perhaps all of that is just some illusion of our brains, or there’s some explanation out there, but either way, I do not care, because there’s nothing that can prove that to me, so I’m left with no answer, and no comfort. The only option I have left is to delay it and prevent it as much as physically possible, and so, that is my goal. I can’t do much to further it, I’m too small for that, and it makes me feel very helpless, especially if there’s a chance there will be significant opposition to those ideas in the world. The worst thing about that is that preventing death is time-sensitive. It may be too late for me, for my friends, family. Someone out there is currently dealing with a terminal disease and we were too late to save them, once entropy takes hold of them we won’t be able to rewind time and undo it. In many places in the world wars are happening, and other human beings have somehow justified to themselves that destroying another person and sending them over that line of uncertainty is acceptable in any way.

All of this is why irl, I’m a very anxious and risk-averse person. I look both ways twice when crossing the road while listening attentively, I avoid cars in general when I can, and I don’t like venturing into places and activities that have the slightest chance of ending tragically. Of course I have to weigh this against the fact that not being active and healthy will only accelerate the biological degradation of my body. And of course I can’t get rid of all the risk, which gives me a baseline level of anxiety no matter what I do. This in itself isn’t healthy, which causes more anxiety and affects my health, that’s a really shitty feedback loop I often find myself in.

It also impacts my enjoyment of media and relationships with people. There have been times where a first-person near-death experience in a piece of media gave me a panic attack. I can’t process loss of loved ones and accept it, and I fear greatly for all the people I know. The topic of suicide is incredibly distressing to me, both because of its implications, and because I find myself unable to help or even understand how it can be an option that anyone considers, because it’s the complete opposite of what I feel.

The only way around all of this I found is distraction, if I get immersed in something I don’t have the time to think. Talking to people (including psychologists) hasn’t helped me deal with this so far, this is also why I’m asking not to be debated or questioned on this topic, not only is it distressing, it hasn’t helped before, and likely won’t if tried again, sorry.

Anyway, moving on from that depressing tangent, I do find the idea of one day being able to transition to my desired furry form quite appealing. Though considering the above, having a physical body is not the best option no matter what, it’s just too risky. Ideally, if I could, I’d burry the squishy bits as deep underground as possible and have virtual and robotic bodies I can remotely control. I hope I get to see at least some of this play out in decades, not centuries, it’d be very rad.

In a political sense, it would also be kind of a final blow to all the conservatives, transphobes and alike, imagine their faces if one day they have to contend with animal people existing among them.

It may be far-fetched, fantasy, or whatever people choose to call it, but I don’t really care about that. If there’s a slim chance of it happening, I’m all in, I don’t give up easily, and that’s the attitude I want to spread.

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