Chronicles of the Misunderstood – Furry – Part 1: Definocentric Society

31 Oct

In an effort to make the process of building this book easier, and perhaps turning it into a digital book as opposed to a physical book as I’d originally intended, I’ll be documenting each portion of my effort here directly. I’ll be expanding on my views and beliefs, covering the points that I’d like to make, and looking for your input as I do so. Enjoy!

The first baseline to establish, and the reason why most people fail to accurately define the furry fandom, or truthfully any fandom, is due to the sheer variety and breadth of scope of a group of fans. In order to define something like this we need to focus on the commonalities, inasmuch as we can, and acknowledge the fact that such a definition fails to cover all individuals or circumstances. In this admittance of the incapability to fully and completely define something, we can begin to set a framework upon which to build a personal definition, which is fundamentally what any abstract concept depends on.

Those of us who hope to establish a definition that can be effectively ‘copied and pasted’ to all instances has fallen prey to the definocentric world view that is so common in our world currently. Our society has grown on linguistic definition. We focus on writing extensive dictionary and encyclopedia entries that fully and completely define all connotations and denotations of words. This works fine for objects, and arguably people and places. What we’re finding now is that definitions are required for more inexact items. Love. Science fiction. Buddhists. Any term that represents such an expansive list of perspectives and individual beliefs that it becomes nigh on impossible to capture everything in one selection of individual words.

The realization that we cannot hope to define such things in an all-encompassing way does not sit well with traditionalists. They want a means to put a label on the practice or group, but have no way to establish such a label so as to satisfy everyone impacted or part of the item they are trying to define. Not everyone who loves will love in the same way. Not everyone who is a fan of science fiction will like the same things. Not everyone who considers themselves a Buddhist will follow the teachings of Buddha in the same way, if at all. In order to satisfy the desires of definocentric society, we need to be careful what we assign in our definition, and firmly establish the flexibility and failings of such a definition to completely outline what we’re trying to define.

So with that note, we begin. Not to define, or to capture every element of the furry fandom, but rather to explore it. Give a series of perspectives, commonalities, and elements of the fandom that will help each person understand in their own way exactly what it is. Definitions of this scope and size will be a journey, not a process of simply looking something up. As we move into more abstract concepts with more open-minded understanding, such will be necessary. These writings will be a journey, and I welcome each and every one of you to pursuing this journey with me. We will all learn something, and my hope is that we will not realize what we know, but rather what we don’t. This is how we learn.


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