Parallel Dreams

Kerry Dawkins, 2012-13

I was thinking about the idea—or for some, the criticism of the concept of plurality—that systems often attract people whose lives centre on a common theme or idea. A leitmotiv that runs through people’s lives, both individually and at front.

I don’t think that’s exclusive to plural systems, and I also think that it’s not fair to leap on plurals for having people who may have similar experiences in-system, especially if those are the things that attracted those people to collaborate at the same front.

To give an example of people whose lives have striking parallels, but aren’t in the same system, we can look at business partners, co-writers or other people whose backgrounds and individual passions may have a similar texture to them. They can have strikingly similar backgrounds that led them both to the same career, and ultimately, to a robust creative partnership. There’s  a similar texture, a similar ‘feel’, and they end up joining forces. Who’s to say that this can’t occur within a plural system?

For instance, many of us, in our own in-system lives, have left our birth environments to try and start a new life elsewhere, and quite a few of us are interested in the interplay between visual and verbal language (well, that’s mostly James, Noël, Richard and me). There’s a strong strain of gender variance, in some way or another, even if an individual may not identify as trans or genderqueer. There’s a collective passion for intellectual inquiry.

We know other systems who’ve identified common themes that run throughout their systems, even if individuals may have different ways of expressing those common themes. Those common themes don’t mean that members of a system are ‘all really the same person’, any more than business or creative partners are the same person. There are those shared parallels, and we find joy and shared purpose within those parallels.

We personally see ourselves as a co-operative, and it makes sense, for our system, that we have people here with some similarities, since it’s a way that we can find common ground and work together. I’m not saying that we’re identical, as such—I don’t think we are, but there’s a difference between having similar themes or leitmotivs and being totally identical (and I don’t think that any two people are identical, anyway, even if they are deeply similar). Noël and I both like art, but the art he prefers and the art I like are rather different, for instance. James and I both design things, but his design principles are more conservative than mine (although we’ve bonded over our mutual love and hate of certain typefaces). It’s a group of people working together with common goals and a vision in sight, not just manifestations of the True Personality™, in the same way that creative partners aren’t secretly part of a Borg Hive Mind.

I don’t think that it’s right, or fair, to assume that there’s someone behind the scenes, manipulating people’s interests within a system, especially since the phenomenon occurs outside plural systems too. It may be more likely because of the neurological fact that plural systems share the same neurones, but even, there can be large differences between individuals’ interests. There are groups whose system-members don’t get along at all, and might not have those common threads, but the existence of those threads in and of itself doesn’t mean that those systems who do have those common threads aren’t composed of real people.