In the time since I wrote my last article about using fanworks, fan theories, other media, and even contemporary myth and legend to aid in your questioning process, I started to think about why exactly those things were necessary and important to consider when figuring out more about yourself.
It’s one thing to have an idea presented to you which answers things or fills in holes you knew needed to be filled, but the step beyond that is to look into and think about why. You’ll never really get anywhere in your self-discovery if you just accept things without considering the applications and implications. So what I hope to do here is break down some ideas about why using multiple sources is a valuable asset.
Starting off, think about this world, this life, this timeline that we all share. You likely live somewhere different from me, you likely grew up in a different time, a different environment, a different set of circumstances. If you were to tell a story about yourself here and now, your focus may be different from mine.
Neither of our stories paints a picture of this world in its entirety. We can only focus on one small aspect of this world at a time, filtered through our own unique experience and perspective. If our stories were to be told and retold until several decades or even centuries down the line they had been transformed and distorted, people may not even think they were set in the same world at all.
So what does this have to do with those of us who see ourselves reflected in the stories of this world?
Oftentimes there’s a sense of needing to keep each universe, each storyline, each existence separate based on the arbitrary lines of copyright laws and definitions of “source” or “canon”. Modern Mythkin, or Fictionkin, or Fictionkind, Or Mediakin… whatever you choose to call yourself, often seem to be held to even more strict standards than what fandoms themselves are allowed to do.
The idea of Series X and Series Y taking place in the same universe is a common form of fandom meta, in which those arbitrary boundaries are dissolved and the strict existence of creators is ignored or set aside for a time to draw comparisons and engage with a story from another perspective.
Why should this be limited to theoretical discussion only? Why is this possibility not often considered with actual lives and existences, where we can all agree the narrator is unreliable, biased, and constrained by definitions of intellectual property?
If we take the idea that any given story, no matter how fleshed out the worldbuilding is, will be subjected to these things, we can start taking away those boundaries and see where the lines blur for us.
It’s the same thing that occurs with any area of study or expertise. The more you know about a wide range of subjects, the more likely you are to have a good foundational basis of the information required to understand a subject. Skills and knowledge are multipurpose, and it’s no different here.
An understanding of narrative devices can help you break down common themes and compare and contrast potentially relevant information and sources, and determine what’s purely for metaphorical or entertainment value and what may be considered to be more literal. An understanding of biology can help give you insights on how living beings may have worked, and for some, gaps can be filled in with magic and metaphysics. Knowledge of languages, knowledge of systems of government, knowledge of just about anything can be utilized and applied for the purposes of comparing and contrasting and painting a more full picture of where you’re from.
How does this differ from what I said last time? How does this apply in different ways?
Putting it all together, what I’m saying is this: you don’t have to assume all your lives happened in separate worlds and universes just because the sources you connect to are separate in this world. Think about how much this world has changed in the past 20, 50, 100 years. Think about how much you know now, and realize that there are things you may never know because you haven’t experienced them.
Most places it’s assumed that you will probably come back to the same world over and over again. To most, that’s here, that’s Earth. But nobody said it had to be that way for everyone. Some people may even be able to map some semblance of history through repeated incarnations in the same world. I’ve seen it happen with elves and highly advanced androids, and it may happen with you, too. All you have to do is stop and think.