01 February 2009 - 23:45
book reviewGRIZZLY: Believe me when I say this is long overdue, alright?
This is our official book review for Multiplicity: The New Science of Personality, Identity, and the Self by Rita Carter. First off, I should state we've never written a book review before. I don't feel we have a right to, seeing as how we've never even written just one book ourself. So that's our disclaimer, I suppose: don't sue us or anything over this book review. We are not professionals. That's partially the reason I hesitated so much to write up a review in the first place.
NINJA: Get over yerself, Grizz. It ain't like anyone's gon' read it.
GRIZZLY: Hey, you never know. Now shut up and let me do this.
What do I think of the book? It's refreshing. It's a completely new perspective, at least for me, to read. Ms. Carter is one of the few (but hopefully incraesing?) number of people who believe multiplicity is a normal state of being. She divides the book into two parts; the first where she goes on to explain just what "normal" multiplicity is and how humans actually need to accept this as how we are in order to survive our quickly changing world. She is very specific at all times to distinguish between MPD and plurality. She describes it as a spectrum, with single, integrated consciousness at one end, and dissassociative disorders on the other end, and normal multiplicity somewhere in the middle. I'll be the first to admit that even I doubted that all people are multiple, but I came to realize that isn't what she was saying at all. She just said all people are capable of being plural, not that they necessarily are. It is a book directed at what plural systems commonly refer to as "singles" or "singletons" - people who perceive themselves to be just one entity. All the first part was trying to do, really, was convince people that being multiple isn't so bad, nor is it necessarily brought about by some tragic or traumatizing means. It was interesting for me to read, being a member of a system myself, but it's still a bit hard for me to grasp, I'll admit, the fact that plurality (according to her) is something people can actually develop willingly if they were to really, really try. Or just look hard enough within themselves. (This is perhaps because the people immediately around me - coworkers, family aquaintences and even my immediate family who knows we are a system - completely shun the concept of plurality in a normal society. Sure, I'm living proof, but we're the exception rather than the rule, according to them. God, maybe we're the ones that are backwards and Rita's on to something here...) It rather reminded me of those therapists I've read about from back in the '80's that egged-on or pursuaded their clients that they were multiple when in fact there might have been something else wrong with them or even nothing at all. But I digress. We could most definately be wrong, as I'm the first to admit. Moving on.
The second part, which I thought I would thoroughly enjoy, I actually found a bit boring. Don't get me wrong, I obsessed about it until I got my chart completed - well, wait. First I should say what the second part is, right? Part Two is more of a hands-on section, and as Ms. Carter herself describes, can actually be the starting point of the book, if a person so decides. The book itself is designed where it can be started at the beginning of either Parts One or Two. So you can start with the hands-on activities and charts, and then go back to the explanations later.
The reason I say I found this part a bit boring is because I come from a system that has already been implemented as a way of life within this body for quite a few years now. Again, this book is obviously aimed at the non-multiples out there, who might be a bit curious to explore a new viewpoint on plurality or even those who are reluctant to believe multiplicity even exists! So you start off trying to get to know your personalities, giving them names, ect. We've been there, done that. But it was interesting to create our own Multiplicity Wheel, which is a type of chart Ms. Carter developed that basically mapps out our mind's landscape. Since Ms. Carter claims that all personalities are in actuality nothing more than memories, and that the roles we perform in our day-to-day routines are what shape and define our personalities, we here at The Closet Industries put the theory to the test. We made two wheels: one for the "roles" we play (for those who are curious, we had one for Offspring, Sibling, Worker, Caregiver and Auntcle) in our day-to-day interactions, and one for each of the people we know to harbor in our brain (me - Grizzly, Ninja, Svl, B.B., Polla, Yang, Moco, Jack, Gis, M.B., Piojo and the Prophet). Our wheels... did not match.
NINJA: Fer shit, dawg!
GRIZZLY: Now, that doesn't mean her theory is wrong. It just means we might have evolved well-past that point. It's been years since we've discovered our existances, and have since fleshed-out our system, so to speak. Again, it's aimed at singletons, or maybe those systems who have only just discovered themselves. What did help about this section of the book for us was seeing how each of us fit into the roles we play out in Outsider interactions. By now, of course not one of us alone is going to match up to a certain role in our life; much of the time we co-run the show. And it's not about us anyway.
Final Verdict: The book was good; I highly recommend it to those who have open minds. Don't expect to be blown away by any amazing revelations if you're a well-set, long-standing system or family-unit. In fact, don't expect to learn anything you didn't know already. Even after the charts and the exercies are done, we emerged from the entire experience pretty much at the same place where we started when we began to read the book. Some of the techniques she recommends using to get to know your personalities better are actually ones we figured out for ourself years back, the hard way. Lots of trail and error, but it's nice to see it laid out in print. Overall, I came out of the read wishing we'd had something like this ourself when we started hearing our own voices. If we had known this then, it would've saved us a lot of hassle and brain melt-downs. (Might've saved us from the whole "Oh, God, I think I'm schizophrenic," route, at least.)
One cool thing I noticed about the book was actually in the Resources Section. Under websites, she lists Astraea's Web, which I thought was really awesome, because their site's really helped our system come to terms with all of our multiplicity stuff.
Oh, and Jack liked the exercies. He thought they were fun and he likes the color yellow. He wants me to make sure I included that in this review. He likes the color yellow.