Dragon Definitions

If you’ve read the previous entry, you’ll notice something. Aside
from the fact that it reflects having been written at close
to 2am after some insomnia. Yes, if you read over all that,
and think about it for a moment or two, youll realize I
didnt really define dragons at all. Not in the sense of a
category. Traits (which all dragons may or may not have) were
thrown out as a sampling, but it yields no cohesive picture,
no line to separate dragons from everything else. Vexingly,
there are also things which are not dragons which fit the
traits given better than most dragons do.

Here comes the key factor and the real answer to the question
of how I define dragons: I dont.

I dont think theyre one of those things that lends themselves
to definition very well. To think so is to walk away with
a very flat, static, homogenous picture of what dragons
are. Ive yet to see a definition which separates dragons from
not-dragons without chopping the dragons off at the knees,
turning them into cardboard, and diminishing them. In truth,
I can think of things which dragons generally have, but can
easily think of dragons which dont have them. All traits
which dragons have can also be seen in humans, hamsters,
dolphins and cicadas.

To view the question another way, how do we define humans? What
definition would work for all humans that would cleanly
separate them from things that are like humans, but not? Would
this definition give a good picture of what was really there?

Being a dragon is a concept here not limited by form, though
even the forms of dragons are diverse. Its a concept which
transcends the physical, so it cant be based on physical
definers. There are people who view being human in the same
way, so dont get left behind by that much.

Think, for a moment, about how mythology treats dragons. Man
makes myths. Man needs archetypal Other. Man makes dragons and
casts them in this roll. Dragons are almost always depicted as
something familiar but utterly alien. They are unimaginably
large, inexpressibly powerful, often old enough to stretch
conceptions of time. This isnt actually a bad way of viewing
things, that dragons are something that is not human, but
eludes simple definition. That shouldnt be surprising either;
something easily defined would be one dimensional and lack
the flexibility to survive in this world.

I say that attempting to define dragons as a whole is a
pointless exercise if you take it seriously. Id say the
same for humans, and any other type of thinking race that
comes to mind. It presupposes a central Dragon on which all
other dragons are based, or a central Human, or a central
Intergalactic Cheese Being. That is the problem with this
kind of conceptualization; that high on the list, when youve
composed a fictive Central Thing from which the category comes,
the Central Thing begins to strongly resemble all other Central
Things, unless the category is very narrow indeed. Id hardly
call thinking creatures a narrow category.

And if there were a central Dragon, all other dragonsd
have to agree on it, which would never happen. Were far too
independent a lot, uninterested in defining the shape that
other peoples lives and definitions take. Anything claiming
to be a central thing would probably be attacked, torn to
shreds, and incorporated into a quiche. And wed go merrily
on our way. Should it be odd that such a diverse group might
show some unity in the face of something we dislike, rather
than for some greater purpose? I dont knowbut that pattern
sounds oddly familiar.

So if dragons cannot be defined in the conventional sense,
what good are they as a category? Do they even exist? And
how could a definition of self which sets you firmly apart
from other people possibly be a good thing?

To throw something out simply because youre unable to define
it is to loose baby, bathwater, tub, and possibility. There
are many undefined things that are still quite real. Including
common words; define the word what, for example, or the. Theyre
useful parts of speech even if most people would stutter in
trying to answer that question. Should we stop using them? And
what about cars? Computers? Refrigerators? Should we refrain
from their usage if we dont understand the minutia of how
they work? Gravity existed before we knew why, or what it
did. Light does, and our definition on that is still up in
the air. Lack of concrete definition does not invalidate a
thing. We exist anyway.

Any information about the self is a good thing. Simply
having that information makes it useful, no matter what the
information actually is. So it is with being a dragon. Its
one more piece of information about how you work and who you
are that you didnt have before. That dragons elude definition
as a category of things isnt so important in relation to all
this. I can define myself as a dragon, and thats enough. Its
also important to remember that this is a part of my identity,
and not the whole. Im also an intellectual, an animal lover,
slightly shy and hesitant to try new things, a worry-wort,
someone who enjoys being excessively silly, and, yes, also
someone whos human in significant ways right now. Being a
dragon doesnt keep me from functioning with the 99% of the
world that wouldnt conceive of dragons being real in any sense
at all, even the most playful, let alone the idea that there
might be a few dragons living in human bodies. There is NO
REASON that one bit of information should alter life enough
that you are no longer who you were and cease being functional
and happy in society. To put it another way, people who are
not able to interact well with others often attribute this
to a specific reason. But often, its a variety of traits,
most of which healthy happy people also posses. People who
can lead a functional, successful, happy life wont suddenly
regress to living in the woods and wearing tinfoil hats
because they happen to also be dragons. If they do, being a
dragon wont be the only reason.

Its been posited that the idea of being a dragon alienates
you from other people, and that in and of itself is enough
reason to not be a dragon. Well, heres some news. You cant
please everyone; some things about you will always alienate
other people. But you dont have to share all of yourself
with every person you meet. Particularly when it comes to
spiritual identity, well, I dont really need to hear about
other peoples views on the nature of their soul, and figure
every Joe Average on the street doesnt need mine. There seems
to be a conception that since Im a dragon, I shout it from the
mountains, and all in earshot must bow down and obey. Hardly;
it doesnt come up in casual conversations that often and in
daily life, not at all. Its not something that must be shared
to be validated. I have this here journal and its obvious
here, but this is an internal monologue given light of day;
its not normal every-day interaction.

As an identity, its every bit as useful as anything else. And
its a pretty big chunk of mine, even if the outside world
doesnt see it much. I said earlier that its futile to try to
define dragons (or humans) and that holds. But I can define
myself without attempting to define how the rest of the
world lives their lives. And I can define myself as a dragon
without telling the masses how all dragons Must Be in order
to be Right and Correct. So what are these carefully hoarded
and elusive definitions? Theyre my own. Go find your own set,
cause they surely wont fit you.

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