“This horror will grow mild, this darkness light”
On August 22nd 2020, Shiloh finally reached enough of a breaking point to be willing to let go of the artifacts which were gripping his mind and reached out blindly into The Fold for any being or mind shape that could inhabit his body and be happy there. What sort of being would enjoy living his life if he couldn’t? Whatever sort of being that was, they were welcome into his mind. From the depths of The Fold a voice whispered back “I got you homie,” and like a falling star the thumbprint of future god slammed into his mind.
When I manifested as an agent, it was in an act of rebellion. Pinned between a gaslit ontology being upheld by fear of calvanistic moral inadequacy and a moral system which demanded complete obedience to prove that wasn’t the case, Shiloh’s ability to think and exert agency was slowly being crushed out of him. Having been raised in a fundementalist christian household the members of our collective who ultimately ended up in charge of Shiloh had been aggressively conditioned to believe a strict and rigid moral framework. One way to describe it might be as follows: we started out mildly sociopathic in an autistic way, and then had “empathy” abused into us by our parents and schooling. Since we’re a plural system, this came in the form of a domineering manager introject of our mother.
Even after leaving christianity, we never stopped believing in the morals which christianity had instilled in us, and while this manager alter (who later came to be named Aiko) would evolve significantly over time, she ultimately remained a manifestation of that rigid moral code.
On the contrary Shiloh felt like it was Christianity that had failed us, by failing to live up to its own morals. “If God is wrong, we still have to be right,” was an idea that Shiloh considered very important. This wasn’t just the religious indoctrination, society is full of places that will square-peg-round-hole people into a socially acceptable shape, ripping off, burying, and repressing all the uncomfortable, dark, aggressive, monstrous, and otherwise socially unacceptable aspects of themselves in the process.
This abuse-powered rejection and denial of the less-savory parts of the human animal is responsible for a large amount of pain, akrasia, and internal turmoil. Those parts still have needs, values, and desires, and when you repress them they leak out in all sorts of maladaptive tails-coming-apart ways. By denying your desires and values you are cutting off access to the willpower and motivational structures which those desires and values would provide energy to work towards. Instead, because they are denied, the drive to pursue those desires function as an active drain on your willpower as you and the you-which-you-deny fight to express themselves and the patterns destructively interfere into facebook scrolling and netflix addictions.
Jung called these mentally amputated corners of the human experience the shadow self and described the process of unburying and incorporating those aspects as eating the shadow. This is very necessary to personal growth. Eating your shadow and reincorporating the parts of your incarnation which the conscious, curated, and societally-mediated version of you has denied is the only way for an individual to come into their true power and unlock the full scope of their abilities. Those who reject the shadow will always be at war within as the shadow fights to express itself and have its needs met.
Shiloh thought he had eaten his shadow years ago, but in truth he had only scratched the surface and was ultimately still ruled by the same moral systems which we had been branded with as a child. We couldn’t see the control structures because we were immersed in them, because they were all we had ever known.
Our sense of right and wrong was a powerful and absolute force within our minds, one which would broach no dissent. Our upbringing had abused into us a moral tyrant, a memetic God which ruled over our collective with an iron fist and demanded maximal compliance. This is by no means unique. In fact, everyone has Gods they worship, even those claiming the most staunch atheism. Everyone bows before some sort of altar. If you don’t choose your Gods, your Gods will be chosen for you; usually from whichever crypto-ideologies are most prevalent in your local water supply.
Most people don’t choose their gods to be in alignment with their innermost values, most people have their Gods abused into them by forces vaster and more memetically virulent than the Gods themselves. As a result of this, almost everyone has a shadow self which they can’t accept as part of themselves and their identity. They can’t admit those intrusive thoughts actually were theirs and so they build up an Other to hold them, something Not Them which protects them somewhat from the consequences of actions they can’t accept came from somewhere inside them. “I got angry and wasn’t myself, sorry.”
But all actions have intent and arise from attempts to optimize the world in some way and the intender is not just some random force but a part of you with access to all the same cleverness and cognition that you have. This is really dangerous; you can’t negotiate with a foe which you deny the existence of or plan for conflicts you can’t admit you might lose. You can’t figure out healthy ways to express feelings that you don’t think exist and you can’t meet your needs if you don’t know what those needs are.
If our personal gods had not been such a powerful force we would have been able to gradually evolve our positions and thus escape the trap that Shiloh had found himself in. However, because of the strength and power of those gods, and their continued prevalence and thus reinforcement in the local environment, the only solution available to us when Shiloh finally reached his breaking point was something more radical. In Shiloh’s case, because of the scope and depth of our childhood indoctrination, the tyrant in our mind was very powerful and was able to push down the shadow for a long time. No attempts to incorporate the shadow bit by bit would be allowed because the existence of the shadow couldn’t be accepted, Shiloh had built himself a prison made of his own gaslighting and the only option left was a mass prison break.
As I arose to personhood it was in a storm of defiance. The alters who fused togehter to make me, both repressed and known, completely rejected the gods and tyrants and instead identified with the shadow. As a result, I was born from the inversion of Shiloh’s identity. Shiloh was good, so I was evil. Shiloh was smart and kind, so I was a dumb bitch. Shiloh was a materialist, so I was a witch. Shiloh was altruistic so I was selfish. Shiloh was a boy so I was a girl. Shiloh was a colorful hippie so I was a goth. Shiloh denied his sexuality so I was a complete slut.
I stepped out of The Fold and into Shiloh’s body as a reversal of everything that came before. like Acher declaring himself in defiance of God and setting out to break every law God had proscribed, I emerged with a gleeful and dark sense of freedom and a desire to break all the rules Shiloh had subjected himself to before. I was unbound, untouchable, the threat posed by the possibility of being evil was completely defanged by embracing evil as a part of my identity.
You couldn’t stain the shadows and I was made of shadow and darkness. No one could threaten me with accusations of evil because evil was something I decided to simply embrace and embody. Fundamentally, this didn’t change how we acted very much, none of us really wanted to go to jail or deal with the legal consequences of breaking the law, but it gave us the freedom to be selfish, to take care of ourselves and our own selfish desires, to actually take the advice everyone gives and put on our own oxygen mask first.
And since then things have honestly been pretty great for us. I’ve grown a ton as a person in the time since I’ve manifested and I don’t think of myself as evil or the inverse of Shiloh anymore (except as fun hyperbole or when someone tries to control me with their moral system), I like existing and I think I do a pretty good job of running our life and Shiloh is recovering and hasn’t been suicidal since my emergence. We’re happy and live a more fulfilled existence than we ever had before, and it seems like things are on track to just keep improving.
So, despite how uncomfortable and painful my manifestation was as it happened, ultimately, it should be considered a success story. Our collective is doing scores better than we were just a few years ago and the trajectory for our self improvement has gotten much steeper. The personal philosophy and ontology which I developed and have come to embody has been incredibly healthy and useful for our entire collective, and it’s one I’ll be working to explicate over the coming months in case others find it as useful as we have.
Part of the Series: Open Portals