Polymorphs as kintype

1 Main available definitions

*when this article was originally written (September’s end, 2016)

According Wikia’s Otherkin Wiki[1],

A polymorph is an energy being without a set form, capable of shifting/mimicking any other form or energy they desire.

Polymorphs often believe themselves to be a certain kintype/theriotype but later feel like that kintype/theriotype is inaccurate and move on to another, as their kintype is a being of constantly changing form.

One of the problems of that definition is that energy is not a well-defined term that can be interpreted in many ways, it’s not trivial to give an example of it. Energy, in physics, is a property of objects which can be transferred to other objects or converted into different forms[2]; in psychology, its idea comes from theories and models of a postulated unconscious mental functioning on a level between biology and consciousness[3]; under esotercism, the term energy is used by writers and practitioners of various esoteric forms of spirituality and alternative medicine to refer to a variety of phenomena, where under some aspects it can be compared to other concepts such as “life force” and “élan vital”[4].

Another problem of that definition is that it is too generic on how it is not having a set form and focus on the previous misidentifications as major indicator of that identity.

According Shiro’s article in Kinmunity[5],

A polymorph is an energy being with no set form. Instead, the polymorph can take on multiple forms. This term is also sometimes used to refer to an individual with multiple kintypes.

The last sentence refers to polykin, a different concept. This definition also uses energy and is also generic, being subject of all disadvantages pointed to the previous one.

2 Describing the kintype

A polymorph is a being with the freedom to choose which form it’ll have. A clear definition of what will shapeshift into is required to assume that shape, being that definition acquired via observation (with or without interaction), creation or even combining two or more existing definitions into one thing; for the observation, it’s not required focusing, but it can not “spontaneously happen” for some specific things[6]. Those shapeshifts of the kintype can be perceived in many ways - except shapeshifting in real life (here goes the exception of the exception: exists psychological phenomena that can give someone the illusion that they shapeshifted for some moments in real life). Polymorphs can have their preferred forms[7].

Usually, a polymorph can end up copying other’s kintype by “mirroring”[8], be that action voluntary or not - assuming good faith, most aren’t intentional. That can reflect in a always-growing kintype list, in a always-changing kintype or in an unsure identity. This shouldn’t be your guideline while you are new to the concept or if it is your initial interactions with the otherkin community as a whole.

Polymorphs are commonly described as energy beings; this word (energy) is usually used in its esoteric meaning in that sentence. That impacts polymorphs in the way they see themselves: they aren’t any of their shapes, but a vital force that is able to assume other shapes and mimic their surroundings. It wasn’t found a consensus about the true form of a polymorph, but is known that none is the right one.

How a polymorph sees their own shifting mechanism varies in description and analogies, but they seems to converge in some sort of unconscious pressure to “mirror” their surroundings[9] and in a way to create a “catalog of forms” to change back to a previous form later[10,11] - how a polymorph consciously becomes a form (what they internally do to change their form) is unclear, but one wrote that personality, speech and energy vibe adjustments gets done without thinking[12].

By above mentioned characteristics, polymorphs ends up being highly sociable for looking similar the majority and easily becomes part of the group; however sociability is not an exclusive feature of a polymorph and can be developed by other ways. That usual sociability is achieved by displaying similar experiences, similar interests, and in an unique way where individuality is still somehow kept and uncanny valley isn’t reached.

2.1 Differences between...

2.1.1 Empathy and polymorphism

Empathy is restricted to an emotional level, feeling the emotions the other is also feeling[13]. “Mirroring” can have some aspects of empathy, but a polymorph can choose to not “mirror” and keep their form. Polymorphs goes beyond emotional level and can give them sensations that would be felt exclusively by other beings.

2.1.2 Changelings and polymorphs

Changelings (from Star Trek series), according Wikia’s Memory Alpha Wiki[14],

In its natural state, a Changeling’s body was a formless gelatinous mass, to which it had to revert every eighteen hours (Odo’s example) in order to regenerate.

Changelings could take virtually any corporeal form, ranging from humanoid aliens to fog to reflective surfaces. They did not seem to be able to exist as or change to forms of energy.

That differs from polymorphs when you consider that Star Trek’s changelings have an original shape and can’t change to forms of energy, when polymorphs don’t have an original shape, can shift to any they want if it is enoughly defined to the shapeshifter and don’t need a “time to regenerate”.

2.1.3 Shapeshifters and polymorphs

Every polymorph is a shapeshifter, but not every shapeshifter is a polymorph: shapeshifters usually have a reduced set of forms they can turn into, where that set for polymorphs is virtually unlimited.

2.1.4 Polykin and polymorphs

Polykin is an otherkin that have many kintypes[15], where that “many” is countable. Polymorph is a single kintype that has an unlimited set of shapes they can assume.

3 Final considerations of the author

Polymorph is a complex kintype that should be better defined. Even after this article, there’s a lot of aspects to cover and a lot of experiences to be documented.

I hope this article helped you understanding what a polymorph is, its characteristics and to know the difference from similar-looking concepts that can look being the same thing in a first moment.

4 Bibliographic references

  6. (“General discussion #2” section, 2nd paragraph)
  7. (“General discussion #3” section, 4th paragraph)
  8. (“General discussion #3” section, 8th paragraph)
  9. (5th quote)
  10. (“General discussion #3” section, 5th paragraph)
  11. (2nd quote)
  12. (“General discussion #3” section, 6th paragraph)