Interview by Magdalena Ball
Magdalena: Tell me about the origins of Broken Land.
Coral: In brief Broken Land: 5 Days In Bre is a simultaneous journey through both internal and external environments, involving several streams of consciousness within my own psyche, that took place in outback New South Wales, Australia during 1995. As a creative artist who enjoys working closely with landscape, I have often chosen to travel to locations with a specific purpose in mind. On the surface it would seem like creative documentation, but beneath that, the reason is one of self discovery and a commitment to working for The Essence (the higher self/or God).
In the case of Broken Land, it was to photograph an old abandoned horse slaughterhouse in Bourke, that I had read about in an animal rights magazine. I knew that by attempting to describe the architecture of such a place, that I was somehow going to access that part of myself that was of the same ether. Of course at the time this was unconscious. It would have been a calling, an urge to go there, that when in full force, nothing would convince me of otherwise.
I wondered what kind of energy would be left after such a heinous a crime and so I saved my cash and caught a plane out to Brewarrina in order to find out. While my intention was to do one thing, fate intervened and the result was that something entirely unexpected and unplanned occurred. For one thing, it wasn’t an old abandoned slaughterhouse with the outback wind whispering through its rafters. It was a fully operational killing place. When I went there they were killing goats and I heard a goat scream so long and loud that to this day my blood turns cold.
While at Mascot Airport in Sydney waiting for the flight, everything around me began to take on this odd distance. In hindsight I would say that it was more than disorientation. What was actually happening, was that I was beginning to dissociate or enter into trance like state, not disimilar to self-hypnosis. While in this state other streams of consciousness, including the languages of the outside world, begin to enter and influence the psyche. I then begin write in order to record what is being said. The more I lose self-consciousness, the more effortless this process becomes. This is what the Writer’s Handbooks probably refer to as stream of consciousness or automatic writing.
For the entire five days that I was in Bre or Brewarrina, I simply observed and wrote down everything that occurred or that was said. The number of days became irrelevant. The experience was one of the eternal moment, where time slows down to the extent where is appears to stand still. In this mental state one enters an interior landscape where one is no longer conscious of time or timelessness. For the psyche it became an intensive interplay between the activist ego and the mystical unconscious. Broken Land is a book that appears to be well received and one of the reasons I think that it works, is that this trance like state allowed an achievement of both depth and drama unhindered by the self conscious ego. It’s the story of entering a trance like state in order to enter and deeply explore the places beyond.
While some of my ideas on ethics and political attitudes did slip through as the writing became conscious, I was at first simply recording everything that passed through the psyche. In order to unconsciously receive the world into its space, the psyche must become empty and adaptive, with awareness is more or less maintained in order to keep living in the physical world. This was a light trance. In deeper trance like states, there would be far less movement and connection to the immediate surroundings. I have also had seizures. Broken Land incorporates both ‘the walking dreamer’ and the physical reality of landscape that ‘the walking dreamer’ moves through. It is about exploration.
Magdalena: In some of the later poems–the visits to the Roo Works and Goat Abattoir, you seem to be on a kind of research trip. Did you actually go to the works with the aim of gathering information for the poems?
Coral: Yes. See above. The initial intention was research and what occurred was a cross between a research trip and a shamanistic journey. During the five days spent on this journey, the psyche was operating on several levels from outback shaman, to activist, to information collected, recorded and compiled. This gives the story its many layers and allowed the psyche the courage to enter places, that I could only describe as human created Hell on Earth.
Magdalena: What did you tell the managers to get in?
Coral: I told them the truth and that is that I was writing and taking photos of animal industries in Australia. I went back there again with Amanda Shillabeer (actor) and Justine Lees (sound technician) from ABC Radio National. The goat slaughterhouse wasn’t ‘in operation’ at the time, so we got to go through it empty, rattling chains and meat hooks, climbing the killing ramp. I didn’t go into the box where they did it. And I suppose I was trying to understand what the hell I was doing belonging to/being of a species both barbaric and psychopathic. I am still figuring that one out.
Magdalena: Tell me about winning the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award. Has it opened any doors for you?
Coral: I do not believe in literary prizes and competition. I needed the money but I didn’t believe in the prize. It was out of my hands as my publisher had entered the book into it. If one adopts a holistic viewpoint of the world, it doesn’t make sense to compete, just to assist and co-operate. The ideas of winners and losers divide and alienate rather than assist in self and world healing. I used the prize money for charitable purposes. The best doors I ever opened were inside brothels. There were some interesting people behind them and I didn’t have to compromise my principals.
Magdalena: Have you revisited Bre since writing the book? Has there been any comeback/comment from the locals you described?
Coral: Yes. Several times. I received a great email from Mark O’Flynn saying that a few inmates from Lithgow gaol were reading and discussing the book and that it had made quite an impact on them. What makes this special for me, was that they were actually from Brewarrina and a couple of them were indigenous people. I mean, if they want to even bother to read my work describing where they live, then I figured I must be getting it right somewhere. What I have found is that people like reading about things they know. Then they can either agree or disagree with it. The hookers likewise love Work The Sex which is still be passed around Darwin from worker to driver and back again. I get it right because I live and work amongst them. I am of them and they are of me. I am not a writer. I am with them.
The only bad review I received was in Cordite, where a lapsed vegetarian got defensive with the vague suggestion that my work may have been shallow and non-empathetic journalism towards the town locals, including the situation for indigenous Australians and that I was visiting a town I knew nothing about. We all need reviews like this. I welcome them. Even if the reviewer isn’t smart enough to learn from what brings up their own stuff, if we are smart enough as writers, we can always still learn from what we react to, even when it comes to another’s criticism on our work. Whether it feels good or it doesn’t feel good, there is a truth in both ways of seeing. If nothing else, Broken Land is an honest and a revealing look at both the internal world of the narrator and the external world that she records. People who have things to hide are threatened by the truth, because what is revealed in another, may also be revealed within themselves. That goes for both the writer and the reviewer. May they do lunch together regardless.
Magdalena: Tell me about Thylazine. What inspired you to start it?
Coral: I was dissatisfied by other publications. I didn’t read them because they didn’t interest me. I wanted to incorporate ethics and art but in a personal and non-political way. I wanted a literary and arts magazine that was all inclusive; publishing all poets and not just friends or cliques. I wanted to provide interesting talented people who never get a chance to be published with an opportunity. I wanted to serve the public good quality Australian arts and literature through providing a free publication as well as paying the contributors. To do this I sacrificed my time and money and in return I have received an unbelievable sense of satisfaction and achievement. Thylazine remains free to all.
Why do I bother? When I can do something for others and see them happy, then I feel happy. I have a soft spot for poets. It’s great to know that a lot more poets are going online. I have run Thylazine on my own with virtually no support while living out of suitcases. I now receive a small grant, but it is not even enough to adequately pay contributors. I am fully aware that many other magazines are in the same position and that many have closed down.
Thylazine is still an achievement because it persists. The work is thanks enough for me, but it would be great if the literary and artistic community would be a little more generous when it comes to helping homeless kids. I’ve heard that the creative artists are the hardest to get a quid out of and it’s not because they are poor. It’s usually the poor who are the most generous when it comes to a handout for others less fortunate. My theory is that hardship often creates empathy and while they are vocal about discomfort, not many creative people, at least in Australia, seem to have had it that hard. Therefore when they do speak of suffering, it seems to be about themselves more than others.
Magdalena: You’re a professional poet. Is it difficult to maintain your freedom of expression in our very commercial world?
Coral: I write poetry and have written a lot of it, but my main focus nowadays is non-fiction, fiction and photography. I say what I want to say and I couldn’t give a toss about commercialism and the public still want to read my work. The problem has been with getting the literary elite to publish it. They really don’t care if it sells. Sometimes it is about censorship and social control via the dissemination of limited information that upholds the status quo. The art world is no less conservative than mass media. In fact it is influenced by it. The only difference is that it is often more obscure and less immediate. I’ve been rejected by every publisher and agent in Australia several times. What I’m thinkin’ is that I really needed a good literary agent, since I have written and photographed my way through around 50 books that are all good quality and all very different from each other. But who hasn’t got their story of neglect?
I guess I must think like many creative artists do and that is; if only I didn’t have to spend time trying to physically survive and there was someone to look after me, then imagine what I might achieve! Imagine all the work I could get done! Then again, contact with the outside world, creates the experience that is necessary for self development and therefore to bring our own life stories into being. Also when I control my own destiny through self publication, while it may be slower, there is no censorship and I am not giving my power away to others. My creative output is only a small part of who I am and what I do. It would take a lot to get me to a writers festival nowadays and while I enjoy them while I am there, I would prefer to be out working and living my life outside any kind of establishment or scene, which for me is stifling and conformist and therefore detrimental to creative thinking and personal growth.
Magdalena: Are you in the process of working on something new?
Coral: I’m working on the editing and completion of 12 different books. I would like to get back to working on location in Australia, Canada, The Galapagos Islands and other countries, where I can photograph places that speak to me. I would like to continue photographing haunted places in Australia. I would like to work on photographic collage and self portraits on good quality papers. With twenty five or so separate streams of consciousness existing within the one psyche, it is not likely that I will run out of raw material in a hurry. Overload and a lack of hours in the day is more of a problem. I never worry about having writer’s block. In fact I attempt to create it, in order to take time out.
Magdalena: You’ve described yourself as an empowered multiple. What does empowerment mean in this context.
Coral: First of all I need to explain what a multiple person is. The common myth about someone who is multiple is that they suffer from MPD (Multiple Personality Disorder). This has largely come about via Hollywood cliches such as the movie Sibyl. The way I see it, is that the multiple psyche of a person is one that operates by using multiple streams of consciousness or is said to be inhabited by multiple selves. A self who shares a psyche and a body with many others would do well to be aware of that fact. Empowering oneself would mean the same to a self residing within a multiple psyche, as it would to a self who resides in a psyche using a single stream of consciousness.
In our situation selves empowerment would mean selves awareness, selves nurturing and selves responsibility. By knowing who we are, accepting who we are and loving who we are, no matter who we are, we will then pass these traits onto the outside world. The first thing any of us really have to do, is be introspective and reach our own inner light or essence. This would apply to all people multiple or otherwise. Once we shine as humans we abolish war, both within the psyche and in the outside world. It does not mean having control over the other selves. We can never really control another person, whether they are within the psyche or outside it. What it does mean is each self within the psyche must take personal responsibility on their journey into themselves and therefore out into the world.
As for the word ‘yourself’ while a majority of us speak in singular and live by the name of Dr. Coral Hull (aka The Voyager System), there is no one self. A ‘self’ is neither ‘my’ or ‘your’. It cannot be owned. It simply is. No one is entirely in charge within this psyche. Instead there is one psyche and one body and within that exists a system of selves. We are empowered, because several of us now live with awareness of who many of the others are. We have chosen to responsibly co-operate with, nurture and respect the selves within the system. We are doing it on our own at present. We have what I would call an ethical system that consists of several human beings and many otherkin or non-humans. As a human being, I can now act as a guide into human society for the otherkin within the psyche. The children are being looked after by adults and we are currently exploring the frags (fragments) or incomplete selves.
Magdalena: Are you fully aware of the other(s)?
Coral: Not yet. But I am more aware of the others than many of them are of me! When they are in, several of us are now able to remain co-conscious. That means we are there, while they are there and we can communicate by what has been refered to as inner dialoguing. It’s a slow process where entirely separate streams of consciousness or selves come into contact with one another and it doesn’t always work out. Some of the discoveries have been startling. Awareness, detachment and compassion coupled by a sense of humour have been an important part this process.
While we have all belonged to a psyche inhabited by others for 38 years, several of us became aware of it only 6 months ago. The beauty of this new awareness is that as each self enters the psyche, we attempt to either observe them or exchange information. If they are in need of nurturing, then we are willing to provide for their needs, now that we know who they are and more importantly, now that we know that there are many of us. This may occur after several attempts and it’s not all a clear cut process. It takes time and patience. The lack of selves awareness since infancy, society’s willingness to attempt to destroy what it doesn’t understand, coupled by the sense of alienation, lostness, competition and general indecision within the psyche has been difficult thing to deal with over the years.
Magdalena: There are clearly many myths and misunderstandings about multiples. Tell me about the ones that you feel are the most damaging?
Coral: The misunderstanding that this society has about people belonging to multiple systems is an instinctive and a physical one. People are focused on the body only. One physical body equals one self. The idea that many selves inhabit one body is too much for most people. That is why many multiples tend to remain chameleons and are experts at adaptation. Some multiples claim that they knew they were this way from an early age. We did not know, but we knew that something was very different to the way we operated in and understood the human world in comparison to others around us. Our psychology was so utterly different that even the most simple interaction was often a bewildering experience. Human society is particularly problematic to our psyche. Many in the system that I belong to do not think and respond like human beings do to situations, because they are not human. They are ‘otherkin.’ As a result some were and still are trying to learn about the way human beings think and do things.
The biggest misconception is that a psyche and body cannot house multiple selves and that if it does then it is depressed, dangerous and/or disordered. Multiplicity is simply what it is, a way of being in the world. Multiple Personality Disorder applies to those multiples who relinquish responsibility for themselves and hand their power over to others. The next misconception is that this label applies to all multiples. It doesn’t. Selves that belong to multiple systems may or may not be mentally disordered. It is really up to each individual within the psyche as to how they will take responsibility for who they are. I am already reading psychology books from more ‘prize winning authors’ in the USA, who believe at all selves via one in a multiple psyche need to be murdered and if this cannot be achieved then perhaps they need to be locked away in an institution or put in prison. There are some very creepy people in the mental health industry taking advantage of those they perceive to be weaker than themselves. How is this is allowed to continue? It is allowed to continue in the same way that war and famine are allowed to continue.
While more prevalent than we imagine, multiples are still amongst a minority group in this society and as such we can expect the same kind of treatment that any other minority groups receives. For this reason we are disadvantaged. We are considered a threat to the current system that is dominated by humans who operate by using single streams of consciousness. Coming out about being multiple in 2004 has been likened to coming out about being gay in the 1940s. While it is difficult now, educational resource websites such as what is available on Astraea’s Web: Multiple Personality Resources and Controversy http://www.astraeasweb.net/plural/
will hopefully and in time create less fear and ignorance. In the short term, we can empower ourselves and in the long term we are hoping that society will be a lot better for multiple selves who share the one psyche and body. Some now say that multiples don’t exist. Yet I see empowered and responsible multiples as being the new pioneers of a little understood psychology or way of being in the world.
Magdalena: How do you use your multiplicity in your work?
Coral: If I have used it in the past, I wasn’t aware of it! It is more a case of using the work in order to find out who we were. They certainly weren’t going to teach us about ourselves in a school classroom. At the moment several of us are gradually reading through all the old manuscripts written by Coral Hull which are proving invaluable documents in order to assist us to find everyone. Much has been lost as various selves have taken the lead as frontrunners and in turn have rid themselves of earthly or disturbing encumbrances from other selves, in order to live their own lives. This includes personal documents, scrapbooks, art, manuscripts and even photographs. The lives of those existing within a multiple system, can be described as a post modern discontinuous narrative full of spaces, mysteries and gateways to other worlds, rather than a continuous plot conveniently positioned along a framework of linear time.
As we gradually discover the art created by us and others outside the system, we discover who we are and our place in the world. Perhaps as living beings, we all discover who we are, by what we create and by what others create. If we are able to reach in deep enough during the experience, through either participation or observation of the creative process then this may be a place where all beings become the one essence, human or otherwise. For many of us it feels like the ultimate family reunion. (We thank The Essence (The Higher Self/God) for the creative artists of this world, who have allowed us to evolve into the beings we are today and also for allowing us the gift of creative art and writing in our lives, in order that we empower the psyche enough, to be able to finally find each other. –Witt)
Magdalena: Your discovery of your multiplicity is recent isn’t it? Tell me how you found this out and what your initial reaction was.
Coral: Yes. I made the discovery on March 19th, 2004. The lead up to the discovery was incredible involving significant PSI phenomenon (poltergeist activity), the collapse of the family unit and the discovery of the dark family secrets. It would take too long to talk about here. In brief I was researching psychopathy online and I came across a website on dissociation. I read it and recognised myself as having all of the so-called physical symptoms. I dismissed it.
Several months later I came across the same website. I walked into a counselor’s office not really knowing why I went, but just that I needed to talk to someone. I had casually mentioned to the receptionist that I thought I may have dissociative identities and apparently she had told the counselor prior to the session. With the help of Witt (android personality) I explained to the counselor; “I am not here because I am depressed. I don’t get depressed.” Her reply was, “of course you don’t, because the minute you do, you simply become somebody else.” Then I heard others outside my knowledge whisper inside my mind; “she knows.” I looked at the therapist and said, “Oh my God. There are other people living in my body.” Then I lost consciousness for a period of around ten weeks during which time there was no me. When I say lost consciousness, it means that while I wasn’t always around, others certainly were.
Witt the Android (front personality) took over and then Star (protector of the system and assistant to Witt) came to help him. I was there all along beside them, but I had to be rediscovered and named. During this process there were many mistakes made. I believe I was originally the dumping ground for all the threatening or hostile selves just as I had been in my family. Anyway, we eventually moved beyond that and the different selves began to meet each other. Everyone was obviously around somewhere, but some came into awareness more slowly than others and some are unaware to this day. For those ten weeks Witt and Star did not know who I was. They called me ‘The Inner Detective’ and ‘The Inner Psychologist.’ When I came back we left therapy after only five sessions never to return.
Admittedly there was an initial reaction of panic. It went something like this; Oh, my God! This isn’t real! This can’t be true. It’s impossible. What is going on! Get these people or whatever they are out of my psyche right now! I want to be one person! Whoever was in had 80% amnesia for the life of Coral Hull. Then by the second week of awareness the system discovered ‘integration’ which is basically the multiple lobotomy, where all the selves are killed as the mental health industry attempts to use a whole lot of ingredients in order to make one fruit smoothie. With little to no accurate understanding of the process involved, the result could very well be psychological slush.
Once we discovered that was the accepted fate of multiple selves, all mayhem broke out within the psyche. The psyche then underwent somatisation, seizures, involuntary trances, self hypnosis and other associated physical reactions, not to mention the high level of PSI phenomenon, turning on lamps and blowing globes as one by one, they all came into the psyche. Aside from the presence of several new friends from outside the system, we found it wisest to enter into a state of physical seclusion and retreat, chosing little contact with the outside (human society) in order to work it all out.
Witt, Star and I maintained a state of awareness and were largely successful in remaining co-conscious while each self lucidly possessed the body. We had anything from an autistic child to a wolf. If it wanted to howl, we did so into pillows. (There aren’t many wolves in Darwin! We may have attracted the wrong attention! – Taylor) But we did not allow anything horrible to happen. During this time we hid from society in order to avoid being harmed. Not by those within or ‘resident ghosts’, but by those outside our psyche. As my grandmother said; “it’s not the dead you need to fear, it’s the living.” We relied on our higher selves and remembered what a buddhist counselor had told us and that is to remain alert and aware with a sense of humour. This was largely achieved courtesy of Jackie. It was great working with Witt and Star. Likewise my knowledge of psychology was welcomed by them. Angel and Arwen were ever present. The PSI phenomenon was rampant and I once rang crisis line just to have someone on the line as a witness, while lights and roof and wall raps followed us from room to room. There have been many theories as to how and why this phenomenon occurs and why it happened to us, but no definite answers. Six months down the track and the system has now stabilised, after what I would describe as an initial ten week ‘crisis of awareness.’ To date we are still only in the initial stages of discovering all about the other selves who we share the psyche with.
Magdalena: Tell me more about what being a multiple actually means to you in terms of day to day living.
Coral: Everyday living can be complex, but I wouldn’t swap my life experiences for anything. It’s not everyday we get to see the world through the eyes of different people. Our perception of time is different. We can live many lifetimes in one earth lifetime. It means cooperation between the selves, rather than control by a self that doesn’t exist. This is called co-consciousness and is not as easy as it sounds. Right now we are working on the premise that as each self comes in, they take control of the psyche and sometimes, even I lose conscious awareness and that’s okay, especially to the higher selves, or when those selves who know a lot more about everything than me, become the frontrunners within the psyche. But if the kids or damaged selves come in, then we attempt to maintain awareness of the situation, in order to nurture and protect them and the system.
It means living in the present moment, while not becoming totally self absorbed or selves obsessed. There are extraordinarily beautiful and baffling moments, as the otherkin come in and are startled by the sound of a motor bike going down the street, with no recognition of what a motor bike actually is. Yet recognition of and contact with the human or outside world must be maintained, in order for the body to physically survive. We exist in a multi-dimensional context. It may very well be a choice between the deep contemplative or the active mystic for us, or the shaman who journeys while in a trance to the shaman who heals those in the village. Some cultures call it shamanism or wizardry. The mental health industry calls it mentally disordered.
There is often general indecision as each self has a way of being in the world and attempts to be it. I would say that this is the main challenge of being multiple and that is decision making within the one psyche and body for the many who inhabit it. This is anything from who we fall in love with to what clothes to buy. We need to practice a lot more in regards to cooperation and compromise, in order to stop going around in endless circles. When the system is open, I and several others begin to channel in order to gain knowledge. It’s kind of like is emptying the mind and letting the streams of consciousness flood in, while simply recognising and learning the who’s who of The System. Voyager is the name we give to the psyche, as it is a ship that can traverse time and space with moral, loyal, co-operative and courageous crew members.
Channeling is easy and requires no conscious thought, but it is totally meditative and time consuming. So we close the system and the front selves comprised of humans and androids are able to continue to function within society on those everyday levels. No therapy, no diagnosis, no drugs and plenty of nurturing and responsibility, not only for a multiple psyche, but also in our work in the outside world, towards making it a better place for all of us to live in. The only thing that has changed in the past 6 months is a state of inner awareness. I am basically the same person that people knew before (with all the outrageous quirks) but a whole lot more besides I even knew about!
Magdalena: Is the commonly used term Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD) offensive to you? How would you describe the “condition”.
Coral: I would describe ‘multiplicity’ not as a ‘condition’ but as ‘a way of being.’ The term MPD (Multiple Personality Disorder) is inaccurate and misrepresents people who operate by using multiple streams of consciousness. It’s kind of like saying gay people or indigenous people are disordered due to their sexual preferences or the colour of their skin, to say that a multiple person is disordered because their psyches are operating in a different way to the norm. The majority may rule but it does not mean they rule with sanity. I mean hey take a look around. In so far as being able to function within the society in general, it is true that a lack of awareness of our multiplicity has put us at a disadvantage. Yet we are not mentally ill. In fact the opposite is true. Far from being ‘disordered’ the overall system operates in an orderly and adaptive fashion. There are many reasons for this such as to instinctively avoid detection, but one of the main reasons is that there was so much going on inside our own psyche, that it was a requirement that we be organised, ordered and minimalistic in our general everyday living. (With a mind like this, who needs friends? – Jackie) In so far as the notion of insanity is concerned, anyone can relinquish personal and social responsibility at any time and they don’t have to be multiple in order to do that. (They just need to be shopping in K-Mart. –Jackie)
I mean look at the world today, people hurting each other, greedy and materialistic, having sex with their children, trapped in the past and fearing the future, eating the corpses of murdered animals, turning a blind eye to the disabled and the ill, betraying their partners in relationships, feeling negative and depressed about things beyond their control.
We do not knowingly participate in any of these activities, that are in our opinion the small precursors to the wars and terrorism that everyone is so concerned about. If you want to change the world change your lifestyle. If you want to stop world war, then create peace within. If you want a kinder more compassionate world, love yourself and do the same for others on a daily basis. In so far as insanity is concerned, it’s a real shame when people relinquish both personal and social and responsibility, that is, when they see the world in a non-holistic and non-trusting way. When they give in to hidden fears rather than illuminate with compassion, psychopathy and insanity soon follow.
Sometimes it may be due to a chemical imbalance and other times they may be born with or develop a different kind of thinking such as in psychopathy. We have also had these very same paths open up before us throughout our lives, that is, whether to love and be joyful or not to love and live with hatred and negativity. As a system we have also suffered from somotisation, seizures, temporal lobe damage (frontal and left), cognitive impairment and dementia, but each individual within the system still has a choice. As a collective with the stronger assisting the weaker, we continued to work towards responsibility and compassion daily, until it became our vocation and our joy rather than a unfamiliar task or a discipline. The wonderful thing about our multiplicity, is that many were always already that way, mainly untouched by the darkness of the world. We are blessed to have had both inside and outside assistance.
In the case of any ‘personality disorders’ I really don’t know what they are exactly or if I think about it everyone has one for their very own. There is no medication. It is simply a way of thinking. It starts with a thought, so challenge and change the thought. (And if you can’t change it, hit the valium. – Jackie) Anyone from a narcissist through to a manic depressive can do emotional and physical damage to themselves and others. In the case of the multiple, it depends on the individual selves within that psyche as to whether they are disordered or mentally ill or otherwise.
It does not depend on one self having a disorder, because there is no single self. There is only a single body and a single psyche inhabited by many selves, some of which may be responsible and some of which may not be responsible. In the case of our system, we have it set up so that we are now capable of nurturing those who are not as responsible, without outside intervention. Many were also doing quite well on their own, even without awareness of the others. It sounds complex, but once you understand what multiplicity actually is, it all becomes quite simple.
It’s a matter of inner awareness, love and kindness, of being responsible within the psyche and therefore within the world. If we do that then everything will be okay. In the same way that there are many countries and cultures existing on the one planet, so are there many identities existing within the one psyche of Dr. Coral Hull (The Voyager System). There doesn’t have to be war and competition between selves. There can be understanding, nurturing and cooperation. Compassion is what connects us all and joy can be achieved once we relinquish fear. If that is disordered, then I choose to remain disordered. Better disordered joy and love than organised fear and hatred.
Magdalena: In Western society, we often think of multiples as having an illness. However, multiple selves exist, and have existed in other cultures, without being related to the notion of a mental disorder. Talk to me more about this.
Coral: You know, I haven’t much of an idea about this just now. I have only begun to research the similarities between shamanism and multiplicity, since the psyche has experienced trance-like states since childhood. I was informally awarded an invalid pension from Glenside Hospital in Adelaide for being a shaman living in the wrong society, which again goes to show that the idea of sanity is a social construct, based on trends and influences such as the availability of funding. If there isn’t a disorder, for god sakes just create one! It also has to do with adaptability, responsibility and perhaps one’s willingness to be controlled by the power mongering psychopaths, who are allowed to dictate the rules. Eating dead flesh on a bun from McDonald’s is considered normal, whereas caring about a sentient being such as a cow is considered abnormal. We call this condition HPD (Humanity Personality Disorder).
The only multiple I’ve ever heard about in the past 38 years was Sibyl. I remember watching the movie starring Sally Field when I was about 10 years old and by the end of the movie I was distressed and angry. There was the fleeting thought, “am I like her?” Then the thought was dismissed. While I studied psychology for many years in my twenties, I never went near multiplicity. I actually never believed in it. Any mention of Sibyl aroused anger and those multiples on talk back shows were dismissed as freaks or fakes. Why? I now realise that the reason why, was that several of the selves must have been outraged at the Hollywood Sybil having killed off all the selves and integrated into one person. The outcome was the most disturbing and disappointing thing we had ever seen. It felt lonely. Several in the psyche that I belong to, must have been scared and in fear for their lives. There would have been an outrage inside the system, but obviously our 10 yr old psyche, was too young to become conscious of the situation. We wanted a better outcome. Thus we switched off from Sybil and the fate of those within that system.
We did not achieve co-conscious awareness of our own multiplicity until 28 years later and even now it is the most challenging and in many ways shocking experience of my life. I simply had no idea whatsoever. Until now several of us didn’t believe that multiples existed. They were all attention seekers provoking a reaction of annoyance and disgust and most of all, some must have remembered ‘the murders’ that took place on the movie Sibyl. Integration for a multiple is the equivalent of self-murder. I don’t see anyway around that fact and frankly these victim style multiples who do chose to integrate, well, I mean how can you kill off a self while the psyche and body still lives?
Self murder (suicide) is a choice, but it would depend entirely on the circumstances as to whether it is an ethical one or not. To murder another being is a different matter again. Euthanasia may be necessary, either within the psyche or outside of it, for those who are terminally suffering and/or terminally ill, but the individuals involved would have to be damn sure about what they were doing and really who is? I still have my doubts as to whether murdering others within the psyche is even possible. My guess is that the selves who feel that they are under direct threat, simply go into hiding again, or leave until it is safe to return. In a society that commits genocide on others, screws its own offspring, and where the solution for anything that is not required or that someone can’t make a buck out of, such as introduced species (including the human species) is to get out a gun and kill it, it doesn’t surprise me that the murder of the other selves within a multiple psyche, is seen as the first solution to a complex and extraordinary situation.
Sadly, in my eyes anyway, multiple people that hand over their power to outsiders and attempt to kill the selves who have stood by them since birth, are kind of completing the job that their abusers originally set out to do. That’s if they were abused. Many empowered multiples claim not to have been abused but simply born that way. At this stage, this area of psychology is all speculation and guesswork. Some don’t believe we exist. A well known Darwin psychiatrist said, ‘you don’t exist because the textbooks don’t allow you to.’ A classic quote. He was quite mad. 🙂