LB Lee (lb_lee) wrote,
LB Lee

On the use of 'system' in multi circles

The misinformation that ‘system’ is a DID-only term seems to be very much a recent tumblr thing.  Back when we joined up on LJ back in ‘07, ‘system’ seemed to be the neutral term that everyone could agree on.


I was at a DID con this past October, and NOBODY knew what what I was going on about when I used the term ‘system.’ NOBODY used it there.  On a cursory dig through DID articles, I find that Kluft used it, back in 1999, and so did ATW in got parts?, which was published in 2005.  ATW also capitalized it, like System.

However, a fair number of well-known specifically non-DID systems have been using the term ‘system’ to refer to themselves a good while.  Amorpha specifically uses the term ‘system’ to mean any kind of multiple, and the Wayback Machine proves this back to 2004.  Astraea was using it in 2003.  These pages are proof that non-DID systems were using the word over ten years ago.  And while there has been many turf wars between the various sects of plurality over the years, over the most banal, trivial shit you can imagine, I don’t remember a fight over that term until tumblr.

And the ‘system’ word didn’t suddenly drop out of use and get reclaimed by DIDers either–I used the term ‘system’ as a general purpose word in MPD for You and Me, the script of which I wrote in 2007.  Going through the member names of the old LJ multiplicity comm, I find folks with ‘system’ in their name from 2006, 2008, and so on, and many of them didn’t claim DID.  A lot of these systems, like Plures House, have been out as multi longer than me, are among the most civil, language-conscious systems we know, and have been active and a positive force in the online multi community for… god, ten years!  I would consider it an act of colossal douchebaggery to strip their terminology from them, when the term started getting used, far as I can tell, as a NEUTRAL EQUIVALENT.

So while DID therapists may have come up with the 'system' term first, as far as I can tell, it was never specifically reclaimed by DID systems; if anything, it was applied to us BY the medical establishment.  Not exactly empowering.  It then generalized into general plural use, and as far as I can tell, there really is no reason for non-DID systems NOT to use it if they so choose.

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Tags: multi geekdom
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Between that and the '99 notation, for now I'll say that he coined the term until I have something better. Thanks for finding that! :D