Multiplicity (by Rita Carter)

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Rita Carter's Multiplicity is subtitled "the new science of personality, identity, and the self". She uses the term "personalities" similarly to how I've used "personas", and phrases in terms of majors, minors, and micro. Most people are multiples to at least some extent. Very scientific; she previously wrote Mapping the mind.

She doesn't discuss the archetypal tradition much; Jean Shinoda Bolen's Goddesses in Every Woman from over 20 years ago has a much richer discussion of interacting archetypes and some similar recommendations about working together as an effective committee. I also would have liked to see more attention to gender: transvestites and drag queens/kings are often examples of multiples.

That said, recasting things in terms of multiples being the norm (while still accepting that some people are or act as singular personalities) is a welcome contribution and leads to a very different world view:

I believe that our natural multiplicity, far from being abnormal or pathological, allows us to live fuller, more effective lives – providing we recognise it and learn to know our inner selves and teach them to work together for the benefit of them all.

Well said.

How multiple are you?

The word "multiplicity" comes up in a lot of my poetry -- why settle for singularity when you can have multiplicity? from A change is coming, a section called Multiplicity in You shouldn't exist / And you?, Many paths many truths, There are many Muses, and so on and so on. So I have to admit that my score of 4 (out of 40) on her How Multiple are You? quiz isn't exactly what I would have expected:

Basically, the lower your score the nearer you are towards the singlet end of the spectrum. Most people score between 10- 30. A very low score (less than about 8) can mean one of two things: either you are exceptionally unified , or it means that the personality who completed this questionnaire is unable to see the Others and is answering just for itself.

Hmm ... no and no. By her definition, I'm clearly multiple and aware of it. Somehow the questions don't take my self-awareness into account. For example, I have multiple wardrobes in my closet (hacker, executive, psytrance, gothy, hot pink and femme) and somewhat different personality depending on which I'm wearing, which would seem to be a strong indication of multiples. However the question in the quiz is

14) When you look in your wardrobe do you see clothes that you cannot imagine wearing and wonder why you bought them?

and I remember exactly what I was thinking when I bought all the different clothes in the closet (okay, closets), so I answered it with a "0".

See also: Multiplicity, A change is coming, Multitude