tags: closet published on:
Possession is a craft. You have to mark people in view, crouch up to them and sneakily possess them. They will never find out because they will never be there. Once you possess someone, you displace them from their body for a good amount of time. For all practical purposes, this displacement happens for at least as long as the next displacement. This can be quite chaotic.
Very soon the correlation between bodies and people can become an ambiguous fact. The only way that people can still maintain the co-relation is with memory. Memory is involved only in its trace varieties. It is only involved to keep track of the changes.
When a spirit possesses you, it is not that you get attributes because you have many to begin with. When possession happens, your attributes change.
Why does this happen?
The character attributes that already exist in a human mind are weak. We have the potential to waver because we reside in a body so identification is not just a game of consistency of mind but also consistency of form, and that is already a given. We waver because inconsistent behaviour will not bring up our identity in question. Our identity is linked to the specificity of our body.
But a spirit is not troubled by these questions. A spirit is not easily placated by the given of the body as as the identification parameter as they do not have a body to begin with. For a spirit to identify as itself, it needs to have very strong character attributes. There is no room for wavering.
A game world which has a clear distinction between body and ghost, shell and spirit has already got it wrong. The mind-body organism is not divisible any more. If a player is possessing any player, the player's whole body has to merge with the other player's body. Freely-floating spirits-without-bodies can on the other hand can possess anyone and end up only gifting a stronger character in the process.
An episode of possession means a temporary vacation from the burden of identification. Sometimes characters specifically solicit a possession to overcome their weakness, it is the only way to transform for them.
A possession episode can be seen as an urge to become someone else. Spirits know when there is hunger and restlessness in a body. They can know when they are being invited.
In order to clarify how a body-ghost can possess another, the inter-body state needs to be defined or identified as a constant flux of material that is exchanged between bodies. If this is done, then ordinary events can describe possession easily.
The inter-body is at the same time part of the environment and a part of the character's body.
Possession is a difficult idea to reconcile with the idea of personhood. What kind of person are you if can easily be possessed by anybody else?
A person whose boundaries are not clearly defined is not a person at all. Such a blurred person might as well be painted on the wall.
The foregrounding and backgrounding of a character's life is figured out in relation to his behaviour. At a given point is a character behaving like his own history reveals or is he behaving like he is possessed?