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Reading Analyses

by TAW

Don't get too literal.
Physical traits don't belong in analyses. When I say "You don't stand out", I'm not saying you don't have a giant rainbow mohawk. Anyone can have a giant rainbow mohawk, including the kind of person who doesn't stand out besides a giant rainbow mohawk. When I say "You prefer to take your time", I'm not saying you speak slowly. Throw yourself back to the ABC of high-school psychology - affect (feelings), behaviour and cognition (thoughts). How you think and feel will have an impact on your behaviour, including your appearance, but it's the intangible mental processes that are being described in an analysis. Every human is capable of any behaviour that is physically possible, and you will often act contrary to your nature. So I'm not addressing how you act at all. I'm talking about the little man in your hair, not necessarily the person everyone sees. That's part of what makes finding a fitting analysis so difficult; people's views of you are skewed by their personalities and by the times when you've acted out of character, since they can't always tell you weren't doing what you wanted to be doing. The point is, try to think about how you'd like to behave. Not your ideal self, but if no outside force like the necessity to work for food or the social contract not to bother strangers was restraining you, how would you behave?

Apply points as broadly as possible.
It's important to remember that I and any other analyser may have heaps of information or barely any at all to go on. Sometimes analysers, including myself, will accidentally forget points or deliberately leave out points that are too repetitive. Other times, the points will be broad and vague, perhaps based on the genus or family instead of the species. Some areas may go unaddressed and some biological features may be worked into twenty or more separate points. With all that in mind, you can see that analyses are not scientific and a lot of work is needed to determine the validity of any given form for any given person, including that person's opinion. So to get the best out of analyses, you must look at each point from as many angles as you can. If there is an interpretation of a point that is incorrect, the analyser will include that in another point; for example, in one analysis, I provided the point "You do equally well alone and around others"; and then, to underline that this doesn't necessarily refer to preference, I added another point that ran "You like living close to others, within easy reach".

Try to think of situations to which a point might apply.
When you're really puzzled by a particularly cryptic point, cast around to see if you can come up with a scenario in which such a personality trait might be challenged. For example, one analysis contains the rather puzzling point "Your delicate sensibilities make you incompatible with ego-driven individuals". In this case, you can break it down into a series of interpretations, like "You're easily upset" and "You don't get along with selfish people", along with more. To make it more relevant, try to think of a time when you met a selfish person and they upset you. If you can't think of a time, perhaps the point doesn't apply very well to you, and if you can think of several, maybe it's very applicable. Just keep working with points that confuse you. Ask your friends what they'd interpret them as. Look up any words you're unsure of. If all else fails, ask me.

Think about general points when reading an analysis.
My new plan is to include general points that apply to the environment, genus, family, type and other factors instead of to the behaviours alone, which is far too narrow. A few analyses already have some of these points provided. Mostly, however, the analyses on this site do not currently include general points, so it's necessary for you to think about them as you're reading. It's not terribly difficult. If you're reading a monarch butterfly analysis and getting excited about how well it fits you, you need to keep in mind that like all insects monarch butterflies have a weird, fragmented, fine-details view of the world and handle emotions differently to mammals and birds. If you fit the analysis but don't fit the general points, it's probably not the one for you. The reason why I'm striving to add the points to the analyses themselves is because they require interpretation depending on the species - for example, birds are stereotyped as airy, distant and detached, but flightless birds aren't necessarily so, though as members of the same class they are bound to share at least a few traits.

Give important points more weight than minor points.
Occasionally major points aren't stressed much in analyses. This is because I usually forget and generally the points are roughly in order of when I think of them, which means obvious and key points are normally highest in their sections, but sometimes they aren't. This is another area my new approach to analyses seeks to address, but for now, you'll need to use your own knowledge, as with general points, unless I've provided a summary.

Reread an analysis you think fits to figure out why you think it fits.
The best way to do this is systematically. As objectively as you can, take each point and rank it as Very Fitting, Kind of Fitting or Not Fitting, then add notes about why and how important it is. Use your own research in this as well. If a point doesn't fit at first glance, now's your chance to take stock and see if there are other interpretations that might work, and if possible it's always good to contact the analyser to ask about any points you're unsure of. If you want you can send your analysis of the analysis to me as feedback, including any queries or critiques, and I'll do my best to help you. The most important thing is that you know whether or not a form is working on paper, however, because I'm unable to make the final call as to whether the form is perfect for you or not, and so are all your friends and loved ones. The power is yours.

Look up similar forms for comparison.
This has two sides to it - looking up species that are actually related or are similar by way of evolutionary convergence, and looking up species that are similar in analysis. The first one I have made absolutely no effort to aid you with, as it's easy to find out; just go to Wikipedia, type in the animal in question and look around at its close relatives. Unrelated species with similar analyses, however, are part of the new scheme I've been raving about. Eventually most analyses should have tips on other forms worth looking at to ease the terrible burden of trawling through thousands upon thousands of known species.

Always do your own research.
I can't stress this enough. Everything hinges on your own research. I do my best to make my analyses clear, helpful, current and in-depth, but as an analyser and as a dæmian myself, I know very well the feeling of a form you know inside and out. If you don't get this three-dimensional grasp of a form, you're not doing yourself justice when you decide it fits. You will always continue to learn, grow and change your opinions, but the best way you have of making sure your decisions are wise is by having all the knowledge that's available. It's okay to not have an analytical mind. You don't have to feel bad if you can't write analyses like I do, or if you write them differently - it's our differences that make us who we are, after all. For some people doing your own research will be a very hard struggle indeed, but it will always, always be worth it if it helps you shape your identity, your self-worth and your understanding of yourself as a person. The hardest part of bettering yourself is finding the line between who you are and who you don't want to be. In my handful of years worth of experience, I've found this whole concept very helpful to me, though sometimes painful and harmful too, as life is. So I recommend the voyage to anybody, even though it's hard, even though it's tiring and annoying, even though it has no reward that you can hang on a wall, because it's an emotional, mental and spiritual voyage all in one and I have enjoyed it so far and no doubt will continue to enjoy it in future.