In my last post, I sort of touched on this idea – physically becoming what you see yourself as inside. There’s many ‘kin that would jump on any such opportunity in a heartbeat, but to me it’s very much a “Be careful what you wish for” kind of deal. A lot of stories written about the concept tend to set aside the consequences in favor of wish fulfillment, but there are way too many consequences to such a change to lightly write them all off.
Okay, so setting aside whether dragons could physically exist or not(square-cube law, flight, hexapod anatomy, etc), if they could, what would be the downsides of such an offer; to fly on the wings of your dreams?
First, there’s relearning how your body works, and the instincts built into it. For the sake of this post we’ll also assume your mind has come along fully intact. Humans spend the first several years of life learning how to move and control their bodies. With most western dragons, you’re adding a tail and wings onto that, as well as a quadrapedic posture. Admittedly, Easterns have it easier in that regard in that they don’t have the wings to deal with, but in exchange their bodies are much longer typically. Even if you disregard all that and go anthro/furry, you still have the tail at minimum to learn to control, plus potentially wings.
In fact, let me expand on the idea of “I’ll go anthro and it’ll all work”. How many shirts designed for wings have you seen? How would you put any of them on, with the extra set of wings? Even more important, what about tails and pants? You would have to modify every pair with a extra button flap and hole. And it’s not just clothing; think of all the times you’ve barely made a closing door or closed a door right behind you. How many times do you think you’d forget you now have a tail and close it in the door? This isn’t cloth or some unfeeling attachment, this is like having an arm or leg get trapped in a door!
Going back to the idea of having four-on-the-floor, environmental concerns would also be an issue. Barring going “wild” and living off the land(which some people would like – fair enough) how would you get around? Where would you live? Many a dragon(including myself) envisions themselves as being larger than human-size. You’d have to have custom-built dwellings right off the bat. If you travelled, it would have to be by wing or foot, though admittedly the former would be preferred by many to driving anyways. There’s also the matter of feeding yourself – those without handpaws(forepaws that double as hands) would have issues with manipulating any appliances, let alone the oversized ones an oversized dragon would need.
Then there’s the social issues. Would you be alone, i.e. the only person to become dragon? You can bet any and all governments would be interested and you’d be swiftly disappeared, only to ever appear in tabloids. If not, then what about your friends and loved ones? How would your family or your wife/partner react if suddenly you were three times their size, in -all- aspects, let alone the other physical changes, and they remained the same? (If you stayed human-sized, those still apply).
Even if you were not the only dragon(say 30% of the population changed) what if they were all different kinds of dragons? Especially if those dragons couldn’t interbreed? You’d basically be a species of 1, and once you were dead, your kind would be gone once more. You wouldn’t be able to raise children other than adopting, and in this scenario, there’d be no dragon children for the most part, and raising a human child you run into all the difficulties mentioned above but multiplied.
To look at it another way, what if those same 30% changed, but not into different dragons, but the same type? remember, there’s many many ‘kin out there, and in this sort of scenario, their chances are just as good as yours that theirs would be the type chosen. So while you may not be a dragon, you still wouldn’t be your dragon. It’d be a case of almost but not quite, which in some cases is even worse than not at all.
Leaving aside now the matter of friends and family, what about interaction with others and supporting yourself? As a quote I once heard goes, a person is smart, but people are dumb panicky stupid animals. If there wasn’t a war right off the bat between dragon and human, at minimum there would be discrimination the likes of which haven’t been seen in decades at least. Assuming you get past all that, what sort of jobs could a dragon do, without massive retraining? About the only ones feasible would be anything where you could work through a computer, as that could be scaled up easily enough and on the internet no one knows if you’re a dragon or not.
And then there would be the dragon groupies… I don’t think I need to explain further there.
So you’d essentially be:
- Hated and/or feared by the general populace
- Having to relearn your body like a toddler/amnesiac
- Fighting any instincts native to the body – I admit I didn’t expand on this above, but this could vary greatly, and be very awkward e.g.puking up food for someone because you like them. Yes, this is a real instinct among some birds.
- Dealing with surroundings designed for other body designs and sizes
- Potentially the only one of your kind, with no hope for offspring
- Potentially leaving your friends and loved ones behind
- Having to find new ways to support yourself
It wouldn’t be easy, and it wouldn’t be fair. You’d be giving up a hell of a lot for what you get. For some people, they would welcome this, even with all the caveats above. Me? I’d have to give it a hard, long think, looking very closely at the details.
For one, if shapeshifting was involved/available, i.e. I could be dragon or human whenever I want, I’d be all for it. It would avoid or mitigate some of the worst of the above, and give me the best of both worlds.
Now if it was a permanent change that was reversible, I would be on the fence about that. It would mean I could try it out, and if I find that it’s just not possible to make it work for me, I could go back to the same ol’ same ol’ as a final option.
A permanent change with no possibility of going back? The drawbacks would have to be heavily accounted for, as I would not want to leave those I care about in the lurch, so to speak, for one thing. For another, I wouldn’t want to hide all my life from government and “secret” agencies. I also have way too active a mind for “going primitive” to work for me – I’d want my internets and entertainment. At least, what with being in IT, as long as I have the right equipment working wouldn’t be an issue!
Now all this doesn’t mean you identify any less with being a dragon… it just means that it’s not going to be all sweetness and light to become one in reality, if the possibility becomes available. heck, given the whole transhumanism movement, someday humanity may be as varied as a Star Trek episode or a typical furry story. Until then however, if this were to become possible, think long and hard on what you may be giving up before you irrevocably lose it all.