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Perfect Memento: The Pride of Youkai

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This section was added to the Gensokyo Chronicle's article on "Youkai Presence" during Gensokyo year 129. As with all of Akyu's writings, some of the specifics should be taken with a grain of salt, i.e. Kogasa doesn't seem particularly pleased with herself. As it says in the footnote, "pride" isn't exactly the right word for it ...

妖怪の矜持 (Youkai no Kyouji)

This phenomenon is relatively poorly-understood, since its precise nature was only recently figured out.

At its most basic form, it appears that a youkai is proud to be one.

They are glad to be youkai, and some feel a sense of superiority over all non-youkai because of it.

However, it appears to run much deeper than that.

It is certainly distinct from the pride humans have in themselves.

The first aspect is its universality.

All youkai experience the Pride of Youkai, without exception.

Even the most humble youkai have the Pride of Youkai.(*3)

This includes even those who were born human, and became youkai through magic or other means.(*4)

Humans, however, are not always proud of being human as such.

The second aspect is that it closes their consciousness towards being other than a youkai.

A youkai never has any desire to become a non-youkai.

Indeed, the idea of becoming a human (for example) would cause confusion or discomfort to a youkai who considered the possibility.

The third aspect is the psychological resilience.

The mind of a youkai, like their body, is much more durable than that of a human.

This enables a youkai to live for centuries without changing, when a human might go mad from the long lifespan.

Until recently, this was the only commonly-known aspect of Youkai Pride.


(*3) In that case, perhaps "pride" is not the best word for it...

(*4) Though some gain it sooner or quicker than others.

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Tewi Inonymous

Boredom sets in. I'm going to analyze the concept of youkai pride and it's logical consequences, and to an extent how it differs from us monkeys.

The core of youkai pride is the inability/unwillingness to redefine themselves, They can never become "more" than they are. This is in very sharp contrast to humanity, who are constantly redefining themselves and ever seek to become more even to the extent of sacrificing there humanity(youkai magicians, enlightenment, and for a modern concept of transcendence transhumanism.).

What this says to me is that there sense of self is -much- more central to a Youkai's psychology than it is to human. And this actually makes sense, Youkai generally are just a mass of spiritual energy that obtained sentience by weight of spiritual gravity the only thing holding them together is probably there sense of self. Humans have the advantage of a brain which has been perfecting the whole thought thing for millions of years, and sense of self is a modern development.

But, this means that a Youkai's psychology is not actually that durable. Youkai Psychology is actually quite brittle, things that violate there sense of self are harder to rationalize away and if it is damaged beyond repair it is not replaceable like in humans.

Elder youkai exist only by sheer weight of inevitability, most probably snap within 20-30 years of there birth.
It's quite possible that youkai who damage there sense of self beyond repair simply cease to exist with nothing holding together.
Animal youkai probably are not as prone to these problems as other youkai, still more brittle than human but having something to hold them together when they snap. (This also explains why sometimes animal youkai can be very anthropomorphic, and sometimes largely animalistic.)

TL DR: If Human psychology is water, Youkai psychology is brittle stone.