“I have an interesting case,” says Leonard Zelig in Woody Allen’s 1983 Zelig. “I'm treating two sets of Siamese twins with split personalities. I'm getting paid by eight people.”
As an alternative news magazine, Cipher does not have the power to stop my maniacal, extremely worrisome evil twin, Andrea (An-dray-uh, a subtle difference from my own name, An-dree-uh), but in the pages ahead our writers and artists explore how twins manifest in the real world.
The premise of free will is that we get to choose the people we want to become. Suppose then, we discover someone who, in every outward respect, is ourself, as one writer does on finding one’s real-life doppelganger.
Whether you’re talking about monozygotic ("identical") twins, meaning that they develop from one zygote that splits to form two embryos, or dizygotic ("fraternal"), meaning that they develop from two different egg, the phenomenon of twins fascinates us. It allows us to ask questions we might not have ever considered if we lived in a world without them. One reader explores Colorado Springs Sister International, whose directors try to promote cultural understanding where formal diplomacy cannot.
Considering all that scientists have learned from studying twins, it's astonishing how little we know about the twinning process. Another writer reflects on the emotional implications of the relationship that ensues.
The continual psychic terror of losing one’s individuality, the desire to have your life somehow witnessed and validated, it’s easy to see why we are drawn to the notion of having a twin. In this quest, sometimes we find that we are stronger than we surmise. On pg. ( ), a writer literally summits a mountain in the face of depression. Another editor becomes a Reporter at Large, interviews members of High Altitude Crew, Chapter of the Iron Order Motorcycle Club, with its intricate and complex rules of conduct and dress and proclivity for opening doors for little old blue-haired ladies. (It’s common decency.)
And so, we ask that you kick back with this issue of Cipher, in front of a mirror if you so please, set aside some of your existential woes, and find solace in the fact that we are here to help you and your partner navigate a twin bed.
Andrea More and the Cipher editors.