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  1. The main source of contention here is going to be how you define "real" in relation to tulpas, or "real enough". ...So, let's just sidestep that debate altogether. ;) The core question is, does anyone even need "real" romantic love to be happy in the first place? Popular culture certainly says so. But popular culture is also quite wrong on a lot of things. This is no exception. There's plenty of happy singles out there, not even going into the topic of aromanticism. So no, it's not unhealthy, no more than it is unhealthy for a non-tulpamancer to not have a romantic relationship with a physical person. Happy Day-Before-Discounted-Chocolates Day, by the way.
  2. We have a system name, though we tend to use it mainly in multiplicity circles and go more by our individual names here. The way we came up with it was rather random, to be honest--while setting a hostname for IRC, we had to come up with something on the spot and tossed together four.point.quandary. It grew on us quite a bit, and when we came to multiplicity, we adopted it into our system name (The Quandary). It's been rather nice having one, even if we don't use it much--it feels less clunky and more relevant to us on the whole than saying "____'s system" or "____ and company". Also makes titling some personal blogs and other group-wide belongings a bit easier.
  3. I posted this slew of stuff on my tulpamancy tumblr and on the tulpamancy subreddit a while ago, and only now did it occur to me to post it here as well. Thought people might find them interesting or be able to put them to use as ammunition against "lel plurality don't real" people. All of these studies refer to supposed DID systems, though I can't say if they really fit DID or were misdiagnosed functional systems. First thread I posted... --- This came up in another thread, and I thought I might as well post it out here for others to read. A good deal of this will be copied from my blog. The article in question: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17611729 Translation for those who don’t know scientific jargon—a multiple system had a form of blindness where the eyes are perfectly healthy and functional, but the brain is damaged in such a way that it cannot interpret the eyes’ input. This form of blindness can be overcome through psychotherapy, which this system received. Upon undergoing therapy, however, a very interesting thing occurred—several members of the system regained sight, while several others remained blind. This was confirmed when researchers measured the brain’s electrical signals while different systemmates were in front, and found that while the sighted members were in front, the brain produced signals corresponding to sight; however, when the blind members were in front, the brain did not produce those signals. (In case it isn't clear, by "personality states" they mean system members--I'm aware that the terminology is troublesome, but it is what it is.) Thank you, Connor, for showing me this article in the first place. I remembered it today when someone accused a multiple of lying because they said their systemmates had different physiological states when they were in the body—one member possessed stronger eyesight than another, for instance. This accusation rather incensed me (to be fair, the multiple being accused had been extremely dismissive of tulpamancy, so they were hardly innocent themselves), so I found this article and linked it several times in the thread as proof that what they were describing is, in fact, well within the range of possibility. I hope this article provides some food for thought. In the context of this article, I would like to ask that all people on the plurality spectrum--and non-plurals too--keep in mind two things: That even if someone is extremely offensive, that does not automatically invalidate their own experiences, especially if those experiences are shared by many innocent others. That the human brain is far more complex and marvelous than any of us can even begin to comprehend. Remember the allegory of the blind men and the elephant. If we have different experiences, that does not mean one of us is the lesser of the other, or that one of us is “right” and all others are “wrong”. (I direct that last statement in particular to the multiple who made that thread.) It means that we have each reached out and touched different parts of an incredibly vast phenomena. It is an occasion to share what we know, not come to blows over our differences. Thank you for reading. --- And the second... --- This came up in a discussion with someone in another thread, and I thought I should post my links in their own thread as well, as a sort of follow-up to this thread. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2766827/ http://www.nytimes.com/1988/06/28/science/probing-the-enigma-of-multiple-personality.html https://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/pdf/Laura%20Harrison%20Multiple%20Personality%20Disorder;%20an%20Alternative%20Theory.pdf (This one is a bit meta but it does quote some interesting studies) The Swinburne media report goes on to state that there were significant differences observed in the EEG coherence analysis between the core personalities and their alters, but not between the actor’s true personalities and their pretended personalities. Ciociari of Swinburne states that this lends credibility to the existence of this disorder and militates against the belief that it is fabricated in all cases. Just a little holiday reminder that the brain is really fucking weird, and more complicated than any of us can even begin to imagine. Hope everyone's having/had a good New Year's! --- And the third, which I found today... --- Hi everyone! Have another article that says plurality can't be faked. Have fun! (don't mind me. I'm kind of off my rails at the moment.) --- Hopefully these haven't been posted before by someone else. I'll probably update this as I dig up more stuff.
  4. Plurality - A Scientific and Philosophical Overview What is plurality? I suppose I should start this off with the basic definition: ​Plurality is a term that encompasses all phenomena where multiple consciousnesses coexist within a brain. This includes–but is not limited to–people who hear voices (which in itself is not a mental illness), authors who can speak to their characters, dissociative identity disorder/DID, and “healthy multiples”–plurals who can switch control of the body but lack the disruption that DID brings and function normally in society. As several of those examples demonstrate, plurality is not something that automatically needs to be “fixed”–simply because something is unusual does not mean it is a mental illness. (If that were the case, then all LGBT people and people from other cultures would be considered mentally ill!) In order to qualify as a mental illness, an unusual behavior must cause distress to a person, render them dysfunctional, or pose a danger to themselves or others. Plurality does not by definition do any of those, no more than playing video games guarantees one will become a criminal. Plurals in most cases blend in with the rest of society, and may even function better because they are plural–by spurring inspiration, as in the case of the authors; by providing counsel, in the case of the voice-hearers; or even by working together with the other entities to tag-team physical-world tasks, as in the case of the healthy multiples. Of course, not all plurality is peachy–DID plurals suffer from an assortment of factors (lack control over body-control switches, inability to communicate with the others in the brain, and others) that lead to chaos, and even a healthy plural can experience disagreements with the others who are with them, just as you would with a physical friend. Every case is unique, and thus it is important to take plurality on a case by case basis, to respect individual stories rather than blanketing the phenomenon as entirely good or entirely bad. Before we continue, here are a few terms to know: System: Refers to all entities coexisting within a physical body. Systemmate: Refers to another member of one’s system. Singlet: The opposite of a plural. One person in one brain. Median: A system with members who are not completely separate from each other. Often consists of members who all identify as “aspects” or “facets” of one central identity. Fronting: Refers to the act of being “in” the physical body and using it. More than one member can be fronting at once—this is called co-fronting or co-running. (To quote an old plurality website: “Singlets who think this is impossible or confusing should remember that the next time they catch themselves watching television, talking on the phone and stirring soup all at the same time.”​) This is also where the term “fronter” (referring to a member who controls/is controlling the body) originated. Switching: Refers to a change in who is fronting. Now, onto the meat of this. The first question that is often asked: Is plurality real? How do we know it’s not just mood swings or acting? Numerous scientific studies have confirmed the existence of plurality. Here are a few excerpts. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2766827/ http://www.nytimes.com/1988/06/28/science/probing-the-enigma-of-multiple-personality.html http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17611729 https://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/pdf/Laura%20Harrison%20Multiple%20Personality%20Disorder;%20an%20Alternative%20Theor%E2%80%8By.pdf The Swinburne media report goes on to state that there were significant differences observed in the EEG coherence analysis between the core personalities and their alters, but not between the actor’s true personalities and their pretended personalities. Ciociari of Swinburne states that this lends credibility to the existence of this disorder and militates against the belief that it is fabricated in all cases. There are also numerous historical precedents for the existence of plurality. In addition to the authors who speak to their characters… http://daemonpage.com/socrates-daimon.php From Carl Jung’s (the famous psychologist) autobiography: So we have established that plurality, in fact, does exist, and can actually be physically verified to exist. But that only prompts another question: Aren’t all members of a plural system just parts of one person? Well, how do you define a person? It’s easy to think that everything within one brain belongs to one person. But from several perspectives, we can see that this isn’t so clear-cut. First of all, to address a common myth: that all system members are only “fragments” of one person, only possessing limited mental abilities or emotions. While this may be true for some median systems, this is very frequently untrue for many, many multiple systems. Each member is capable of expressing the full range of human emotion, can have their own interests, and can differ from other members in opinion on a certain topic. To the outsider, if each had their own body, they would immediately be perceived as different people. Now, to address the assertion that the brain and body are an essential part of a person. To this, I present a thought experiment posed by the philosopher John Locke. Locke presents us with a cobbler and a prince. One day, the prince and cobbler suddenly exchange bodies–the prince awakens to find himself in the cobbler’s body, and vice versa. Who is the cobbler, Locke asks, and who is the prince? The intuitive answer is that the prince is in the cobbler’s body, and the cobbler is in the prince’s body. This alone should show that the construct of personhood is not so tightly tied to the physical body as some may initially think. Now, to take Locke’s thought experiment a step further: suppose, instead, that the cobbler remained in his body, but the prince’s mind was taken from his own body and transplanted into the cobbler’s body, so that the two of them coexist within one brain. Where is the cobbler, and where is the prince? The response is, both of them are in the cobbler’s body. And thus, you have plurality. Not exactly, of course. We cannot exactly say that plurality is the product of mental translocation from one physical brain to another. However, to see how uncannily close plurality is to this thought experiment, we only need look at the science. Science, it should be noted, cannot “prove” that anything or anyone is a “person”, simply because the concept of personhood is incredibly nebulous–thus, while science has not pointed at any one particular fact and said, “this proves plural entities are people”, science has likewise been unable to do the same for any singlet. It is simply something we take for granted, that other humans are people. As I have written in the past: However, there are some things science has been able to measure. As you might recall, when members of a DID system switch, their brain patterns change drastically in ways that actors cannot emulate. In addition, different members of a plural system can have drastically different skills, with some even having different handedness or speaking languages that other members do not know. They can develop different allergies, may have different eyesight, and even have different reactions to medication–not only that, but their reactions to medication are practically the same as if the medicine had been given to someone their mental age, e.g. a child member reacting the same as a singlet child being given the same medicine. Should you take each of these members out of their shared brain, and insert each of them into their own bodies, each would function completely normally as their own person. And to the outsider, they would in all certainty be identified as their own persons. And to provide another metaphor–recall that computers are capable of having multiple operating systems installed on one device. While it can be difficult (though not impossible) to run two operating systems at the same time on a computer, there is nothing preventing a computer from running first one operating system, then another. Now recall that the human brain is essentially an immensely complex chemical computer, and that personality can essentially be broken down into a system of patterns–“X makes me happy, Y angers me, I value Z, I identify as A”–and hence, mapped onto the “hardware” of the brain as a sort of “software.” Some may protest that it is impossible for a brain to store more than one person–I remind those critics of how a brain is able to shift handedness, language, sightedness, brainwave patterns, etc in the above studies, how immense facts like fifty-one digits of pi and all the capitals of the world can be memorized and stored outside of conscious thought, and how authors are able to both write and converse with convincing and highly independent characters. Now, in place of “computer”, substitute “brain”, and in place of “operating system”, substitute “system member”. Suddenly, the idea of “one brain, one person” is no longer as simple as it seems. There are some who would argue that reducing personhood to an immensely elaborate program on a chemical computer is degrading to humanity, no matter how complex and infinitely beautiful that computer is. They would say that the essence of personhood is not in the neural programming, but in the soul, which the neural programming only reflects. This is a very valid hypothesis spiritually, and one I, an agnostic, have posed myself in argument against materialists who claim that the existence of souls is an utter impossibility. But this view does not contradict plurality, either—in fact, a number of plurals see their plurality in a spiritual light, and spirituality itself is extremely accommodating to plurality. Who is to say that multiple immaterial souls cannot be anchored to the same material body? Finally, there are those who would claim that, despite all this, all entities within the same brain are ultimately all reflections of one person. To which I say that even if all entities were facets of the same gem, each facet is evenly cut. That each member, by virtue of being able to interface with external stimuli, act autonomously of other members, and identify as their own person separate from other persons both external and internal, qualifies as a consciousness under the technical definition of “consciousness”: the fact of awareness by the mind of itself and the world. That if they are facets, then so too is every consciousness, both plural and singlet, a facet of a deeper, unknowable unconscious entity. As one plural eloquently put it, “We are all equally real, and equally unreal.” Overall, there is no definitive proof that system members are all “people”–however, the greatest scientific minds to this day still disagree upon and are bewildered by the task of finding out what exactly makes a person, a person. At the very least, personhood is nowhere as singular and simple as we are taught to initially believe. And in the meantime? System members continue to identify as their own persons. They have their own likes, their own moral beliefs, their own dreams and ambitions. They clash at times with the others who share their brain, and at times, comfort and support each other. They hide themselves from the world and pretend to be someone they aren’t out of fear of being found out and being told the dread words: You’re not real. You’re just a fragment. You’re mentally ill. You shouldn’t exist. Nowhere is this fear more prevalent than in interactions with psychology. In the past, it was thought that all plurals needed to “integrate”–that is, be merged into one person–and that this would be the only way for them to function successfully. Not only is this incredibly inaccurate in that many plurals can and do function successfully as plurals, it is also inaccurate in that in most cases, integration does not work. Only in a minority of cases do plural systems remain integrated–in most cases, the integrated individual will only split apart into each different member again. In addition, many plurals do not want to integrate, seeing it essentially as being told to murder each other in the name of psychology–some plurals will, in fact, fake integration to escape a psychologist. Others who attempt integration are, akin to victims of “conversion therapies” that presume to “cure” transgender people by forcing them to identify as their assigned gender, severely traumatized by the experience or suffer major identity crises down the road. Examples of the traumas that can result from being pushed to integrate are provided in this scathing anti-integration piece by an anonymous multiple system: I have seen people cite, in defense of how plurals are treated, the authority of psychology. At this, I remind them that medicine is and always has been a flawed field, and that psychology is no different. As recently as the 1950s, LGBT individuals were considered in psychology to be mentally ill, until massive protesting finally prompted psychologists to reclassify LGBT orientations as identities. Asexuality suffered similarly, though it has recently won a major battle by being reclassified as an orientation in the DSM-V. Treatment of transgender identities by psychology is still problematic in that being transgender is classified as a type of mental illness, under “gender identity disorder”–however, even that is changing. And so too are psychological views on plurality changing–increasingly, therapists and academics have been advocating for alternatives to integration, acknowledging that it is entirely possible, and perhaps even in many cases desirable, for a plural system to function in society as plural. So, my concluding points: Plurality exists, and is not inherently pathological, but simply another variation in the vastness of human experience. Identity and personhood is far more complex than the “one brain, one person” model that is often held as the norm. Plurality is in itself a vital component of many systems’ lives–rather than attempting to force these systems into a neurotypical model of singlethood, which has repeatedly been demonstrated to be not only ineffective but downright traumatizing, psychologists and laymen alike should instead consider, for both practical and ethical reasons, treating every system member with the same respect and acceptance as would be afforded a singlet. Thank you for reading. For more information on plurality, visit: The Layman’s Guide to Multiplicity Astraea’s Web HealthyMultiplicity.com Ex Uno Plures (Written by Falah Liang of The Quandary. Last updated: 1/26/2015)
  5. Heya, lurker and regular /r/tulpas poster here. Earlier, Tulpa.info went down due to a SQL error, which prompted this thread on /r/tulpas: This got me thinking--many of the guides I've seen so far are based on the Tulpa.info forums. In the hopefully unlikely event that the forums go kaput forever, do there exist or are there plans regarding backups of all the guides on the forums? If there aren't, and it's something that's okay with the community, perhaps we could put together some sort of effort to back everything up on Google Docs or a Wordpress site. My main concern would be keeping things updated, and permission from the original authors to repost their work (with linkbacks and credit, of course). Does there exist such a plan, or ideas for one?