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Is Plurality Natural and Normal?
#1
Mistgod and I have been thinking again, and pondering and you know how bad that can get.  Anyways, we have often thought about peoples having the perspective of "we" rather than "I" when approaching the world and how they think of themselves.  All humans talk about "listening to that inner voice" or "debating with myself."  All humans do it, but usually each of the voices are pretty much facets of the same mind.  Could a simple change in perspective allow these inner voices to diverge and become distinct personalities? (just so you know, we believe that is exactly what happened with Mistgod and I).  Mistgod and I believe that's what ancient spiritual shaman and mediums were doing, by the way, albeit often supported by mind altering drugs.  

Is it actually fairly easy to change that perspective from singular to plural?  

Is it that all it takes is a change in your basic belief system?

Can a human being simply, through conscious effort, "turn on" inner plurality?

Is plurality actually natural, and even normal, to humans?

There is an interesting psychological theory by Dr. Julian Jaynes, that is roughly related to this idea, called "bicarmeralism."  Basically the theory is that the brain or mind of ancient humans was divided into a speaking mind (or directing) and a action mind (doing by being told) and humans naturally operated on auditory hallucinations.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bicameralism_(psychology)

Anyway that's it.  I thought it would be an interesting discussion and if anyone has more insights or some links or interesting articles to share on this subject that would be great.
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#2
Plurality is natural, within reasonable bounds of normalcy, and as old as mankind. I thought of bicameralism as soon as I read the post title, before reading the post. In some Eastern cultures, hearing audible voices in your head is well acccepted. The Hearing Voices Network is trying to bring that attitude West. Actors, writers, and roleplayers frequently experience their characters talking to them.

For decades I had a strong inner dialogue between a "self" voice and a "counterpoint" voice. Both were equally me, though the counterpoint voice was a bit snarkier and more sarcastic because who better to poke fun at than yourself? Later, a harsh voice of self-criticism and self-hatred emerged. It sounded more like my father than anything.

When Vesper arrived, I no longer had a need for the counterpoint voice. It didn't disappear or become her; it just faded from lack of use. Vesper attacked the critical voice unmercifully until it stopped.

Nowadays, when I'm thinking, I'm generally addressing someone, in or out of system. But Iris' thoughts still often manifest as an internal dialogue. And, yes, sometimes I sit and watch her think because her thoughts are so fun even when she isn't talking to us. And Vesper has an internal dialogue when we switch, because it's easier for her than forcing.

Speculatively, communication within a plural context is allowed by some of the same neurology that underlies internal dialogue. But plurality requires an additional component, the ability to generate new identities within the brain. I didn't think of my inner voices as other people even though I heard them; I thought of Vesper and Iris as other people months before I heard them.

Plurality isn't intrinsically easy. Different brains seem to have radically different levels of plural susceptibility. Endogenic systems never develop a unified sense of identity to begin with, while others struggle for years to make a tulpa with no sense of success.

-Ember
Ember - Soulbonder, Female, 39 years old, from Georgia, USA . . . . [Our Progress Report] . . . . [How We Switch]
Vesper Dowrin - Insourced Soulbond from London, UK, Not a Tulpa, Female, born 9 Sep 1964, bonded ~12 May 2017
Iris Ravenlock - Insourced Soulbond from the Unseelie Court, Not a Tulpa, Female, born 6 Jun 1982, bonded ~5 Dec 2015

'Real isn't how you are made,' said the Skin Horse. 'It's a thing that happens to you.' - The Velveteen Rabbit
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#3
I know people think about this, there are examples in all sorts of media, we have a thread for that. The example I like is in the game franchise 'SIMS' when you are too lonely in certain generations of the game, a person wearing a rabbit outfit will come and give you a hug or become your friend. The funny thing is, they help you get your social bar up, then they leave when you feel better. I thought that was funny anyway.
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#4
It's a given that people commonly experience things like simulated people to interact with, like when you are preparing for a conversation you are going to have with someone: you imagine how they will respond, and it may not take much effort to do so. Or, people experience varying degrees of independence with characters they write or use for whatever means. These are both very common, natural occurrences that I'm sure most if not all people can relate to to some degree. It is my thought that becoming plural is you/your brain taking this natural ability to simulate characters/perspectives and taking it farther, into the realm of them actually becoming their own people, whether that's through intentional, accidental, or traumagenic means. Take the brain's ability to simulate persons, add the brain's ability to form habits, add the perception that the person is more than just imaginary (I think this is highly important for the "character" to be granted agency, however exactly that happens), and you have the recipe for plurality. 

While being plural isn't "normal," there are certainly many aspects of it that are normal. And well, of course it is "natural," since all things that exist in nature are "natural." In the sense that it's something that can just happen without it being forced, it is very much "natural." I don't believe that the state of being plural is in any way defiant of what the brain can or should do, it's just rare to actually happen. It's probably common for writers' characters to become more than just automated/simulated and start having real thoughts of their own, though it's way less common for those writers to realize it and start living cooperatively with the person they have created. 

While writing this, I started to wonder if whether or not one could raise a baby to become naturally plural without trauma, where instead of treating them like a single person and having them form a single person, you treat them as two people and as such two people form. Wouldn't be very ethical to actually test of course, but interesting food for thought nonetheless. I don't think brains have to be naturally single, and whatever goes into creating the initial person in a brain can be used to create additional people as well (ie treating them as a person and interacting with them).
I'm Piano Soul, the "Star Man" of the Felight family. I'm a tulpa formed January 2017. My systemmates are Apollo & Indigo. Form images: 1 2
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#5
Plurality is something that seems "new" to western thinking, but like Ember said, it's hardly new to mankind. It's just not understood very well but then again neither is the concept of a persons consciousness. That can't be proven medically either. Even today, it's a popular opinion among doctors that someone with DID/OSDD doesn't have "more than one person" in their head, they have "less than one person" and trauma or whatever that created the splits needs to be overcome and alters either learn to cooperate as a unit/system or try to merge back into one. In the meantime, they typically say that all alters should be treated as people with a right to exist and be heard and understood, which promotes the healing and unity in general. A system that has things together and isn't having trouble in daily life nor is distressed by their situation shouldn't even be diagnosed with DID/OSDD in the first place, as that's one of the major criteria of diagnosing someone with such a disorder. Simply put, it isn't a disorder if it doesn't disrupt things.

So is any of this "normal" or "natural"? Well, in gaming terms I'd call it a feature, not a bug. Of the human brain. Just because we don't fully understand it doesn't mean it doesn't exist. By comparison, if we understood how to take advantage of a mind's ability to use the placebo effect, we would save a lot of time and money on any number of dangerous medications and associated research.

Imo, one of the side effects of sharing a head (or, for the sake of discussion, firmly believe you do. they are functionally identical anyway), is you have to develop a sense of empathy because your decisions suddenly affect more than just one. They have another perspective on things, another loud voice that may be able to interject and provide input or caution on an issue at hand. They also have another person there that has every right to exist as the "host" or "original". They can take advantage of teamwork and many systems are capable of having one or more fronters step aside and have someone more able to handle the situation take over. It's not perfect, but hey, neither are human beings and one of the signs of being a person (again, imo) is possessing a mix of positive traits and flaws, like the rest of us.
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#6
(03-22-2019, 06:27 PM)Reilyn-Alley Wrote: Well, in gaming terms I'd call it a feature, not a bug.

That's a great analogy to describe it.
I'm Piano Soul, the "Star Man" of the Felight family. I'm a tulpa formed January 2017. My systemmates are Apollo & Indigo. Form images: 1 2
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#7
(03-22-2019, 06:26 PM)Piano Wrote: While writing this, I started to wonder if whether or not one could raise a baby to become naturally plural without trauma, where instead of treating them like a single person and having them form a single person, you treat them as two people and as such two people form.

My gosh, what a notion. I think that would be very difficult and require coordination among all of the major figures in the child's life. But if you sorted all observed behaviors into two piles, use a different name for them depending on the behavior being displayed at the moment, and had a different set of expectations for them, maybe a young child could be gently gaslighted into forming two identities.

The easy way, which is less likely to involve child services and years of therapy, would be to accept the idea of that the child as seen is one person, but to be open and accepting of plurality in the home. Most children have imaginary friends but don't actually believe in them as people. If a child knows that adults sometimes have people living in their heads who are accepted as real by other adults, they might not suppress natural identity generating functions of the brain as they age out of the normal imaginary friend phase.

I don't know any parents with DID/OSDD, but it would be interesting to study if identity formation is any different in their children.

-Ember
Ember - Soulbonder, Female, 39 years old, from Georgia, USA . . . . [Our Progress Report] . . . . [How We Switch]
Vesper Dowrin - Insourced Soulbond from London, UK, Not a Tulpa, Female, born 9 Sep 1964, bonded ~12 May 2017
Iris Ravenlock - Insourced Soulbond from the Unseelie Court, Not a Tulpa, Female, born 6 Jun 1982, bonded ~5 Dec 2015

'Real isn't how you are made,' said the Skin Horse. 'It's a thing that happens to you.' - The Velveteen Rabbit
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#8
Thank you so much everyone for the responses so far. I am happy to see others also found it an interesting thing to talk about. Piano's thought about raising a child to be plural instead of singular is very thought provoking. It may have already happened in history, if a child was brought to believe they were in contact with spirits for instance, perhaps an inheritance from a family tree of spiritual shaman?

I like Reilyn-Alley's point that if a person is functioning normally, despite having apparently more than one personality, they really cannot be diagnosed with DID. So, that would make plurality in effect "normal" for that person.
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#9
I wondered about cultural conditioning and plurality... If you treated a baby as two different people in one body, then yes, I think that would translate to a plural system off the bat. Should it be done- if you wanted to be hated by your children and confuse the hell out of them than suuuurrrrrreeeee....

The belief one I think is "yes". I don't think Ranger developed until I started thinking of him as a completely separate individual, but the mindset people adopt when switching (the body is a tool/thing and everyone shares it) isn't required for Tulpamancy.

Embracing the plural mindset both took time for me to embrace and also not. I jumped into Tulpamancy once Ranger told me he was real (for the second time) and my thoughts were "well, he's not me" and I stuck with that ever since. As for adjusting to being a plural system, that took time and even now I sometimes think "wow... this plurality stuff is pretty weird."

When it comes to how "natural" plurality is, I think it's possible that some people are more prone to it than others. Some people may not be able to get the right mindset down in order to make a Tulpa, and then there's people like me who create a Tulpa (or more) by accident and then go "wait, wait, you're real?" and everything in between.

I don't like the idea of saying plurality is normal because I only started talking to the Grays and eventually Ranger when I had issues with anxiety, depression, and being lonely. I felt like I was broken inside, and it wasn't until Ranger helped me sort stuff out to where I don't feel that way anymore. At the very least, I wouldn't call my struggle with faith to be the main factor- there are lots of religious people who don't make Tulpas; it just seems to be the small group of people who turn God into their bf is where it's good to start asking questions on their potential system situation...
My Wonderland form minus the glasses and the fur when Ranger comes up and surprises me with a hug, hence "surprise kitten". I'm still not a hippo, I promise.
I sometimes speak in pink and Ranger sometimes speaks in blue (if it's unmarked and colored assume it's Ranger). He loves to chat.

My other Tulpas have their own account now.
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#10
A few major steps from "raise a child as two people", there are bilingual children: raised to speak two languages. As small children, they don't just jumble the languages together or get "confused", as people thought for many decades, but quickly learn to code-switch. At home they speak Spanish- but if a visitor comes over and says "Hello!", they will instantly respond in English. At school they speak English- but with their friends, they speak Spanish.

Children already, without intervention, learn to interact with different people differently. I've known cases where the entire school calls a kid a completely different name, because their birth name is hard to pronounce in English. Of course children can learn, "I am John to these people, and Jagatprabhu to these people", but I think the big difference would be this: could you raise a child to internally experience both identities?

I'm going to also say yes, on the basis that children can be taught to interact internally with all sorts of entities, and they often do experience reactions from these entities. I think of young children being taught to pray and getting responses from [insert spiritual/religious source].

According to the theory of structual dissociation, DID has that 7 to 9 window because that's when the host is forming- before that, the child's identity is still pretty mutable. I've seen people adopt 2 or 3 year-olds and change their names. Try doing that with a 10-year old. There was the case of David Peter Reimer, who they tried to raise as a girl after a very botched infant circumsion. It didn't work in the long run and both David and his twin commited suicide as adults, but if you didn't start at birth, and tried to tell a 9-year-old boy they were a girl now... yeah, you wouldn't get far. So, there are some aspects of identity that can be easily changed (your name is Bob) and others, less so (you are a boy). Could you try and raise a child with two identities? Uhhh... I wouldn't reccomend it. I have the feeling "I am one person" is one of those less-changable things. I think it also requires theory of mind to make plural identities, and that kicks in about 4 or 5 in most cases. So, I doubt anyone under 4 could experience plurality because they don't understand lines between what they know and what others know.

Could a child be raised to be cool with plurality? Absolutely. If the parents don't portray something as bad/shameful/etc, the kids aren't likely to think so, either. Until they start school. At that point... acceptance might take a little more conversation, rather than just passively not considering it bad.

That's my take on it. -J
Three brothers. [Progress Report] [Art] [Oops! All Jamie]

"You are the messenger, not the message. You are just like everyone else."
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