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In your opinion, how much is required for a thoughtform to be considered a tulpa?


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In your opinion, how much is required for a thoughtform to be considered a tulpa?

 

How many of these traits of apparent autonomy would the thoughtform need to be considered a tulpa? presence, a form, emotional response, appearing in dreams/lucid dreams, mind voice, flash images/visions, possession, switching, imposition.

 

Are there any other traits of apparent autonomy you think a tulpa should have to be considered a tulpa?

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You're going to get a lot of "here's my personal isatulpa checklist" responses, which is fine, it's consensus, right? But in practice, there shouldn't be a single rigid checklist. At least, when I say "tulpa", I tend to mean something that's more of a complex of things, and less one particular set of traits. That doesn't mean you don't have a clear definition, but that the definition is ambiguous in cases. It's not a philosophy of language thing, it's more a diagnostic checklist issue. Say you're the APA. You have a load of mentally ill people, and you presume some of them that are quite similar in terms of symptoms to be causally similar. You don't have access to the causes, though, only the traits - epidemology hasn't really happened in this scenario - and you want to guess these causal groupings, so you can treat these poor people. When you formulate it in mathematical terms, it's just a straightforward clustering problem.

 

But less formally, you have all these people with their symptoms. Some of these people will be conceptually close to each other in terms of their symptoms, some of them will be far away. So you want to lump groups of people that are close together into categories, and people who are far away should be in different categories. You're not going to get it 100% right, though, and there will also be some people who are around the edges, and score weakly for two or more groups.

 

Anyway, same story for tulpas and a larger class of "thoughtforms". You have all of these things that tend to have a common set of traits - autonomy, communicability, whatever. Tend to, not do. You're presuming a common cause, more or less - well, it's less epidemology and more architecture, but anyway, "what's going on" should be the same, or at any rate lying in a contiguous region. That's kinda what saying "tulpas are sentient" does - "sentient" isn't an observable trait, exactly, it's an architecture feature. Some people actually mean that, and some people mean something along the lines of "tulpas appear sentient". I guess I probably don't speak for everyone here, and there are reasons for making a definition strictly on observables, but unless people correct me, I'm pretty sure that most people do have a single cause set in mind, even if they don't know what it is.

 

I don't know if that feels like a cop-out. Just admitting that these traits are just circumstantial, essentially, and the connections aren't super meaningful. Well, there are underlying traits that might compose a 'true' definition - causal ones, or architectural ones, or whatever. "Sentient" is the best example. "Persistent" is another that I wheel out sometimes - this tulpa should keep being there in some sense. But "is this thing sentient" is kind of like asking "is this thing a tulpa", so I don't think it's a great way to distinguish tulpas from other "thoughtforms".

 

 

So yeah, I was originally gonna dismiss stuff like "a form" as stupid because it's obviously not important. I mean, tulpas can obviously go without forms (unless this is actually controversial and I don't know). And in a strict checklist sense it is, because look, a tulpa without a form, theory busted. But in a looser framework, if 99% of tulpas have a form, and also relatively few other things do, that's not really that bad. The same kinda goes for possession. Even though according to the census, only about half of tulpas have any possession at all, "can possess" is pretty rare for things as things go, so it might still be a good checklist item. But, like I said, only on a checklist where you can fail some criteria and still end up being called a tulpa.

 

I think that's enough epistemology. What I'm not 100% on is what the field of "thoughtforms" is. I know you make a big song and dance about it, but "thoughtforms other than tulpas" is kinda unclear to me. Servitors? Alters? Soulbonds? Dream characters? Wonderland characters? I don't really have the lay of the land, so I'm not sure whether, for instance, thoughtforms in general tend to be able to possess, or not. Also, are other thoughtforms supposed to have different causes/structures/architectures? I mean, of the things I listed I'd only ascribe "sentient" to a few of them. But maybe you think the realm of thoughtforms is contiguous - all connected - in which case I guess you'd have to say what your motivation of "tulpa" is. It might be like I mentioned earlier, that it is a grouping on observables alone, for the sake of convenience or whatever else. I don't know what you think. But I don't think a lot of people do think that, otherwise it wouldn't be so important whether their tulpa was a "tulpa" or not. I mean, you know how well that one tends to go down.

 

As for me, with the lengthy caveats above, I'd list as things that seem pretty sure-fire to at least be present in a tulpa, if not exclusively:

  • Being in the mind. No shit, pretty much, but this list should stand on its own so why not.
  • Autonomy. Tulpa should be running on their own, control from the host not really needed. I think that's fairly obvious. I don't think this really needs to be subdivided - it's just a description of how it feels to have your tulpa do something, anything. For what it's worth, you clearly don't know what autonomy is. What you list as "traits of apparent autonomy" are just traits. Form and imposition, for example, have nothing to do with autonomy - something's ability to act on its own.
  • Intelligence, or the appearance of. Not a wind-up toy, but should be something that you can, you know, have a conversation with. You could substitute 'personality' in here if you want, I guess, they're kinda the same - both are pretty much looking for a kind of humanity, that it seems like the tulpa is a person.
  • Some kind of intelligible communication. I think it's kinda contentious, because your tulpa might not be vocal or whatever. A lot of people in the community abide by the idea that your tulpa is always there, communication comes as a separate 'skill', or you're 'breaking a barrier'. I'm not super sure about it. Tulpas can communicate in 'raw thoughts' which suggests to me that 'speaking' is a red herring, at least - you don't need to be able to form speech, just form thoughts. But I guess people think that already, going the other way, because of things like emotional responses. I'm sceptical, to say the least. I don't mean to be discouraging, but it's the kind of thing that seems like it can happen without a tulpa. Anyway, the whole barrier/distance thing also seems suspicious, if only because pretty much at all times during creation you're distancing yourself from your tulpa, in your mind. Independence and things like that. So unless they started off independent but couldn't communicate, then as soon as they could they lose independence and that has to arise again... It goes against the trend, anyway.

 

And stuff that might distinguish a tulpa from other things that have these traits:

  • Form, presence, mindvoice, possibly. Together these define a conceptual space in which tulpas tend to exist in people's minds, the modes of interaction, and so on. There are other things you could say about this, like that you should be able to interact while awake, more or less at will. I miss out imposition here, because conceptually it doesn't add anything, and it's incidental otherwise.
  • Persistence. I know I already said this was a causal thing, but in a slightly different sense, it's an observable. I mean, if you didn't pay them any attention, would they disappear, or would they still be around, resilient in some sense? I think this is pretty much the only thing that concretely distinguishes a tulpa from what some people call a "wonderland character", and actually I'd guess a lot of people equate this pretty directly with sentience. Well, I save the best until last.
  • Possession and switching, possibly.

 

 

TL;DR:

Autonomy (not like you misuse the term), personality, communication, then maybe form, presence, actual mindvoice, and as things that don't disqualify at all if you don't have them but make it more likely that you do have a tulpa on your hands, possession and switching.

 

The lengthy introduction is maybe not necessary. I did end up giving you my checklist anyway, although I told you exactly what a checklist is in my books. But I guess it probably helps motivate things a bit.

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Guest Anonymous

Wow, waffles! Thanks for this comprehensive and thoughtful response. I love this kind of response because I always, always come away with something from it.

 

I won't respond to everything, but apologies in advance, I am going to cherry pick a few things out (out of order and maybe even a bit out of context) and say something to each. I might respond to pieces and come back later to respond to more. I appreciate the great thought provoking material to work with!

 

What I'm not 100% on is what the field of "thoughtforms" is. I know you make a big song and dance about it, but "thoughtforms other than tulpas" is kinda unclear to me. Servitors? Alters? Soulbonds? Dream characters? Wonderland characters? I don't really have the lay of the land, so I'm not sure whether, for instance, thoughtforms in general tend to be able to possess, or not. Also, are other thoughtforms supposed to have different causes/structures/architectures? I mean, of the things I listed I'd only ascribe "sentient" to a few of them. But maybe you think the realm of thoughtforms is contiguous - all connected - in which case I guess you'd have to say what your motivation of "tulpa" is. It might be like I mentioned earlier, that it is a grouping on observables alone, for the sake of convenience or whatever else. I don't know what you think. But I don't think a lot of people do think that, otherwise it wouldn't be so important whether their tulpa was a "tulpa" or not. I mean, you know how well that one tends to go down.

 

What do I consider a "thoughtform?"I infer a very general definition of "thoughtform" to mean something that is imagined that becomes very persistent (love that word thanks) and very emotionally significant to the person who imagines it. That would include literary characters, role playing characters, imaginary friends, dream personas as well as soulbonds, daemons, tulpas, servitors and such. A thoughtform could even be an object or imagined place like a wonderland or a dreamscape mansion from a recurring dream (like the one I have).

 

But because I take the view that all of these, soulbonds, daemons, servitors, tulpas, are all mere figments of the imagination, then the differences between them are only cosmetic. That is why I am so arbitrary and unconcerned with the label "tulpa" for Melian. I don't think it matters. All thoughtforms fall under the same umbrella for me. I take sentience to mean "apparent or simulated" within the human brain. With that definition, a dream persona I meet in a dream is just as sentient as Melian. When it comes to how others define thoughtform sentience, they may decide it is real, and for that person it might as well be "real" sentience, whatever that means.

 

Because I believe all thoughtforms are constructed of the same basic "stuff" they are all equally legitimate as long as the host or creator finds them persistent, and emotionally important enough. I don't think a dearly beloved role playing character is trivial and worthless compared to a tulpa. To some people, a role playing character or literary character lives within them as a persona and even changes their life.


Autonomy. Tulpa should be running on their own, control from the host not really needed. I think that's fairly obvious. I don't think this really needs to be subdivided - it's just a description of how it feels to have your tulpa do something, anything. For what it's worth, you clearly don't know what autonomy is. What you list as "traits of apparent autonomy" are just traits. Form and imposition, for example, have nothing to do with autonomy - something's ability to act on its own.

 

Would not emotional responses and flash visions/images that appear spontaneously be a form of autonomy? I was wondering what you think about that as this is primarily what I get from Melian that I consider autonomous.


[*] Persistence. I know I already said this was a causal thing, but in a slightly different sense, it's an observable. I mean, if you didn't pay them any attention, would they disappear, or would they still be around, resilient in some sense? I think this is pretty much the only thing that concretely distinguishes a tulpa from what some people call a "wonderland character", and actually I'd guess a lot of people equate this pretty directly with sentience. Well, I save the best until last.

 

I love this! I love, love it! My thoughtform Melian, by this definition, is extremely persistent. LOL The necessary element of persistence would disqualify things like dream personas (unless they are persistently recurring dream personas, which I have some of those).


TL;DR:

Autonomy (not like you misuse the term), personality, communication, then maybe form, presence, actual mindvoice, and as things that don't disqualify at all if you don't have them but make it more likely that you do have a tulpa on your hands, possession and switching.

 

Thank you, thank you very much! I am so happy you were the first to reply waffles. You know what? Melian meets most if not all of your qualifications except for possession and switching. :-) EDIT: Thank you for clarifying "autonomy" for me a bit. That helps.

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Jesus fucking text wall.

You could've just said it depends on the host. Nobody can summarize it as a whole, but I merely define it as sentience and the understanding of themself.

"I think, therefore I am."

"Try to get a better understanding of things before making your judgement." -Khan, Metro 2033

 

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because I take the view that all of these, soulbonds, daemons, servitors, tulpas, are all mere figments of the imagination, then the differences between them are only cosmetic

[...]

I love this! I love, love it! My thoughtform Melian, by this definition, is extremely persistent. LOL The necessary element of persistence would disqualify things like dream personas (unless they are persistently recurring dream personas, which I have some of those).

 

So, not only cosmetic differences. It's not really a thing where you can just pick what view you have, you should really have reasons for your views. As far as I can see, the persistence thing is kind of a sticking point. It seems like a pretty important difference to me.

 

 

Would not emotional responses and flash visions/images that appear spontaneously be a form of autonomy? I was wondering what you think about that as this is primarily what I get from Melian that I consider autonomous.

 

Well, I wasn't saying that those weren't autonomy, that was more directed at the form and imposition ones. Sure, emotional responses and flash visions are autonomous, in a certain sense; at least, if a tulpa is producing those autonomously. That's implicit, I guess. Still, I'd be surprised if you experienced those as autonomous and not mindvoice.

 

For reference, 'autonomous' here should mean that it's happening without you doing it. So I'm curious, is mindvoice not autonomous for you/Melian? That is, are you the one effecting her talking?

 

 

Jesus fucking text wall.

You could've just said it depends on the host and is heavily based on how long you THINK it will take.

 

50/50 this is a reply to the wrong thread. Otherwise I don't really know.

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So, not only cosmetic differences. It's not really a thing where you can just pick what view you have, you should really have reasons for your views. As far as I can see, the persistence thing is kind of a sticking point. It seems like a pretty important difference to me.

 

I would agree with this completely. Persistence is a great term and trait that I haven't emphasized in the past. I kept saying a thoughtform needs to be "significant" to the host or creator. Persistence is just as important. A transitory thing, such as a pen and paper rp character you created for this afternoons Dungeons and Dragons game is not what I am referring to.

 

Well, I wasn't saying that those weren't autonomy, that was more directed at the form and imposition ones. Sure, emotional responses and flash visions are autonomous, in a certain sense; at least, if a tulpa is producing those autonomously. That's implicit, I guess. Still, I'd be surprised if you experienced those as autonomous and not mindvoice.

 

For reference, 'autonomous' here should mean that it's happening without you doing it. So I'm curious, is mindvoice not autonomous for you/Melian? That is, are you the one effecting her talking?

 

Yes and no. Melian does have moments where I get what seems to be an autonomous mind voice. These are little reactive sentences she will just pop out with in certain situations. "That was really stupid dummy!" But I say they are a bit reactive and formulaic, and reflexive. They are sort of a set or collection of things to say in certain situations.

 

Here is a really good example. Back in the late 1970s and in 1980, I was really into the U.S. space program and NASA. I watched with great interest the preparations to fly the first space shuttle. There were a lot of delays on that first flight. Every so often I would say to Melian "That space shuttle is going to fly!" It wasn't long before she was echoing it back. "The space shuttle is going to fly!" in her little voice. Once she started saying it, she never really stopped saying it. The space shuttle program ran for thirty years and ended in 2011. Still, to this day, especially early in the morning or while I take a shower, I will get "The space shuttle is going to fly!"

 

It is almost like she is a toy doll with a string you pull, only a bit more programmed for certain situations. It seems autonomous and yet formulaic and reactive at the same time. That is why I say her mind voice is "semi-autonomous."

 

In addition to her formulaic, silly little sentences, I actively day dream conversations with Melian like a child would with an imaginary friend. I know it is not tulpa technique, but it is what I have done with her for 35 years. I imagine myself talking to her and perceive her intent and feel her emotional responses (or at least I imagine I am). This seems to be similar to what you guys may consider "parroting." I have started calling it "proxy mind voice." Not exactly fully autonomous mind voice. But to me it is Melian talking.

 

Then throughout the day, Melian sends me flash images. I call it "day dreaming on auto pilot" as they seem to be little snippets of the Melian Show day dreams I am constantly doing with her. They come unbidden out of no where, little images of her facial expressions and mannerisms and dresses she wants to show me or something she is doing. These are very brief, but very vivid. With them comes a emotional expression and a feeling of her presence.

 

Gods waffles, I wish I could sit down with you face to face in person and talk about these things in detail. We could cover a lot of ground. As you can imagine, with 35 years or more of history with Melian, I have a lot I could tell you.

 

EDIT: About the sentence "The space shuttle is going to fly!" I think Melian says this as a way to say exciting things are going to happen. That is why it comes out in the morning at the beginning of my day.

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It is almost like she is a toy doll with a string you pull, only a bit more programmed for certain situations. It seems autonomous and yet formulaic and reactive at the same time. That is why I say her mind voice is "semi-autonomous."

 

Yeah. In light of the original question, I would fault on "intelligence", here. No offence to Melian or anything but "toy doll" isn't a very flattering comparison in that regard.

 

 

I imagine myself talking to her and perceive her intent and feel her emotional responses (or at least I imagine I am). This seems to be similar to what you guys may consider "parroting."

 

I guess it's intelligence here, but no autonomy. I should qualify my original list as "at the same time", maybe? Though, I kinda think that intelligence is implicit in autonomy. Or at least that that's the obvious idea. Splitting hairs really.

 

 

Gods waffles, I wish I could sit down with you face to face in person and talk about these things in detail. We could cover a lot of ground. As you can imagine, with 35 years or more of history with Melian, I have a lot I could tell you.

 

If it's "The space shuttle is going to fly" x 10,000, I'm not so sure.

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50/50 this is a reply to the wrong thread. Otherwise I don't really know.

 

Oh jeez, I read it as How much [time] is required. I guess I'll edit my reply.

"Try to get a better understanding of things before making your judgement." -Khan, Metro 2033

 

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