Abvieon

How does tulpa creation work on a technical level? I want to hear your theories.

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This is a question that frequently crosses my mind. If you want to answer this, some questions to think about which may help you answer this are:

 

- Does the underlying mechanism through which tulpas form have similarities to how other types of plurality, such as DID, form?

- What about the differences in the origins of tulpa systems and DID systems cause them to operate differently?

- How does repeated attention given to an imaginary friend or character cause it to become sentient?

- What about the brain's functioning would allow for multiple consciousnesses to exist within it?

 

I realize that the human brain is incredibly complex, and this question cannot be completely accurately answered unless certain unknown aspects of the brain are uncovered, such as what consciousness is and how it forms. However, I am interested in hearing theories on this, even if they aren't very in depth - I myself have a basic theory on how tulpas form:

 

If one is to imagine something and spend time with it, giving it attention and treating it as separate from themselves, the brain will see that you are directing "stimuli" (In the form of thoughts and attempted interaction) towards this imagined thing - and begin to generate a new consciousness to absorb this stimuli. Thus, the imagined being becomes conscious, and is therefore a tulpa. The brain will do this because it may see stimuli being directed at "nothing" as unusual, and thinks there should be someone there other than yourself to perceive the stimuli.

 

Let me know what you think of my theory, and post your own theories below.

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It seems like there are threads that come at this from several directions. I, too, think about this a lot. Sorting out for my own tendency towards metaphysical, it is my opinion that the brain does one thing really good: makes models of the world, especially models of people and personalities, with a range of possible personalities, which establishes or includes archetypes by default. Actual personas and imagined personas exist, and most the time are only accessed in dreams or when ego fluidity is such that it allows boundary violations or cross communication within the waking state. Trauma seems to wreak havoc on boundaries, which probably explains why DID exists, and maybe there is an affinity for the personality types that manage to communicate or violate ego boundaries. I speculate further that communicating with a tulpa is simply a measured weakening of ego boundary to the point that the specific personality can be accessed, whether it was always there or deliberately created is mute from the perspective the statistical probability of any one specific personality having already been 'pre-modeled,' which I can easily imagine as an ideal invisible best friend would actually be the idealized personality set of the friend we would have always wanted always having been there, and we simply placed a name on them and brought them closer.

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- Does the underlying mechanism through which tulpas form have similarities to how other types of plurality, such as DID, form?

* Same underlying mechanism.

 

- What about the differences in the origins of tulpa systems and DID systems cause them to operate differently?

* They operate differently due to age differences and differences in relationship.

 

- How does repeated attention given to an imaginary friend or character cause it to become sentient?

* It is a mystery. Seriously, it is a mystery. Probably, it is not the attention at all. What you need to get sentience is autonomy.

 

- What about the brain's functioning would allow for multiple consciousnesses to exist within it?

* There is nothing about the brain's functioning that would disallow it.


Host comments in italics. Tulpa's log. Tulpa's guide.

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- Does the underlying mechanism through which tulpas form have similarities to how other types of plurality, such as DID, form?

* Same underlying mechanism.

 

- What about the differences in the origins of tulpa systems and DID systems cause them to operate differently?

* They operate differently due to age differences and differences in relationship.

 

- How does repeated attention given to an imaginary friend or character cause it to become sentient?

* It is a mystery. Seriously, it is a mystery. Probably, it is not the attention at all. What you need to get sentience is autonomy.

 

- What about the brain's functioning would allow for multiple consciousnesses to exist within it?

* There is nothing about the brain's functioning that would disallow it.

 

"Same underlying mechanism."

 

There are many who claim that DID can only develop under very specific circumstances that do not resemble tulpamancy, and I am not sure to what degree I believe them. These specific circumstances, which they claim to have scientific research backing up, do not allow for DID to form after a certain age (6-9 years old) which would make anything resembling DID impossible to occur after that point, at which they say the mind has fully "integrated" and cannot "split". Unfortunately, they often use this as an argument to say that DID is the only valid type of plurality and anything else (Such as tulpas, non traumugenic plurality, etc.) is incapable of existing. I obviously don't believe that part. However, I do think that while DID and other types of plurality share many similarities, they are different in some major ways ways too.

 

What I am about to say is not universal for DID systems, but is true for the majority of them. 

DID systems typically:

- Have an inherent ability to switch without practice.

- Do not have the ability to stop or resist switches when they happen.

- Sometimes switch without anyone having the conscious intent to switch.

- Have difficulty with being co-conscious, often going unconscious while switching away from controlling they body. This leads to "lost time".

- Do not naturally have the ability to communicate with one another and go for long periods of time in which they do not, until they learn how.

- Often do not know that one another exist.

- Have a greater degree of separation overall as opposed to non-DID systems.

 

These things lead them to operate very differently from other types of plural systems. This may indicate differences in the underlying mechanism of how they are created, seeing as the method of creation or coming into existence for any sentient mind can cause differences in how they function. I believe that trauma, and the young age at which DID forms, are they key factors in causing these differences.

 

You are definitely right about the mental age of certain alters (since DID has a tendency to produce child alters, some even being as young as 3 or 4 years old) and differences in relationships being factors in how DID functions. The fact that they often have trouble communicating or learning to communicate with one another may actually contribute to the uncontrollable switching.

 

"It is a mystery. Seriously, it is a mystery. Probably, it is not the attention at all. What you need to get sentience is autonomy."

 

The question is, what leads to autonomy in tulpas? The creation process itself is fairly simple: Create an idea of a being, consistently talk to that being and give them attention, after which they will eventually begin acting on their own. Which part of that process is the part that causes autonomy? 

 

"There is nothing about the brain's functioning that would disallow it."

 

I've wondered if the potential for plurality is an evolutionary trait that evolved for a specific reason. This makes sense when looking at DID, as DID itself is a psychological defense mechanism against trauma, and I could see how it could be beneficial to the survival of a child. It's possible that tulpas are a way of exploiting this defense mechanism by causing it to occur without trauma.

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Do those some people know what they are talking about? The only very specific circumstance I have heard of is trauma, and trauma is not very specific, and not present in every case. I have never heard of an age limit, nor any research that backs up an age limit.

 

Also, there is no research backing either the integration or splitting of the mind that I know of. Consequently, that underlying mechanism is theoretical, and they cannot possibly know that the brain loses that ability at a specific age.

 

Also, using a bad argument as the foundation of another argument is a bad idea. Particularly one that jumps from one category to another. That is a sign that the speaker is BS-ing. (categories here, science of abnormal psychology and philosophy of identity).

 

To summarise each and every one of your points on the differences: They find switching easier and communication harder.

 

I do not consider a weight lifter and an office worker different species because one finds lifting furniture easier and the other doing paperwork easier. I assume they have the same underlying species.

 

I would not say that weight lifters and office workers operate very differently. Though they both do very different things, this is subjective relativity.

 


 

I didn't say anything about mental age. If a person chooses to have a child like personality, that is their business. DID alters behave like older tulpas, except when they are young, when they behave more like younger tulpas.

 

Yes, communication difficulties include uncontrolled switching.

 


 

Autonomy occurs in tulpas because it is explicitly given to them. It is fundamental to the practise. It is the part where you do not see them as an extension of yourself.

 


 

The potential for plurality didn't have to evolve. This is still looking at the issue from the wrong side. Plurality is not an ability. Instead, the brain had to evolve the ability to be single minded.

 

The body is composed of a giant colony of cells. Each cell has an individuality. But in animals, they gave up much of this individuality to improve their survival and propagation chances as a huge collective. The brain is a specialised mass of cells. Part of this specialisation is the brain's organisation, causing it to act as a single unit instead of a pile of individuals. This is an ability that had to evolve.

 

Evolutionary arguments are usually suspect right off the bat. They consist entirely of "theories" that "make sense" which is not scientific. Another "theory" is that of defence mechanisms, and it "makes sense" that DID is a defence mechanism, that "protects" a person from trauma. Don't buy any of it, without seeing actual science. Hand waves.


Host comments in italics. Tulpa's log. Tulpa's guide.

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Keep in mind that most things I mentioned in that post are conjecture, and they aren't anything I've thought about for an extremely long time. My thoughts on those things are always subject to change based on anything new I learn. I don't think it's unlikely that DID and tulpas could be formed through a very similar mechanism.

 

I don't agree with the idea that DID develops under circumstances that are nearly as specific as those people claim they are. And no, they don't have much of an idea of what they're talking about, hence why I said they claim to have scientific evidence backing it up - in reality, it's no more than a theory. Nothing near absolute. That's what I've gathered from what I've read of this "evidence".

 

"I didn't say anything about mental age."

 

When you said "age", I assumed that you were referring to child alters, which are a thing, in the sense that their apparent mental age and cognitive capabilities are that of a child and do not correspond with the body's physical age. It's more than just having a childlike personality, it's mentally being a child. This is surprisingly common in DID systems. How this happens? I don't know. Why it happens? Probably because DID usually initially forms at a young age, and ends up creating alters of this age that, for whatever reason, don't mentally age.

 

Regarding what you said about my idea of plurality having evolutionary roots: Yes, it is a theory, and I only said that because it makes sense to me. As does the idea that DID is a defense mechanism. There is nothing wrong with saying that, because the entire point of this thread is to share theories, not scrutinize them for not having scientific evidence to back them up. If everyone had that mindset about every discussion on tulpas, not much discussion would get done in the first place, considering the lack of scientific evidence on tulpas.

Your explanation of how plurality didn't need to evolve to exist also makes sense to me.

 

"Autonomy occurs in tulpas because it is explicitly given to them. It is fundamental to the practise. It is the part where you do not see them as an extension of yourself."

 

It makes sense that viewing a tulpa as separate from oneself gives them the room to develop autonomy. Perhaps doing that is what allows dissociation to occur. I've recently realized the importance of dissociation when it comes to tulpa creation, and by "dissociation" I mean certain parts of someone's mind splitting away and functioning independently (That was probably badly worded, but I can't think of a way to put it better than that)

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O.o I looked at this thread and thought "where's the answer I wrote?" Turns out I answered the same question elsewhere. But I'll repost it here for the benefit of those who are here and not there.

 

- Does the underlying mechanism through which tulpas form have similarities to how other types of plurality, such as DID, form?

I think there are definitely some similarities between tulpamancy and other types of plurality. And I don't necessarily think that the entities themselves are any different from one another. My system over the years has comprised of tulpas, soulbonds, walk-ins and DID alters, and ultimately they all feel the same. Only the mechanism of their creation/arrival is different.

 

The one that comes to mind first for me is soulbonding in particular. Soulbonding isn't always a deliberate act of creation but very often it is, as it certainly was with our Maitimo. The main difference it seems to me is that with tulpamancy there isn't always a clear idea of what the "finished" entity will be like, whereas with soulbonding, there is a very clear impression of that from the very beginning.

 

DID splits/alters seem less tulpa-like to me because in this case there's no deliberate act of creation. Nevertheless they are created (subconsciously) so it could be argued that tulpamancy is the same process but carried out under deliberate control instead of spontaneously.

 

Walk-ins are the least tulpa-like in my opinion, because they aren't created at all; they are entities (spirits, if you like) that already existed and have literally walked into the system from elsewhere.

 

- What about the differences in the origins of tulpa systems and DID systems cause them to operate differently?

I think this is all down to degree of control, both in the creation process and afterwards, in interaction. I recently read an article in which Professor Luhrmann compared tulpamancers and psychics with diagnosed schizophrenics and found that the most significant difference was personal attitude to their experiences. The psychics and tulpamancers were more positive and regarded their headmates as a good thing whereas those diagnosed with schzophrenia were more negative about it and regarded it as an aspect of disorder. Now I'm not conflating schizophrenia with DID here but it would make sense that those people who have DID and are struggling with it are similar in that they have a more negative attitude to their experiences. Sharing your head with friends, and sharing it with people you are afraid of, are going to lead to very different outcomes.

 

- How does repeated attention given to an imaginary friend or character cause it to become sentient?

How, I am not entirely certain. I know that it does, but I also know that it isn't consistent. Many of my past and present headmates have been characters that I've written, either for stories or for roleplaying. The more intense the story/roleplay, the more likely it is that the character will become sentient. And yet, there are characters I've written that have been very intense and yet have never made that leap to sentience, and I don't know why.

 

I have a theory that it's to do with neural pathways, and it was my headmate Karl that got me thinking this way. Karl can be a bit of a grumpy bastard sometimes, and he has some very particular facial expressions, the way he glares, the way he sets his jaw etc. His frown, his smile. The more he fronted in our system, the more I noticed his expressions and mannerisms appearing in the body, to the point now that I can tell when he's close to front purely by the way our face feels.

 

- What about the brain's functioning would allow for multiple consciousnesses to exist within it?

I've often likened it to the partitioning of a hard drive (yes, this is going back a bit, nobody does that any more). The mind is very good at compartmentalising and I think that's what's going on here. By creating a tulpa (or a soulbond or alter) we're effectively creating a compartment in the mind and filling it with particular features unique to that particular entity.

 

If one is to imagine something and spend time with it, giving it attention and treating it as separate from themselves, the brain will see that you are directing "stimuli" (In the form of thoughts and attempted interaction) towards this imagined thing - and begin to generate a new consciousness to absorb this stimuli. Thus, the imagined being becomes conscious, and is therefore a tulpa. The brain will do this because it may see stimuli being directed at "nothing" as unusual, and thinks there should be someone there other than yourself to perceive the stimuli.

This kind of fits in with my theory of forming new neural pathways within a compartment. By directing stimuli at the new imagined thing (compartment) you're re-mapping some of the neural pathways in the brain and re-shaping them to function in new ways. What makes plurality specific though, is the compartments.

 

However I do think there's more to it than just neural pathways in the brain, and before we get true answers we will need to wait until science has a better understanding of how consciousness works and how it is created.


- Lewis

Host/writer of Cas, Timo and Karl

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