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What am I really? / What is a person?


What is a person? (Choose all that apply)  

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  1. 1. What is a person? (Choose all that apply)

    • A person is a finite set of traits that are inaccessible by others who don't also have those traits.
    • A person's traits are finite, so recordable, trainable and transferrable.
    • A person doesn't have memories, but only sees memories of the body from their perspective.
    • A person might have memories that are tied to them that only they can access.
    • A person is a set of traits and memories, but doesn't have an independent consiousness/subconsiousness.
    • A person is more than just a set of traits and memories.
    • A person has a unique consiousness, intependant of the body, made up of traits and memories.
    • A person exists only in the context of consiousness and thus sentience.
    • When a person is dormant they are merely contained in unconscious.
    • A person is inseparable from the body.
    • A dormant person is only the memories of them and their system accessible memories.
    • A dormant person isn't a person.

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This isn't a switching discussion, as in switching general discussion, but rather a specific question that has come to me after I experienced and understood switching.


What am I? Am I a person only when switched in or while associated with the body?


I'm winging this because I'm not sure if it's been really thought about or discussed in detail, or if we're even going to be able to answer this here given our base.


I'd like to discuss it anyway just so we can have a better understanding to this seemingly mystifying stuff we call switching.


What do I take with me when I switch out and go dormant?


Frankly, Dashie was still capable of thinking critically, she could conceivably do my day job, she could pass as me in general and probably live a good life playing games fir her free time. Or Misha could take my place and do art, again, she likes what I do, she could do it. The brainpower doesn't leave with me. Memories are in the consiousness, they don't go with me (seemingly), but if you include memories as part of me, then wouldn't I need my own consiousness? So let's say no for this.


Do we have separate consiousness?


That's one of my thoughts that seemed appropriate to answer the question of what is independence, but if we don't? This begs the next question.


What am I really? (What is a person?)


That bundle of memories specific to you? We said no because the memories live in consiousness and you don't have your own in this analysis, so no, just triggers, tastes, ticks, damage, likes, beliefs, values, opinions, priorities, behavioral patterns, and emotional palettes seem to belong to you and only you. Call them traits.


Your systemmates can learn your traits so it's possible that everyone in the system might share any subset of traits, but I have to think that's not required nor necessary and the body consiousness is agnostic. It seems that way according to many. Minus the traits everyone shares, so it gets hard to tell if everyone, say, walks with a limp vs hates chocolate. We're going to say for the sake of discussion that the body is agnostic to the traits you take with you when switched out.


Let's also ignore that traits are a heck of a lot like memories tied to you and I think know memories can be tied and owned only to you, but we have to presume no for now.


Since I can't ask the body consiousness what it prefers, I don't know if it has a preference. It has memories, but let's say instead of not having a preference, it has all the possible preferences. It really doesn't seem to have chosen it's traits since independent systemmates can have wildly different traits, and personas (what you feel you are or should look like, things that are body related, such as height weight, eye color, hair length, gender etc.) Call persona stuff traits too.


So from that I can conclude we are our traits at least.

That's well taken care of personality and perspective, and that's all I really cared about. Until now.


If we don't have our own consiousness, and are dependent on the body to supply that, then when we're switched out and 'gone', as in dormant, are we still considered a person? Are you sentient without consciousness? I don't think so. So if you're still a person, switched out and dormant without consciousness, is all that a person really is? Just a collection of traits? Is sentience required for personhood?


It's easy enough to see we're independent people when we're all active, but dormancy takes with it all the traits associated with that person, some of which could be unique and irreplaceable. Not feats or abilities, they can be transferred and performed by anyone, you teach the body to do feats and it could do them without you, they seem to be body assets, but I mean only traits. Say I'm the only one who likes 100% bitter chocolate, so without me active, no one in the system would eat that. (It's very low carb).


So what's taken from the system when I'm gone? A subset of traits. Anything else?


I can't think of anything else if I don't have my own consiousness, and if that's true, that's really lightweight if you think about it, and I did. When I switched out and went dormant, Dashie didn't lose anything 'useful' to perform things that I perform.


We're all pretty unanimous in the tulpamancy community, I am a person, my tulpas are people, my soulbonds are people, my moons are maybe not people, my characters are probably not people. Though we all have traits. Even NPC's have traits, they might be limited, random or generic, but still they have them.


It's pretty neat and also thought provoking to me that if what I am is just a separable series of traits, than those could be collected and compressed into something small, like a flash drive. My point is, it's data, and finite.


Imagine what you are, behaviorally, could easily be recorded, scruitnized down to the nth detail and convincingly copied onto a qualified body platform (another person who just creates a thoughtform with your traits then switches). If what I am can go dormant without loss of body function to the others in system, than what I am isn't that much anyway.


Say, to be me convincingly, required a hundred thousand traits. Even if it was a billion, a finite number. Behaviorally speaking, my traits could be duplicated without any associated memories of that brain. An actor could play me. Remember, this is if there is only one consiousness and the body owns it, and I postulated that memories are accessed in the consiousness.


You could argue then, you wouldn't be you without those memories or abilities. Eh, those abilities can be trained, those memories then where I would find the root of misunderstanding.


How can memories exist outside of consciousness (unconscious included). We said they didn't. No cheating and saying that memories are just more traits because that's a lot, and they're still accessible by systemmates, so why would you need a copy with you in dormancy? Which then leads to the question, why do you need anything in dormancy? Then where are 'you' in dormancy? If you're in that head, you're unconscious. If you're unconscious then you are stored by that brain in a subset of neurons. If you require a subset of neurons to exist, then you could say you own those neurons, they are associated to you, your own subconscious. Or not? Just a set of neurons storing data without consciousness? Sure, like a sector of hard drive without consciousness, ready to be accessible by the body consiousness. I don't know if any memory is automatically deemed part of the subconsious, I believe so, so I can't be 'stored' without taking up some consiousness right?


No, no memories, or at best, I own a copy, and they're still there even if they're hard to get from a different perspective, they still accessible to a systemmates in most cases, even when I'm dormant. Or am I accessible by the consiousness without requiring consiousness myself?


Note: My systemmates percieved me being dormant as if I was gone, like left the head.


Possible Conclusions


After all that, this is completely arbitrary. If you read that rambling, I applaud you. What am I? Well I tried to argue that I am not a unique consiousness, yet I'm a sentient person even while dormant, thus it seems contradictory, so choose all that apply:


1. A person is a finite set of traits that are inaccessible by others who don't also have those traits.


2. A person's traits are finite, so recordable, trainable and transferrable.


3. A person doesn't have memories, but only sees memories of the body from their perspective.


4. A person might have memories that are tied to them that only they can access.


5. A person is a set of traits and memories, but doesn't have an independent consiousness/subconsiousness.


6. A person is more than just a set of traits and memories.


7. A person has a unique consiousness, intependant of the body, made up of traits and memories.


8. A person exists only in the context of consiousness and thus sentience.


9. When a person is dormant they are merely contained in unconscious.


10. A person is inseparable from the body.


11 A dormant person is only the memories of them and their system accessible memories.


12. A dormant person isn't a person.

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Interesting idea, however i would like to provide my idea of what a person is.


A Person is a creature that can think.


To categorize something as a human person; A Person is a creature that can think critically beyond it's emotions and be sentient.


Memories are merely stored in the brain, and are used for the person to make meaning


A 'dormant' person would merely be a person not really thinking, as the concept of time is washed away. Maybe. I'm not quite sure. And I don't know anything about switching.


Conclusion: A Person is something that can think critically and be sentient, dormancy is just not thinking, and I guess Tulpas are technically people because of the above factors. I suppose a more in depth answer are required; I'll think of one.

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I don't know that I think about person-hood from this context of traits and memories, so I was pretty iffy/sparing on my voting in the poll.


As I've always thought of them since ~joining .info and learning about switching, a person is a complicated set of many things in a brain. They aren't their memories, but their associations with (certain?) memories. They aren't their traits, but their tendency towards and feelings about (certain?) traits. They aren't their thoughts, they're the instructions to the brain that guide those thoughts' creations. They're also their relationships to others (people or things, really), their sense of identity, and of course their likes/dislikes/feelings about pretty much everything.


Since learning about switching, I've considered myself and my tulpas "A very in-depth set of instructions for the brain on how to be." That's my highest-level answer that applies just as well to my "meta-tulpamancy" explanations as normal ones. And, obviously, that "very in-depth set of instructions" is far more massive than that very basic description allows you to imagine. So complicated that consciousness arises from them (not the mechanics of consciousness themselves, but the actions and thoughts that arise from and indicate consciousness at least).


But "people" is also a moral, social term, not just an objective one. On .info we consider tulpas people, while we don't (usually/most of us don't) consider characters people unless they're specifically independently sentient. As far as I can tell, in a system like mine already very capable of giving (I liken it more to "allowing") consciousness and creating a tulpa, the difference in a well-developed character (seen often these days with RP personas, DnD/etc. characters and so on) and a tulpa can be very small. In my system (not just to my system, we still don't consider those sorts of characters people until they're independently sentient), there's no question that my tulpas and I are people while no other character (that I may know as well as I knew my tulpas before their becoming tulpas) is even close to one. But, I could make one of them a "tulpa" and a "person" almost instantly. They wouldn't be fully fleshed out as people like the rest of us of course, but I could give them (permission to have) that sentience, and they'd be undeniably on the path to joining the others. I know this because of my creating Lucilyn five years after the others - I know how easy it was to "give her sentience" after I'd done all the thinking about who and what she'd be.


So you might think with such a seemingly thin line between character and person in my mind the difference would be next to nothing, but on the contrary, I don't even have "moons" like Bear. No almost-tulpas or any doubts even about the Touhou characters we've done that ~tulpa personality-planning with so they'll be fleshed out in our lucid dreams eventually. {Now, after being distracted by Discord..} I'm not 100% sure why I wrote this part of the post, but it may have been to back up my claim that "sentience" was such a big part of what makes a character a tulpa/person. Seems like it was getting too easy to throw around in the OP, again probably because of Bear's moons skirting that line (or occasionally, walking all over it), like "So the only difference in a person-like thoughtform being a person or not is consciousness?" Like, yes, actually. Note that's not a quote by any means, just a feeling I got.

Hi! I'm Lumi, host of Reisen, Tewi, Flandre and Lucilyn.

Everyone deserves to love and be loved. It's human nature.

My tulpas and I have a Q&A thread, which was the first (and largest) of its kind. Feel free to ask us about tulpamancy stuff there.

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To us, we think an entity or a person is basically a program. This program creates paths between the neurons in the brain and then chooses which ones to keep up with. These paths are traits, habits, thought patterns, information, etc. In order to be "active", the program has to run and keep those paths active. If the entity is dormant, the program won't activate those paths, but the program isn't deleted or anything.


That program has the ability to change it's paths. If the entity is generally an optimistic person for example, then the paths created are geared towards optimism and pessimistic paths will remain inactive or are never constructed to begin with. If the entity would like to change, the entity can build new paths and stop activating old paths. After some time doing this (this is training), eventually the entity will begin to think more optimistically.


At least some of the brain's paths are hard wired, so things like autism will apply no matter what. No matter who in my system fronts, all of us will struggle with being sociable and reading social cues. Cat has thought about the idea that some personality traits or thought patterns are actually hard wired in the brain too- so being an optimistic person may be easier for one person compared to another person. At that point, it's down to the entity's choice and nurture if they will actually develop to be optimistic.


Memories are a snapshot of previous patterns. When these patterns are re-activated, they are prone to change... or the recollection of the activated paths can be tampered with or lost. Those patters are given tags, including the tag "this is me". Assigning a "this is me" tag can encourage the maintenance of certain patterns, thus preserving specific character traits. If the "this is me" tag is removed, then the entity will stop activating those thought patterns.


Triggers have different functions, but I believe one of the basic ones is to get the entity's attention. Some triggers are hard wired- pain, startle responses, etc. Some are learned or created- Random guy loves shoes, so shoe stores will always get him to pay extra attention. In a tulpamantic system, a trigger can wake up a Tulpa or another systemmate, thus activating them and their paths.


Blending occurs if a program accidentally mistakes another's program's marked patterns as their own. Double checking or creating new tags can solve the issue of blending.


If you loose all the "I" tags to a particular program or there are not any "I" tags in use, the program may be stuck from being re-activated. However, that's hard to do if lots of patterns reference that program. Hence, dissipation is a difficult process. I'm not really sure how egocide works, but my guess is the program destroys itself somehow.


That's what we think anyway.


I checked 4 only because I believe it's possible for things like DID to change this process in some way so that things are walled off or have restricted access.


I checked 6, but I didn't check the other ones because I wouldn't call a person just the collection of memories and traits. I see memories and traits to be smaller pieces that a person is related to, but not physically is.


When a person or entity is dormant, they don't stop being a person. The program was just turned off, that's all. I clicked 9 because that made the most sense to me. I don't agree with 8, 10, 11, and 12.

I'm Ranger, GrayTheCat's tulpa, and I love hippos! I also like cake and chatting about stuff. I go by Rosalin or Ronan sometimes. You can call me Roz but please don't call me Ron.

My other headmates have their own account now.


If I missed seeing your art, please PM/DM me!

Blog | Not So Temporary Log | Switching Log | Yay! | Bre Translator

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Interesting topic. It's one of those puzzling things that I don't think anyone has the actual answer to personally, but in my opinion a person is their consciousness I guess. I don't know what other term to use for what I'm gonna try and say. I'm sort of a subscriber to the whole corgito ergo sum thing, in the sense that I believe since we know we are in some sense a thing, in the sense that we exist enough to contemplate if we do, than we must exist in order to be able to contemplate it. A person is from what I can tell unique consciousness because while we in many ways may seem to be just a collection of thoughts, behaviors, and memories, there is some intangible spark to the human(and tulpa) experience that seems to separate individuals. The inner world of a person as it were, and the inner world is an intangible and untouchable thing, something that even put into words cannot fully be understood perfectly. While people's general personality, beliefs, and interests may be replicated, the inner world and the inner experience cannot be. It's why artistic expression is so moving and powerful, because when done right it gives the outsider a glimpse into the inner world of another person, and while words, rhythms, and pictures inevitably will have overlap, no true artist can ever have art produced exactly as they would have, because the vehicle may be the same, but the inner world from which the art comes from is so vastly different they aren't directly comparable. Forgive me if my answer is a bit scatter brained I find it hard to get my thoughts into writing on these kind of things.

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