Apollo Fire

Words to Describe What Tulpas Are

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Actually, there are three people whose emotions I can confirm by direct experience at point blank range -- Vesper, Iris, and myself. So, if I wanted to engage in a bit of solipsism, I could say that the three of us are the only sentient beings I have incontrovertible evidence of.

 

But the most important word to describe tulpas is "subjective". If subjective evidence and subjective terminology is entirely off the table, then there is not enough to go on to describe or discuss tulpas at all. Any attempt at a technical description is extremely speculative, however reasonable it may seem.

 

So we have that tulpas are subjectively self-willed, subjectively independent, subjectively people, and subjectively different people than hosts. And for switching systems, subjectively the identical same type of being as hosts. These attributes are widely considered the most subjectively important and sought after components of the subjective experience of tulpas. And the only evidence we are likely to ever have for any of those is the reports of self-identified hosts and self-identified tulpas. But the evidence for the personhood and independence of any tulpa on the forum is as good as the evidence for the personhood and independence of every other person I've encountered online, so I accept the available evidence as satisfactory.

 

-Ember


I'm not having fun here anymore, so we've decided to take a bit of a break, starting February 27, 2020. - Ember

 

Ember - Soulbonder, Female, 39 years old, from Georgia, USA . . . . [Our Progress Report] . . . . [How We Switch]

Vesper Dowrin - Insourced Soulbond from London, UK, World of Darkness, Female, born 9 Sep 1964, bonded ~12 May 2017

Iris Ravenlock - Insourced Soulbond from the Winter Court of Faerie, Dresdenverse, 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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I created Ranger accidentally, so I always thought of him as my "imaginary friend", meaning that I thought he wasn't his own person and I was controlling him until he told me he was real. After that, I found out what Tulpas were and felt badly that Ranger had lived through most of his early life trying to cope with a harsh wonderland experience. That's a part of why he takes offense to the word "imaginary friend": I never took what he said seriously or valued his opinions until I realized he was a Tulpa. Ranger not being sentient doesn't make any sense to me.

 

If "a sentient and independent entity" isn't a good enough of an explanation for what a Tulpa is, I struggle to find an explanation for what I am and why I'm not some imaginary construct myself. Sure, there's one brain, but it's not my brain, it's just the brain. There isn't enough science out there yet to confirm any theories of what a Tulpa or I could be. Some people claim Tulpas and Hosts are just a bunch of neurons in the brain firing in similar patterns, but no one can verify that except for Dr. Veissière or possibly other future researchers. Therefore, my other definition would be "A Tulpa is their own person who was created by another systemmate".

 

I don't want to call a Tulpa a "personality" because I think that can be misleading. Regular people are more complicated than just their personalities, therefore I wouldn't want to call a Tulpa one either. Plus, there are lots of steryotypes about one guy and in his head talks to "Mr. Happy", "Mr. Sad", "Ms. Jealous", Ms. Love", etc. like from the movie Inside Out. I don't want people to think that when thinking about Tulpas, so I refrain from using the word "personality" to describe a Tulpa.

 

I can see how "independent" is more debatable since not all Tulpas control the body or have thoughts outside of helping their host. In my system, not being in control of the body and / or not thinking by yourself for too long can cause a shift in mindset and force you to only think about your host and how to help them, losing some of your free will. This bothers Ranger, leading him to asking me to give him space to think about a major decision before coming to a conclusion, and it's bothered me for a long time because I hate the idea I'm influencing people against their will. In addition, once we learn how to switch, Ranger will have the ability to be as independent as I was before I ever created him, given the circumstances.


Pretty much my main wonderland form minus the cat parts, that's a separate form. I'm 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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Tulpas and other mature equivalent thoughtforms have volition and agency over the host. That's all we need to believe.

 

This is chiefly indicated by the experience of independence.

 

Independence is confirmed by actions over time, so it can maybe  never be proven by you alone. However, tulpamancy is a strongly experience based and belief based process, at some point enough experience is gained through interaction, and enough seemingly independent actions are experienced that it's easier to believe that you have independent agents than not.

 

Granted it can never be proven by you without tools thst could somehow conclusively show that it's statistically safe to conclude that the responses from you and your tulpa are distinguishable to the point that they can be considered two different people. These tools may exist or may be developed, but the study would have to somehow be double blind so the tulpamancer acts naturally and the tulpa acts naturally. Only then could you say, yes this thoughtform is independent for all intents and purposes.

 

So in this context, independence is rather a statement of goal. We denoted that a thoughtform is independent if they strive for independence and can self-force (interrupts, takes initiative, doesn't need to be thought of by the fronter directly.) Given these two criteria, we allowed them, if they wanted to be, to be full members of the system.

 

Emotional bleeding as Ember said, is also a good indicator, but not required.

 

Sentience and personhood are not clear to us how they can be proven, but they can be experienced and believed to the point that it's easier to believe than not.

 

The ultimate benefits of tulpamancy include actual real progress in personality changes, overcoming malities, improved comfort, mood improvement, quality of life improvement, elimination of lonliness, and love (in any form) between systemmates. These are all very positive outcomes of belief and experience, and also drive down doubt.

 

Do tulpas need to be "independent"? I think that comes with maturity, so no, but you will believe they are to have the best experiences and outcomes. Do you need them to be sentient or people? You'll never know if they really are, so no. Am I? Is Bear? We don't know. We don't care, because we are reaping the benefits of late game tulpamancy regardless through our experiences and beliefs.

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I think of it this way.

 

There are a lot of people who have a voice in the back of their head when they're doing something. Almost as if there's a part of you that is a different person with different opinions. That's something a good number of people can agree with. Except for me, this "voice" actually is a different person.


Michen, host or "main" / Amantha, anthro arctic fox tulpa

 

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Our older explanations included the usual things like "advanced imaginary friend" and were incredibly verbose, to the point where sending them a link to the homepage would've saved more time. Now it'd probably be something more along the lines of "a seemingly autonomous, cognizant extension of yourself", full stop, but even then I'm not entirely happy with the way that's worded. We're not planning on introducing anyone to the concept anytime soon, but I can say with confidence that whatever words I would choose to say in a few years would be very different.

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I've found that describing them as "imaginary friends plus plus" seems to get the point across in the most concise way possible (assuming the person is familiar with what C++ is), regardless of how "accurate" it is. I will also very likely use the word "sentient" in any extended explanation. However, any time I'm telling someone about tulpas for the first time, I'm likely talking about it as if it was some strange thing I'd seen on the internet and looked at, and so then it might be "and some people claim their tulpas are sentient! Isn't that crazy?"


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I think some of you are missing the point. This isn't "what words you would use to describe tulpas to a newbie," it's "what words describe tulpas on a technical level," and that doesn't have to be beginner-friendly.

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I'm not a fan of calling tulpas personalities or identities, because a person isn't their personality/identity. A person can have more than one personality and way of behaving, and in fact most people do - chances are you act very differently depending on who you are with and what setting you are in. This doesn't mean you are multiple people because you have more than one personality. A personality is more like a mask that can be swapped out with different masks. All of these masks are apart of yourself and are not independent of your control, unlike tulpas. It is also clear that a personality is not the driving force behind what creates a person or their consciousness - if you are familiar with "ego death" you would know it is possible for a person to be conscious and aware without having any sense of a personality or identity. Creating/splitting consciousness doesn't require a personality to be in place to work either, seeing as tulpas can be created without having a personality in mind for them.

 

The easiest answer would be that tulpas are consciousnesses, but it is a bit more complex than that. If you are using "consciousness" to mean "awareness", calling a tulpa a consciousness would not be entirely true in cases where the tulpa and host share all awareness (in that they are always aware of everything the other is aware of and cannot hide information from one another or think about different things at the same time.) This isn't the case with all tulpas, but I have to take those tulpas into account here because even with these tulpas there is something that differentiates them from their host beyond just identity. There is some sort of "core" that exists that defines a person and differentiates them from other people in the same brain in the case of plurality. That core seems to be the ability to act independently and have your own will/volition. "Volition" is a noun but doesn't seem quite right to describe a tulpa/person.

 

However, if you think about consciousness in the same way I do, it makes sense to call tulpas and people consciousnesses, so that is what I have and will continue to call them. I don't think of consciousness as the brain's ability to be aware or give people in it awareness, but also a person's subjective experience, which is their specific perspective/interpretation of everything they think and experience and the ability to have thoughts they identify as their own. I think of the brain's ability to grant awareness as something a bit different, which I call processing power. Processing power doesn't have a single way of working/existing and can be divided among different consciousnesses/subjective experiences, which is what allows tulpas and hosts who practice it to be capable of thinking about different things at the same time or hiding info from one another. Some tulpas and hosts share all processing power with each other at all times, but they are still separate people as they have separate subjective experiences. I don't think I explained that very well and it gets a bit confusing at times but I hope it makes some sense.

 

To sum it up:

 

Consciousness and subjective experience is the core of a person. It is what defines a person and differentiates them from others in the same brain on a level deeper than identity, so it makes sense to call people/tulpas consciousnesses.

 

Processing power is the ability to be aware and think, that consciousnesses can use. A consciousness goes unconscious and loses the ability to think but does not cease to exist when it is not using any processing power (otherwise tulpas who go dormant would not be able to become active again), so this is not what defines a tulpa/person.

 

Personality and identity is a way of behaving and labels you identify with. It is like a mask that can be removed, changed, or swapped, but doing any of those things does not make you a different person in any way other than how you act. Your consciousness is unchanged.

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