A Couple of General Concerns About Tulpamamancy

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I wanted to write this thread for a long time, however today I found a way to better organize my thoughts without ranting off topic.


Tulpamancy isn't all butterflies and rainbows, at least it wasn't for us. We had ups and downs for the past couple years- stopping my daymares, healing, enjoying my time with Ranger, not feeling as lonely anymore, being more social, learning new skills and ideas, and on the other hand experiencing friction from my family in regards to tulpamancy, feeling trapped in a new closet, figuring out how to live two lives at once, and stress from being a large system. However, there are two general topics I want to discuss because these have consistently made me feel weird or that we're doing something wrong.


Feeling like I Have to Choose Between Science and Tulpamancy


I am very pro-science, and one thing that scares me is the idea that I could develop into a science denier- assuming I'm not already one.


When I watched the documentary Behind the Curve on Netflix several months ago, I realized it was dangerous to want to do science to confirm my beliefs. I want scientists to prove tulpamancy is real, but that thought in of itself isn't science. It's an expectation I am demanding proof for, just like how the Flat Earthers want to find the right experiment to prove the Earth is flat. Real science asks for the truth, not digging and digging until you find something that supports what you want to hear.


So I'm left with the feeling that if I want to remain impartial and sane, I cannot completely conform that tulpamancy is real until science comes around to back it up. I really want to believe Ranger is real and it's harder and harder think otherwise, but I also want to be prepared if scientists come to the conclusion that tulpas are not real. I feel like if they were to come to that conclusion, it will be hard for me to backpeadal and reverse the thinking I compounded in the last couple years, and the thought of that is stressful.


I don't think it's unfair to say tulpamancy may not be real. I'm very passionate about being a tulpamancer, but at the same time, I was at my most deperate and depressed when I stumbled upon this site. I took a lot of tulpamancy for granted, and that in of itself can be interpreted as a red flag. I don't believe most tulpamancers are liars, but if it turns out tulpamancy isn't real, a lot of people fell for it and passionately believed in fantasy, just as I did.


The one thing I keep going back to, hoping to prove tulpamancy is real to myself, is to learn switching with Ranger. If tulpas were real and switching was a real Tulpamancy practice, I should experience something totally different. I think it probably wouldn't matter if we eventually learn switching, however not being able to switch has fed into this idea and generated doubt. Plus, switching is just another internal experience, there's no promise that scientists will be able to measure changes in brain activity, just the hope.


Being Pro-Tulpa and Tulpa Ethics


When Ranger told me he was real for the second time, I believed him and treated him as a separate person ever since. I committed to tulpamancy with a very pro-tulpa stance. Otherwise, I feel like I shouldn't be here. I didn't sign up to entertain myself, I came because I was scared, confused, and feeling broken inside. But most importantly, I didn't want to kill Ranger.


Is this strong stance justifiable? I'm well aware there are tulpamancers who say that independent agency is smoke and mirrors for the purposes of enjoyment, self exploration, and healing. I find that stance to be reasonable and acceptable, not everyone views tulpamancy the way I do and that stance seems more consistent with what is culturally acceptable. I don't want to deem this opposing stance as "wrong", nor do I want my more extreme views to discourage them from sharing their thoughts or participating in the community. However, this inconsistency make me wonder if this is another red flag for how a community becomes a group of extremists, like how INCEL started out as a group of lonely men that overtime became more and more hostile towards women. I don't want that development occurring in this community, especially if this viewpoint isn't even rational.


Another thing that has bothered me is if Ranger and I are providing harmful advice that is limiting the freedom people have in their own head. Bear has asked before if it's worth warning new users in this thread, however I want to focus on the problem of people telling people how to think. Since we are pro-tulpa, our advice considers the tulpa's will as well as the host's, so we end up saying stuff like "you have to avoid making too many tulpas or your system will be miserable, pick one tulpa to force and go from there." This advice is intrusive because we're telling the host they can't just do whatever they want, and I'm not okay with telling people or watching Ranger tell people they have to think a particular way if it's not worth it.


That brings me to tulpa ethics in general- are they worth the cost of telling people how to think or worse- criticizing other people? I'll consider my story characters and NPCs. If they qualify as tulpas, then that means I can't feel safe to invent new ideas in the form of anything remotely sentient, since doing so would mean I would have to treat them humanely. Considering the rest of the world where authors make story characters and NPCs all the time, the idea of tulpa ethics comes across as a joke and or a threat. The ethics would paint that scenario as mass slavery, and that's a label I don't believe makes any sense to slap on the general population of creative writers. Personally, I don't believe my NPCs are sentient, however I have been wrong before, and that lead to the stress and anxiety of my other headmates for not being recognized as sentient for a year after discovering tulpamancy. I simply don't feel comfortable with encouraging a stigma against violating tulpa ethics if there isn't a clear definition for what a tulpa is, assuming tulpas are even real to begin with. While I disagree with the idea of having headmates being forced to serve their hosts or systems who irresponsibly create tulpas and dissipate them 5 minutes later, I am also concerned if this is just craziness and it's doing more harm than good to think this way.


* * *


These concerns make my stomach knot. Are Ranger and I doing the right thing? Is tulpamancy a serious practice with lots at stake or is it all bullshit and the only thing that matters is the host's well being? Is it crazy and too extremist to tell people how to think or does it do a lot of good and secure the wellbeing of several headmates?


[Ranger] Given that I'm an active member, I'm a moderator, and I help manage the GAT, I know what I say can really affect other people. I hate it when I feel like I'm just yelling at new users about how they need to not make their system of 4 tulpas a system of 14 tulpas or telling people they can't do certain things because it could lead to accidental forcing. I want to help people get better, not ruin their lives.


I can't speak much for the stress sandwich Cat is stuck in between science and tulpamancy, however I am very adamant about my existence, even when I doubt myself. I don't want to give up on the self-advocating I did for the last couple years, but at the same time I don't like watching Cat feeling conflicted and stressed either. I'm hoping shifting our goals away from the soul-suck of the "can't switch" cycle to imposition will alleviate some of the problem, but other than that, I don't know if there's much else I can do.

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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Having a belief about the existence of tulpas prior to any scientific study being done on it doesn't make you inherently un-scientific. One should never run from the truth; do not fear that science will say "tulpas are not real" and then consider science the enemy. Whatever science proves (if science even does eventually prove something to that effect) will have already been true the whole time. Granted, they'd probably consider the question "do they exist?" as an unclearly phrased question and declare it outside of their domain, as it's not entirely clear what is meant by that. Personally I think at this point it's a little unrealistic to consider the hypothesis that tulpas might not exist, but to each their own I suppose.

Yo, my name is Sean and I'm the host of 2 tulpas: Sente and Mae. You'll know when they're talking because Sente talks in yellow text and Mae talks in blue text.

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I'm about to go to sleep so I don't want to write too much, but mainly I want to address the idea people tend to have that science can "prove" or "disprove" tulpas. It can't, it just really can't. And I don't even mean because of the limits of technology, I mean because having tulpas is an experience, and experience is subjective fact - weird to put those two words together. Basically, believing you had an experience is impossible to prove wrong. It could change if your beliefs changed, and certainly in relation to the physical world you could find out what you thought you experienced (through senses or faulty logic) was wrong, but the experience you had was neither true nor false, it simply was. Tulpas, being an entirely internal phenomenon, have zero falsifiable aspects. Your experiencing of your tulpas can never be "proven" anything, even with miraculous ultra-futuristic technology, because all it would say is "Yep, this is what they experienced".


Nitty-gritty science of tulpamancy would only be studying how tulpamancy happens in the brain, but there's few conclusions to be drawn from that that could affect your beliefs about them to begin with. Well, neuro-science anyways, I guess the soft-science aspects like research through surveys and interviews still counts as science, but in that sense that's already the kind of science we're doing by contributing and reading others' experiences here on the forum.


I don't know if that really assuages your fears, but it's a simple truth and there's not much more to it. At least for the basis of tulpas' existences anyways, for specific concepts like switching which I just briefly discussed here there's still some stuff for every individual to learn. Thing is though, experience is subjective as heck, and one person's version of "switching" they accomplish could be disappointing to them while many other hosts I know (including myself) have had our belief in our tulpas strengthened greatly despite already fully believing in them after learning to switch, just because it's such a.. validating, experience? A bunch of words could fit there so I just chose one.


Might contribute to this discussion more later but I'm going to sleep now

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 stuff.

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I don't care what scientist might say, they can only have theories at best anyway. So what if they build a case against tulpamancy. It's ridiculous and won't shake me in the least.


Next, I don't care who thinks it's smoke and mirrors, that's just their opinion.


I don't care if someone thinks I'm an extremist anymore either. Joy's pretty darn reasonable about trying to see the science side of it, but she's not going to be convinced she's some sort of illusion. It doesn't support our data.


I am under the opinion that anything is possible in the mind and I don't want the power of suggestion or assumed authority to limit people, so we're always going to defend freedom of the mind including letting people do what they want.


On that note, what people do with their characters is purely their own business. I'm not going to protest Stephen King for torturing his characters. Joy is psychologically tortured in her books and she shrugged it off. She finds it interesting and expects more in her next book because the character isn't her, she 'plays the character'. There's no ethics involved in fiction, it's a puppet show. There's a huge difference betweem playing a part where there is pain and real pain. Don't be confused.


That's my stance, but my system stands behind me.

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science can't actually effect tulpamancy all that much


you can already experience tulpas and have meaningful interactions with them. that tulpas exist is already proven and undisputable, at least to those who already have tulpas. what we don't know is the nature of tulpas, are they really like hosts or are is there something else going on? this question is definitely something that I want to know the answer to, but I have an easy time being impartial because Miela has impacted me in many profound ways and I have had many meaningful interactions with her and if it is all smoke and mirrors, it will change nothing about how I feel or my relationship with her, she would still be real enough for me.


tulpas feel


tulpas have emotions and desires and fears. many of us have felt our tulpas emotions via emotional bleed. since we know that they can feel and that our actions can hurt them, we should treat them with some amount of respect. when there is a dispute between a tulpa and a host, if you wish to cause as little suffering as possible (which is pretty much common sense), then some compromise must be made that all parties are willing to accept


if writers make tulpas of their characters, and many of them don't and even the ones who do often only make tulpas of their more important characters, they tend not to have adversarial dynamic with them, instead they tend to report that the character is helping them write or informing the writer on what they would do. if the writer does abuse their tulpas then I would have a problem with that, but since most of them don't, I don't have any problems with them. there is still the issue of what do you do with tulpas after you made the book, and I don't know what authors tend to do, but if a tulpa doesn't want to go dormant but the host doesn't want to deal with them, then some agreement must be reached. if the host doesn't attempt to reach an agreement then they did a bad thing, but most authors probably don't do that, and most who do probably don't realize how aware their tulpa is.


I think that a good way of finding out if something is a tulpa is by first observing if it seems to have its own thoughts and feelings, then ask it if it is a tulpa, and if they pass both of those things, then they are probably a tulpa.

I have a tulpa named Miela who I love very much.


"People put quotes in their signatures, right?"


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I think a good analogy here is contemporary health and wellness. Studies suggest, but do not prove, that e.g. ketogenesis and intermittent fasting are effective weight loss strategies. It doesn't change the fact that people have success with specifically keto and IF, and this is actually true for most things. Think about what is required to prove something - you would need to document a standard methodology that would show quantifiable and predictable results for everyone or almost everyone who tried it. There is no such standard methodology in health and wellness and there certainly is not such methodology in tulpamancy. We're a million miles away from proving anything in either field.


It's jumping the gun to worry about the proposition of proving tulpas, as altogether very little has been proven about the human brain in the first place, despite what some others seem to think.

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Ember: I'm pretty dang pro-science. And yes, good science must be objective and impartial. But there is no objective scientific result that can override the validity of your subjective experience of plurality. How the thoughts in your head are generated doesn't make a difference in your daily life. What matters day to day is what thoughts are present.


Science is objective. Scientists are not. Many psychiatrists and psychologists have said for decades that alters are not "real", or at least not people. But this isn't based on science. In fMRI studies, alters are distinguishable from one another and alter switching is distinguishable from acting. It's based on normativity. Mental health has been hampered for decades by the postulate that only what looks normal on the outside is healthy on the inside. I've had to fight against this normative thinking for years -- in the trans community, in dealing with my wife's autism and DID, and now as part of a plural system myself. So if they define "person" in a way that allows only one to a body, anything else is a disease. If these same people came along denying tulpamancy, I'd look at their research, but I'd call them on their biases, just as the empowered multiple community has been for the past twenty-five years.


The ethics of plurality are hard and uncomfortable. Many children report their imaginary friends sometimes doing things they don't like. Most writers eventually experience some of their characters displaying independent agency. That doesn't mean the imaginary friends often live long and productive lives or that the characters often get to be equal system members. Ultimately, life isn't fair and horribly unjust stuff happens to singletons too. Every system has to work out their own internal government, and, as in the physical world, sometimes it just comes down to power. Vesper and I hammered out a set of agreements by which we were equals and when Iris wanted to participate, we brought her in as another equal.


But Thistle, who first spoke to me on the same day Iris did four years ago, who was at least as active for the next couple of years, and who was clearly present and ready to speak on the day Iris was admitted to our government? She was denied independence and defined as just a character mask. She was just a little behind Iris when the "No Vacancies" sign came on. Vesper and Iris are people because they tell you they are people and I tell you they are people. Thistle doesn't get to be a person because we tell you she isn't a person and she isn't permitted to speak. It isn't fair, but it was the consensus decision of those who had the power to make the decision. The only real condolence available is that suppressed headmates don't actively suffer.


Under our government, the happiness and fulfillment of each of the three of us is given equal weight. We are encouraged in this, not only by the love we bear for one another, but because we directly experience one another's negative emotions at point blank range. So systems in which the host's well-being is given primacy don't make sense to us. Happy headmates make a happy life.


When giving advice, each person can declare their own truth with sincerity and a clean conscience. The advantage of a forum is that many voices can contribute, no single one of which has to have all of the truth that is needed. If you feel a warning is needed, bare your heart. If you feel a warning is unnecessary or harmful, refrain. So long as sincerity and a desire to help one another prevails, the forum remains healthy.


There's a huge difference betweem playing a part where there is pain and real pain.


Iris: I was not playing a part. My story is my reality, not the physical world, not the mindscape. But I do not mind the pain. It made me strong.

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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As other people have already mentioned, your experience of your tulpas is already evidence of their existence! How strong this evidence is, and what kind of evidence is the most convincing, could be its own thread topic. But if Ranger seems autonomous, and if you've experienced emotional bleed, it's a bit silly to doubt Ranger's existence because evidence could arise that disproves tulpas. Tomorrow, objects could fly away from the Earth, and scientists would have to discard the theory of gravity. However, since that seems very, very unlikely, well over 99% of physicists believe in gravity.


And on that note:


Many psychiatrists and psychologists have said for decades that alters are not "real", or at least not people. But this isn't based on science. In fMRI studies, alters are distinguishable from one another and alter switching is distinguishable from acting. It's based on normativity. Mental health has been hampered for decades by the postulate that only what looks normal on the outside is healthy on the inside. I've had to fight against this normative thinking for years -- in the trans community, in dealing with my wife's autism and DID, and now as part of a plural system myself. So if they define "person" in a way that allows only one to a body, anything else is a disease. If these same people came along denying tulpamancy, I'd look at their research, but I'd call them on their biases, just as the empowered multiple community has been for the past twenty-five years.

Honestly, Ember's playing nice here. When hostie host was in college, his abnormal psych textbook mentioned the hypnosis theory of DID. Yet, papers from two decades ago have exposed that the hypnosis theory never had any weight behind it! For almost as long as this body has been alive, the science has squarely established that DID is a real thing.


So of course, DID and tulpamancy are not quite identical. But science operates according to the rule of parsimony, Occham's Razor, or whatever you want to call it. The short version is that the theory with the smallest number of assumptions behind it is the one we should go with, at least until we find more evidence to refute it. Evolution requires us to make some wonky leaps of faith, like that bombardier beetles could have evolved in one generation. But! All the competing explanations for the diversity of life on Earth require us to make even more leaps of faith, or are clearly ad hoc explanations for what we already know. Evolution is a good theory not because it is perfect, but because it's the most parsimonious option we have.


Now, is there a simple way to explain DID without giving legitimacy to tulpas? DID is almost exclusively caused by childhood trauma; if one can come up with a simple theory why childhood trauma is the only way to cause plurality, they could invalidate tulpas. But that's easier said than done! We could say, for instance, that trauma creates or unleashes some sort of brain energy that creates new thoughtforms. Why, then, does only childhood trauma induce DID? A far more parsimonious theory is that, up until a certain age, basic identity formation is still ongoing. Trauma interrupts it, and so that forces plurality. But nothing about this parsimonious theory says thoughtforms can only be created that way! Tulpas are very much allowed to exist under this framework.

I live in a castle and have two tulpas, Kanade-chan and Uncannyfellow

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I apologize for arriving so late to the discussion and I'm not entirely sure of how much my words are going to contribute or to cause more problems to the topic, but I decided to do my best since this appears to be a big concern for the community from what I've seen.


Anyway, I'm of the firm belief that whether science proves tulpas to be real or not, it shouldn't affect your relationship with your tulpa. If you do experience their realness and you already built a relationship with them, you have every right to enjoy it the best way you can even if it's a delusion. Also, I have to admit tulpa ethics got me in some trouble in the past, but I try to not let it affect me nowadays and just do my own thing along with my system. I always make sure we're all in good terms and everything works well.


In the end, I believe you should be working more towards improving your own life and your tulpa's. The science behind it should be more of a curiosity than something that determines what you should or shouldn't be doing. I mean, what if science proves that tulpamancers do improve their lives for working with it? Would anyone care if it's real or not? And the tulpa ethics part should be... Well, it is important to make tulpas more real for having people believing it to be real, right? Still, some people do claim to be able to experience that even without treating them the same way they would treat a human and they could be on good terms with their tulpa, so that is questionable.


Regarding the way we treat tulpas, I think it might be useful to think about it in a case by case basis.

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This all comes back to the idea of a "testable" question. High school science fair, anyone?


For a quick refresher, here are some testable questions:

  • Will the majority of people claim to support banning water when asked if it's called "dihydrogren monoxide"?
  • Do batteries last longer when stored and used at cold temperatures?
  • If a single photon is emitted at two slits, will it still behave as a wave?*
  • Is the moon made of blue cheese? (just because it's impractical to test doesn't make it an un-testable question)

And here are some un-testable questions:

  • Does god exist?
  • Is Jean-luc awesome?
  • Do burgers taste good?


Importantly, "Are tulpas real/sentient?" is an un-testable question! We don't have a real-o-meter we can point at someone's brain and say "yep! that's real!". Defining "real", "sentient", "concious", and others is mostly left to philosophers, not scientists. Even if the awesome people at Stanford find absolutely nothing in their MRIs, that says nothing about how "real" tulpas are. Unless you subscribe to a metaphysical mythology, you already agree that tulpas don't take physical form. In that way they technically aren't real. But that isn't the real that matters.

Stats for LOTPW

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