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These are quickly written ideas that come out of my head. About how I've come to understand tulpas.
Agency is, in my view, the most key factor with regards to tulpa creation. Without a shift in agency, there’s no way for there to exist more than one acting agent within a brain. Agents come in many forms, the one that you consider to be “you”, being the most prominent one. To be proficient in tulpamancy, you need to consider what it means to be the agent responsible for a thought or an action, and it can be helpful to reduce the concept of what is “you”, to something much less than what it likely is right now.
The general idea of what one is, is all-encompassing. Every action that your body performs and every thought the brain thinks belongs to you, and that is not a helpful mindset. I’ve personally come to change the view of what I consider to be “me”, to only include the mechanism that makes conscious decisions made with intent. For instance, I no longer consider the thoughtless act of scratching an itch to belong to me, but rather it belongs to a separate agent, “the body”. While “the body” is scratching the itch, I am not actively partaking in the activity, but rather I’m ceasing whatever activity the scratching of the itch was interrupting. Once the itch is no longer an issue, I resume my sense of agency of the body, and continue my work.
This does not mean that I’ve created a “servitor” to scratch itches for me, but rather that I’ve dissociated myself from the act. I’ve changed my thought process from “I am now going to scratch this itch”, to “An itch is being scratched” The important distinction between these two patterns of thought is that rather than being the agent doing something, I’ve become a subject being exposed to something. The scratching of the itch happens regardless of my involvement. I am not required to consciously move my arm to do it, as my brain is perfectly capable of doing this through muscle memory and hand/nerve co-ordination.
This dissociation from automated tasks can stretch very widely. I’ve come to dissociate from practically all tasks that do not require decision making based on more abstract ideas. Driving has turned from “I’m driving” to “I’m being driven”, walking has become “I’m being walked”, and so forth.
The advantage of this mindset with regards to tulpamancy, is that you acclimate yourself to a state of being where not every action performed by your body, and not every thought occurring in your brain, belong to you. It enables you to more easily accept that your brain is capable of doing things without your direct involvement or approval (which it already is – when was the last time you made a reasoned decision to feel hungry or sad?)
People as agents, and different kinds of agentsEdit
In broad terms, I consider there to be two kinds of agents; “automations” and “people”. Automations include things of a nature similar to the examples above, whereas people include me and my tulpa. The difference between the two lies in the nature of their decision making. An automation primarily performs actions based only upon immediate criteria, whereas people primarily make decisions based upon memories and opinions. Which memories and opinions are used as a basis for these decisions, in turn, is the criterion which determines if an action belongs to my tulpa or me.
A useful artifact of this way of thinking is that it establishes a sense of hierarchy among agents; automations lack any sort of higher reasoning power, and as such can be applied as tools by people. This has allowed my tulpa to use pre-learned muscle memory and skills without having to go through the process of “learning it for themselves”. Indeed, the mere idea of a tulpa learning basic motor functions on its own is silly – a tulpa does not reside in motor neurons, it resides in the cerebral cortex. A tulpa has no more difficulty walking, talking or driving than the “host” does. It’s merely a question of the host accepting this state of equilibrium between themselves and their tulpa. Indeed, they are the same thing.
I’ve come to define a “person” as “a decision making machine”, as that is the primary purpose of a person agent. The difference between you and any other human, to a large degree, is what memories you use as a basis for your decisions, and which mechanisms are more prominent in making those decisions. The actual makeup of people’s brains and bodies are so similar, that their influence becomes near irrelevant compared to the magnitude of their experiences and memories.
As such, it becomes quite acceptable to define a tulpa as “just another person”. They share the same underlying mechanisms as you and everyone else, they just act upon their own set of memories, and apply their own set of values when making decisions. It is impossible for a tulpa not to be influenced by the earlier life of their host, so they will never become as detached from them as another physical human. This means that it’s quite sensible to consider a tulpa to be the sum of their own experiences; the things they do, the friends they have, the thoughts they think. The greater a gap you can keep between the lives of your tulpa and you, the easier it will be to consider them someone else. This is not helpful in the really long term (years to decades), as you in fact do live very closely intertwined lives, but as a tool to establish a tulpa, separation is useful. An example of this separation is to use separate e-mail addresses, nicknames across platforms, and so forth. In “e-social” settings, my tulpa and I tend not to ever point out our relationship unless it’s of relevance to the subject at hand, and we keep very much to ourselves despite using the same pair of eyeballs.