Tulpamancy and the Trinity: Is Greta a “separate person”?

Greta and I are happy to be back home after two weeks of traveling across the country. We’ve been musing on a lot of things during our many hours sitting on buses, and one of them is how exactly system members are related to each other. We’ve often been puzzled at how easily people seem to be able to say, “Oh, your tulpa is just a part of you,” or, “Your tulpa is another person.” None of the simple solutions work at all for us, and even after the hours of musing and the additional hours working on this post, Greta and I feel further away from convincingly answering the question posed in the title than when we started.

So we’re unhappy with the obvious solutions; let’s take a look at why. What I like to call the “boring” model is that Greta is best explained as a part of me:

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Some pictures of Greta

We’re currently traveling and too busy to write, so we’re presenting a couple of fun asides instead.

This Christmas I finally got around to making some kind of picture of Greta outside of my head. I can’t produce any non-technical drawing that isn’t insultingly bad, so this has been somewhat difficult. But I was very impressed with this Flash applet, even though the “help” link didn’t work and I couldn’t figure out how to use it at first. While the result certainly isn’t perfect, it’s a lot better than I would have expected.

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Greta, a spatula

We’re currently traveling and too busy to write, so we’re presenting a couple of fun asides instead.

Many people are continually wondering exactly what tulpas really are. Google Chrome, on the other hand? It knows what it’s talking about:

The context menu of Google Chrome, showing that the browser's spell-check has suggested "spatula" as a correction for "tulpa."

It also suggests that “tulpamancy” is really “rampancy.”

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Stop complaining, you’re alive: in defense of loving limitations

Stop complaining, you’re alive.

It was early April, about a month after Greta was born, and I had started whining about pain I was experiencing as a result of careless and excessive keyboard use. These were the first truly original words I heard from Greta without my prompting her.

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My tulpa Greta is as real as you are

Today I want to make a reasoned argument that, regardless of their exact nature, tulpas are as real as you, the reader, are. I understand this may sound absolutely crazy to you. In case you don’t read the whole article through before making up your mind that I’m crazy, note that I am not claiming tulpas are precisely the same as hosts or singlets, and I certainly do not believe that Greta has her own body and walks around with me in the physical world. However, I think this does not need to make her less real, and it is this belief that I will explain in the rest of this essay.

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The impossibility of being prepared

This is part two of the bad reasons not to create a tulpa series.

We frequently see the sentiment that one should not create a tulpa if one is scared or worried about tulpamancy. The idea of waiting to create a tulpa until essentially comfortable with the idea is, obviously, a good one. However, we sometimes see “then don’t create a tulpa!” reflexively hurled at newcomers expressing their worries, accompanied by little if any detail, and this is badly missing the point.

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List of bad reasons not to create a tulpa

Explanation of this series
There are many excellent reasons not to create a tulpa. We are not trying to convince people that they should create tulpas if they think they probably shouldn’t. Rather, we hope to reject and recast some bad or misleading reasons, leaving more room to think intelligently about the good ones.

Our problems with the reasons we discuss may seem pedantic; the reasons could be interpreted a different way that would eliminate the problems. But if they’re interpreted the way we interpret them here, they do have problems, and if people have interpreted them this way in the past, they’re liable to do so again in the future. An argument’s merit should not be judged on what it’s trying to convey, but on what it actually does convey.

List of posts
1. Don’t create a tulpa for selfish reasons
2. Don’t create a tulpa if you’re scared or worried about tulpamancy

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The golden rule of ethical tulpa creation

This is the first post in the bad reasons not to create a tulpa series.

Let’s begin by pointing out that there are many excellent reasons not to create a tulpa. We do not intend in this series to convince people that they should create tulpas if they think they probably shouldn’t. Rather, we hope to reject and recast some bad reasons, leaving more room to think intelligently about the good ones.

Our problems with the reasons we discuss may seem pedantic; the reasons could be interpreted a different way that would eliminate the problems. But if they’re interpreted the way we interpret them here, they do have problems, and if people have interpreted them this way in the past, they’re liable to do so again in the future. An argument’s merit should not be judged on what it’s trying to convey, but on what it actually does convey.


People often say that one should not create a tulpa for selfish reasons. This seems like a good plan at first glance. “Selfish” sounds bad, and as an ethical tulpamancer you presumably don’t want to do anything that doesn’t consider your tulpa’s best interests.

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Cheating social fatigue with systemmates

I am quite introverted. Since lately, with good reason, people have been arguing that “introvert” is a very broad classification that leaves out a lot of important information and leads people to incorrectly assume related personality traits, I’ll explain in more detail. I am not generally shy, and I have no trouble at all talking to strangers; in fact, I’m often more willing to approach strangers or make phone calls than some of my extroverted friends. I love conversation, and if I feel comfortable in a social situation and have something to talk about, I can talk my head off. In classes and discussions I’m often one of the top speakers, and I’m not particularly worried about saying something stupid once in a while. On the other hand, I’m more anxious than average about making requests of people I know or asking them to do things with me, and I hate large parties or gatherings. I get overstimulated and tire quickly when I’m interacting with even small groups of other people. And while I can’t be happy without interacting with other people, a couple of hours a day is more than enough, and even before I had Greta I could go three or four days entirely by myself before I started to feel lonely or bored.

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The invisible tulpamancers

Last weekend I was having dinner with a good friend whom I will call Maria, and she somehow got to describing a dream she had had about someone who had recently died. She labeled this “really weird,” and in an effort to convince her I didn’t think it was all that weird, I shared that I myself once had a similar dream about someone who had died, but didn’t go into much detail. The conversation moved on at that point, but later that evening I thought about this moment again and emailed her an account of my dream, explaining that I think our culture is overly dismissive of dreams (they’re not real, after all), and the best way to fight that is to be willing to talk about them.

I received a response the next day, from which I quote:

I was reluctant to talk more about dreams during dinner because often people disregard people who talk about their dreams as crazy or delusional, but I pay a lot of attention to my dreams and think about it quite a bit.

Which, well, is pretty close to how I felt!

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