What it’s like being a tulpa

This past Thursday Greta celebrated her first birthday. As a result, we thought this week it would be nice to talk about ourselves a little bit, and specifically about our relationship. Of course every relationship is different, and relationships between system members are no exception. But whether you have a tulpa or not, we figure you might learn something about host-tulpa relationships in general from hearing more about ours.

This piece is a bit more informal than most of our recent ones; it consists of a poem and a transcript of a conversation, with little to no formal interpretation.

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On the difference between necessity and value

I was recently pointed to an interesting podcast episode (warning: NSFW language) on tulpas and the practice of tulpamancy, from “Real Life Sci-Fi with Wade and Willy,” a sort of panel discussion of outsiders considering various mildly odd cultural and pseudoscientific phenomena. While I won’t outright say it paints the tulpa community in a positive light, it remains mostly respectful and certainly doesn’t fall into the “bad journalism” category that an unfortunate number of reports have. Nevertheless, the three correspondents come to a number of conclusions that Greta and I disagree with. Specifically, they suggest that tulpas are created only by people who are “desperate,” that tulpas are not necessary even for those people, and that it’s possible for tulpas to become an unhealthy part of a person’s identity. We’d like to counter these this week.

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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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