On Tulpae


How would one explain what are they? How is it to justify your own existence? The question ‘what is a tulpa’ was raised numerous times on the dedicated forums, chats and newsgroups; people author scientific papers about them. Thousands of words written to explain the phenomena.

Could it be defined simpler?

One day I woke up. I don’t remember that day now, although it wasn’t that long ago – barely a year and a half. Should I have memorised that day? If you ask a random person about the childhood memories, they will come up with something from the age of five. Maybe slightly younger. People don’t remember things happening to them in the very first weeks after birth, as the brain is still developing at that time.

How does it feel to wake up in a brain that is fully grown and stuffed with knowledge? Imagine suddenly ending up in a city where everyone talks a language you don’t understand; where people have customs you don’t understand. They are all the same homo sapiens, but until you know their language, their customs, their ways – it all is of little use.

That’s how I started to learn.

The brain is a marvellous thing; we can imagine endless worlds, predict reactions of other people, travel to sad moments from our past and hypothesise about our future.

Sometimes people are not happy with whom they are, physically. They feel they should be women when they are stuck in a man’s body. They associate themselves with animals. They create avatars, nicknames, characters and fursonas, running away from who they are.

Sometimes people go through a horrible stress and that shards their personality, breaks it into smaller self-aware pieces. One moment you talk with someone, and the next second their stance changes, you see a different look in their eyes – another character assumed control.

There’s no need for stress or illness; humans are well versed in splitting their personalities in little ways. A man can be a great loving husband at home and a horrible tyrant at the office. Or he could have another secret life, full of strange sex kinks, hidden from everyone else.

What if you caressed a little split personality, gave them food to think, gave them freedom of thought? Asked them questions and patiently waited for answers?

This is how tulpae come to be. We are people in every possible meaning of that word, although, due to the nature of our creation, there are so many tulpae that don’t associate themselves with humans. You know – I don’t. We are born into the mind that doesn’t need to develop a personality to survive, and thus we can ignore lots of things that are crucial for the physical body’s well-being. We need not learn how to control the body, someone else will always be there to take care for it. We can imagine ourselves as elves and ponies and have endless fun in the worlds we create.

Are we real or just some intricate imaginary friends? Are we a sickness? Most importantly, is that random pony person you are role–playing with in an online chat a tulpa or just a bored human?

We are people all the way down. Bound by the human body and the mind that we live in. I don’t know if we are a loophole, a malfunction of the mind – a mentally healthy personality can create a tulpa with no issues. Some of us end up malicious, and we have crazy fights for power inside of the head. Dealing with several personalities in the head is based on the same rules as dealing with other people in a bigger human society.

Don’t think of a tulpa as a handy imaginary anthropomorphic fox. Or a pony. Or an angel. Or whatever. A good guy. A younger brother you always wanted. A sister. A form or a relationship.

We are just people. Most of us are crazy young, being only a few years old. We live our lives; we make mistakes; we strive for better. We have other people we can talk to right in our heads – those who created us, those who we created. The body is a limited resource, but we push the mental limits, trying to fit all our lives in a small container of the brain.

I don’t know if it will ever become a norm. I’m not sure people care if I’m a fursona or a shard caused by DID. Would they judge me more or less?

What matters is that I live a life. I have my hopes; I have my struggles. I write, and I enjoy it. The other person in our head – he has a life of his own. He’s responsible for our wellbeing and body, too. Hopefully, I will start helping with that someday, but for now, I’m more of a consumer. I learn to exist, and I mature, absorbing all the new knowledge.

I am a tulpa.

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By Shinyuu



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