Are tulpas based primarily on faith? A few weeks ago I was called out by one of the fellow redditors who stated that there are absolutely scientific methods to create a tulpa, following the strict scientific method.
That sounded odd. I was under an impression that all the popular tulpa guides get you into a mindset where you’re not only open to believe whatever; you are actively suspending your disbelief too. My hypothesis was that tulpas require at least some amount of faith to make the whole thing work.
I ran a short survey on most popular tulpa guides and I’ve got forty responses, which attributes to about twelve per cent of the active community population. Three most popular guides were: Methos’s with thirty per cent votes, Tulpa’s DIY Guide (twenty-five per cent) and Kiah’s guide (twenty per cent). FAQ Man’s took the fourth place with ten per cent.
Methos mentions belief a lot, reinforcing his personal experiences:
What I believe a personality to be is a Black Box. That is, something we put something in, and something comes out – simple as that. We just don’t know what is inside.
In many parts of the guide he relates to his beliefs, stating that following them would allow tulpas to become sentient quicker. The mood of the guide follows this convincing tone, making the readers trust his judgements unconditionally (even though he notes that some ideas are pure speculation). Deeper into the guide he relates to the reader’s beliefs:
My personal belief is that you should do whatever it is that works for you. I am just posting my methods.
The closing statement of the guide — Do’s and Do Not’s explicitly state you must believe that what your tulpa is doing is what they do with their free will.
Tulpa’s DIY Guide
Tulpa’s guide opens with the promise that you don’t need to believe anything in his guide to make it work. That said, Tulpa suggests that suspense of disbelief is what you need to experiment and to be able to create tulpas.
Tulpa picks his words carefully even though some of his statements focus on believing tulpas are real:
It has been said that if you are not comfortable with tricking your mind into a false belief, then you should not be involved in tulpamancy.
He doesn’t use the same assertive voice Methos does, nevertheless, he allows the possibility of tulpas to be based on faith alone. Trying to cover all the basis (the guide is massive!) he dwells in the mysticism and offers an opinion that tulpas are external spirits.
Over the course of the guide Tulpa stresses that it’s important to believe you can do tulpamancy or your progress might be hindered:
If we believe something is impossible, it is as if that tool is missing from our belt. If we believe things are a certain way, our tool will have biases, and create errors in our work
He relates to an open mindset, but the tone used makes you focus on the simple statement: “tulpamancy is possible”. While there’s nothing wrong with it in particular, the readers are trained to accept not only the open-mindedness but a specific mindset. The very beginning of tulpamancy is described in terms of pure belief:
So, to create a tulpa, create a new shadow in your mind. A new person you believe to exist in the real world, but has no true counterpart in the real world. This is your starting point.
The further Tulpa goes into the advanced practices the more noticeable his personal opinion becomes. He leaves the cold detached tone of the opening and shares what he believes is true.
The guide includes vast chapters on symbolism and faith. A whole chapter is dedicated to reasons why believing in your tulpa will actually help you. It sends a very strong message, being closely compared to a few religious practices.
Finally, Tulpa touches the concepts of the new age spiritualism (aka metaphysics): a purely faith-based technique.
Kiah’s guide opens with ”I will warn you now that this will be very lengthy” which is rather fun after I had to go through a few hundred pages of Tulpa’s work.
Kiah’s tone is similar to Methos’s guide: it’s very close and personal. He explains tulpas in terms of his personal beliefs although he leaves an escape hatch:
Since we cannot be sure of what exactly a tulpa is, it is up to you to decide for yourself what you believe.
Kiah uses the same technique of positive thinking and suspension of disbelief as the other two guides:
This is hard to believe. It’s too good to be true, so of course you have doubts about this. I am here to tell you that, while your doubts are completely understandable, you must discard them.
He calls to suspend the disbelief and to accept the idea that tulpas are real. Everything in his guide follows the premise you’d agreed with his point of view on that. Kiah promotes the invalidation of the doubt and wishful thinking:
But once again, that doesn’t go against what I said before. Believe it was them, anyway.
You’ll see this reinforcement of the suspension of disbelief many times throughout his guide.
All the recommended guides require some amount of suspension of disbelief. I remind you that the scientific method requires rigorous scepticism about what one observes. Given most popular guides aren’t in any way sceptical I’m coming to a conclusion that popular tulpamancy isn’t following a scientific approach and the major tulpamancy social groups are reminiscent of cults in that how they treat faith in their practices and any opposition to said faith.
PS: to the person asking me “why do you care so much about tracking the origin? adding utm trackers to every URL you link on reddit or elsewhere?” on the survey. I do it because I’m genuinely curious about the traffic sources. I don’t associate myself with any tulpa community in particular (don’t mind me being /r/tulpas moderator) and I want to know where I’m getting the traffic from. It allows me to shape my research accordingly. I’m trying to be an independent writer and for that I need to know my user base and understand how to grow it.