So I recently heard about these things called tulpas, basically alternate personalities you can create that will live inside your brain. I’ve been going back and forth a lot on whether they’re a good or bad thing. On one hand, they have been associated with the occult in the past, though more recently they’ve been thought of as a psychological phenomenon. On the other hand, many people have said that their tulpas have helped them feel better about themselves, even talked them out of committing suicide. There’s a lot to unpack about them and I was wondering if anyone here has any experience with them. Do tulpas have a place in the kingdom of god? If so, what is that place?
I mean, if they’re make-believe, I don’t see why it’s necessarily a bad thing. There are all kinds of coping strategies and that can be a good one for some people! That said, we aren’t actually creating anything that actually exists when we do that, and I think it’s not good when people act like we can.
EDIT: To expand on this, it sounds a lot like the early stages of dissociative identity disorder, where other personalities are are often used as a coping mechanism for trauma but can end up running away with themselves. Which means it’s the kind of coping mechanism I’d certainly be nervous about.
many sources say that tulpas are entirely different from DID, though I’m not exactly sure how. They cite that there is no dissociation between personalities, and that trauma is apparently not required to create a tulpa. I even read about one instance in which someone with DID had a tulpa who was not affected by the dissociation, and could communicate information between different personalities.
Part of the tulpa development process is beleiveing that the tulpa is real, that it has real feelings and preferences. You might see the seperate personality as it’s own set of habits that interact with your own. If we liken the branching paths of the mind to a tree, a tulpa is like a fork in the tree low enough that you could mistake it for a separate tree growing out of the same patch of ground. Or, at least, that’s what I gather from research.
Another point: I’ve heard it said that the only identity we should be concerned with is our identity as a child of god. Would creating a tulpa distract from that identity? Would reaffirming our identities as children of god help us in the same ways that a tulpa could?
To be fair, I would imagine most people who speak in favor of something are going to want to distance it from a disorder, considering they’re in favor of it. It doesn’t sound like it’s the exact same thing, but it definitely comes across as a less-severe form of the same phenomenon. You unload certain feelings on another created personality, which is the mechanism DID is believed to stem from.
I’ve never liked the “the only identity you should be concerned with is your identity as a child of God” argument because it’s pretty pointless. Literally everyone uses identities other than that. If you call yourself a Yankees fan, or a vegetarian, or a coffee drinker, that’s an identity other than a child of God. There’s no spiritual problem with that in theory.
Ultimately, I think it’s mostly moot, because there’s no reason to believe tulpas are a real thing. And if there’s a supernatural element to it, how would you explain it within the Christian framework? I can’t think of a way to do it.
Coming in to this late, but the subject is of some interest to me.
It really sounds to me just like character creation. As an author I have a number of characters whose muses are strong enoguh that they “feel” independent of me. And that’s fine. If people can turn to imaginary friends and find strength from them, I’d have to say it’s a good thing.
But actually claiming that they are independent or have a reality outside of the creator’s mind sounds… bad, I’d say. I don’t believe that it’s actually possible for humans to spawn other beings like that, and claiming it is, therefore, is a denial of reality, which can’t be healthy.
Well… being a “child of God” is coterminous with being a good person. It’s an “identity” that everyone is called to have, so anything worthwhile is compatible with it. It’s not somehting exclusive of other “identities,” so long as they are not wicked…
So it comes back to the question of whether tulpas are good or not.
Tulpas are the same phenomenon some writers experience, feeling like their characters are making choices independent of them, but sometimes people with tulpas take it a step further. Basically, they say that the identity of a tulpa is just as valid as any you’ve formed for yourself. They allow tulpas to weigh in on daily decisions, and in some cases, even take control of the body.
As far as tulpas being real, I see no reason they wouldn’t be. Since they exist entirely in the mind by the admission of pretty much all involved, they’re real if you believe they’re real, and they’re not if you don’t.
I would say that would make their realness a matter of semantics, then. Fictional characters whose concept helps their creator make decisions and think about things differently. Which I don’t think is fundamentally bad, no, as long as people don’t start to see them as more than they are.