Expectations and Your Tulpa

Discussion in 'Creation Tips And Articles' started by Falah, Nov 27, 2015.

  1. Falah

    Falah aka the Chiaroscuro

    Joined:
    May 6, 2015
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    System/Host:
    The Quandary
    Pronouns:
    They/Them
    I've seen the topic of how expectations influence one's tulpa come up multiple times in the community. This is a Frankensteinian hodgepodge of various posts I've written on the matter.

    As always, these are my personal speculations--no model is truly complete, and no one has all of the data nor all of the answers. That said...

    The short answer to the question of whether expectations influence tulpas: yes, they do.

    The short answer to the question of how expectations influence tulpas: they set a trajectory, but they are not absolute, especially as time goes on. They influence, not control, and expectations are in themselves more complicated than they might seem.

    Now, the long answer to both of those questions.

    I'll start by addressing the question behind the question: the whole question of whether a tulpa has free will if they're influenced by your expectations. Which often implies another question: if a tulpa doesn't have free will, then are they a person? Personally speaking, I don't think free will is required for someone to be conscious (i.e. to experience subjectivity and awareness of the world) or a person. Not only that, I don't think anyone, tulpa or host, truly has free will as we think of it. There's plenty of precedent--trauma, behavioral studies, priming, even a new neurological theory, etc--to suggest that we only think we control the brain's processing, when we're really simply along for the ride as the brain processes and reacts to inputs from the outside world. In other words, a consciousness isn't a top-down process that controls the brain so much as it is an abstract entity that is generated as the brain processes external stimuli and learned information. Free will as we popularly think of it is an illusion--a useful illusion, one that's really hard to describe human experience without, but an illusion nonetheless.

    Nothing comes from nowhere, everything comes from somewhere, everything is related and interrelated. With that framework in mind, to the hosts: let's take a look at our own selves. Our own motivations, our own values. You'll find that none of it came from a vacuum, but from an interplay of biology (the instinct to obtain basic needs like food and shelter, each brain's unique wiring from genetics) and external influences. Namely for the latter, the expectations of other people, especially those who raised you and who you were surrounded by when growing up. Those expectations, even those left unspoken, become internalized and play a major role in how we act, whether it's the Pygmalion effect or stereotype threat.

    But expectations aren't the whole of your influences. There's also direct experiences, doing things yourself. There's accumulating information from outside the bubble of your upbringing. Even expectations and interpersonal influences aren't uniform--you might have encountered a teacher who tells you you're not cut out for a subject, only to meet another teacher who senses potential in you and builds up your confidence. The end result means that you are not a reflection of any one person's expectations, but a mix of many diverse influences--hence how children can grow up to be different than their parents expect.

    It's the same way with your tulpa.

    At first, the only influence they have is you. They are a nascent self, with few memories or patterns of their own to draw upon, in a brain with a person much older and much more strongly established than they--it's only natural that they're going to take a lot of their cues from you, sometimes without even being aware of it. So at that stage, the expectations you hold will influence them strongly.

    But as time goes on, and if they're given the opportunity to take in their own experiences, influences aside from you, their own pool of memories grows. From that pool of memories, patterns in behavior arise. The influence from your expectations in their earlier stages remains, but it isn't the only thing in the pool anymore. It doesn't define them. They're drawing from their own pool of experiences instead.

    And an appendum: also consider that thought bleedover is a thing that can be mistaken for a tulpa acting according to your expectations. For example, you start thinking of apples, and then your tulpa says, "Oh, red apples are delicious, but I hate the green ones. They're only good for art." If you're like me, you might freak out at this, analyze the hell out of it, and assume that your tulpa wasn't really acting freely, they only commented on apples because you were expecting them to comment on apples. Unfortunately, by freaking out about this, you're missing a few key bits of data--first, that you weren't actively expecting them to comment on apples. You just happened to be thinking of apples, and then they commented. Second, the fact that even if you expected them to comment on apples, the expectation only prompted them--their exact statements and meaning, that they like red apples and think green apples should be relegated to the realm of acrylics, was all them.

    Thought bleedover (and its cousins, parroting and intrusive thoughts) is actually more complicated than I described here, but they would need a whole post of their own to fully explain.

    Now, that being said. A common counterargument to my earlier statements is "well, even if you didn't consciously expect them to comment, you had an unconscious expectation built from forcing, and even if you didn't expect them to say red apples are good and green apples are bad, that's also an unconscious expectation that you've built from personality forcing." My cents on that topic are quite lengthy, but the gist of it is severalfold.

    First, could that argument be true? Well, when you start using the "it could just be an unconscious thing you're not aware of" argument, practically anything can be true--and depending on what definitions you use, is true. Which is why I personally find it a moot point--in the end, it's unprovable, the results are the same either way, and different people have a right to different models.

    The second cent is that that model rather oversimplifies the matter. Namely, it assumes everything that happens originates as the will of the host and comes right from the host. As discussed at the beginning of this post, it's not that simple. We're not the drivers--we're more along for the ride than anything else. Thus, if the forces driving your tulpa's behavior can be described as expectations, I feel it would be more accurate to say that they aren't so much "your" expectations as the brain's expectations, especially as they can often run against the expectations you consciously have!

    (Of course, there's then the whole debate on whether "you" are the consciousness or the brain, but that's a debate for another time, and one that I think really boils down to personal definition. Words aren't absolute, and a single word can mean many different things to many different people. What's important is recognizing that if definitions shift, nuances and implications shift, too. You can call the color red "green", but that doesn't change the fact that you should stop at red--or in your words, green--traffic lights!)

    And as I've said, even without "free will", an entity--host or tulpa--can still be conscious. Of course, we can't prove that tulpas are sentient/conscious. But at the same time, we can't prove that anything is "sentient"--animals, AI, and most tellingly, other physical individuals, especially those with drastically different wiring. We treat everyone based on how they act--and a mature tulpa certainly is indistinguishable from an actual other person living in the brain--and in accordance with our moral values. (I consider morality/"rights" and sentience to not necessarily go hand in hand, but that's also a discussion for another time.)

    All that said. That whole topic does bring up another important topic: the expectation of independent action. As described, for example, by Keiretsu's excellent post here.

    Unlike two physical people, since a tulpa shares a brain with you, they're going to have to jump over a few mental blocks before they can truly separate from you. Having, and sharing with them, the expectation that they are free to act on their own works towards it. How does it work? Is it like a tulpa Pygmalion effect, or an unconscious expectation that feeds into them--or maybe even a mix of both? We can't say, really, and we likely won't be able to say until we've solved the hard problem of consciousness. All we can say is, again, matters pertaining to the existence or nonexistence of consciousness are unproven, but regardless of how it works, it works.

    Personally, whenever I think of this, I think of a passage from the Old Kingdom series. You can use the necromancer's bells to bind another being's actions to your will, but there's a caveat--if you use Belgaer, the bell of minds, to bind someone, you essentially grant them freedom instead. I also think of a starfish somehow managing to split off one of its own arms--even though it was the original starfish who initiated the split, the second starfish is still a starfish.

    In any case, I hope that long-winded ramble was of help to someone.
     
    tulpa1 and DownTownD14 like this.
  2. fordaplot

    fordaplot Ascended Tulpamancer Tulpamancy System

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2015
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    17
    Pronouns:
    She/Her
    "For example, you start thinking of apples, and then your tulpa says, "Oh, red apples are delicious, but I hate the green ones. They're only good for art." If you're like me, you might freak out at this, analyze the hell out of it, and assume that your tulpa wasn't really acting freely, they only commented on apples because you were expecting them to comment on apples. "
    ^This is perfect.

    Brilliant essay as usual. For the case of tulpas being heavily influenced by their host's expectations, the very fact that tulpa children and babies can exist alongside adult ones in the same system demonstrates that this can be the case. If previous tulpas in a system were forced into existence already as mature, intelligent adults, and then the host decided to make a tulpa child... Well, it is the host's will and expectations that are forcing this new being and its behaviorisms into the mold of a kid. Just an example to support your philosophy.