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Needs Help: Tulpa
Deadlock Clock: 19th Dec '12 11:59 PM
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Needs Help: Tulpa get usage counts

 26 shoboni, Thu, 18th Oct '12 8:44:52 AM from Iowa, USA
Like I was saying, the problem with having a Trope for Tulpa is that it looks so much like an imaginary friend to the audience that you can't call something this trope unless the work itself, or Word of God says it's a Tulpa. If we do keep it I think a good chunk of these example should be moved or deleted.

Also, Slenderman in general wouldn't be a Tulpa because he can cause physical damage to a victim.
"It's not that simple. We are all both, good and evil, we have rage and compassion, we have love and hate...murder and forgiveness."
 27 Noaqiyeum, Thu, 18th Oct '12 10:10:30 PM from out of the night from pole to pole Relationship Status: Showing feelings of an almost human nature
the it-thingy
[up][up][up] The concept is apparently frequently misused to refer to the idea of imagining a being so thoroughly that it then takes on an indepedent existence. I've seen Slenderman termed a tulpa in a number of places, and I believe there are other works which have used the name in a similar way (The X-Files was one, I think).
We dance around in a ring and suppose,
But the Secret sits in the middle and knows.
- Robert Frost
Satan and his staff
Okay, here's the run-down.

  • Tulpa is essentially an old Buddhist concept: an entity given independent, physical existence by the creator's willpower alone. In this meaning it has more or less persisted to the present day, and in conjunction with other, usually "New Age" stuff (the philosophy of "anything you believe strongly becomes true"—see law of attraction), has taken on the meaning of a being created by the power of belief (or simply by being thought about), whether of one person or many.
  • Increasingly over the internet, "tulpa" is also used to refer to, basically, a sapient, self-aware imaginary friend, which can under certain circumstances become visible/hallucinatory to its creator. This shares the name with the Buddhist thing because it's the closest a random schmuck can get to creating another living being from nothing. Some even believe that all claims of actual, physical tulpas are actually only the "creator's" vivid hallucination.

In any case, I'd say only the first one is really tropeworthy; the second one is usually impossible to distinguish from imaginary friends, ghostly manifestations of one's mentor etc., and examples would consist mostly of shoehorning.

edited 18th Oct '12 10:48:56 PM by Korodzik

Ecce Homo Superior
[up]The worst shoehorned example on the page has got to be Hobbes of Calvin and Hobbes. Show me a C&H strip that uses the word "tulpa" and I'll give you one billion dollars.
(it's David Bowie)
 30 shoboni, Fri, 19th Oct '12 3:31:24 PM from Iowa, USA
But then if we're going with the first definiton, wouldn't that just be Your Mind Makes It Real?[up][up]
"It's not that simple. We are all both, good and evil, we have rage and compassion, we have love and hate...murder and forgiveness."
 31 Noaqiyeum, Fri, 19th Oct '12 8:44:01 PM from out of the night from pole to pole Relationship Status: Showing feelings of an almost human nature
the it-thingy
I think it's related under the same general category that was discussed before, but there's at least one important distinction - the fact that the thought becomes independent. The death of the projector would cause a being created through Your Mind Makes It Real to disappear, while a Tulpa would not.

I can think of another example from Borges, actually - the dreamed man in The Circular Ruins, whom only Fire knows is unreal, and thus is cannot be harmed by it.

Also, Korodzik - you're sure about this? Because that's pretty much the exact opposite of what JHM and Escher alleged, if I understand them correctly.

edited 19th Oct '12 8:44:31 PM by Noaqiyeum

We dance around in a ring and suppose,
But the Secret sits in the middle and knows.
- Robert Frost
Satan and his staff
As far as I can tell, the "imaginary friend" is what Escher was referring to, while JHM's definition seems to be a mixture of both.
If we are going to keep it, we need to change the name and just include the fact it can be called a Tulpa in the info somewhere.
"It's not that simple. We are all both, good and evil, we have rage and compassion, we have love and hate...murder and forgiveness."
 34 Noaqiyeum, Sun, 21st Oct '12 1:22:16 PM from out of the night from pole to pole Relationship Status: Showing feelings of an almost human nature
the it-thingy
[up][up] Ah, okay.

[up] ...Why? It's a pre-existing term.
We dance around in a ring and suppose,
But the Secret sits in the middle and knows.
- Robert Frost
 35 shoboni, Sun, 21st Oct '12 5:06:03 PM from Iowa, USA
Because it's an obscure term, we need something descriptive. There's also the common incorrect usage problem. Most people use the "modern" definition of imaginary friend.
"It's not that simple. We are all both, good and evil, we have rage and compassion, we have love and hate...murder and forgiveness."
World's Toughest Milkman
The psychic power to create actual objects/people is by no means limited to Buddhism or silly New-Age beliefs based on misinterpretations of Buddhism, so giving it an Indian name is a bad idea. We use English unless a concept is so completely tied to a particular culture that no good English terms present themselves. That is clearly not the case here.

And of course, the term has three contradictory meanings: the original Buddhist version, the New-Age woo version, and the Internet Meme version, which leads to confusion and outright misuse.

This definitely has to go, but I'm not sure whether we need to replace it with one, two, or three tropes. We can probably skip the New Age version (psychically created objects have inherent magic properties), but the other two seem like distinct tropes (the psychic power of creation, and imaginary friends become real).
"Existential Despair" is an oxymoron.
 37 Fighteer, Thu, 25th Oct '12 2:14:43 PM from the Time Vortex Relationship Status: Dancing with Captain Jack Harkness
My concern is that we're drawing too many subtle distinctions to make the tropes understandable to the general wiki readers. I'm still not clear on all concepts we've got running here, but it seems as if this is basically Imaginary Friend + Your Mind Makes It Real + a third concept that involves said Imaginary Friend becoming a real thing independent of its creator. And then we have the idea of a companion spirit manifested via Psychic Powers? I'm confused.

edited 25th Oct '12 2:15:28 PM by Fighteer

Neoclassicism, AKA the Tinkerbell school of economics.
 38 Star Valkyrie, Sat, 27th Oct '12 10:45:20 AM Relationship Status: Shipping fictional characters
The pages for Thoughtforms and Tulpas on The Other Wiki seem to have the same issues, especially in discussing various philosophies. There's also a discussion about possibly merging the two pages. However, I'm not sure how important it is that a TV Tropes page discusses the various philosophies. It's more how the idea appears in fiction that we need, right? So maybe the pop culture sections on each page (several of them are examples we don't have yet) can help us figure out how the idea appears in fiction.

 39 shoboni, Sat, 27th Oct '12 6:31:44 PM from Iowa, USA
I can tell you from a talk I was in on another forum that the Tulpa thing being messy is universal, so it's not just us and Wikipedia.
"It's not that simple. We are all both, good and evil, we have rage and compassion, we have love and hate...murder and forgiveness."
World's Toughest Milkman
[up]Ditto. I saw a discussion over on a skeptics/magicians forum, where someone was wondering if it was something worth debunking, or just a fanciful notion that nobody was taking seriously. It quickly became clear that many people had heard the term, but that they had a lot of different definitions.
"Existential Despair" is an oxymoron.
 41 shoboni, Mon, 29th Oct '12 1:27:18 PM from Iowa, USA
[up]On the forum I'm I'm on someone actually of the religion it comes from seemed confused about it, so it's really just one of those things that even knowledge of doesn't seem to make any easier.
"It's not that simple. We are all both, good and evil, we have rage and compassion, we have love and hate...murder and forgiveness."
 42 Star Valkyrie, Tue, 30th Oct '12 5:00:09 PM Relationship Status: Shipping fictional characters
True, so calling the trope Tulpa is a bad idea, but can we find some definition (or at least a few broad types) for thought-forms as they appear in fiction? I mean look at all the different types of zombies or vampires, but we still have definitions and pages for them.

For example, there's a few examples between the wiki pages and Tulpa (see: X Files, So Weird, Batman's Tulpa story, and possibly The Glunk Who Got Thunk) which could be summed up as: A single someone intentionally created an imaginary friend with the intention or hope of it becoming real in order to do things the creator couldn't.

Another set (Supernatural, the wiki Coleman and Clark example, Stephen King's It) could possibly be summed up as: The power of belief brings an independent entity into being (in other words, this is when a being is created via Clap Your Hands If You Believe - the It example is listed there). If thought-forms are defined as not Always Chaotic Evil, then other examples of this might include the gods created in the Hogfather's absence in Discworld/Hogfather.

edited 30th Oct '12 5:00:47 PM by StarValkyrie

 43 lu 127, Sun, 16th Dec '12 5:17:27 AM from the Capital of Light Relationship Status: Loves me...loves me not
Clock is set.
迷子の足音消えた
代わりに祈りの唄
 44 Noaqiyeum, Thu, 20th Dec '12 3:20:53 AM from out of the night from pole to pole Relationship Status: Showing feelings of an almost human nature
the it-thingy
Okay, what exactly are the different concepts we need to distinguish? I'm not sure the distinction between the ideas you've described is quite clear to me, Valkyrie.

Ummm... here goes my attempt, I guess?

  • A being who seems independent from the person who imagined it, but is really just a projection of the person's thoughts, and relies on them for continued 'existence'; may or may not be visible or tangible to anyone but the creator. (The monster from the id in Forbidden Planet, Dorothy's imaginary friends in Doom Patrol, the tulpa in X Files)
  • A being created by a person (or group of people) by imagining it into independent existence by some process or another. (Slenderman, the man created in The Circular Ruins, the Hogfather, quite a lot of beings under Gods Need Prayer Badly, Tlön, Orqwith, Sutter Cane)
  • A being who is the spirit of an idea, created by the existence of that idea but not directly connected to the person or people who think of the idea. ('The Zeitgeist', the Candlemaker in Doom Patrol)
We dance around in a ring and suppose,
But the Secret sits in the middle and knows.
- Robert Frost
 45 lu 127, Sat, 26th Jan '13 4:23:46 AM from the Capital of Light Relationship Status: Loves me...loves me not
Guess there's no interest here.
迷子の足音消えた
代わりに祈りの唄
The system doesn't know you right now, so no post button for you.
You need to Get Known to get one of those.
Total posts: 45
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