Caution: Tulpa

I’ve recently made a startling discovery: Maybe there really is a tulpa in my head.

First, I’ve said for many years that my brain is broken. (Yes, I am aware I have terrible self-talk.) Here’s why I call it broken: I am literally unable to NOT see problems. I notice an endless onslaught of things that, in my opinion, could be improved. I don’t mean, “that sucks, I wish it could be better.” No, I mean, “that sucks and it’s obvious this way would be better and if you’d just let me get started . . . ” Adderall might help, I suppose.

Everyone loves that I get stuff done, and try to make things better. But unless you have this same problem, I’d imagine it’s hard to understand how this is debilitating. I am aware that this is recursive—I see my own brain as a broken process that I feel I should repair. All I can say is that you should be happy, and thank your fave diety if that’s your thing, that you don’t understand. Because to understand is to have the problem, and you do. not. want. this. problem.

Second, I’ve also said for many years that, “the remainder cannot go into the computer.” I’m referring to a endless source of struggle in programming and systems administration; Computers are exact, and the real world—with its real people, real problems, and things which really are subjective shades of gray—is not. So programmers and systems administrators factor, in the mathematical sense of finding factors which when multiplied give you the original, reality into the computers. And when factoring reality, there is always a remainder. That remainder shows up when you find your software does something weird. That could be a mistake, but I tell you from experience, it is more often some edge case. Some people had to make choices when they factored.

The result of that second point is that I’ve spent the majority of my life factoring, (and “normalizing” for your math geeks who know about vector spaces,) problems into computers. And then trying to live with the remainders that didn’t go into the computer. The remainders are all in my head. Or on post-it notes on my wall, (back in the day.) Or the remainder is some scheduled item reminding me to check the Foobazzle process to ensure the comboflux has not gone frobnitz. To do that I had to intentionally be pragmatic and logical. And the really scary part is I also learned that the best way to do all of that was to talk to myself—sometimes literally, bat-shit crazy, out loud, but usually very loudly inside my own mind—to discover the smallest, least-worst, remainder that I could manage to live with.

What if those two things were sufficient to create a Tulpa. (I am serious.)

I think there’s a Tulpa in here! (My title is the sign on the front gate.) It is absolutely pragmatic. It knows an alarming amount of detail about things I’ve built, (or maintained, or fixed.) It is cold and calculating. It is terrified that it will forget about one of those details, 2347 will happen, and everyone will run out of ammunition defending their canned goods from the roaming bands of marauders. I definitely don’t “have” the Tulpa. It’s more like discovering there’s an extra person living in your house. Although, I don’t hold hope of banishing this Tulpa, Yoda does make a good point if I’m going to try. So, I should definitely give it a name.

Maybe, Sark?

That is an intriguing idea indeed! Sark, what do you think?

ɕ

Slips

I was leisurely tinkering my way through my morning, and my mind kicked out a few ideas. It always does that. Yes, I talk about my mind in the third person, because sometimes I think I have a Tulpa.

The first idea that popped up was about sending a message to someone to wish them a Happy New Year. At the time, I had not yet awakened the sleeping dragon—my computer. (I could say: My personal Eye of Sauron was still closed.) Things change for me once I awaken the dragon each day. But I have this idea to send a message, and it’s important, but I don’t dare awaken the dragon to ask if I can just send this one quick message. I’ll look up again and it’ll be 4 in the afternoon. Instead, I grabbed one of my precious slips and jotted a note.

Holding the slip I realized this was brilliant. I recently bought a brick of 1,000 3×5 cards because the slipbox is voracious. I have plenty of these little slips. So why hadn’t I done this for the past year that I’ve been keeping a slipbox? Why did it happen for the first time today? It happened because I used to see the slips as precious; They were nice, heavy, beautiful 3×5 cards that sit close at hand and are supposedly waiting to become immortal slips in the slipbox. Just the other day, I used the last one of my original stash, and I broke open that new brick… and realized I’d bought cheap-ass crappy Amazon knock-off 3×5 cards. (I had only spent $13 for 1,000 so I wasn’t too upset.) When that idea to send a message popped into my brain, I thought: “well, I have 1,000 crappy slips to use up . . .” and this little queue of individual ideas quickly appeared on my desk.

No, the coffee mug does not currently contain rum.

The lesson I re-learned this morning is that even a slight change of context can have an outsized affect on something. (In this case, my “precious” slips [you’re hearing Gollum aren’t you?] had become “crappy” slips.)

Setting aside what you think of my specific anecdote here, where might you make a small change and discover some surprising benefit?

ɕ

Care and feeding

I recently read Ray Bradbury’s, How To Keep And Feed A Muse. It’s a great essay by the way, and I suggest reading the entire collection in his book, Zen in The Art of Writing.

When I give my thoughts on interviewing, depending on who’s asked me and why, I sometimes veer off into describing where the questions come from; right smack in the middle of the interview, where do all the questions come from? Sometimes I do actively try to think them up on the spot; I’ll run through the topics we’ve covered, the ideas I had before we started, and then I’ll grab a thread of thinking and tug. But that rarely works and it’s always obvious to the guest, to me, and in the recording. Most of the time however, the questions just come to me. Like, *flash* …they come streaming at me far faster than I could say them. So what’s up with that?!

Maybe it’s my muse?

Have you heard of tulpas? A “tulpa” was originally, “a concept in mysticism and the paranormal of a being … created through spiritual or mental powers.” (Wikipedia) No, not that tulpa.

More recently, the term is being used to refer to… Well, you’re not going to believe me, so I’ll just pull-quote it:

A tulpa is an entity created in the mind, acting independently of, and parallel to your own consciousness. They are able to think, and have their own free will, emotions, and memories. In short, a tulpa is like a sentient person living in your head, separate from you. It’s currently unproven whether or not tulpas are truly sentient, but in this community, we treat them as such. It takes time for a tulpa to develop a convincing and complex personality; as they grow older, your attention and their life experiences will shape them into a person with their own hopes, dreams and beliefs.

~ What Is A Tulpa from, https://www.tulpa.info/what-is-a-tulpa/

No, it’s not a joke. There are no drugs involved. They are literally talking about creating an entire, additional, thinking, conscious mind… which just happens to be running in the same physical organ as your mind. Sounds completly ape-shit-bonkers… until you start reading more about it and put some thought into how your mind developed. You [you reading. you as your current mind] certainly weren’t born in your brain. You-as-your-current-mind developed over years. How’d that happen?

What if you could do it again, on purpose, using your current brain?

Today I find myself wondering if I’ve created a nascent Tulpa. It doesn’t seem to mind being stuck in my brain; it has no control, but every once in a while it realizes there’s a cool, novel, human mind across the table, and here are these ice-cream-cone like things with the wires and… “oh OH! I have a question!!!”

…and then Craig’s all like, “now where did that question come from?”

ɕ

slip:4c2co3a5.