Y2 Commentary: Tulpas and Thoughtforms

In Tibetan Buddhism, Tulpas are theoretical beings or objects created with the mind or spirit. In modern internet parlance, a Tulpa is a theoretical autonomous sentient being coexisting with the consciousness of its creator, a Tulpamancer. Various internet communities share guides, tips, and advice for creating and managing Tulpas.

At first glance, it’s easy to look down on this sort of thing. What kind of grown adult has an imaginary friend? It doesn’t help that many Tulpamancers choose to make Tulpas based on anime characters or My Little Ponies. Even if it’s true that a Tulpa is autonomous, and not just an imaginary friend whose actions are consciously directed, isn’t that just self-induced schizophrenia?

But think about it this way: you can predict how your closest friend will react to events. You can even finish their sentences, or make them laugh with a knowing glance. In this sense, even if your predictions aren’t always correct, you mentally simulate your friend as a natural aspect of social interaction.

As a writer, I’m used to setting aside part of my consciousness and claiming it’s someone else. In that regard, writing a book is like playing with sock-puppets. Fictional characters tread the line between narrative tools and autonomous actors; spend long enough on any writing forum and you’ll hear about people whose characters have spontaneously diverged from the plot they’ve planned.

There’s no way around it: the fundamental structure of our consciousness is built to house autonomous sentient beings. The most obvious example is the self. After all, if you’re not an autonomous sentient being, what are you?

Y1. The Staring Contest at the End of Time

Anihilato’s mouth curved into a grin. Through the petrifying battle of glares, it managed to speak. “You can’t win, Dan.”

“My name’s Jay now, but call me what you want.”

“You can’t win, DanJay.” Anihilato’s grin spread wide. “Remember a trick you taught me?” It closed its bottom pair of eyes. It reopened them and closed its central pair of eyes. It reopened them and closed its top pair of eyes. “By repeating this, I’ll keep four eyes on you forever. My vision is eternal. Soon you will wink, and decay into an earthworm for me to slurp.”

Tears streamed from Jay’s closed left eye.

“You’re right to cry,” said Anihilato. “I’ll savor squashing your hubris.”

Y1 Commentary: Kaiji, the Ultimate Survivor

There are TV shows about superheroes, ninjas, and superhero-ninjas which don’t have the nail-biting intensity of Kaiji playing rock-paper-scissors.

The intensity of Kaiji’s gambling is something I’d like to reflect in Akayama DanJay. While Lucille has a traditionally climactic fight in a giant robot, Dan and Jay engage in staring contests for the fate of mankind. So what makes Kaiji intense?

X. DanJillian

“You’re still hallucinating.” Jango scowled. “You don’t know what you’re saying.”

“But I believe it with unyielding conviction.” Jay shrugged. “Martyr me, motherfucker.”

X Commentary: The Teachings of Don Juan

In Castaneda’s second book with don Juan, A Separate Reality, don Juan discusses the art of seeing. Beyond merely perceiving objects subjectively, a sorcerer can see the world as it really is. I notice parallels between this notion of seeing and trivialism, the tongue-in-cheek philosophy that ‘everything is true’ because truth and falsehood are fundamentally undefined. “It doesn’t matter to me that nothing matters,” says don Juan. “All things are equal and by being equal they are unimportant.”

W2. Leo Ascends

Nemo furrowed his brow at Leo’s tattoo. “What brings you to my mountain?”

“Glad you asked.” Leo shrugged off his backpack and pulled out a jar of centipedes. “Harvested these all by myself.”

“Hm.” Nemo seemed unimpressed. “Freedom can’t come from centipedes.”

“Ha! I figured you had something special up here,” said Leo. “Even monks use centipedes. What’ve you got? What’s your secret to freedom?”

Nemo shook his head. “You wouldn’t understand.”

1 2 3 4 5 28