Wednesday, August 24, 2005

"We Have Met the Enemy..."

No, I'm not going to bitch about Iraq. Promise. Well, probably not, anyway.

I was thinking about build-it-yourself boogeymen, though. You know what I mean, right? Those terrors that assume gargantuan proportions in our own minds--then when we face them, the reality seems oddly anticlimactic.

And something more than the everyday neurosis--I'm not talking about run-of-the mill hypochondria, for instance. I mean something more on the order of Stephen King's The Dark Half...

Take, for example, the troubling idea of tulpa creation. Essentially, the idea is continued focus brings a being to life. From the site linked:
When Alexandra David-Neel journeyed through Tibet, one of the many mystical techniques she studied was that of tulpa creation. A tulpa, according to traditional Tibetan doctrines, is an entity created by an act of imagination, rather like the fictional characters of a novelist, except that tulpas are not written down. David-Neel became so interested in the concept that she decided to try to create one.

Yep. On purpose.
But wait! It gets even better!

In time the vision grew in clarity and substance until it was indistinguishable from physical reality-a sort of self-induced hallucination. But the day came when the hallucination slipped from her conscious control. She discovered that the monk would appear from time to time when she had not willed it. Furthermore her friendly little figure was slimming down and taking on a distinctly sinister aspect.

Eventually her companions, who where unaware of the mental disciplines she was practicing, began to ask about the "stranger" who had turned up in their camp-a clear indication that a creature which was no more that solidified imagination had definite objective reality.

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio...


jason evans said...

The mind is a dangerous place to visit too long! Without the constant reminders of reality and a genuine attention toward them, we can unhinge and drift away into some universe of our own creation. I've always believed that humans whip up logic very well, but have great difficulty in truly grasping reality (for example, a very logical, internally consistent, religion can be cooked up out of whole cloth, but it will have absolutely no basis in reality). Two cultures killing each other is a great example. They might have very well constructed reasons for hate, but objectively, what true difference exists between them? They are both groups of people surviving on a planet. The rest is human-created fluff. So, I differ with Hamlet on this one. Science always accepts what is observed and tested, whereas the mind freely creates what cannot be.
(Man, I've had too much coffee this morning.)

Kira said...

This in an interesting idea. It's also discussed in The Witches' Bible by the Farrars. I read it years ago, and this is one the the things that has always stuck with me.

Rather freaky.

Dawno said...

I should really be getting ready for work.

I am very skeptical about the paranormal. It's to the point of "I'll believe when one of them gets right up in my face." Assuming I survive the shock. It's a strange contradiction about me as I am willing to accept the concept of a supreme deity and thus have room in my universe for things I cannot verify.

I love a good story though. I watched X-files and read Stephen King. So I'm not rabid or strident about my skepticism - I just don't believe. Uh, so far.

Natalia said...

I am on the fence about some of the stuff. On the one hand I want proof. But on the other, if I see I ghost I might die and that's not good. I tend to believe all things are possible. I also think that our minds make up haunting out of what we fear most. I am a shark-phobic kind of girl and although my rational mind understands that a shark could not survive in my pool, I still won't go in if I am alone.

Ick... oh well :)


Schroeder said...

I am my own Tulpa.

Mac said...

Ooh--I see I have more template-mucking to do. Coolio!

The really fun part is all the wingnuts (oops, did I say that out loud?) online that are trying to duplicate the tulpa creation phenomenon.

Here's the thing, even if it was real--no, especially if it was real--why would you set about raising something that's so ambiguous in nature, deliberately?

Who really thinks it's a good idea to go mucking about with the unknown like that (my blog template, aside...)

Dawno said...

It's been a constant of the human condition that there's always someone mucking about with the spooky unknown. Is it smart? If they ever actually raise something from the demon dimensions I'm gonna vote no.

Anyone ever play that slumber party game where you go into the dark bathroom and stare at the mirror chanting some name (I didn't so I don't remember what they said the name was)? I keep getting mental images of monks in jammies holding flashlights under their chins.

Kira said...

When I attended slumber parties, it was "Bloody Mary" we chanted. She never did appear.

Mac said...

I remember "Bloody Mary" too! It always completely creeped me out.

Dawno, "If they ever actually raise something from the demon dimensions I'm gonna vote no" has had me chuckling off and on since I read it.

Schroeder, seriously? I think we're all our own tulpas, in a sense.

I clearly remember deciding quite deliberately what kind of person to be, who I wanted to be--then behaving as if it was so. And mentally committing myself to the idea that it was so. In no small measure, it worked beautifully.

Dawno said...

Good words, Mac. If I can ever decide who I want to be I think I'll give your technique a try. And, lest one think I'm being facetous, I really *don't* know who I want to be when I grow up. I've just let the current me evolve haphazardly, honest, it's not something I deliberately set out to become.