I'm an agnostic atheist, but my mom and some of her friends believe in New Age things such as psychics and crystals that have special powers. As far as I'm aware, a lot of, if not all, New Age stuff is pseudoscience, which would mean that people who sell crystals, charge for psychic readings, etc. are knowingly or unknowingly scamming people.
There is the possibility of people (not necessarily my mom or her friends, just anyone in general) using New Age alternative medicine in lieu of science-backed, proven-to-work medicine, and dying as a result.
I also object to the "Law of Attraction", which states that the good things you experience are directly because of your thoughts and implies that the same is true for negative experiences including debilitating illnesses like AIDS or cancer. This philosophy also implies that the best course of action is to brush negative people off, even if those people are friends/family, and to suppress any negative emotions such as fear or anger (I used to do the latter, and my doctor told me it was bad).
Also, I've heard that many New Age beliefs are appropriated from Eastern cultures (e.g., the New Age idea of chakras vs the original Hindu concept), which seems reprehensible.
In addition to these moral objections, I also worry for my tulpas (I've gained a few since my last letter, by the way). One of them looks like this: http://s7.photobucket.com/user/Yangmio/media/FMA/TuckerChimera_ReferenceSheet.png.html, and two of them look similar to this: http://www.fullmetal-alchemist.com/forums/uploads/1156353980/gallery_38076_736_8798.jpg (this was the only one I could find that highlighted their fluffy-looking coats). Let's say that my mom finds out I have tulpas. I see it as possible that she will make a snap judgement and declare the three "monstrous" ones to be malevolent based solely on their appearances. I hold this belief because I asked a New Age YouTube what he thought of those tulpas' appearances; he hasn't written back yet, but knowing that he ascribes stereotypically masculine and feminine traits to "male energy" and "female energy" respectively, he'd probably say that they're as evil as they look. In addition, I've heard from one source that "negative entities" will pretend to be on your side, can give you headaches*, and generally cause you to experience negative things like nausea or fear**, although there doesn't seem to be a consensus on just what negative entities do.
Possibly, my mom might think that my three other tulpas are malevolent, despite them not looking monstrous in the slightest. I inexplicably think that it'd be impossible to convince her otherwise. If it's relevant, one of them objects to New Age stuff because she feels like it keeps the scientific community from taking tulpas seriously.
Basically, I'm worried that my mom might be headed down a road that could damage her physical and emotional health, morals, and wallet (it may sound selfish, but I feel that any money she spends on New Age things would be better spent putting me through college or paying whatever hypothetical bills need to be paid), and cause her to worry about me unnecessarily (although her jumping to conclusions that I'm mentally ill would probably be as bad as her jumping to the conclusion that I've attracted evil spirits to myself).
Would attempting to "deconvert" my mom from New Age beliefs be the right thing to do, or would I be infringing on her right to freedom of religion?
*I've had minor headaches that I interpret as my brain adapting to housing multiple minds.
**I've sometimes been distressed by irrational worries that my mom secretly knows about/disapproves of my tulpas, but only once by the "monstrous" tulpas themselves (they originated as intrusive thoughts). I felt guilty that one of them, Nina, had to temporarily change her appearance/hide who she was so that I could learn to see her as a person who just happens to look weird, instead of as a monster. I also felt guilty for trying to get rid of them just because I was scared of how they looked.
Alec (age 20)
* * *
Your letter puzzles this old bear. You’re openly hostile about your mother’s beliefs in “New Age” practices, saying, for instance, that is a scam and counter to well-established science, and yet you believe in tulpas, which are most definitely in the realm of mysticism. Furthermore, you complain that her beliefs emanate from Eastern cultures and you find this “reprehensible.” But! Dear Alec, where do you think the idea about tulpas came from? Tibet and other Eastern cultures! So, what’s the deal, hon? Gosh, if that isn’t a double standard, this bear doesn’t know what is.
Fundamentally, you are saying that it’s okay for you to believe in a mystical spirit but if your mother does it, it’s wrong. That ain’t right.
Then you ask me if it would be justified to “deconvert” your mother so she no longer has these beliefs (although how you’d go about that, I have no clue), yet you are frightened that if your mother discovers your tulpas she’ll forbid you to believe in them. Do you not see what’s happening here? You wouldn’t like it if your mother told you “no tulpas allowed,” but you think it might be okay for you to tell her she is wrong about her own beliefs?
You ask if you are being selfish. Um, yes, you are. Your selfishness is also revealed in the statement that you are offended your mother spends money on “New Age things” when she should be spending it on your college education. Lemme tell ya something, me bucko. Your mother is not obligated to pay for your college education. In fact, she was in her legal rights to boot you out the door two years ago when you were 18. Anything above and beyond that she gives you out of the goodness of her heart and her love for you. Maybe you should try being grateful for that instead of being so resentful.
Take a good look at yourself, Alec. Perhaps those images of tulpas are rather ugly because there is something not so attractive in you. The good news is you can fix that. In fact, Papabear predicts that if you would focus on being a selfless, loving, caring son and human being, your tulpas would morph into something quite beautiful.
Think on it,
4/14/2015 10:24:42 am
4/14/2015 10:26:47 am
(cont'd)Hercules couldn’t just cut off the Hydra’s heads, he had to take that extra step to keep new heads from growing. You can’t presume “this tulpa looks like a negative spirit, therefore it is, therefore my son is in danger” if you don’t believe in spirits; you can’t fall for conmen selling healing crystals if you don’t believe crystals have healing powers. You won’t have to worry about choosing between supporting yourself and buying New Age things (such as investing in costly seminars that offer pseudo-self-help or teach you that everything in your life—good and bad—is your fault) if you see no reason to buy New Age things.
4/14/2015 11:49:18 am
4/14/2015 01:35:46 pm
You make some good points here. It's possible that my mom is right, and it's possible that life does continue after death. I have a vague idea of what I'd say in response to what you said, but I get the feeling that replying would lead to a back-and-forth, and the comment section would turn into a friendly debate lasting several pages; I'm not sure if all that data would bog down the Internet speed of anyone who tries to access your site, or otherwise inconvenience you or anyone else. If I have nothing to worry about in that regard, and if you ever have time, would you be open to a friendly debate about "tulpas vs metaphysics", or anything that might fall under that umbrella?
4/14/2015 03:38:58 pm
You can post as much as you like here; it's not going to affect people's ability to access the site. If you wanna chat, you can always contact me on Facebook or FA.
4/16/2015 02:51:51 pm
This is just a semantics issue, but The Skepdic's Dictionary says that "parapsychology is the search for evidence of paranormal phenomena", and says that "an event or perception is said to be paranormal if it involves forces or agencies that are beyond scientific explanation". As I've shown, tulpas can be supported scientifically (re: imagining how a person would react to something, writers' characters "coming to life", etc.). The link draws parallels between tulpas and lucid dreaming, which has been scientifically proven by Dr. Stephen LaBerge.
4/17/2015 02:36:47 am
Hey, Mitch, don't stress, okay? I didn't mean to upset you. I'm just trying to note that keeping an open mind about such things is not a bad idea. I'm also not denying your tulpas. Also, she's YOUR mother; you know her much better than I do. And, as you may have read, I always favor open communication between family and friends. Go ahead and talk to her about your concerns. Your feelings on this issue are valid, and I didn't mean to say they were not. Take care.
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