Richard Armitage as god, or rather, tulpa

Richard Armitage Popcorn Taxi

Tie-askew tulpa? Richard Armitage in Sydney, Popcorn Taxi event, Spring 2013. Source: RichardArmitageNet.com

Continued from here.

In this post, I’m going to write in the first person as much as possible, so as not to imply that anyone except me does what I’m talking about or feels or thinks in this particular way. Although I think this notion explains well a certain portion of what happens in intense fandom, no one who reads this post should conclude that I’m trying to provide an iron-clad theory that explains every instance of what I’m talking about. As you can tell, I used the term “religion” above without defining it except by its practice, and in the same way, I’m going to use the terms “god” and “tulpa” as a creative framework rather than a scholarly concept.

מִֽי־כָמֹ֤כָה בָּֽאֵלִם֙ יְהוָ֔ה מִ֥י כָּמֹ֖כָה נֶאְדָּ֣ר בַּקֹּ֑דֶשׁ נוֹרָ֥א תְהִלֹּ֖ת עֹ֥שֵׂה פֶֽלֶא׃ or: what is a deity?

Deities are supernatural, we might say — they are thought to be holy or sacred — they are powerful, perhaps all-powerful, over nature, and usually said to have supernatural powers, a capacity to move beyond the laws that govern physical reality. In some cases, their words are considered sacrosanct or prescriptive and they have been named the originators of moral laws. Some were said to constitute the universes which they governed, and often it was a religion’s deity (or the laws of that entity) that judged or determined the ultimate (eternal) fate of individuals. Occasionally, living humans were worshiped as gods, and in any case most deities worshiped by humans have had features that make them seem similar to humans, although some religions try very explicitly to prevent or bar the practice of anthropomorphism.

As the verse in the heading indicates — one defining characteristic of a monotheistic deity is its apartness and uniqueness, its singularity — even in a group of deities. “Who is like you, o Lord, among the gods?” the author of the passage asks, rhetorically. The answer, by implication: no one. Such beings have a variable closeness to the humans who venerate them (they can be immanent or transcendent); they engage in different sorts of revelation (speaking directly or indirectly to their audiences); they can speak on their own behalf or send prophets. Often, a religion or cult is organized around their veneration that involves a set of beliefs, a group of rituals, and a number of obligations or duties.

So — whether or not you think fangirling Armitage is a religion — can we see the similarities, why people might say that fandoms are like cults? Is there any behavior we can recognize, whether comfortably or uncomfortably, as our own?

Mr. Thornton (Richard Armitage) objects to Margaret's presence on his factory floor, in episode 1 of North & South. Source: RichardArmitageNet.com

The jolt in the guts at the beginning: Mr. Thornton (Richard Armitage) objects to Margaret’s presence on his factory floor, in episode 1 of North & South. Source: RichardArmitageNet.com

Where the Richard Armitage religion intersects with “conventional” religions: revelation and flow

Now I’ll jump ahead, because I don’t want to spend ten thousand words defining the term “religion” or “religious behavior” — I’ll jump to the deity question. For me, for a lot of us, it started with a jolt, a visceral kick in the guts, a sudden inability to get one’s heart rate to slow, maybe even a lightning feeling of seething in the loins, the sudden knowledge — that’s the guy. He’s the one. In my case, as well, a sudden inability to turn off the brain about him — non-stop preoccupation.

Was that it? The recognition of a deity?

Whether it was or wasn’t, the fear about looking once one has seen G-d — וַיַּסְתֵּ֤ר מֹשֶׁה֙ פָּנָ֔יו כִּ֣י יָרֵ֔א מֵהַבִּ֖יט אֶל־הָאֱלֹהִֽים׃ — in this case, looking at the self, was real, at least for me.

What I didn’t realize for a long time — and fought against recognizing as it became clearer — was that these reactions were all part of the same thing. It wasn’t sexual desire vs. romantic longing vs. psychological immaturity vs. productivity as a writer. None of fandom was about one problem — it was all the problems altogether. And none of these things were pathological, as the mainstream psychologists might tell us, or idolatrous or lustful, as some forms of religion might tempt us to think; they weren’t signs of failure to launch romantically, as the common wisdom says, or dried-up middle aged loneliness, as is so often charged. I think in many cases these reactions do respond to concrete life situations — but they are not a pathological response that needs to be abandoned in favor of something healthy or virtuous. Rather, in so far as the signs of fandom related to a personal situation, I believe, they were an attempt of the whole person to respond to the questions at hand, a natural process that goes on all the time. The things I thought at first were separated, the emotions, the accelerated thoughts, the “jolt,” even the desire, not in the sense of prurience but of generativity, productivity, creativity — they were all pieces of flow. They were signs to look in a particular direction. As I admitted to Kathy Jones the other day, I have only felt that intensity and certainty of reaction a few other times in my life, and one was the day when I “knew” I would convert to Judaism.

In my life, flow was separated into pieces. Intellectual flow and writing belonged to the mind and had to be exploited for work (and at that point, were suffering from years of severe drought); emotional and spiritual flow belonged with prayer, in my religious life (which was also become only sporadically effective); creativity had been gone a long time, and desire was this thing I thought was located only in my body, this thing I spent a lot of minutes of my life fighting with in order to be able to think, and for which I found an outlet physically but never in any other sense (which explains, probably, why it was so annoying). As I wrote well after it happened, but long before I had even begun to understand the process, Armitage became the focus for all of those forces, stymied, perhaps because I had chopped them into pieces and boxed them into segments of my life. All of the pieces of flow that were separated pushed together at the image of this man.

Richard Armitage's entry into the scene as John Proctor in Act One of The Crucible, June 2014. Photo by Geraint Lewis.

Same jolt: Richard Armitage’s entry into the scene as John Proctor in Act One of The Crucible, Old Vic Theatre, June 2014. Photo by Geraint Lewis.

So for me, anyway — Armitage was a focus point of flow, and that recognition was underlined when I saw him perform in London:

This is flow. I am witnessing, experiencing unmediated connection between Richard Armitage and the primal energies of the universe. He is totally in what he’s doing, fully concentrated, fully involved, building the borders of a world with his acting, making this ephemeral thing for us and us alone to see — weaving together a world that will evaporate in a few hours, but in which, while we are there, we will be totally occupied, our every perception controlled by his connection with the sublime.

Sorcerer, indeed.

While it could be glimpsed in pictures, this is what I was supposed to see. This is why I was brought here in spite of everything.

I think that’s one thing I count on these days, and London underline it — Richard Armitage is a reliable source of flow. The question is — how to have him at all times when I need flow?

Worship him as a god — or make him a tulpa?

Latest jolt to the solar plexus: Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) looks down at Azog in The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. Screencap.

Latest jolt to the solar plexus: Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) looks down at Azog in The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. Screencap.

Richard Armitage as tulpa

About six weeks ago I encountered another piece that I needed to describe what I think is going on in the Richard Armitage religion — an article in the New York Times that spawned this title. For me, when I am fangirling most intensely — moments that include fantasies of Armitage, writing about Armitage, thinking about and theorizing about Armitage, talking with other friends about Armitage, trying to figure out who Armitage is, and so — I am building a tulpa.

A tulpa, in essence, is a thoughtform or an emanation — an idea about a being so real and convincing that the being seems to exist, indeed takes on an existence of its own. The purpose of this in the spiritual traditions from which it hails is as a practice or consequence of the contemplative life. But the notion, to me, seems to encompass more than that. For we all engage in world-building all the time, and we acknowledge that what we understand the world to be is not what it is, that huge parts of the world lie outside our comprehension. As children, we build imaginary friends. Many religious traditions encourage the envisioning of an immanent, personal G-d who is present and reveals himself to one personally. Authors talk about imagining characters and then “losing control” over them — so that they try to make the characters do things against which those characters revolt.

And I, as fan of Richard Armitage? I imagine Richard Armitage. I think about him in ways that make him present. So present he seems real to me. In that sense, fangirling is to constructing a tulpa as writing fanfic is to writing original novels — it’s a sort of practice for something bigger. Something where the attractive components are already there, the pieces and parts, and so the practice involves putting those pieces together with one’s own particular pieces of glue.

So about about fangirling? If there is a sense in which fandom is an effort to deal with big life issues, then why call it a pathological one, or write it off as escapism? Why not say — the effort to create a thoughtform is something humans appear to engage in from very earliest youth, in which they engage regularly throughout their lives? Why not call fandom simply a particular kind of world-building? And say that intense fandom is simply the work I need to do to keep the tulpa constituted?

Next time — ways in which the notion of fans as builders of tulpas explains things that happen in fandom every day.

~ by Servetus on May 20, 2015.

38 Responses to “Richard Armitage as god, or rather, tulpa”

  1. World-building and “a sort of practice for something bigger” is actually very much how I feel about my own “fangirling”, I’ve just never seen it put into words. I expect my feelings to change (not negatively, only change) in time but for now, Richard is a compelling medium through which I’ve learned more about myself and what I admire/desire.Sometimes such a medium appears through things like a book or music or a certain place, other times you find it in the form of a divine delight like RA. For me, all this passion and admiration and curiosity is about learning and (as it happened with me) possibly even awakening parts of oneself. It’s a process I’ve learned to laugh about and welcome into my life more openly.

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  2. standsupclapping DA CAPO!
    Now that you’ve showed me your tulpa – I’ll show you mine:

    This will be in six parts – 1-4 are already up …

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    • woops … didn’t thought it would show the whole entry? Can you edit that and just show the link?

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    • LOL Bravo RAw musings. I’m not on Tumblr but I might have to be after reading your delightful parts 1-5 (expectantly awaiting the 6th). And now I’m worrying about that poor little defenseless card winging its way to its new home. And I thought I was the only one to breathe life into inanimate objects.

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      • lol … thank you for this lovely comment 🙂 … about 13 years ago I did an art project over some years labeled “Travelling with the Frog” where I took pictures all over the world of my little “alter ego” – a sort of terry cloth beanie frog – and wrote a little story how he came into my life – he even met the real “Darth Vader” (Dave Prowse) during this time and was mentioned in his autograph (“To Nadja and the Frog”) … so, I have some experience re. breathing life into inanimate objects 😉

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  3. This is amazing and kudos to you once again for introducing a concept I wasn’t even aware of… the “tulpa”… it does seem to fit the bill in a lot of ways. We know on some level that our perception of him as a person and as an object of contemplation is basically a construct, one that undoubtedly differs for each one of us according to our own morals, foibles, fantasies and so on. I can certainly relate to the almost instantaneous awareness when my preoccupation struck me, and it was not unlike some of the moments of spiritual awareness I’ve experienced in my life. That’s uncomfortable to admit.

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    • I think what was decisive for me was a sentence at the end of the NYTimes article about the problem (for people who believe in G-d) of keeping G-d real. It made me think, aha, it’s not just about an idea, but rather about preserving and maintaining the reality of an idea. After all, we tend not to expect G-d to be omnipresent (or most of don’t) but we expect to behave as if G-d is such. And I thought, aha, yeah, it’s in this process of constituting a thought that we build something that is bigger than just a thought (and needs a certain kind of defense).

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  4. Total interessant diese Frage, ob unser Fangirlen quasi-religiöse Tendenzen hat. Als gut katholisch sozialisiertes Mädchen 🙂 würde ich mal sagen, nein, hat es nicht. Glaube geht anders, wie du ja auch schon ausgeführt hast. Aber ich folge mit Interesse deiner Argumentation und bin oft froh, wenn du Erklärungsansätze und vor allem die Worte für Dinge findest, die sich in mir abspielen. Schön das 🙂

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    • I think one of the problems in writing about this topic is that religion encompasses a lot of things, and particularly for those who practice a religion that has a canonical set of beliefs (whether we believe them or not) — Glauben — it’s hard to equate belief to anything things that happen in fandom. I can’t say “I believe in Richard Armitage” in the same sense that I say “I believe in G-d.” Those seem to be two entirely different statements to anyone who would say the second seriously, which is one reason that religious people react so allergically to the possibility that fandom is like religion.

      Thanks for the kind words. I’m always looking for just the right word.

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  5. La notion de fan englobe celle de ;
    – la construction individuelle de la personne immature ou déstabilisée , qui trouve un échappatoire , un modèle à suivre , à imiter , à atteindre , une référence adulte ou parentale saine dans la personne cible de cette fixation ,
    – la période de mise sur un pied d’estale de la cible, où les défauts de celle-ci disparaissent , au profit de la fascination , voire de l’idolatrie, de la sidération , vis à vis de la cible .
    – la période de dépendance mentale , psychique , voire physique vis à vis de la cible . Je parle d’addiction réversible , mais qui chez certains (certaines ) peut devenir pérenne , maladive .
    – la vie par procuration , l’oubli de soi ( le fan) dans l’autre (la cible) ,
    – la fuite du réel , des contraintes , des limites du fan , vers le rêve d’une vie idéalisée celle de la cible , mais qui n’existe pas ,
    – la prise de conscience de la réalité humaine de la cible déifiée , par la révélation , la reconnaissance , l’ acceptation de ses défauts , de ses failles ,
    – le déclic nécessaire pour la mise à distance de la cible , qui doit conduire le fan vers l’ultime étape de la séparation , l’indépendance et en définitif la maturité du fan …

    Sinon parler de religion , de dieu , de déesse , de culte pour moi est une exagération , un détournement de ce que doit rester la notion de fan .
    Il me semble malsain de ne pas dénoncer le risque de dérive , vers la maladie psychique , ou la manipulation (cf: économie des médias , exploitation financière ou autres sous entendues ) . Ce monde de bisounours n’existe pas .
    La fan attitude doit rester pour moi un stade réversible , intermédiaire de dépendance . Mais qui donne l’accès à la connaissance de la cible, des autres , du monde et de soi , pas à la mise sous une quelconque tutelle .
    Désolée pour ma franchise , mon franc parlé .

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    • You’re probably going to have a hard time with this series, because after a lot of time spent thinking about this, I’ve rejected the notion that we can talk about fandom as an addiction, an obsession, an index of immaturity, or a sign of mental illness or unhealthiness. (Or, if I had to apply to those terms to my interest in Armitage, I’d also have to apply them to my religiosity and in particular, the career I spent twenty years pursuing, and my all-consuming interest in porcelain the first five years of this century.) All of those labels have been put on me as the author of this blog, and while I might be intensively interested in Armitage, I am not obsessive, immature, mentally ill or (I believe) addicted — and since I’ve spent a lot of my life around one particular addict, observing him, I think I have a reasonable idea of the factors that constitute a chemical or psychological addiction. For the vast majority of people in fandom, even very intense interest in Armitage is something quite different from an addiction, and the term “addict” is used in a metaphorical rather than a literal sense. Neither are the vast, vast majority of fans I have “met” as a blogger mentally ill. Yes, there are people in fandom who are mentally ill — but their mental illness precedes their interest in fandom, it is not caused by fandom, and if the mental illness manifests in fandom, still, in my experience there are proportionally fewer fans who might be described as mentally ill than there are history professors. Most people I know who are fans who are bothered by the intensity of their attraction simply force themselves to quit when they realize this and then disappear from view (or, their fandom eventually peters out, and they become uninterested). It’s not something people need treatment for if it makes them happy. I believe that in general people are the own best judges of their mental state and relationships with others.

      In any case, as far as I go, I’m not looking for a parent or a lover. My sole parent is irreplaceably dead; my father is still alive but I don’t think of him as a parent except in the formal sense; at the end of my last romantic partnership I felt a sense of “that was enough.” This isn’t to say, however, that there’s anything wrong in someone who may be looking for those things — just to point out that those ideas are stereotypes that don’t apply to many of us, at least not without significant modification. Fandom is what we make of it. If it’s important for some people to understand their interest in Armitage as a sign of a pathology of some kind (illness, mental illness, loneliness, failure to grasp reality), then I’d ask why they want to use those terms to define themselves. Fandom is what we make of it ourselves, I believe. If we want to make it an illness, then that is what it will be. But it can also be something else, and is, I believe, something else for the vast majority of the people I know. Not least — a source of sociability.

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      • Désolée, finalement je n’arrive pas à confondre la fan attitude de la curiosité , à distinguer le simple intérêt du besoin irrépressible de suivre le moindre geste et fait de la vedette + ou – adulée . La gradation reste défnie dans mon cerveau de curieuse .

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        • Sure, there are degrees of interest in anything — for instance, I wrestle with this with beer all the time — because I have a tendency to get very interested in things I like, I have to consciously stop myself from reading more about beer — where that ends is an obsessive interest in brewing, among other things. But I have many friends now who are so interested in beer that they know what each strain of hops or malt produces in a beer, who home brew in their bathrooms, etc., who are starting small breweries, who spend every spare second of their time on beer. It’s a gradation of interest that is higher than my own in beer, but comparable to my level of interest in Richard Armitage, I would say I am interested in his every “moindre geste.” I absolutely am. But that doesn’t make me pathological or problematic. It makes me very interested.

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      • Ayant plus de temps je m’explique et commente votre réponse .
        Le propos de mes remarques était d’un ordre général et aucunement une attaque dirigée contre vous personnellement. D’ailleurs je me retrouve décrite dans certains traits de caractères et comportements dénoncés . C’est une sorte d’ auto critique , d’ auto analyse d’ un fan lambda “elisa” , avec de la bienveillance envers vous et les fans en général .
        La maladie était décrite comme un risque , une déviance , pas un état de fait / tout comme le risque de récupération économique , religieuse , sentimentale … par des personnes ou lobbies mal intensionnés .
        Je souhaite le libre arbitre pour tout fan , y compris vis à vis de lui- même , c’est à dire de sa dépendance physique , psychique ( réversibilité ) et surtout une ouverture vers la connaissance de la personne étudiée , de soi- même et des autres ( ” sociabilité” comme vous le dites très bien ) .
        Beaucoup de convergences de vues entre nos positions respectives ! Mais pas de place souhaitée pour la notion de religion , qui doit rester selon moi , ailleurs ou sinon risquer de devenir un excès . Je suis trop cartésienne pour envisager d’autres horizons , mais ne renie pas les bases de mon éducation . Merci pour vos articles remue- méninges .

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        • well, if you can’t accept the category of religion as something that’s useful as an exploratory framework or in the least bit positive, this way of thinking about the question won’t interest you. I understand that the cultural attitudes toward religion in the US are very different from those in France. As I said, this isn’t intended to explain everything. But it does, IMO, explain a lot. And I don’t find saying that there is a “richard armitage religion” is a negative way to speak either about the fandom or the people involved in it. As with everything else, there are religions and ways of being religious that I find more and/or less attractive to me, but I can’t go further than that when I’m speaking about the boundaries of religion in which the vast majority of religious people operate. I’m no fan of religious terrorism, for instance, but that’s not the standard of belief or practice for the vast, vast majority of religious people.

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  6. […] Next post. […]

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  7. Wauw, what a fantastically eloquent account of your perception.
    For my part, my feelings are very different. Richard Armitage does not represent any type of deity; I don’t link him or my ‘fangirling’ to any kind of personal, religious experience. Nor do I consider him any kind of Tulpa.

    I know he lives, breathes, exists out there in the world somewhere. I know he’s a real person, but I don’t “feel his presence”. Does it make sense?
    I’m attracted to him – even more so after I’ve seen so many interviews, hear what he has to say, see his demeanor towards those he encounters, his willingness to help those in need, his humour (dorkiness if you like) – my perception of him gives me reason to believe we share a common ground on many levels.

    However, feelings apart, logically I know that he’s far away from me. He doesn’t know me, he doesn’t even know I exist, and somehow I’m fine with that. I’ll never purposefully look him up, but if we met by chance…who knows? So, bottom line is that Richard Armitage represents neither a Tulpa nor a G_d to me; he’s just another human being.

    Somehow I get the feeling, my comment is not quite what you’re looking for here?

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    • I feel like you and should have been able to write your words . Perhaps my perception of the world and the human beings , that is not religious but rather humanitarian , is keeping me away from overreacting as a fan , completely overwhelmed by his or her addiction , reverence . Am I still a fan ?

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      • if you admire Armitage’s work you’re a fan. Remember where I started — there is no good fan, bad fan. However you are a fan is how you are.

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    • sorry humanistic

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      • Every one is a fan if they like Richard Armitage’s work. That’s how I look upon it. Each individual expresses his/her fandom in different ways, and this ought to be totally acceptable. However, some times it seems as though some fans want to take ‘ownership’ of how a proper fan should be, behave and the like. We’ve had this discussion before so many times – I won’t open it up here.

        What is interesting in this account is why and how we join this fandom. What is it about this actor/artist, Richard Armitage that makes us want to follow his work and him? I believe this is what Servetus is so interestingly piecing together here.

        With me it’s a slow-burn, but not a result of a need to worship. I stems more from a need to find an escape, to find an artistic/creative outlet which is unfulfilled in my personal life.

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        • no, I’m not looking for origins here as I am trying to explain practices and fandom dynamics.

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    • But do you imagine who Richard Armitage is? To me, that’s the essence of building a tulpa — imagining a Richard Armitage and assigning particular characteristics to him. You might, if you got particularly involved, imagine him so well that he appears to be present, but that’s not the defining characteristic of the practice. The practice involves building a being as a thought form. The fact that not all tulpa-builders are particularly intense (whether they desire to be or not), or even very good at it (if they wanted to imagine a Richard Armitage and couldn’t, or don’t spend enough time on it to be able to do that very effectively and don’t want to), doesn’t mitigate the process of imagining a being and assigning characteristics to it. The point of the tulpa is that it is not real in the sense that the living Richard Armitage is real. It is “only” a thought-form. People who build an effective Armitage tulpa are not experiencing the “presence” of Richard Armitage — they are experiencing some aspect of the presence of their fantasy (for purposes that only they could name).

      Your comment points out one reason why people get tense about the “religion” label for fandom — because they say, well, of course I don’t think my fantasy is real, or of course I don’t want to seek out Richard Armitage. To me, that’s taking a really easy way out (the shorthand for saying, “of course I can tell the difference between fantasy and reality and I am firmly on the reality side.” Of course we are — but that misses the point. If you read the article about Robsten believers, for instance, that is one of the points — Robsten believers are highly intelligent, highly irrational people who have this one belief that doesn’t fit in with the rest of their profile.) The one does not exclude the other — you can have a fantasy and still be aware that it is not real. I build a version of Richard Armitage on this blog, my version. I don’t kid myself that I know enough to be providing a real portrait of him, I know that my image of him is not real, and I do not wish to meet him (again). But I’m still building a tulpa.

      In the end, I think that most of us including me believe things about Richard Armitage that are either untrue or highly suspect or based on extremely little evidence.

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  8. I have so loved this discussion! Thank you, Servetus, and everyone who has commented. I continue to be heartened by all who come to this site. I wish I had y’all’s eloquence. My two cents is probably oversimplified (I am feeling my age today), but the things described here (being fans of RA, the interest in his work and life, the effect that interest has in our lives and what we do with it, and all else) to me, is simply being in love. And being in love is joyful, and sometimes painful, and definitely confusing and exhilarating. It is not insignificant ever. And I guess it’s not really so simple either, but I have only ever looked at this attraction that way. I don’t know if that perspective closes me off to growth in some of the ways mentioned here, but I do know that it doesn’t diminish it, so I feel content. 😊 💛

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    • This is a nice example of how frameworks work. I have an unusual relationship with “being in love” in that I don’t think I ever have been in love in the sense that people seem to mean when they say that (despite having had long term relationships, having loved three men in particular). It’s not something that says a lot to me. I don’t like what I often read about fans’ “love affairs” with their crushes because it doesn’t describe what I understand to be going on — but for me, the visceral jolt in reference to a real person is exclusively sexual. So the “in love” framework doesn’t work for me. It doesn’t explain anything to me. It is largely outside my experience. Which doesn’t mean it’s wrong. Just outside what I can write about meaningfully (at least at this point).

      To me the connection between I feel and any definition of “love” that I am familiar with would probably be heavily mystically connoted — which is another reason I like this tulpa idea, because it connects with contemplative meditation.

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  9. Comment le fait religieux peut fasciner certaines personnes !
    Lors d’une formation post universitaire, j’ai rencontré , il y a quelques temps , deux médecins enseignants chercheurs , grands spécialistes dans leurs domaines respectifs .
    -L’un athé enseignait l’anatomie , mais faisait continuellement durant ses cours , des diversions sur son travail de médecin légiste en hôpital public ou sur l’évolution des êtres humains depuis l’antiquité , se référant entre autre à Darwin , avec la notion du hasard et de la nécessité , dans sa théorie de l’évolution des espèces . Il niait et se défendait bec et ongles contre le fait religieux , Adam et Eve , la prédestination …
    -L’autre catholique fervent , pratiquant enseignait l’orthopédie . Ses diversions portaient sur ses expériences humanitaires sur les champs de bataille de l’époque : Yougoslavie , Tchétchénie , l’appareillage des amputés … ou ses expériences humaines en clinique privée spécialisée dans le handicap . Il voulait nous faire découvrir les particularités romanes et gothiques de la cathédrale du lieu de formation ( en dehors des cours naturellement ), il discourait sur l’intérêt de la prière , du silence …
    Donc tous les deux ne pouvaient s’empêcher de faire des diversions pour dénoncer les convictions de leur confrère . C’était une “guerre” par élèves interposés , spectateurs malgré eux de leurs combats intérieurs respectifs .
    Encore aujourd’hui cela m’étonne , me stupéfait . Il n’y aura pas d’oubli possible de la personnalité de ces deux êtres passionnés, érudits , rencontrés il y a plus de 13 ans , qui n’avait chacun comme raison de vivre , que la persuasion avec leurs propres préoccupations philosophiques , religieuses .

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  10. Trying to get my head around the idea of the tulpa – as an example, is the “Red Dragon” Francis Dolarhyde’s tulpa?
    If I understand the term correctly then I can only answer your question at the end, with yes, tulpa/world-building is certainly a much better, nicer label to put on the activity of engaging in a fandom, than the usual judgments that are levelled at us.
    I am also wondering in what way the idea of tulpa is also connected to or a synonym to the idea of a muse. That is how I see RA – not an idol, but an inspiration: Individuallly picking out the (imagined) characteristics that we find worthy of replicating, the muse allows us to lift ourselves up by setting an example or a precedent. Whether this is imaginary or not, is irrelevant – the outcome is what counts. As is in case of tulpa. If the engagement with an ideological construct has (positive) effects on our attempts to navigate our individual situation in life, then it is an activity that is useful.

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    • yes, I think that would be one way to understand it (Red Dragon as tulpa).

      What I like about the notion of world-building is that it unites what fans do with the kinds of things everyone does all the time. News programs build worlds for us, for instance, but we don’t call that pathological (as a rule).

      re muse — I think the form “muse” is one of the forms the tulpa can take. That’s my Armitage tulpa, predominantly. More about this in one of the next posts.

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  11. […] meaty discussions when Servetus recently started posting on the idea of an Armitage Religion or Armitage as Tulpa. Not that those posts can be belittled as “amusing”. But maybe, in the […]

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  12. […] Continued from here. […]

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  13. […] I said to someone this morning, every time I reanimate my Richard Armitage tulpa, @RCArmitage comes along and kicks him in the […]

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  14. […] we build individually and collectively. (I started to write about this about a year ago — I called this fantasy construct a tulpa.) It’s interesting to reread that earlier post about “being who I need you to be” […]

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  15. Very late to read and comment Serv. I was really impressed with your more recent posts (me + Richard in review) and decided to concentrate on these earlier posts especially with respect to my own personal image of Richard Armitage. (I’ve decided that this image for me is in a constant state of flux). I am going to read on and reflect, but I wanted to stop briefy and thank you for these posts, the thought and time you put in to them. They are providing me with food for loads of stimulating thought about my own journey as a fan and the image of him I had constructed for myself. (…and which has been chiselled away in parts over the past few years). Hope this makes sense.

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    • Thanks — I am glad that they continue to be helpful to others! And I appreciate that people still go back and read these things!

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  16. […] In this sense, we might postulate that skeptics have simply built a particularly durable tulpa of Cumberbatch, one that withstands an increasing amount of evidence, when read in a common-sense […]

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  17. […] the whole enterprise of saying “who Richard Armitage is” among fans highly fraught, as each of us builds our own version of the man, tied to our own needs and desires and connected to …. Nonetheless, in an attempt to answer my own questions I ventured onto the terrain of interpretive […]

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