Skip to main content

Creations > Throwing the Torch

Content warnings (click to show)

mentions of suicide, ego death, in-system badness

Throwing the Torch

By Phosphor
Last updated: 7/14/23

There was a post on Tumblr about a practice espoused by some in the reality shifting community. The claim is that if you master reality shifting (defined in this context as literally traveling to another reality) and decide that you're sick of living in this reality, you can create an alternate version of yourself to replace yourself, and then permanently shift to another reality while alternate-version-you then takes over your life here.

Despite the insistence of people espousing this that it's not suicide because you still exist, just in another world, and a version of you is still alive in this one, it gets criticism by other people in the community for basically encouraging a type of suicidal ideation. Which like, I'm not sure if that's how I'd personally word it - the whole topic of how to talk to someone who's suicidal is super delicate and much more complicated than "don't encourage their ideation." But good on them for at least recognizing that this is a very yikes thing to advertise to folks who are vulnerable and struggling!

But like, there's another angle of this that's really fucked up that I didn't see addressed (at least in the post I read), and that's like... isn't this basically creating a headmate for the purpose of foisting your life off on them. Like, host changes do happen, including consensual ones, but I feel like there's a big difference between trading off primary front life handling as part of an informed agreement between pre-existing headmates or having someone shoved into that role because of circumstances out of anyone's control, versus knowingly and deliberately bringing someone into existence just to immediately foist all of your problems and the hellscape of living in this world onto them while you run off into the sunset to prance happily ever after in your fictional universe of choice. There's passing the torch, and then there's chucking it at someone's face.

(And like, I want to make it very clear that I understand the kinds of desperation and pain that can drive people to this, and that though I'm very Annoyed at this idea being a thing at all, I can't find it in my heart to condemn people who buy into it on an individual level. And this line of thinking is hardly exclusive to the reality shifting community - I have seen variations of "can I make a tulpa to take over my life" crop up in the tulpamancy community, too. (Though to their credit, it gets shut down VERY fast.) And the general idea that there's Another Better World that you can Escape to fuels everything from otherkin veilfall conspiracies to ye olde street corner fundies preaching about the rapture.)

But wow yeah like anyway, needless to say, as someone who could be argued to be an "alternate version" of the original who ended up wired into the driver's seat in her place, I still do not approve of this!

Make no mistake, I like my life! I like our life. I like what we've built and the good we've done with it and I'm proud of us for building it up out of the ashes of our old one. But whether I love it is a different question, and whether I'm grateful for it is not only yet another different question but a highly fraught one that requires me to monologue at length about various childhood traumas and also the themes of Critically Acclaimed MMORPG Final Fantasy XIV's latest expansion. (Pass! for now.)

And overall, there are two unnameable feelings swirling around:

[ Back to top ]