Friday, June 26, 2020

What is Hyperreality?

Hyperreality, is defined by Wikipedia as:
(*Note: Wiki def may have changed since I wrote this essay...)

"Hyperreality, in semiotics and postmodernism, is an inability of consciousness to distinguish reality from a simulation of reality, especially in technologically advanced postmodern societies. Hyperreality is seen as a condition in which what is real and what is fiction are seamlessly blended together so that there is no clear distinction between where one ends and the other begins."

This is almost completely an inaccurate definition, but Wikipedias' incorrect definition does help illustrate both Hyperreality and Hypermanipulation, because of what Wikipedia is and from where it generates content. 

Hyperreality is not a condition of our conscious distinction. It is not something that is created in our perceptions. It is true that Hyperreality is a product of a technologically advanced postmodern societies, but it is a real thing, an observable, quantifiable facet of true reality, in fact reflected by the existence of Wikipedia.

The fact that Wikipedias' definition of Hyperreality comes to us from a media that simply couldn't exist before our societies' technological advancement, that very media falls squarely into the definition of the domain of 'Hyperreality.' The website is part of hyperreality because the internet, by definition, is part of hyperreality. The internet is real, therefore, hyperreality is real. Before the internet, working backward through history, the technological advancements of previous media created the realm of hyperreality: Television, radio, to a lesser degree, the telegraph, all moving communication of ideas from the first person to the non-person, moving reality into the hyper.

The fact that Wikipedia's incorrect definition was also created inside hyperreality, coming as all data has come to Wikipedia, from the hyperreal, to the hyperreal, defines hypermanipulation. There is no first person attached to this information, it is just pure information and we can not truly know whether or not this information is good, right and true or the opposite of these things.

So Wikipedia, like ourselves in this post modern world, are essentially full of shit and do not know it.
That's Hyperreality for ya... It is "the Spectacle" aspect of what "living life" means. "The Spectacle" has been around for as long as we have been creating it to define what society should or shouldn't be. 

Anyone wishing to delve further into the correct definition of hyperreality would be best served by delving into the work of Philosopher Jean Baudrillard, in particular, Fatal Strategies. You could also attempt to read Philosopher Guy Debord's The Society of the Spectacle, a beautiful, ingenious work that is mind boggling. Baudrillard's work is much more accessible.

Of course, my Anti-Social Engineering the Hyper-Manipulated Self is the most accessible explanation of this reality, but you've already read that, right? Oh, you haven't?

We have Debord to thank for naming hyperreality "The Spectacle." In his book, he claims that when a society advances well enough technologically, particularly in societies built around accumulation, such as consumerism, commodities detach from reality, becoming images. Those images make up the constituents of hyperreality. "Real reality" still exists, it is still necessary because we can't yet spend all our time in hyperreality. Please notice my use of the word, "yet." These concerns are coming, if they're not already here, dictated by the amount of time and energy we put into hyperreality.

Hyperreality exists. It is not a condition of the modern mind, it is the product of technological society. Hyperreality is not the medium, it is the message. We are all "tuned into it" to more or lesser degrees. The power of hyperreality is directly proportionate to our involvement with it. Where the tribesman, living in the jungle, subsisting off the land, may never catch more than a glimpse of the Spectacle, I, in my office, typing on this screen, almost live absorbed by the Spectacle. Both of us are asked to decipher what is real and what isn't. The tribesman is going to have a much easier time than I, in this endeavour, because the hyperreal is so much less influential to him than it is evaluable to myself.

Hyperreality is everywhere, not just on your tv or the internet. It's in the ideas that source themselves from these domains. It is not like electricity, or computer code. It is not the Matrix, it is what's in the real Matrix. (The Matrix movies are built around the philosophical concepts we're discussing, right now, simply placed into a future where we have "figured out how to live entirely in Hyperreality.") Hyperreality is the ideas expressed and the intentionality of that content, not the machine expressing the content. Nor does hyperreality add some dramatic danger of machines taking over our consciousnesses, for any purposes. The machines do not contribute the content of hyperreality, society does. 

Hyperreality is only as useful as we can make it. For instance, if you wanted to know about Hyperreality and you only went to Wikipedia to educate yourself, you would take the incorrect definition at face value, remember it, taking it out of hyperreality and into "the real world" perhaps sharing it with others, (social engineering,) spreading disinformation, etc. This may not be too bad of a problem, for you or anyone else who comes to believe this erroneous data correct, in the particular case of defining "hyperreality," but surely you can see the problems inherent when even such a feat is possible by accident, or deliberately designed. Imagine all the different types of wrong thinking currently rattling around in our heads...

How much of that wrong thinking is creating our philosophies, our politics, our beliefs, our knowledge, our language, our imaginations, our actions, our being, our doing, everything?

Thus the value in understanding the Spectacle, Hyperreality.

Thank you for letting me explain this, if you have any questions, please ask in the comments below.

You might also like to read the next instalment of this blog where I define Hypermanipulation.

In a postmodern world where technology has created an amalgam intellect, where individuals are simultaneously anonymous and celebrity, where the engineered, yet unwritten social contract demands, more than ever before, we react to the spectacle of hyperreality as part of the day to day mechanics of what it means to live your life, to reveal your Authentic Self requires you Anti-Social Engineer the Hypermanipulated Self.

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