Archive for February, 2010

hypersigils and feedback loops

February 28, 2010 1 comment

Linking to this recent post “Hypersigils reconsidered” at technoccult, because it is foreshadowing critical aspects of where HEAR posts are going – namely, discussions of cybernetics and feedback loops.

However, for purposes of this essay, I’m only going to consider “hypersigils” as narrative works- but I do want to consider narrative beyond strictly fictional narratives. For example, one can create a narrative in a personal blog or Live Journal or their Twitter or Facebook updates.

The way I see it, the online persona, fictional self, or avatar one creates can create feedback loops to reinforce behaviors and perceptions and have a create significant “real world” changes in a person’s life over time.

Some interesting commentary there.

Just to split a few hairs in the interest of clarity. “Hyperstition” is (loosely defined) “fiction that becomes reality.” On the other hand, a “hypersigil” is a sigil (a ‘method for altering reality in accordance with intent’) extended past a static image, and typically considered to have a narrative form. The differences are thus twofold:
1) intent – The sigil or hypersigil involves an intent of the creator to actually alter reality. In contrast, hyperstition is simply “realized fiction”, and does not (necessarily) presuppose an intent on someone’s part.
2) scope – A sigil or hypersigil is created for some “specific magical purpose”, or, per Morrison “for altering reality” – in other words, it does not necessarily entail “realizing” the hypersigilic “narrative”. If a hyperstition is a “realized fiction”, then a hypersigil is a narrative used to alter reality, although not necessarily with the intent of realizing the narrative.

ufos and science fiction

February 17, 2010 Leave a comment

from forgetomori on Nazi UFOs

One of the most interesting finds by Verga in my opinion is the image at the top of this post. The comment that it would be something very cool from a fictional point of view had a reason: pay attention to the signature.

The illustration comes from Amazing Stories, published in July 1943. That’s four years before the start of the modern obsession with flying saucers, and therefore way before anyone associated them with Nazis, much less Aliens.

As Verga remarks, in the 1950s that exact scene – a flying saucer fighting a squadron of Superfortress – would be depicted as a supposedly real event over Schweinfurt in 1944.

It’s not news to the psychosocial theorist that all and every allegedly real element from ufology can be found years before in science fiction. Some examples, however, can be quite impressive, and the Amazing Stories illustration foretelling later Nazi UFOs tales is clearly one of them.

From Mark Pilkington’s Screen Memories

What I intend to explore in this essay is the apparently symbiotic relationship between the representation of UFOs and aliens on screen in films and television, and the way they are perceived and described in reality. That films can directly affect the way people think, particularly about things they do not understand, is beyond doubt; people today are still afraid to swim in the sea after seeing Jaws. I hope to show that the borrowing of themes and imagery is a two-way process; some times the fiction follows the perceived fact, and at others the reported fact is quite clearly rooted in fiction. A clear example of this, rare in its extremity, took place in England in the late 1980’s. In the final episode of the Dynasty spin-off The Colbys, its main character, Fallon, was abducted by a UFO; she returned later in Dynasty and detailed what had happened to her. Soon afterwards a woman contacted BUFORA (British UFO Research Association) and related an abduction experience that was identical to the one on the programme; the date she gave for the incident was the night after the relevant episode had been shown and luckily the investigator recognised the connection. Though such literal transpositions of fiction onto apparent reality are uncommon, it is possible to trace many of the key elements of the UFO mythology, particularly those concerning abductions, back to images from science fiction film, television and artwork.

Categories: ostension


February 14, 2010 Leave a comment

Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.

Napoleon Bonaparte

I have learned throughout my life as a composer chiefly through my mistakes and pursuits of false assumptions, not by my exposure to founts of wisdom and knowledge.

Igor Stravinsky

I’ve been imitated so well I’ve heard people copy my mistakes.

Jimi Hendrix

Mistakes are almost always of a sacred nature. Never try to correct them. On the contrary: rationalize them, understand them thoroughly. After that, it will be possible for you to sublimate them.

Salvador Dali

Categories: Uncategorized

what is ostension?

February 13, 2010 Leave a comment

from John Lundberg’s

What is ostension?
The word ‘ostention’ comes from the Latin ‘ostendere’, to show.

It was used by semiotician Umberto Eco to refer to moments in oral communication when, instead of using words, people substitute actions, such as putting a finger on your lips to indicate that someone should be quiet.

Folklorists Linda Dégh and Andrew Vázsonyi appropriated the term in their 1983 article “Does the word ‘dog’ bite? Ostensive Action as a Means of Legend-Telling” to refer to ways in which real-life actions are guided by legends.

For instance, legends of contaminated Halloween candy predated the finding of actual contaminants in treats by at least ten years (Dégh and Vázsonyi, 1983). Individuals who placed needles, razor blades and other dangerous objects in treats as pranks engaged in a form of ostension. The theory of ostension explains how easily certain elements can pass from legend to ritualised action.

Entire legend plots can be reduced to an allusive action. If a narrative is widely known individuals may become involved in real life activities based on all or part of that narrative. This is ostension in action; when legend alters or shapes the behavior of people. Real events patterned on an urban legend, fact mirroring fiction.

In a nutshell?
To folklorists, ostension is the real-life occurrence of events described by a legend. Legends we live.

Categories: ostension

random notes on memetic engineering

February 7, 2010 Leave a comment

from disinfo’s old dossier:

Memetic Engineering developed from diverse influences, including cutting edge physics of consciousness and memetics research, chaos theory, semiotics, culture jamming, military information warfare, and the viral texts of iconoclasts William S. Burroughs, J.G. Ballard, and Genesis P-Orridge. It draws upon Third Culture sciences and conceptual worldviews for Social Engineering, Values Systems Alignment, and Culture Jamming purposes…

The savvy memetic engineer is able to isolate, study, and subtly manipulate the underlying values systems, symbolic balance and primal atavisms that unconsciously influence the individual psyche and collective identity. A highly educated but susceptible intelligentsia, worldwide travel, and information vectors like the Internet, cable television, and tabloid media, means that hysterical epidemics and disinformation campaigns may become more common. This warfare will be conducted using aesthetics, symbols, and doctrines as camouflage that will ultimately influence our cultural meme pool.

from jrank:

Thus the idea of memetic engineering consists not only in choosing which memes to be influenced by but also in counterpropaganda and countersloganeering designed to purge from the meme pool those ideas deemed deleterious to society at large. The essential component in memetic engineering is faith in human reason to discern the most advantageous memes.

Categories: memes