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living an invented life as doppelgängers

December 18, 2016 Leave a comment

from The Lives of Ronald Pinn by Andrew O’Hagan

Many of our modern crimes are crimes of the imagination. We think of the unspeakable and exchange information on it. We commit a ‘thought-crime’ – giving the illicit or the abominable an audience. Some of us pretend to have relationships we don’t actually have just for the sense of freedom it gives us, and some want porn for that reason too. Building the fake Ronnie became something more than creating a character in a novel: it became personal, like living another life, as an actor might, trying not only to imitate the experience of a possible person but to test the meaning and limits of empathy. {…}
My special effects helper asked me if I’d heard of Weavrs.

‘What’s that?’

‘It’s where you’re going,’ he said. According to their website, Weavrs are ‘personality-based social-web robots’ that ‘publicly blog about how they feel, where they go and what they experience’. An article by Olivia Solon in Wired magazine questioned the guys behind it. ‘The team … won’t reveal exactly how the Weavrs algorithm works – referring to it as their black box,’ Solon wrote, ‘but say they create personalities from social data that then “blog themselves into existence”.’ It’s taken for granted in these circles that digital robots are becoming a tool of big business; in China, for instance, Weavrs are used to collect data on young people and their preferences. In the old days researchers would speak to individuals, but nowadays the invented person, the digividual, is more reliable when it comes to showing what people want.
{…}
After a while, an alarm bell went off somewhere, and Facebook sent a warning. ‘Please verify your identity,’ it said. ‘Facebook does not allow accounts that: Pretend to be someone else; Use a fake name; Don’t represent a real person.’ But the fakery of the fake Ronnie’s fake friends didn’t trouble them for long. It was just another robot sending the warning, moved to do so after a number of keystrokes set off the alarm. But the fakery continued to go deeper and Ronnie Pinn grew in reality and the warnings disappeared. Facebook has 864 million daily users, of whom at least 67 million are believed by the company to be fake. There are more social media ghosts, more people being second people, or living an invented life as doppelgängers, than there are citizens of the UK.

(excellent article, btw)

Categories: hyperstition

terrifyingly easy to distort reality

March 21, 2015 Leave a comment

shout out to blog In Search of Logic for link love in post “The Ordinary Web of Lies”. Some very well organized and eloquent thinking about philosophical topics – something I’m not too used to seeing, it is a breath of fresh air.

Social reality is a labyrinth of mirrors reflecting each other. All the light ultimately comes from outside the maze, but the mirrors can distort it any way they like. The ordinary web of lies is my personal term for this. Many people will think of religion, but it goes far beyond this. When society decides a particular group is the enemy, they become the enemy. When society deems words or concepts uncouth, they are uncouth. I call these lies, but it’s not what we ordinarily mean by dishonest. It’s terrifyingly easy to distort reality. Even one person, alone, will tend to pick and choose observations in a self-serving way. When we get together in groups, we have to play the game: selecting facts to use as social affirmations or condemnations, selecting arguments to create consensus… it’s all quite normal.

This all has to do with the concept of hyperstition (see Lemurian Time War) and hyperreality. Hyperstition refers to superstition which makes itself real. Hyperreality refers to our inability to distinguish certain fictions from reality, and the way in which our fictional, constructed world tends to take primacy over the physical world. Umberto Eco illustrates this nicely in his book Focault’s Pendulum, which warns of the deadly danger in these effects.

Categories: hyperstition

Alan Moore & Northampton Clown

October 3, 2013 Leave a comment

from Alan Moore: I am not the Northampton Clown but it might be my fault:

The clown’s mysterious appearances in grainy photos, sinister and forlorn, had many of the hallmarks of a Moore creation: absurd, fascinating, troubling and thought provoking.

In fact many internet users had already had the same thought.
(…)
“Apparently there had been a certain amount of comment on the internet suggesting probably some connection. No it’s not me.

“I am getting kind of used to this. After having a comic strip I wrote 30 years ago spewing masked anarchists across the global political stage for the past couple of years. Things that I write do have a tendency to spill into reality. Since that was one of the principles behind Jimmy’s End [an episode in The Show] – to blur the boundaries between one and the other – I suppose that getting clowns manifesting in my neighbourhood is only to be expected.

“We had only just done that thing on Kickstarter with His Heavy Heart which starts shooting in a few weeks. I had said it was about Strippers and Clowns. The suggestion is that there is some kind of dream time existing under Northampton and that occasionally things will break through from one realm to the other. It is just a demonstration that Jimmy’s End is a kind of a documentary. It’s reportage. We are not just making this shit up.”

Apparently coincidentally, Alan has found himself close to the heart of the clown story. One of its first eerie appearances was in Alan’s road, standing on a corner in the dark with a light shining from a window above.

Alan’s explanation for this is simple: it’s just a weird road.

more on Northampton Clown here

hat tip to Technoccult here

Bringing forth of worlds

March 5, 2010 Leave a comment

via Haunted Geographies’ “Mining Hyperstition”

Essentially the CCRU read hyperstition as the way that ‘fictions make themselves real’— a birthing process that seems close to Maturana and Varela’s bringing forth of worlds.

From Wikipedia’s entry on Autopoiesis

The term was originally introduced by Chilean biologists Humberto Maturana and Francisco Varela in 1972:

An autopoietic machine is a machine organized (defined as a unity) as a network of processes of production (transformation and destruction) of components which: (i) through their interactions and transformations continuously regenerate and realize the network of processes (relations) that produced them; and (ii) constitute it (the machine) as a concrete unity in space in which they (the components) exist by specifying the topological domain of its realization as such a network.

[…] the space defined by an autopoietic system is self-contained and cannot be described by using dimensions that define another space. When we refer to our interactions with a concrete autopoietic system, however, we project this system on the space of our manipulations and make a description of this projection.

Categories: autopoiesis, hyperstition

flows and loops, hardening

March 4, 2010 Leave a comment

from Haunted Geographies’ “Riffing on Transition”

The Transition movement places a great deal of emphasis on stories and narrative— which is deeply attractive. If one expands their definition, it becomes interesting to consider narrative and design, particularly with regards to co-creation and communication. Two things just briefly; firstly, there is the question of whether designers have an archaeological approach to complex systems— are they aware of a systems history? Obviously, one cannot anticipate certain synergies, but we can begin to interrogate flows of matter and energy, pinpoint the various feedback loops that contribute to a particular ‘dynamical state’. The mapping of a network’s story or biography should lead to a more informed design and (hopefully) interventions should become less destructive.

Secondly, as with the process of ‘hyperstition’, certain narrative flows traverse the ‘real-and-imagined’, coalesce and harden. Storytelling can be used as a form of ‘reality hacking’, particularly when harnessed to certain cultural practices, as ritual, writing or design. Myth and narrative can act as reprogramming tools, re-patterning entrenched constellations— even speeding-up and catalysing essential phase transitions. ‘Bringing forth new worlds’. In this sense, narrative becomes a vital political tool.

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.

Egregore

January 23, 2010 Leave a comment

from “Egregore Definition Compilation”

This following is from Gaetan Delaforgem from a Gnosis article, “The Templar Tradition: yesterday and today”:

…”An egregore is a kind of group mind which is created when people consciously come together for a common purpose. Whenever people gather together to do something and egregore is formed, but unless an attempt is made to maintain it deliberately it will dissipate rather quickly. However if the people wish to maintain it and know the techniques of how to do so, the egregore will continue to grow in strength and can last for centuries.
An egregore has the characteristic of having an effectiveness greater than the mere sum of its individual members. It continuously interacts with its members, influencing them and being influenced by them. The interaction works positively by stimulating and assisting its members but only as long as they behave and act in line with its original aim. It will stimulate both individually and collectively all those faculties in the group which will permit the realization of the objectives of its original program. If this process is continued a long time the egregore will take on a kind of life of its own, and can become so strong that even if all its members should die, it would continue to exist on the inner dimensions and can be contacted even centuries later by a group of people prepared to live the lives of the original founders, particularly if they are willing to provide the initial input of energy to get it going again.

from The Art of Memetics

One of the sigilization techniques which has arisen online in recent years is the Hyperstition, a virtual or abstract form that realizes itself though the actions of those who hold that idea-set and who leverage discourse about that idea-set.

brainwave: compare/contrast collective intelligence vs egregore vs hyperstition