If you use a computer, a phone, a tablet, whatever device with a screen. You stare at a sign, basically. The amount of non-verbal communication we do around directing people, resources, capital, and even your thoughts is staggering and impressive. Which is why semiotics is a word you should choose to remember.
In semiotics, hyperreality is a mental state where individuals reside that cannot distinguish a simulation of reality from the real thing. But just how far has the simulation reached? How much of our lives has the hyperreal influenced? And who created/creates this simulation?
Well I’ll tell you the greatest hyperreal simulation we’ve ever been faced with. That’s the COVID-19 pandemic. How much conflicting information about this virus has there been? Even the “holographic” President is hyperreal now. The heavy handed journalistic push to make you believe that this virus is totally deadly. It’s not about convincing you that it’s real. COVID-19 as an illness, is a real thing. However, it’s lethality and the danger it supposedly poses to people. That is the portion of COVID-19 that is hyperreal. The need to distance, isolate, lock down the entire country with 0 other options, this is the only way ever it can happen and anything else is evil. That is hyperreal. COVID-19 isn’t the only party guilty of establishing hyperreality. The focus from journalists on making people believe that around every corner lies “mostly peaceful” BLM protestors, white nationalist neo-nazis, Mexican drug cartels, the list goes on. Everything’s a threat now. Even sneezing. Your eyeballs can get you sick! That’s hyperreal.
Hyperreality is the kind of bread and games that would put Caesar’s jaw on the floor. You want the plebs to behave? Make them all gladiators. In ancient Rome, gladiators and the folks about to be sacrificed in the games, which were all free, were seen as celebrities. People had favorite ones. We’ve got the same thing, except we are all gladiators. Social media is our colosseum, the successful “influencers” are the top stars and everyone else is just that day’s rabble, or “jobbers” for fans of wrestling. Nobody actually fights physically. Instead you just self-segregate into bubbles and hang out with all of your “gladiator” friends talking shit about the people you don’t like or whatever it is your e-community does. Getting cancelled is the modern equivalent to having the Emperor turn his thumb down after you got your ass kicked by Theokles. You’ll be back though.
The powers that be so badly want you to believe that this real virus is fake deadly. It’s a good trick, I must admit. They’ve taken a real thing and packed the essence of lethal deadliness into it. Every germ of the COVID-19 “pandemic” comes pre-pregnated with memetic fear that this will ruin the life of its host.
So who told you all of this information? Where does your perception about COVID-19 come from? It comes from journalists, who are supposed to tell you the truth. Services like “fact checking” agencies only add to the hyperreality of the situation. These services verify the integrity of that hyperreality and reinforce it as real to onlookers of the spectacle.
The Age of Hyperreal News
If you thought Trump’s fake news was a problem, you’ve never heard of the postmodernists. All of those people screaming about news in Trump’s America are now back in their safe, hyperreal bubble where they get to dictate the fiction. They get to direct the play. They’re in charge of the movie now. In the era of the Biden administration, welcome to the era of hyperreal news. Sure the President can’t even climb the stairs of Air Force One, but he’s definitely strong enough to lead the “free world”. His PR team told you and the entire world so, and if they’re wrong about it they’re gonna feel really self conscious so you can’t disagree with them.
Hyperreal news outlets have a ringer of certifications that satiate your fetish for qualification and ease your anxiety that this narcissist on TV or your phone screen or wherever, is totally and in fact telling the truth. He’s got all of the pieces of paper and pedigree to prove it, so it must be right.
This is what the system does. It puts you in an institution (public school) that erases your ability to think and form opinions and then makes your time scarce so you can’t ever educate yourself further. So when somebody presents information to you, you don’t make a judgement call. You wait for authority to do it for you, and that judgement call made on your behalf is the various “certifications” that these kinds of people possess.
The intent behind certification is to try and keep people accountable for their actions. To provide proof that yes you do in fact have a skill at a thing. But you don’t need 4 years of education for that. Or even 2. Hell you don’t even need 1. How about just signing your name? Or the knowledge that you will be held accountable for your actions and statements by people that do not like them? The certification fetish, neutralizes the need to think this way.
Just because you put a label on a horse that says it’s a certified donkey, does not make it a donkey. Only those that live in hyperreality would say that horse is a donkey. If you put a label on a narcissistic journalist that says “trustworthy” that does not make them trustworthy. The quality of their statements and work does, however that means you as an individual have to do something. It means you have to do your own research and form your own opinion, and develop your own self. Instead of just placing faith in institutions.
So why the push for this hyperreality? Well because the soul of institutions in America and the world is tragically narcissistic and they love to daydream. Which means spending time in hyperreality. A handful of not people, but kinds of people benefit from everybody living in hyperreality. Admittedly though, it’s a rather large handful.
Bankers and profiteers, who can make way more money if markets (people) spend in predictable trends.
Individual politicians (parties too, but not to the same extent. It’s about personal satisfaction, not the party) who get to exercise all of those fun little emergency executive powers.
Journalists are happy for the “privilege” of representing and mingling with elites. Digital Narcissus is not limited to these job fields, however these are the kinds of fields you will find them in.
Celebrities have to live in hyperreality because that is the only way we think about them. The curated instagram images. Aggressive cosmetic ad campaigns. Airbrushed photoshoots. The CGI effects on Angelina Jolie’s body in Beowulf. All hyperreal.
Pornography. Without a doubt the worst of the worst for hyperreality. 94% of men in America will view porn (hyperreality) at some point in their life. The addiction to hyperreal fantasies is responsible for destroying countless marriages, promoting erectile dysfunction, and generally poisoning how people see romantic relationships and sex. There’s an entire article to be written on this topic. Probably already has been.
The thing all of these jobs will have in common, is the presence of a PR team or some other public relations facing aspect to the job. Anything where they’ve gotta be the most perfect. It is fantasy made material. An authentic fake. In the same way a “gold” watch isn’t really gold, it’s just gold plated. The hyperreal narcissist is plated in perfection. But underneath lies tragically boring nickel and zinc. Nothing bad, just plain. Just normal.
But I’m afraid perfection is rarely real, and now that the hyperreal illusion is wearing off, these hyperreal elites are grasping at straws to bring people back. The fabrication of a sort of, “final act” to the play. The climax, the grand finale. A global pandemic! Please! Come back to the stage! Look at MEEEE!
It is this culture of narcissism that allows hyperreality to persist. Because it needs it to exist. LinkedIn is one of the most well curated, hyperreal places on the web, yet we all have it don’t we? Funny how hyperreality seems to “demand” compliance with itself.
It is not enough for these kinds of people to convince themselves they are a certain way, it goes even further than that. The daydream has to be real. Whatever it is that looks like. The kinds of people mentioned above could not function outside of hyperreality. Because their hyperreal avatar is built to survive in the hyperreal environment and they must be that hyperreal avatar. Non-narcissists can’t do that, or wont. They’ll go be normal somewhere else, likely authentic.
Escape from Hyperreality is a Two Way Street
If you want to leave hyperreality, you have to acknowledge two things. One is what I just mentioned above. That you shouldn’t trust certifications and you should stop appealing to authorities, no matter how much it allows you to push responsibility off of yourself. It means reading things for yourself and forming your own opinions based on the education you give yourself. Maybe you find that boring, but I assure you there’s a whole world to discover. Spend less time on twitter or facebook and anything involving journalists and their narcissistic friends listed above. Spend more time reading about things that interest you if you’re the kind of person that’s glued to a computer or a phone screen. Start being yourself, if you can remember who that is anymore.
You also have to acknowledge that you’re lazy or anxious or both. You’ve been conditioned to be lazy or anxious or both, but you still are. It’s easier to work for a company than make your own way. It’s easier to appeal to authority for information so you never have to read information. It’s important to the system that you hold this lazy and anxious mentality so that you’ll never want more out of said system, be too afraid to want more out of it, and also never ever question it and just go along with the hyperreal insanity that allows them to dump money into their pockets at your expense. This is the advantage of having a hyperreal system run your country. It works out to spectacular effect for those at the top.
Imagine if Freddy Kruger had a a side-kick in Nightmare on Elm Street. This side kick is a journalist that calls you once a day, everyday, and he lives in your phone and he reminds you that Freddy Kruger exists, so he can keep killing you in your nightmares. That’s hyperreality. If you eliminate the things that enforce hyperreality or reduce the time you spend around them, Freddy Kruger will disappear. Put down the receiver, stop being a believer, and slowly but surely, Freddy Kruger will disappear.