by Steven Craig Hickman
The world is locked into a story it scarcely understands, which entangles it all the more tightly for that. This, it seems, is how things have to proceed for quite a while.
– Nick Land, Calendric Dominion
Happened on two short intro’s to hyperstition on vimeo recently: here and here. Not sure if this is a project still in the works or not, the videos were uploaded about three months ago? A TED talk as well by Delphi Carstens (see below).
Hyperstition itself came out of the Ccru or Cybernetic Culture Research Unit. Of course it’s lineage can be traced back into the early Lemurian Time Wars. One can research the archives of the old site @Hyperstition. As well as academia.edu articles.
In the recent book Ccru: Writings 1997-2003 we discover that digital hyperstition is already widespread, hiding within popular numerical cultures (calendars, currency systems, sorcerous numbo-jumbo, etc.). It uses number-systems for transcultural communication and cosmic exploration, exploiting their intrinsic tendency to explode centralized, unified, and logically overcoded ‘master narratives’ and reality models, to generate sorcerous coincidences, and to draw cosmic maps.1
For a great introduction into the numerical world one can do no better than trace its inheritance in Georges Ifrah’s The Universal History of Numbers: From Prehistory to the Invention of the Computer. One might bring in the notion of pervasive or immersive gaming as well. Books like Matt Barton’s Dungeons and Desktops: The History of Computer Role-Playing Games give you the history of gaming and its movement from role playing card games to the digital matrix. For those with a budget Brad King’s covers much of the same territory: Dungeons & Dreamers: A story of how computer games created a global community. Jon Peterson’s Playing at the World takes it from a more biographical angle.
After rereading Nick Land’s recent novella Phyl-Undhu: Abstract Horror, Exterminator with its voyage into the digital reality worlds of a temporal awakening of the old Lemurian cycles out of the Ccru days with a twist on this time-war theme I realized how it ties well with both science and literature in its notions of Time as Hyperstitional Advent – our future posthuman machinic children come back not to redeem us but to play us against the cosmic fun house. Of course I’ve gone over the time theme in a recent post so want rehearse this again. It ties in as well to the holographic paradigm in some aspects of quantum gravity and string theory: here, here, here and here.
I think my fascination with temporal science and philosophy grew out of my readings of literature, poetry, and critical notions from Harold Bloom’s Influence theoretic: The Anxiety of Influence: A Theory of Poetry, The Anatomy of Influence: Literature as a Way of Life, and others. Bloom heavily influenced by Gnostic, Hermetic, and Jewish Kabbalistic mappings of culture, literature, and thought developed a series of tropes or figural rhetorics that showed how memes, viral transmissions, mental contamination etc. have impacted our civilizations. A theoretician of the time-wars of artists, poets, thinkers, etc. he developed a revisionist history of transumption and metalepsis of rerouting the time-loops in which history can be rewritten by agents of the future.
One could argue that the occult and magical revivals over the past few hundred years were hyperstitional rhizomes, imaginative interventions in reality brokering the time-wars with various mind-maps to help guide the weary time traveler on her way. Think of Ficino, Bruno,Agrippa among many others. The wavering between the marvelous, fantastic, and uncanny in literature in that same time frame is this very insurgence faction dripping its toxic assemblages into the nightmare syndromes of our slipstream lives. One will write a secret history of drugs, decadence, symbolism, and modernism that exposes the Old One’s dark sex and violence as they infiltrated the pop culture of the Victorian Age to produce a lasting change in the human psyche.
Some of the anti-realist schools would develop notions of intertextuality. Works of literature, after all, are built from systems, codes and traditions established by previous works of literature. The systems, codes and traditions of other art forms and of culture in general are also crucial to the meaning of a work of literature. Texts, whether they be literary or non-literary, are viewed by modern theorists as lacking in any kind of independent meaning. They are what theorists now call intertextual. The act of reading, theorists claim, plunges us into a network of textual relations. To interpret a text, to discover its meaning, or meanings, is to trace those relations. Reading thus becomes a process of moving between texts.2
A subset of this is the way cultures construct canon’s of acceptable knowledge for transmission, adaptation and appropriation. Adaptation can be a transpositional practice, casting a specific genre into another generic mode, an act of re-vision in itself. It can parallel editorial practice in some respects, indulging in the exercise of trimming and pruning; yet it can also be an amplificatory procedure engaged in addition, expansion, accretion, and interpolation.3
Adaptation is a revisionist project of reworking the reality matrix to meet the needs of current tensions in the cultural and civilizational process. It’s fluid, dynamic, and continuous and has been shaped by both radical and conservative elements at war among themselves over the Reality being created. If the intertextual systems are always in-between, always in transitional phase rather than something fixed, stable, or locked into a tightly controlled and policed reality then we are living in that paradoxical age of betweeness. A time between times, the time of Finnegans Wake – intermission time, the moment when the King exits from the play within the play in Hamlet… waiting for Godot, for the farce to begin…
Farce is the theatre of impotence. The Left is impotent. In a situation of general social paralysis, stasis, sterility, stereotypification the aim is not the seizure of power, but the dissolution of power. Abbie Hoffman: “We are outlaws, not politicians!” Farce is nihilism as maximal acceleration of time anomaly: take the skids off the breaks let the clowns play in the fields of death. Charlie Chaplin chasing the cops chasing him – who is chasing who? This is just a goat-song between acts, a Satyr-play before the main event, a bunch of sexual antics on time gaps, a blast from a forgotten temple to oblivion and the Old Ones. The time gods and barbarians are waking, a slipstream movement into metamorphic transition – the posthuman dissolution into templexity. We are entering dangerous times, a blurring of the reality screen, the edges are fraying and the light is shedding its skin, the alien intelligence sits there in the abyss like a slime god biding his time. We have only to restart or reset the engine of time, let it roly poly on over… Vico or Joyce’s HCE Here Comes Everybody into the darkness we go…
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