HomePhilosophical and Critique ArticlesRandom Articles

Hyper-Reality

By Bargo

3/2/2021

Home

What in the World is Hyper-Reality?

Hyper-Reality is what it sounds like: an intensified, obfuscated reality, but what differentiates it from regular reality is that it is more of a mental state. My definition may not be the same as what you've heard before, that is, the seamless transition from Reality to Virtual-Reality, but don't worry, that is still a big part of it. Reality, without getting too deep into with Descartes and other philosophers, is the agreed upon nature of the world outside of our own minds. This becomes hyper-reality when our own perceptions are so disconnected or distorted from the agreed upon reality that we think there is something there, but there isn't. Almost a sort of self-induced, or especially news-induced schizophrenia.

Having this hyper-reality going on in one's mind is extremely dangerous, because it leads to thinking that is totally unsubstantiated by the environment; that's not to say that we should be total empiricists and only believe what we can scientifically/mathematically prove to ourselves, but any distortion of reality is a volatile condition that can lead to nothing healthy.

Mental Hyper-Reality

Some of the mental examples of hyper-reality include unwarranted feelings of being watched or oppressed when there is neither, or generalizing about entire populations. Imagine an individual who identifies with some small, insignificant group that most people have never heard of who then feels that he is being oppressed despite the fact that no one even knows what he is talking about: he is mistaking his lack of recognition for oppression. Since he feels oppressed, he may then begin to believe that he is being watched by his supposed "enemies" whoever they may be. This kind of person is in a deep, disturbed state of hyper-reality: nothing of what he is feeling is backed up by the environmental facts; everything is fabricated inside the mind.

We can also see this in the generalizations of entire populations: this is precisely where stereotypes, actual racism, and face-value assumptions are made. In America, for example, just about everyone seems suspicious of anyone that looks Middle Eastern in descent, because they immediately think that such people are potential terrorists based upon face-value alone. This is specifically news-induced nowadays since the news loves nothing more than to scare people.

So those are two issues, but there's more to it than just that, especially the first issue. The feeling of anxiety itself is a manifestation of hyper-reality: anxiety is fear with no direct, physical cause; getting nervous before asking out a cute stranger, or worrying all the time about what people think of you are signs of anxiety, fear without a DIRECT, in the moment, cause. (That is NOT to say that a little anxiety isn't natural, especially when attempting romance, but the point remains that anxiety itself is a large part of hyper-reality.) These feelings of anxiety are indicative of a distorted reality in which we attempt to rationalize the outcomes of events in our minds instead of just letting said events play out naturally. Anxiety, as a manifestation of hyper-reality, is extremely acute in a culture which does not participate in many activities anymore, but has instead, replaced those activities with mindless consumption.

So Where Does It Come From?

So how can a person confuse the true reality with a fabricated reality? Well, I hate to sound all anarcho-primitivist, but only a culture with advanced, escapist technology can cause a person to mix up actual reality with fabricated reality. Without technologies that can produce a false reality, such as television and video games, it is probably impossible for a hyper-reality to emerge. Furthermore, mobile devices which allow people to escape at any time to hyper-reality makes the problem that much more acute.

Take television for example: though I've already discussed TV at length previously, it is the root of so many problems, and it just so happens to be a device for escapism. Viewers, instead living their own lives, vicariously take on the lives of the funny little people on television, which, whether they realize it or not, is absorbed into their subconscious thoughts. A viewer, once done consooooming televised product, will look around his own life and be confused: why isn't my wife like that? why isn't my dog that smart? why don't I make that much cash? The hyper-reality has the curious and detrimental side effect of impressing views upon people that they would otherwise never hold.

Video games: a true escapist's heaven; in video games, the player no longer needs to accomplish goals in real life: he has achievements in his games; the player no longer needs good relationships: he can date his favorite characters in his games; the player no longer needs to act in a respectable fashion: his NPCs will accept him for who he is with absolutely no shaming of his detestable qualities that could, if addressed, be used to make him a better person. Now, our hyper-realist has impressed upon him the ideas espoused by his favorite games, and when he steps back into the real world, he will see that he doesn't quite measure up to the same qualities that his absolute megachad of an RPG character represents, and real people won't be programmed to immediately accept his every defect.

Here's a NSFW example: pornography. No one will deny pornography's existence over several millenia, but it isn't the same now as it was then: instead of simple over-sexualized dolls or erotic dancers, there is supranormal pornographic video at the touch of a button. The intensity, perversion (not judging, just pointing out the "kinkiness"), and ease of access easily ranks it high on the ledger of hyper-real items. The consequences? Misogyny, misandry, decreased libido, erectile dysfunction, and every sign of an addiction. This is, of course, a brief list; there are even some people, men that have not had sex in particular, that, when they have it, are disappointed because it is not like their favorite pornos. Muhdernity in a nutshell.

One more: social media.

But Bargo...!?

No, stop right there; despite social media being a reflection of "reality" to some extent, it is representative only of the best, most choice cuts from a person's life. Reality does not work this way; reality is representative of all things, good or bad, and perhaps even more important, mundane, that occur in real life. The fact that it is common to hear people specify the difference between their reality and hyper-reality as "in real life," should be indicative of just how malleable, and confused our minds can be; social media, with its "greatest hits" nature, is just as damaging as the above examples.

It would be a grand issue if all of this just occurred in the home, and only in the home, but what further exacerbates the problem is that a person may access his hyper-reality at ANY time due to smart phone technology. This escalates the problem to a catastrophic level: at any moment, if the situation is not stimulating enough, the event not agreeable enough, or people not 100% compliant with his whims, a person may pull out his smart phone, and enter hyper-reality where everything is the way it should be in his brain-damaged, neuron-choked mind.

How to Defend Against Hyper-Reality

It is actually a lot simpler than most people would think, though that doesn't make it necessarily easy: stop watching TV (especially the news), don't play video games, quit social media, and most importantly stop watching porn. That's a tall order for our ultra-modern, yet ultra-mundane Western lives, but the more time spent in reality, the better.

If you've grown too habituated on these, then consider just dropping one at a time, perhaps one a year or whatever you feel comfortable with; for your own sake, if you watch porn, make that the first habit you break before you even consider the others. Though I don't agree with Mark Manson on much, this article of his on porn is quite good, and I can easily recommend it for any man. Art of Manliness also has several articles on the topic that may be of help.

Should we have regulations on this technology?

Absolutely not. Some of this technology can be so beneficial when used in non-consumptive ways: television can be very educational, the internet (the source of many of these issues) can be an absolute goldmine of knowledge, and ideas that one would never run into otherwise. After all, without the internet you wouldn't be reading this article right now; but what are most people doing with internet tech? Going to Youtube for time-wasting content, going to social media to virtue signal, and watching porn.

Do not attach any sort of morality to technology: technology is amoral; much like a wrench, technology of any kind, if used correctly, can be greatly beneficial.

"Hey, didn't you just moralize in the above paragraph?"

Nope, give this chart a quick look; that should make it totally clear that most people are not making the best of the internet.

There are various blogs, health websites, and Youtube channels that can help you overcome any of these addictions if you possess them, but there are simply too many to list. One good keyword to search for would be "dopamine detox," otherwise known as "learn to be bored."

Conclusions

Hyper-reality blurs the line between real life and fabricated life, and the potential pitfalls of hyper-reality such as distortion of the mind's expectations far outweigh any of its benefits as I hope has been clearly demonstrated. Being able to reject reality at any given moment just by the simple act of pulling out a smart phone to consoooom product should thoroughly illustrate the dire need of personal reform. As illustrated in the beginning, the effects of hyper-reality are destructive in the forms of anxiety, and even racism to name a few; but by simply saying "no" to hyper-reality, any person will see that amusement found in TV, video games, porn, or social media are truly not worth the cost of a dopamine addicted brain and impossible expectations.

Can't I consoooom just a little product?

Only if you can trust yourself not to gorge on product. I, for example, play only ONE video game, never for long, and not even every day; the game is classic DOOM; I mention this one in particular because it does not have the evil tendrils (that is, it isn't an engineered addiction) of trying to pull its players into the world: you run around a level, and kill monsters. You won't be trying to romance imaginary characters, or level up your stats so I think it's not as addictive; it is not going to pull you in for 4 hours straight or anything like that, it is only providing a short time amusement. It can be nice on rainy days. If you want to play a little bit of video games, keep them simple; the same goes for TV.

That being said, there are ZERO redeeming qualities to pornography and social media. They are both socially engineered products created exclusively to addict their users. Do not consoooom these products at all.

As humans capable of fabricating hyper-reality in our amusements, we are left to ask ourselves at what point is it simply harmless entertainment, and when does it become something darker, the blurred and distorted hyper-reality that so many seem to spend their entire lives in if only to block out the objective reality that they may not find favorable. The so-called "mental health epidemic" in the West didn't just magically occur; life has been so deprived of anything meaningful that all that remains is mundane, thus people seek an imaginary world where everything is to their liking. That is why TV, video games, pornography, and social media are absolute dopamine spikes: they give us a world that we prefer. But we need to understand that these activities do not compare to real life experience of activities: TV is not as enjoyable as seeing a stand-up comedian or play, video games are false experiences, porn (to normal people anyway) does not compare to sex between two lovers, and social media is a far cry from hanging out with friends.

Spending too much time in the hyper-reality is a sort of dependence, and if you've read anything else on this site, you know that Bargo hates dependence. So if it helps to think of it in terms of reclaiming some unintentionally, yet willfully surrendered independence, go with that thought. Reclaim reality, and reject hyper-reality.

The most lively thought is still inferior to the dullest sensation.
David Hume, An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding: Of the Origin of Ideas
HomePhilosophical and Critique ArticlesRandom Articles