by T.W. Selvey

Those who can’t, teach. Those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Or forget how to repeat it. Wiping memory doesn’t wipe history. I’m here to teach, because I can’t. The LAPD tech wizards have memory stick wands and the forehead on sale at Best Buy is equipped with five USBs. Is that enough? The mouse is wireless, so control is unimpeded, however. One click does the job like one savior does the saving. Before the dawn of electricity and mobile persecution pods. Before the plug was pulled. Before oxygen tubes had softly blown in the last oxygen, the last breath as a figure read Fukuyama in a convalescent bed. Before the beginning of the decade, in the first century, or in the last century or this century. The global empire named Figure trudged along, sweeping up countries into a dusty corner pile. But now, global civilization faces a dissatisfied cataclysm, which is unapologetically hungover, grouchy, and unmotivated.

Norms, democracies, wars, nation-states, and the 20th century ridicule cataclysm, the young destroyer corrupted by pubescence. It’s unprecedented. Rulers and demagogues laugh and laugh, believing their own brain stew propaganda, since private prisonsunder the aegis of global enterprise gathered all oppositional politics into a gulag. The freedom to make money is the only freedom that counts. The climate sours. The populace tastes bad, like imitation Chanel, but mobs keep getting devoured by the thousands anyway.

Criticize if you want but the wait staff are blameless. The wait staff threaten. No more water. Doilies are nicotine stained but liminal. The back burner kept the sidelined issue warm, but it’s time to starve. Destabilization complains. The Secretary of State said it’s a good time to invade us. Air strikes were called in because all the insurgents were gathered in the streets, making it easy to end the domestic dispute. The theorists celebrated the decentering. Flattering, I know. The cataclysm might breakdown in plentitude, when the crisis intended austerity, falling wages, and escape tunneling. Not going to engage the tormenter on Facebook since problems exist and intersect in me, a socially aware paradigm that’s intersecting a shitty old syntagma called ‘me’ again.

Frank talk coming from a hotdog, a hot-god, a hog rod. I was trying to say ‘rot-god’ but the censors are genetic now, but in quotes means I don’t mean it. Sex privatization became the rage and the new investment instruments were binary chromosomes, which pleased Evangelicals, eukaryotic and dualistic down to their lexical cells. A hodgepodge of greedy men yanking and touching stagnating gonads. What is the opposite of a death spiral? Welfare check on the cataclysm.

Cataclysm reemerged from hiding, and begrudgingly agreed to render society into lard and tallow. Much more useable now, and, it pays. The robots’ severance package included blood depletion and free VHS copies of Robocop, each driving a Ford in a sprawling fleet, a line of individuals engaging in solo mass production to revive the cancelled Taurus. Industrious, he became a factory, a cyborg coughing up sulfur and coal mines, usurping dioxide, cross-legged, exploiting ant and beetle labor, a stretched forearm skin canopy draped over machinic cock output. Sit down, focus, and fix the annihilation, before it withers and retreats. Since 1979, Bretton Woods has been logged and razed. The reflecting pool is a hollowing cataclysm. Take 1 cup of this year and flush it away.

Hold up for a second. Who’s ‘he,’ because I assumed briefly it was Robocop. (Robocopy.) No, but any ‘he’ will do. Move on.

The organization came up with a competing ideology based on ruining self through rapid self-preservation. DNA tablets. Tubs of de-aging, anti-wrinkle cream erased millions of faces. The earlier part of the year had a resurgence. I got my face back. A face on my lower back, a tattoo of a clock. I owe everything to time, this time. Very basic economics lesson, bitch: Capitalism does not run fast in one direction or treadmill in one place! Sidetracks and loops beset the course, which is angular, uphill or hitting the front tire on a gutter and spinning around on the back tire, the hood dented by an asteroid or an operative defenestrated from heaven or from a ghostly Twin Tower. Speed is not fast. Boredom beget orgies. Stop here and fuck. Fuck stop signs. The entanglement of the roots with the mycorrhizae is a chance to inject drugs, but they were rented. Rent to own drugs. An underground drug dungeon, the American dream. Bank of America dealt me an FHA-backed bank loan. It’s my dream. Wake me up. Tacky, kitsch morals tacked on the intensified exploitation. Slowdowns more than inconvenience the system. Glue and tar streets, alleyways, and the sidewalks, since the system will rear up and jump on dry surfaces. Since 1979, the unfettered market and greed was celebrated and individualism was heralded as rewarding, more so than collective action and union solidarity. But in fact, the right-wing ascendancy in politics turned individuals into pigs on a spit. Trunks of individuals. Turned. Tender. Obesity dripping extra-large pizza, gut fat eagerly dripping on the fire. Lowered pay to them by buckets because they were in a pit. Bragging about being a major ad recipient, getting all the best ads at maximum speed and in every dimension while you pay to work in a mental factory, bored, slow, and out of this month’s data allowance. Fast phone runs 500 apps. That’s not fast. That’s revolutionary technology, a great opportunity, cataclysm, a chance to catch us unguarded, as there is no factory reset. Feed is out of order and I don’t know what the fuck is happening today, as if today happened in this timeline, a microprocessor clock speed that is slowing at a slowing rate. The chronology adapts, accelerating backwards, backing into a repair bay, where I say it’s time to change the transmission fluid for an extortionary amount but shoving the credit card in my back pocket, actually I cut the brakes. Actually, I committed theft, caught time, a time trap, and drove off a cliff, mashing the forgetful pedal, the pedal forgetting to contact the absentee brakes, the absentminded brakes listening instead to a memory loss track set on repeat, the fire ball on the embankment, exploding me, stopped on repeat.

The concept of hypostition is simple to bring about, one simply has to ask the question ‘what is the opposite of a hypersition?’. I am aware there are a couple of takes on this term available on line. These notes concern my interpretation -or grab for the vector.

Hyperstitions are incursions from fiction into reality. A hyperstitional entity may be deliberately created to blur the lines, e.g. the CCRU’s now famous D.C. Barker. Upon coming across this name, the unknowing will start trying to track down who on earth Barker was -to little or no avail. In a world rife with paranoia and conspiracy, the various hints of possible reality that one can come across regarding Barker only exacerbate the confusion -which is of course the point. Even when you do sort of know the actual nature of it, you can still end up wondering if there is some grain of actuality to these kinds of phenomena. As I have pointed out elsewhere, receding time plays a powerful role in increasing hyperstitional potential. Something, created at one point in time very clearly intended as a playful fictional device, can later look even more like it might have actually been real and passed off as a fictional device to hide the ‘terrible truth’.

For a hyperstition to qualify as one, it must blur the reality/fiction lines sufficiently such that it is capable of exerting force in reality (I’m using this term rather loosely in a rather non-philosophical sense of our everyday solidity). Classic examples are ‘Great Cthulhu’ and the activities of economic traders. Cthulhu is now sufficiently real that various occultists can and do try to invoke it, contact it, and who knows maybe even sacrifice to it. The economic example is more banal but no less powerful (indeed more so in a sense). It is simply the ability of a trader to create fictional economic information in order to manipulate the market. Rumors about the status of company’s health, erroneous hints at shadowy takeovers imminent etc. can all have a profound effect on the actual economic situation.

The term ‘fiction into fact’ is clearly too strong for a precise description of a hyperstition, but it gives an idea of the direction in which it acts. It moves from something that would be generally accepted as not true, towards a level of actually obtaining. This direction gives us the way in which we may attempt to unfold its opposite: the hypostition. A hypostition necessarily moves from fact towards fiction (or untruth). This seems kind of intuitively correct momentarily  e.g. as a concept to think about post-truth activities. However the picture is far muddier than this simplicity suggests, for in order to consider a hypostition we must consider what counts as something that is actually true in the first place.

I’m not going to be able to unravel the problem of truth here or at any other time for that matter. But like any philosopher I can make my suggestion to this issue in hand. I consider that the stuff of all kinds (what we call mental or physical) can be broken into post hoc vectors (where by vector I mean a region that has become a carrier for a concept). We must consider them as post hoc or transcendental vectors as they are discoverable as the condition for the applicability of the concept. A given vectors can take different concepts but cannot (unless maybe God) take all concepts. So a tree stump vector can take the concept tree stump and seat but it cannot take the concept mouse. In this way all vectors have differing abilities to house different concepts. I believe we can use the same notion in a non-physical realm also, different vector regions exist in the physical feeling, emotional and cognitive realms that we give concepts to. These maybe more inflexible at housing multiples, though of course the regions can be broken down in different ways across different cultures -colour being a classic example.

So if we can use a concept to describe a vector we can communicate it, if it doesn’t fit the vector in any meaningful way then communication will not be possible e.g. if every time I ask for the spanner you pass me a mouse, the garage will not function, despite your desire to use spanner concept on the vector usually called mouse no meaningful result will be possible -except possibly for a pet mouse called spanner. So this means If we try to use a concept that does not fit the vector it always will not work, right? Wrong. This is an unclear issue for two reasons. One is the problem of magick, which as an embedded possibility in our consciousness is not removable and magick is precisely the possibility that we can apply a concept to a vector that would not ordinarily take it and it will still exert some effect upon the vector. Two is that there are of course many phenomena where we do not have a concept that can be applied to a vector region with any kind of agreement. The human relation to climate change is a particularly relevant example. Even if consensus is growing on there being a relation, people are still quite capable of perceiving the climate change as not related to fossil fuels etc. There is no everyday acceptance of this as something unequivocally certain.

Wherever there is even slight ambiguity potential in the vector field, some humans will be agents for the cracks. Flat earth is a good example of this; the everyday reasonableness of the earth’s spherical nature can be challenged with recourse the first person ‘obvious’ data and some extensive paranoia about the scientific world. The ground of truth is itself already a battleground of hypostitional emergence. Science as a field involved in falsification is awash with agents attempting to hypostitionalise various established positions. To speak in such way suggests we must split the hypostition into at least two forms: i) the practice of showing to be untrue previously held claims in a scientific context ii) the active practice outside of science of something reasonably accepted being deliberately rendered as fictional or untrue.

We need to include (i) just because to exclude seems mistaken as it does in a sense fit the description/direction -we would need to untangle fiction and untrue in order to be able to refine the distinction. However the sense of hypostition that rings as most appropriate is of course (ii). (ii) means that an accepted claim that is perfectly embedded in (many people’s) everyday reality is deliberately and knowingly replaced by a version that has few criteria for its truth (the vector does not obviously fit the new concept) and yet can use the overlapping wriggle room of receding time/not yet occurred time, slight ambiguities/possible doubts and non-first person presence to state the plausibility of the alternative. Holocaust denial seems a good hypostition. The fading into history of the event coupled with what seem like outrageous claims (to sane people) about WW2 footage enable the hypostition. I italicised the word ‘possible’ in an almost Cartesian doubt type level. Hypostitions of this kind are genuinely asking for you to doubt historical footage and of course as we enter an age of increasingly capable computer graphics, such doubts can be made more cogent to believers of the hypostition.

Two further notes. Firstly just to increase the paranoic levels involved here, we also need to recognise that it is possible there are strictly no hypostitions, as the hypostition definition (ii) presupposed the vector invasion was knowingly untrue -the hypostitional agents sought to deliberately alter something they new to be true. It is possible that all perceived hypostitional incursions are in fact simply ‘honest’ attempts to reterritorialze ontological territory as these agents perceive it as true. In this sense then -whilst unlikely- it is possible that hypostition is only ever the paranoid projection of re-writing truth projected upon an enemy agent, when from the enemy agents point of view it is simply truth establishing. I find this last note unconvincing and yet it seems a necessary phenomenological footnote.

Secondly we can note that the difference between hypostition and hyperstition is possibly questionable. We must knowingly create an untruth and seek to apply it over a supposed truth, yet in doing so we have created a fictional entity and unleashed it -a hyperstition. By this logic the trading economical example could in fact be said to be hypostitional. The difference could be posed: 1)  Hyperstition: The creation of fictional entities whose physical vectors do not exist, yet are treated as if the vectors did obtain. As opposed to 2) Hypostition: The creation of fictional/untrue concepts for the purpose of replacing a set of concepts that currently occupy a vector or series of vectors.