Comments on “The ‘Hype’ in Hyperstition” (Hyperstition)

A post by Anna Greenspan on Hyperstition blog with a discussion in the comments featuring Mark Fisher, Nick Land and “Mark S”.

The ‘hype’ in hyperstition

Hyperstition aims to flatten the transcendence of superstition. Nowhere is this immanence more obvious than in the role hype plays in the market. Here hype acts concretely as an ‘element of effective culture that makes itself real’, where reality is precisely measured in $.

This connects hyperstition directly to the plane of unbelief. There is no need to believe in cyberhype, Chinahype etc… to make a fortune. All that is required is the ability (or luck) to cash in and out at the right point of the hype cycle. As ‘trade guru’ Jack Schwarz says, ‘it is no longer a matter of what is believed, but of what can be treated as real.’ (

This seems to be entirely different from superstition which also has the potential ‘to make itself real’. Yet, as Walter Cannon shows, the potential of superstition rests entirely on degrees of belief (Voodoo death).

Is hyperstition, then, integrally linked to the market economy? (as opposed to what the Chinese communists call ‘feudal superstition’ ??).

State driven economies have also attempted to rely on hype (i.e. China during the Great Leap Forward, the Soviet Union during the Cold War). It is unclear whether this is hyperstition or just despotic lies.

Posted by Anna Greenspan at June 25, 2004 03:45 AM

– – –

Obviously this is massively interesting, but a little fast I think…

1. There’s a general point that’s been worrying me for a while – namely, is ‘makes itself real’ the right description for hyperstition? Wd ‘makes itself actual’ be better?

2. Can belief be excluded in quite so categorical a way as you suggest? Yes, hyperstition involves unbelief – but the function of the ‘un’ prefix has to be crucial here, i.e. it’s not simply negative/ negational. I mean, belief seems to have some role to play in the hyperstitional circuit – someone has to believe (i.e. venture capitalists in the bubble economy had to believe they wd get a return). Conversely, do the voodoo death sorcerers ‘believe’ in the way that their victims do?

3. Market economies are inherently hyperstitional but hyperstition isn’t inherently connected with markets? (Discuss 🙂 )

4. Are the Great Leap Forward etc ‘despotic lies’? Depends if they’re predictive or not. Surely a predictive lie is a contradiction in terms? i.e. even if you say you’re going to do something with no intention of doing it, you can’t know that you won’t end up doing it! i.e. lies are essentially retrospective. Hyperbolic predictions that fail to materialize are just failed hyperstition (?).

Posted by: mark at June 25, 2004 09:39 PM

On mark’s points:

(1) while the whole virtual/actual/real complex inherited from bergson etc. leads to this conclusion (viz ‘making itself actual’ rather than ‘real’) i’m not sure the problem is that ‘real’
seems to me hyperstition does more than merely rehearse this well trodden passage out of the virtual by introducing a genuine spiral production of reality from a zero-degree, with virtual/actual dimensions – think Sutter Cane rather than quasi-platonic bergsonism
when hyperstition ‘makes itself real’ it doesn’t merely shuttle from the side of the virtual to the actual, but stimulates a spiral emergence of reality out of zero with both virtual and actual ‘phases’ of the vortical circuit
(this is quick i know)

(3) market/hyperstition relation must surely be more intense than this, if markets are understood primordially as decentralized webs of traffick in decoded quantities – what would a radically ‘nonmarket’ hyperstition be? Think Sutter Cane again – surely the billions of volumes rolling off the presses are integral to the phenomenon – even the acme of horror in a way

(leaving 2 + 4 for now, though both ++ interesting of course – ‘belief’ and ‘lies’ both core topics for intense scrutiny IMHO)

Posted by: Nick at June 26, 2004 02:59 AM

Some questions:

Why is Bergson Platonist? Not sure I follow that…

What are the mechanics of the emergence of reality out of zero? What status do the ‘fictions’ have if they are not even virtual prior to making themselves real? Really think this is through thrashing through quite slowly if we can…

Sutter Cane is obviously hyperstition at its highest pitch of intensity (markets certainly involved in this): but to return to the Voodoo death e.g. (which I know has disputed status as hyperstition), it seems to me that it is both non-market and hyperstitional. Castenada may also be an interesting case here.

The belief thing is highly complex, I really want to discuss that at more length too…

Posted by: mark at June 26, 2004 04:36 PM

‘Platonist’ issue needs slow thrashing, agreed. Basically Chronomancy seems to involve a descent into time that is far more intricate than an Aeon/Chronos distinction is able to capture -‘time emergence’ is not mere actualization.
If everything is always already at least virtual, doesn’t the “abominable fertility of chaotic zero” [- August Barrow] subside into a ‘quasi-platonism’?
Trying to get at the fact that the utter horror of impersonal hyperstitional ‘creation’ (“they were telling me what to write”) is totally disintensified by reduction to actualization.
Despite theoretical reservations, you can ‘hear’ that “which make themselves actual” sounds depressingly weak – surely?
I’d venture keeping ‘virtual/actual’ as a differentiation internal to particular hyperstitional eventuations (‘histories’) rather than a transcendental master code. My ‘grounds’ for this, hyperstitonal maxim: “All transcendental arguments must be attributed within the hyperstitional vortex”.
Thus: Hyperstition eats philosophy (perhaps even before it has finished slurping its way through the world’s religions)

Surely ‘mechanics of the emergence of reality out of zero’ just is the Hyperstitional Vortical Circuit, ‘rooted’ in Chaotic Zero rather than the Transcendental Aeon.

Much more slow thrashing eagerly anticipated.

on Hyperstition/markets – while Cannon makes a huge contribution to hyperstition, I’m not sure the one-on-one voodoo curse itself counts as a hyperstitional event, until itself taken up into swarm-production machinery that proliferates it through decoded quantities.
Going further, provocative hypothesis: Nothing counts as hyperstition unless it has an intrinsic connection to the fatality of decimal numeracy (somewhere on the vortical circuit). A ‘phenomenon’ failing this requirement can of course provide an immensely important component of a hyperstitional machine, but it must be ‘adopted’ to do so.

Posted by: Nick at June 27, 2004 02:19 AM

the “state economies” were entirely embedded within the global market economy – which they constantly traded with: the state in fact functioned as a single vast quasi-taylorised corporation, and the “hype” in question wz primarily directed out at the REST of the actors in the global market (as a byproduct it hoped to induce corporate loyalty on the factory-floor via standard-issue motivational management-speak)

the only thing that stops any corporation being similarly “despotic” is that most corps are somewhat constrained by existing within nation-states, and having (archaically, as they wd see it) to accord with mere local laws – though the bigger multinationals, esp.the media multinationals, are increasingly large enough that actually the power relationship is the other way round

Posted by: mark s at June 29, 2004 12:27 AM

Despite theoretical reservations, you can ‘hear’ that “which make themselves actual” sounds depressingly weak – surely?

yeh, of course, absolutely — I’m not recommending it, if only because it lacks slogan potential — just wanted to get that theoretical quibble off my chest —-

Got a little lost with the Barrow Plato line. As AB’s most eloquent exponent can you elaborate Nick?

It’s the ‘just’ of the just is the Hyperstitional Vortical Circuit, that needs esp slow thrashing IMHO – but obv the whole site is devoted to explorations in that direction…

Questions that still bother me: If not Aeon, what is the temporality? If not virtual, or if only virtual in the sense that everything always already is, what status do the pre-realized fictional quantities have?

The decimal point seems to me overstated (if only coz it cuts a swathe through the hyperstional top 9: whither Castenada, Burroughs et al on this model?) tho I’m open to persuasion

Mark s:

viz De Landa’s market vs anti-markets analysis, aren’t you being too quick in equating global capital with markets?

Posted by: mark at June 29, 2004 12:55 AM


The ‘Plato’ issue is really about the status of philosophy in general. I’m assuming the second phase of the hyperstitional circuit (‘Mythos’) works to embed all philosophical terminology within the de-authorized discourse of a hyperstitional carrier – eliminating (or at least disempowering) all transcendental vocabulary (Transcendental, Aeon, virtual, …) … only decoded number-pattern remains (this is probably a Goedel-thing – subordinating logical systems to ‘transcendental’ arithmetic).

“If not Aeon, what is the temporality? If not virtual, or if only virtual in the sense that everything always already is, what status do the pre-realized fictional quantities have?”
– But there can’t be an answer to this outside the vortex itself (each carrier has its own answer, each vortex its ‘chronogenesis’), otherwise a unique philosophy would transcendentally master hyperstition, pre-packaging a metacode for OGU.

Lemurian Time Wars, footnote 10. “Burroughs described his production methods – cut-ups and fold-ins – as a time-travel technology coded as a passage across decimal magnitudes: ‘I take page one and fold it into page one hundred – I insert the resulting composite as page ten – When the reader reads page ten he is flashing forwards in time to page one hundred and back in time to page one.’ (WV 272).”
Posted by: Nick at June 29, 2004 02:16 AM

Only decoded number-pattern remains (this is probably a Goedel-thing – subordinating logical systems to ‘transcendental’ arithmetic).

Can a bit more be said about this?

Posted by: mark at June 29, 2004 09:16 AM

Post on Goedel-type issues probably needed somewhere down the line, but right now i think there’s a more straightforward issue.
The Numogram is a time-map, which obviously contests the authority of any merely discursive ‘model’ of temporality. In ‘place’ of categories such as ‘virtual/actual’,
‘Aeon/Chronos’, etc. etc. the Numogram diagrammtically models an entire time-scape of cyclic temporality, hypertime, chaotic gulfs … which various philosophical vocabularies are able to approach from an open-ended multiplicity of perspectives.

Of course, some might be warned off this`Hypernumogrammatic’ approach by such extravagances as those of Vysparov-acolyte ‘Dr.’ Hank Hackhammer (if a ‘doctorate’ in Polytendrilled Divinity at the Hang ’em High Gulch Post-Anthropologival Institute counts for anything), founder of the Diagrammatic Church of Nomo, whose sole rite seems to have been fulfilled by ‘Uncle Hank’ shrieking “Numogram! Numogram! Numogram! Nothing but the Numogram!!!” into a microphone while a swaying congregation of West-coast skag-addicts hypnotically immersed themselves in deafening Death Garage, chopping at their limbs with dirty razor-blades. Uncle Hank’s comments to the media (among the most provocative: “We must devote ourselves to live, die, torture and kill in blood-drenched ecstasy for the pitiless cause of Lemurian Fundamentalism”) have not helped to make his theoretical case in a persuasive manner. But i’m not sure it’s necessary to go that far.

Posted by: Nick at June 30, 2004 03:00 AM


Posted by: mark at June 30, 2004 06:57 PM



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