Reality itself is becoming paranoiac (Hyperstition)

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As an additional footnote of sorts to Ccru’s ‘Who’s Pulling YOur Strings?’, this from Zizek…(well he might be a decadent western intellectual ;-), but he has one or two things to say pertinent to hyperstition):

‘… [w]hen we are confronted with conspiracy theories, we should proceed in a strict homology to the proper reading of Henry James’ The Turn of the Screw. We should neither accept the existence of ghosts as part of the narrative reality nor reduce them, in a pseudo-Freudian way, to the projection of the heroine’s hysterical sexual frustrations.

Conspiracy theories are of course not to be accepted as ‘fact’. However one should not reduce them to the phenomenon of modern mass hysteria. Such a notion still relies on the “big Other,” on the model of “normal” perception of shared social reality, and thus does not take into account how it is precisely this notion of reality that is undermined today. The problem is not that ufologists and conspiracy theorists regress to a paranoid attitude unable to accept (social) reality; the problem is that this reality itself is becoming paranoiac.

Contemporary experience again and again confronts us with situations in which we are compelled to take note of how our sense of reality and normal attitude towards it is grounded in a symbolic fiction – how the “big Other” that determines what counts as normal and accepted truth, what is the horizon of meaning in a given society, is in no way directly grounded in the “facts” as rendered by scientific “knowledge in the real”.

…One is tempted to claim, in the Kantian mode, that the mistake of the conspiracy theory is somehow homologous to the ‘paralogism of pure reason,’ to the confusion between … two levels: the suspicion (of the received scientific, social, etc. common sense) as the formal methodological stance, and the positing of the suspicion in another all-explaining global para-theory.’

‘The Matrix, or the two sides of Perversion’ in The Matrix and Philosophy: Welcome to the Desert of the Real

Posted by mark k-p at November 18, 2004 06:12 AM

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