Michael On Everything Else

Hyperreality and The Simulacrum

by EranFolio

I’ve read a lot about making your own reality, about convincing yourself that a desired ‘you’ is already the real ‘you.’ I’ve practiced it and in a lot of ways I believe in it. But I also believe that reality is largely subjective, nuanced and fluid.

But seeing a reference to this wiki article on Hyperreality got me thinking.

Hyperreality is seen as a condition in which what is real and what is fiction are seamlessly blended together so that there is no clear distinction between where one ends and the other begins.

Rapid, near-real-time access to information contributes to the impacts of and ‘reality of’ hyperreality. I’ve seen it first hand with my daughter and her first experiences with social media and her informal sex education through that medium. My message, my intended teachings on sex education for her couldn’t reach her faster than the message of her peers, which was of course more appealing given the source, content, etc. As she received information from her friends she began creating a hyperreality around what sex is, based on the exciting, frank, and even obscene information she was receiving from friends. She was receiving information via an echo chamber that had a lot of clout in her mind because it was generated by peers and also others she wanted to have as peers, who she looked up to, and who appeared more experienced in life than she did (and who specifically weren’t her father). But this hyperreality was a simulcrum of true reality or at least a reality desired by myself and the rest of our family and our shared values and morals:

The simulacrum is often defined as a copy with no original, or as Gilles Deleuze (1990) describes it, “the simulacrum is an image without resemblance”. Baudrillard argues that a simulacrum is not a copy of the real, but becomes truth in its own right, aka the hyperreal. He created four steps of reproduction: (1) basic reflection of reality, (2) perversion of reality; (3) pretence of reality (where there is no model); and (4) simulacrum, which "bears no relation to any reality whatsoever".

One of the best ways to combat hyperreality is consciously pre-build internal filters, benchmarks and references with which we can view and process new and novel information as we receive it. This is part of leading/building a deliberate life. Pick your heroes carefully and define your filters purposefully and continuously refine and redefine both and you can avoid the simulacrum.