From hypersigils to hyperstition or even Michael Moore’s claim that we’re living in fictitious times, the life as fiction meme seems stronger than ever.
Grant Morrison often talks about hypersigils, which to him seem to represent one of the highest workings of magic. In his “Pop Magic!” chapter of the Disinfo Book of Lies, he writes “The hypersigil can take the form of a poem, a story, a dance or any other extended artistic activity you wish to try.” His own famous hypersigil, the Invisibles, came in the form of a comic book serialized over six years. He’s been inconsistent about the intent and the effects of this hypersigil, but I think he sums it up when he says it “enveloped me in a shiny, global sci-fi lifestyle I was really only dreaming of when I started writing the book in 1994” (CBR interview).
In other words, it made his life more exciting. For Morrison this is one of the most important aspects of magic (though he also says “… if you’re going to be a magician at all it’s not about wanting to be scary and wearing a robe or something, what you have to do is you have to do things for people” [Disinfo interview]).
R.U. Sirius describes a rather easier method of achieving a “narrative lifestyle”:
In terms of social engineering, I think that, you know, you think of yourself as being in a story, and life will start to have the kind of dynamics that you would have if you were in a story, rather than if you were part of some dire laborious mechanism, you know… ( Better Propaganda interview)
And, actually, Morrison sort of backs this up:
I’d say to myself or whoever I was with, ‘It’ll look good in the biography.’ and then I’d go ahead and do whatever daft thing it was - like taking acid on the sacred mesa or doing the bungee-jump, getting the haircut, dancing with the stranger, talking to the crowd - whatever I was ’scared’ of mostly, or fancied doing, or never dared before, I’d try it on the basis that it would make for a more interesting read one day. (Pop Image interview)
At the other extreme, hyperstition, a confusing theory getting a thorough discussion on the Hyperstition blog, is more work than hypersigilization. Although loosely defined as “fictions that make themselves real” hyperstitions have more complex characteristics than hypersigils. Anna Greenspan elucidates this in several posts on the blog, but a good starting point is here.
As a completely lazy writer, I’ve had more luck with R.U.’s method. There was a thread on Barbelith a while back asking if your life was written and drawn by comics creators, who would do it? I determined that my life was currently being written and drawn by Peter Bagge, but that I’d like it to be written by Grant Morrison, drawn by Philip Bond, and have a soundtrack by Gold Chains. But I never did any ritual to invoke a creative change in my life. But I did eventually write a statement of intent on my blog, and it seems to have worked. Since then my life’s been a bit more exciting. Among other things I’ve traveled across Europe, taken up rock climbing, and joined this elite band of occulture thinkers.
I’m curious to hear personal experiences of hypersigilization, hyperstition creation, and fiction as life, as well as ideas for furthering the process.
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