Hyperreality (or what not there isn’t to believe?)

‘The attraction of the void is irresistible.’
Jean Baudrillard

By Kingsley L. Dennis

If you feel like you are unsure of what is real and what is unreal then you are not alone. Our materialistic mode of life is accelerating and expanding so rapidly that it is saturating our modern cultures to the point of abstraction. Life in materially-privileged societies is increasingly shifting into a world of image and show. Many people today are living within their bubbles that are customized by all the digital conveniences tailored to individual needs. By being surrounded by conveniences that satisfy all our needs we are deliberately excluding so much else, including all of life’s serendipities.

Reality – whatever that is or was – has retreated behind a spectacle of make-believe that is playing at being the new, shimmering façade for the 21st century. One result of this is that things which once stood in opposition to one another are losing their meaning and becoming indistinguishable. That is, fixed identities that used to make life easy for us – us/them, friend/enemy, good/bad, and the rest – are now more like false realities. Life has shifted, or has been pushed, into a realm of invention that is being exploited ever more overtly by politicians, mainstream media, and their propaganda machinery. Out of this, a different sense of reality has emerged that succeeds in absorbing differences and contradictions and making them seem smooth rather than jagged. And the result is what I refer to as hyperreality.

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The Saffron Collectors

The Saffron Collectors

A World where Transformation is Contagious

My new book has just been released in the US, UK and Spain. 

The Saffron Collectors will be published in June 2018 by the Beautiful traitor Books imprint. The imaginative book presents a world where transformation is contagious’ and where the young protagonists find themselves in an unusual orphanage called the Azafran Home for Girls under the supervision of the enigmatic La Madre. The major activity at the orphanage is the planting and growing of saffron flowers and the collection of its delicate spice. And the girls need to be made ready for when the time comes for the harvesting of the saffron spice. As the main protagonist, Teresa, develops a stronger bond and relationship with La Madre, she suspects that there is more to the Azafran Home for Girls than just picking flowers.

The Saffron Collectors comes fully color-illustrated with over 40 hand-drawn watercolor paintings from Naomi Hasegawa, a young artist.

Unsouling From The Wilderness

By Kingsley L. Dennis

disconnection-1

Crazy Horse dreamed and went into the world where there is nothing but the spirits of all things. That is the real world that is behind this one, and everything we see here is something like a shadow from that one

Black Elk, Black Elk Speaks

 

Modern man, I dutifully noted, is in search of a soul, and the age is an age of longing.

Theodore Roszak, Where the Wasteland Ends

 

Perhaps the reason some of us are feeling a sense of loss and longing is that we are, as Black Elk informs us, living in the shadow world. Our reality on this side may only be the fleeting ghosts of a place that is more real somewhere else. On this side we have broken our commitment to the earth and have unsouled ourselves from the wilderness. By the first century CE, the essayist Plutarch was asking, “Why is it that the gods are no longer speaking to us?”

For a long time now, we have been trying to create a new and different image of ourselves. It is an image where modern humanity is placed at the center of its own universe. We learn by observing, probing, experimenting, and finally dissecting and destroying the dynamic world we live within. From this, the modern mind started to develop a new reality for itself.

The collective reality in which we now reside does not take kindly to opposing perspectives. We have inherited an alienated consciousness that views the world as an outside entity – a world of objects that move in mechanical motion. This alienated consciousness has substituted the enchantment and mystery of living within a dynamic and animated world with a dream of the artificial, and ultimately the unreal. The modern landscape is now more scattered with administration than adventure. The central image of our modern age has been that of consumerism: the ability of the average person to buy the material goods they require in order to have a decent standard of living. A standard of living albeit promoted to us through our mainstream media and glamorous propaganda.

Only recently have some of us come to realize that consumerism has now become a contemporary form of crash therapy for unsatisfied people wanting to buy their way into happiness to escape from the very system they are simultaneously supporting. The easy acquisition of things has become more about trying to cover up anxiety as a substitute for contentment. Modern life, especially in the highly-developed West, is now rife with people parading their false selves in place of authenticity.

The modern history of the West has been about the removal of mystery, mind, and magic from the world around us. In the past there were realms of wilderness that existed outside of the social order, and each culture had these ‘wild zones’ where people danced with the little folk in the woods, undertook initiations in caves, circles, and hard-to-find corners. There were pagan rituals, crazy ecstasies, and unknown zones where primal energies were released. These were the places of wilderness, where dreamtime reigned, and clock-time was banned. And now these wild places are fewer and fewer as a new ‘reality order’ becomes the manifesto of the day. Now it is many of us who are feeling haunted. We have lost the presence of the ‘transcendent’ within our modern societies.

We must now recognize that something has happened – a break, a mutation, has occurred that has placed us in an ‘intermediate’ stage between eras. Modern life is being not so much rewritten as reconfigured. We are seeing odd things occurring in relation to time, speed, and distance. It’s as if right now the clock, and our sense of timing, is malfunctioning. This ahistorical period is out of time, until it resets itself. And here, the possibility of transcendence lingers like a phantasma.

We are in a time of carnivalesque distortion where ‘fast food’ is a parody of our normal food preparation and consumption; mediatized sport is a spectacle of its original form; and the music industry is one huge commercial carnival that mocks genuine creativity. In the pop music industry, the spectacle, the live show – the ‘carnival performance’ – is often more important than the actual merit of the song (even when the performer mimes, as they often do). We are in a different world right now – or at least a seemingly different reality.

In this new world of different relations, symbols, and meanings we have become unmoored from our harbors.  We are talking about the fractal, the quantum, the molecular, the nano, the bots, artificial intelligence, and the singularity – yet we find we have no soulful connection with any of these terms or their significances. Perhaps we have entered a void-time.

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No Self Is An Island

By Kingsley Dennis

‘No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main’ … John Donne

‘For eternally and always there is only now, one and the same now; the present is the only thing that has no end.’ … Erwin Schrodinger

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Whether we like to admit it or not, we need other people. Other people in our lives help to teach us about who we are. Their actions and attitudes are like a mirror that reflects to us not only aspects of human behaviour but also facets of our social conditioning.

It is said that our most dominant feature as humans, and similarly our most ignored facet, is that when we are speaking about other people, or things, we are actually speaking about ourselves. Because of this blindness we actually need other people in order to project ourselves onto them. And then perhaps in some moment of clarity we will gain the insight that our descriptions of others are in fact descriptions of ourselves. It is through our social environment and connections that a light may eventually shine back at us.

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