“In semiotics and postmodern philosophy, the term hyperreality characterizes the inability of consciousness to distinguish reality from fantasy, especially in technologically advanced postmodern cultures. Hyperreality is a means to characterise the way consciousness defines what is actually “real” in a world where a multitude of media can radically shape and filter the original event or experience being depicted. Some famous theorists of hyperreality include Jean Baudrillard, Albert Borgmann, Daniel Boorstin, and Umberto Eco.Most aspects of hyperreality can be thought of as “reality by proxy.” For example, a viewer watching pornography begins to live in the non-existent world of the pornography, and even though pornography is not an accurate depiction of sex, for the viewer, the reality of “sex” becomes something non-existent. Some examples are simpler: the McDonald’s “M” arches create a world with the promise of endless amounts of identical food, when in “reality” the “M” represents nothing, and the food produced is neither identical nor infinite.

Baudrillard in particular suggests that the world we live in has been replaced by a copy world, where we seek simulated stimuli and nothing more. Baudrillard borrows, from Jorge Luis Borges (who already borrowed from Lewis Carroll), the example of a society whose cartographers create a map so detailed that it covers the very things it was designed to represent. When the empire declines, the map fades into the landscape and there is neither the representation nor the real remaining – just the hyperreal.” <wiki>

  • A sports drink of a flavor that doesn’t exist naturally or elsewhere (“wild ice zest berry”)
  • Pornography (“sexier than sex itself”)
  • A plastic Christmas tree that looks better than a real Christmas tree ever could
  • A magazine photo of a model that has been touched up with a computer
  • A well manicured garden (nature as hyperreal)
  • Any massively promoted versions of historical or present “facts”
  • TV and film in general (especially “reality” TV), due to its creation of a world of fantasy and its dependence that the viewer will engage with these fantasy worlds
  • A video game, realistic or not, in which the player temporarily forgets the difference between the game and reality

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