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 What is a Simulacrum?

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ScoutsHonor

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PostSubject: What is a Simulacrum?   Sun 06 Dec 2009, 10:34 am

Definition by Ronne:

"I see the Simulacrum as a loosely woven fabric, a tarp, that overlays
everything. So, this is just another part of the larger tarp that
covers the real with their manufactured real, or hyperreal.

The publics concept of real is that the media is the 4th estate, asking
questions of the government to protect the interests of all of us. But
they've turned it into hyperreality, through a hostile takeover of both
the media and the government. So now, we have the same people who
control both, but they continue the show as if nothing has changed.
That's the Simulacrum, from my perspective, it is the show that the
real tensions between media and gov't still exist, but in fact, it's
bogus"
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Extant

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PostSubject: Re: What is a Simulacrum?   Sun 20 Dec 2009, 6:33 am

I read Baudrillard's book recently and found it a brilliant insight into the (post) modern condition. Some have told me that to understand what Baudrillard is saying that you have to understand what Postmodernism is but I think if you just have a willingness to read him and look at the world as is presented to us, the facsmile of the world presented, by the mainstream media then I don't really think there is a need.
I have to read more of Baudrillard's work but so far (attempting to summarise only) for me the simulacra is this:

The specious illusory veil placed over our eyes by the media, our disengagement from reality, the real, and the replacement of a false paradigm that creates a dissonance between what we are told (informed) that the real is, and what it actually is, untainted by propaganda. Scientists, technicians, artists, hey!; even philosophers, aided and abetted by the media machine create models, systems, and modes of behaviour and thought to interact with a model of the real, not reality itself.

The following quite from page 1 of Baudrillard's book may give some indication of where he was at with this concept:

Quote :
"The simulacrum is never what hides the truth - it is truth that hides the fact that there is none.
The simulacrum is true."



- Ecclesiastes.


If once we were able to view the Borges fable in which the cartographers of the Empire draw up a map so detailed that it ends up covering the territory exactly (the decline of the Empire witnesses the fraying of this map, little by little, and its fall into ruins, though some shreds are still discernible in the deserts - the metaphysical beauty of this ruined abstraction testifying to a pride equal to the Empire and rotting like a carcass, returning to the substance of the soil, a bit as the double ends by being confused by the real with aging) - as the most beautiful allegory of simulation, this fable has now come full circle for us, and possess nothing but the discrete charm of second-order simulacra.

Today abstraction is no longer that of the map, the double, the mirror, or the concept. Simulation is no longer that of a territory, a referential being, or a substance. It is the generation by models of a real without origin or reality: a hyperreal. The territory no longer precedes the map, nor does it survive it. It is nevertheless the map that precedes the territory - precession of simulacra - that engenders the territory, and if one must return to the fable, today it is the territory whose shreds slowly rot across the extent of the map. It is the real, and not the map, whose vestiges persist here and there in the deserts that are no longer those of the Empire, but ours. The desert of the real itself.

It also helps to know of some of Baudrillard's influences when he discusses certain concepts. He's mentioned the fable of Jorge Luis Borges, of the map that simulates the territory perfectly, nigh being real in itself, and when he also discusss things such as the "double" and the "mirror," he goes into the areas covered by another thinker that influenced him greatly: Jacques Lacan. Lacan is a recurring theme throughout the book, as to Borges, obviously. The latter massively influenced his ideas on simulation.
From Wikipedia on the three types of simulation, which is important. We, according to Baudrillard, are in the the third order presently:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simulacra_and_Simulation

Quote :
Simulacra and Simulation identifies three types of simulacra and identifies each with a historical period:

  1. First order, associated with the pre-modern period, where the image is clearly an artificial placemarker for the real item.
  2. Second order, associated with the industrial Revolution, where distinctions between image and reality break down due to the proliferation of mass-produced copies. The item's ability to imitate reality threatens to replace the original version.
  3. Third order, associated with the postmodern age, where the simulacrum precedes the original and the distinction between reality and representation breaks down. There is only the simulacrum.

It would be good if others could dive into this topic also, particularly IP.
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ScoutsHonor

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PostSubject: Re: What is a Simulacrum?   Mon 21 Dec 2009, 9:44 pm

Quote :
Today abstraction is no longer that of the map, the double, the mirror, or the concept. Simulation is no longer that of a territory, a referential being, or a substance. It is the generation by models of a real without origin or reality: a hyperreal. The territory no longer precedes the map, nor does it survive it. It is nevertheless the map that precedes the territory - precession of simulacra - that engenders the territory, and if one must return to the fable, today it is the territory whose shreds slowly rot across the extent of the map. It is the real, and not the map, whose vestiges persist here and there in the deserts that are no longer those of the Empire, but ours. The desert of the real itself.

Hi Extant, Smile

I would like to discuss this with you, very much, but am not at all sure it can be done via the typed word. I feel that something this subtle would lend itself more to conversation over a cup of coffee, or two....(My dinner with Andre, type of thing ;-)

But I'll start this way, re the above Baudrillard excerpt:

The "precession of simulacra" concept is one I have GREAT difficulty with, so I'd like to start with that. To try to be as basic as possible, my view is that reality is "the bottom", so to speak. By which I mean it's our foundation, there is nothing below it, above it, around it (my view). When Baudrillard says that the simulacrum precedes the real he's speaking a language that I can't make sense of, because my understanding is that a simulacrum is a likeness, an image, a verisimilitude, sometimes weak and sometimes very strong (like the strong sense of reality that a stage play often provides). But it is still only a likeness. I do not understand how a mock-up, an artificial construct, can be said to come before and then obliterate? the object being "copied."

To rephrase it, I think a simulacrum cannot exist without "the stuff of reality" it is made with. Reality precedes it and is a necessary requisite for its creation.. Reality (i.e. everything that exists) is the building block, and it is not a reversible procedure (as far as I can see now).

Does this make any sense to you so far? Hope so..

As if this were not enough (g), what exactly is meant by the phrase "the desert of the real." Is Beaudrillard saying that the real (reality) remains, while the illusion is gone? That seems like an obvious statement, no?

That would be it, for starters..(IF we do decide to go into it.)

What say you, monsieur?

sunny
SH
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Extant

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PostSubject: Re: What is a Simulacrum?   Mon 21 Dec 2009, 10:31 pm

ScoutsHonor wrote:
I do not understand how a mock-up, an artificial construct, can be said to come before and then obliterate? the object being "copied."

To rephrase it, I think a simulacrum cannot exist without "the stuff of reality" it is made with. Reality precedes it and is a necessary requisite for its creation.. Reality (i.e. everything that exists) is the building block, and it is not a reversible procedure (as far as I can see now).

Does this make any sense to you so far? Hope so..

As if this were not enough (g), what exactly is meant by the phrase "the desert of the real." Is Beaudrillard saying that the real (reality) remains, while the illusion is gone? That seems like an obvious statement, no?

The way I approach this concept is purely in the virtual sense, taking in another of Baudrillard's concepts, "the murder of the real." In terms of our perceptions then, of the world around us, hugely shaped by the facsmiles produced by the media complex provide a buffer between us and our sensory perception of the world, even when we are perhaps out in the real world. The "real" is that which is been taken out of us, from our minds and souls, replaced by the yawning vacuum that is the void of the simulacra. It's a figurative, but conversely a very live and actual, rape of our psyche and sensory perceptions. The "real" is murdered right in front of our eyes.
The desert of the real then occurs, I would say, when the content and meaning in the real has been drained away and replaced by a simulated, bland, cardboard model that has no presence, it is a husk that affects no replacement for reality.

This is what I take so far from Baudrillard. It is very early days, have to read more of his work and go back over Simulacra and Simulation again. I see there is much poetic resonance in his work and use of words, allied to his critique of the modern human condition.
Best thing I can suggest is to do an internet search on Simulacra and Simulation as a PDF, downlaod it, and read it. Then you may get a better idea. It's quite a brief book actually.

It's late here now, am tired. We can continue this another time.
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PostSubject: Re: What is a Simulacrum?   Tue 22 Dec 2009, 12:19 am

Nicely put Scout. I have the same kind of difficulties with Baudrillard as you so stated so well. How can the real disappear when that is the only basis for the hyperreals existence is building blocks of matter.

My thoughts on Baudrillards works are this, please forgive me if I am way off target as I have yet to sit down and read his books, imperative YET, but will do so. To me simulacrum is the representation of others reality that they/others have created for you from cars, trains, planes, and automobiles. Do you make your own clothes? Do you grow/kill all of your food? Do you shop at the supermarket? Do you read the newspaper? Did you create your job? Your career? Your likes, dislikes? Are your thoughts your own? Did someone else put your thoughts in your head from years ago? Your reality has been manufactured from millions of people, past and present. There is nothing real from the mental standpoint. Muchlike the propaganda pieces from another forum. Are you really you or are you a hob goblin of other people. Every interaction whether it be with inanimate objects that others have created for you, communication with other people, the sights you see, the sounds you here, to the food you taste has been manufactured. This then begs the question are you manufactured, a product if you will, shaped and molded by years of abuse from being in the simulacra. How can an individual go out into the woods and discover anything? We have all been ingrained with preconceived notions of the woods/animals based upon books, TV, magazines, etc.. that we cannot discover anything for ourselves? There is background in everything that we do that I would say its almost impossible to learn something by and for ones self. Our language is designed, already put in place, learn it the simulacra says. Here is your math, learn it the simulacra says. Here is your history, they say, learn it says the simulacra. So on and so forth.

I hope that I didn't butcher Baudrillards work but to me that is what his work comes across as from brief reading of Baudrillard.
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Extant

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PostSubject: Re: What is a Simulacrum?   Tue 22 Dec 2009, 7:38 am

stilltrying wrote:
To me simulacrum is the representation of others reality that they/others have created for you from cars, trains, planes, and automobiles. Do you make your own clothes? Do you grow/kill all of your food? Do you shop at the supermarket? Do you read the newspaper? Did you create your job? Your career? Your likes, dislikes? Are your thoughts your own? Did someone else put your thoughts in your head from years ago? Your reality has been manufactured from millions of people, past and present. There is nothing real from the mental standpoint. Much like the propaganda pieces from another forum. Are you really you or are you a hob goblin of other people. Every interaction whether it be with inanimate objects that others have created for you, communication with other people, the sights you see, the sounds you here, to the food you taste has been manufactured. This then begs the question are you manufactured, a product if you will, shaped and molded by years of abuse from being in the simulacra. How can an individual go out into the woods and discover anything? We have all been ingrained with preconceived notions of the woods/animals based upon books, TV, magazines, etc.. that we cannot discover anything for ourselves? There is background in everything that we do that I would say its almost impossible to learn something by and for ones self. Our language is designed, already put in place, learn it the simulacra says. Here is your math, learn it the simulacra says. Here is your history, they say, learn it says the simulacra. So on and so forth.

This is also what I think constitutes the simulacra. Baudrillard discusses these elements too, and the exchange of goods being entirely devoid of meaning, empty, as we only use money to "earn" the capture of commodities. There is no sense of achievment, not long lasting, in these exchanges. This also the "murder of the real" I think.
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PostSubject: Re: What is a Simulacrum?   Wed 23 Dec 2009, 11:28 pm

I think i get what you are saying here extant. I've read over this comment a time or too. As in exchange money for commodities not actually producing the commodities themselves, which would mean the lack of achievement or the expenditure of energy on ones production, rather a tradeoff through the use of made up green paper which makes it a surrogate.
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PostSubject: Re: What is a Simulacrum?   Thu 24 Dec 2009, 4:55 am

stilltrying wrote:
I think i get what you are saying here extant. I've read over this comment a time or too. As in exchange money for commodities not actually producing the commodities themselves, which would mean the lack of achievement or the expenditure of energy on ones production, rather a tradeoff through the use of made up green paper which makes it a surrogate.

Yes, in much that sense. This also consitutes the make-up (or really, the complete lack of) of the desert of the real. This is the void of meaning that consitutes modern life for Baudrillard. We achieve nothing in a sense as we are a culture based on the bare purchase of commodities, products, that does not further our psychological or spiritual development whatsoever. We might as well be automatons.
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PostSubject: Re: What is a Simulacrum?   Thu 24 Dec 2009, 8:31 am

Extant wrote:
stilltrying wrote:
I think i get what you are saying here extant. I've read over this comment a time or too. As in exchange money for commodities not actually producing the commodities themselves, which would mean the lack of achievement or the expenditure of energy on ones production, rather a tradeoff through the use of made up green paper which makes it a surrogate.

Yes, in much that sense. This also consitutes the make-up (or really, the complete lack of) of the desert of the real. This is the void of meaning that consitutes modern life for Baudrillard. We achieve nothing in a sense as we are a culture based on the bare purchase of commodities, products, that does not further our psychological or spiritual development whatsoever. We might as well be automatons.

This is getting *interesting*...VBG.

BBL.
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PostSubject: Re: What is a Simulacrum?   Mon 08 Feb 2010, 7:29 pm

SIMULACRUM (simulacra): Something that replaces reality with its representation. Jean Baudrillard in "The Precession of Simulacra" defines this term as follows: "Simulation is no longer that of a territory, a referential being, or a substance. It is the generation by models of a real without origin or reality: a hyperreal.... It is no longer a question of imitation, nor duplication, nor even parody. It is a question of substituting the signs of the real for the real" (1-2). His primary examples are psychosomatic illness, Disneyland, and Watergate. Fredric Jameson provides a similar definition: the simulacrum's "peculiar function lies in what Sartre would have called the derealization of the whole surrounding world of everyday reality" (34).

http://www.cla.purdue.edu/English/theory/postmodernism/terms/simulacrum.html
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