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 What is the Simulacrum?

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C1
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PostWhat is the Simulacrum?



Jean Baudrillard

Jean Baudrillard, a French philosopher, authored the book 'Simulacra and Simulation," whose concepts were heavily relied upon by the Wachowski brothers in their development of the Matrix movies. During an early scene in the Matrix movie, Neo recovers a diskette hidden inside Baudrillard's Simulacra and Simulation, which Neo removes from his bookshelf. The following video describes the scene and introduces the listener to Baudrillard's concepts.




The Desert of the Real

Baudrillard claims that modern society has replaced all reality and meaning with symbols and signs, and that the human experience is of a simulation of reality rather than reality itself.

The simulacra that Baudrillard refers to are signs of culture and media that create the perceived reality; Baudrillard believed that society has become so reliant on simulacra that it has lost contact with the real world on which the simulacra are based.



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.

Baudrillard theorizes that the lack of distinctions between reality and simulacra originates in several phenomena:

  1. Contemporary media including television, film, print and the Internet, which are responsible for blurring the line between goods that are needed and goods for which a need is created by commercial images.
  2. Exchange value, in which the value of goods is based on money rather than usefulness.
  3. Multinational capitalism, which separates produced goods from the plants, minerals and other original materials and the processes used to create them.
  4. Urbanization, which separates humans from the natural world.
  5. Language and ideology, in which language is used to obscure rather than reveal reality when used by dominant, politically powerful groups.

Baudrillard claims we are living in a 3rd order Simulacrum, associated with the postmodern age, where the simulacrum precedes the original and the distinction between reality and representation breaks down.


The Murder of the Real

In the Murder of the Real, Baudrillard he points out that when reality is entirely artificial the people in it experience Nihilism.














As the Power System loses power, the Power Systems Tries to Convince the Public that the Power System is All Powerful

What is happening now, with the Internet, Mainstream Media. Alternative media, controls over economy, controls over our liberties, controls over our travel, etc., is that the power structure is attempting to control our access to our own realities. They are attempting to control everything that we see and hear and think... whether is be through group pressure techniques or mass-propaganda. It is about controlling inputs... the inputs into our senses that lead to our brains.

We spend our days glues to TV screens, reading magazines, reading newspapers, reading the Web, all of these things are more and more controlled by their power base. Our reference and relationship with the "real" is less and less. We focus on and talk about AJ, about Glenn Beck, about Peter Schiff, about Obama, about ACORN, and everything else they throw our way. Our world is their world.

This is a cursory view into the Murder of the Real. And if the power structure is allowed to progress, their control systems will gain a tighter grip, moving us into Matrix-like worlds, where we live out lives as the new movie "[URL="http://www.chooseyoursurrogate.com/"]Surrogates[/URL]" attempts to portray. While these Hollywood representations are obviously egregious, they are accurate in their allegorical interpretation.

While I have inflamed many at these forums often, my message has always come from the vantage point that we should ignore them, ignore their system, ignore their dialectics, for they are manufactured for the purpose of control of the many by the few.

Turn to each other, turn to humanity, turn to faith, turn to what you believe is real. But these charades that they inject into our lives are not real. So, my goal is to help educate others that our best course of action is to turn away from their contrived systems, and to turn back to each other, humanity, and to begin to rebuild our society based upon the ideals that everyone here strives for.
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What is the Simulacrum? :: Comments

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Re: What is the Simulacrum?
Post on Tue 24 Nov 2009, 11:30 pm by Extant
Thanks for including the Baudrillard lecture there. It's always a bonus to have the person themselves expounding on their concepts, something comes across in the voice that lends further insight I think. Even it's only via the medium of the simulcram...
Re: What is the Simulacrum?
Post on Wed 05 Jan 2011, 1:10 am by Silent Wind
I got this quote from a zero hedge comment. Thought it was good.


We are beyond the postmodern moment.

The first order of the symbol, the symbol corresponds to reality. If a dude has a crown, he is king.

The second order of the symbol, the symbol bifurcates from reality, you have pretenders. The upper classes can afford to dress like kings. Some one with a crown may not be king.

The third order of the symbol, the symbol does not correspond with reality because it can be mass produced. All of society may wear crowns if they wish, crowns no longer distinguish kings.

The fourth order of the symbol is the order of the simulacra, it is the truth that hides the truth that there is no truth. This is where the symbol is finally, totally divorced from reality. What is a king? Do kings have kingdoms? King of Pop? Elvis, Michael? Magic Kingdom? Is that a real kingdom? How about the housing project in the magic kingdom? Is that in a real kingdom? Is it a "real" housing project? What is real? This is the Post-Modern moment. Truth is mass produced, recombined, and homoginized. The original association of the symbol to reality has dispersed into a hyper reality.

This is where Baudrillard left us.

I'm proposing that there is so much fraud, so much deliberate dishonesty, so much manipulation and misrepresentation, that we have moved beyond the postmodern moment into the fifth order of the symbol. I think I will call it the Postmortem moment.

It is the moment that marks the death of everything. When there is no truth because it has all been dissipated into matrixes of meaning relativity. In a postmodern sensibility about things, you consult history, but you constuct local truths that serve for the moment, knowing that they cannot be the truth for all time. This is a nice idea, but it assumes that all the players are trying to work together for the best of the collective. It falls apart when the players higher up have one goal, and that is deceit.

The postmortem moment represents the death of the meaning system itself. Nothing and no one in authority can be trusted. Beyond the simulacra, the decoupling of symbol from reality is now being harnessed in a cynical manner to manipulate short term outcomes.

Just thinking out loud, having a WTF moment, a postmortem moment, brought to me by the CIA.

"We live in a world where there is more and more information, and less and less meaning."
Re: What is the Simulacrum?
Post on Thu 29 Mar 2012, 10:14 pm by mike lewis
Quote :
Cornelius Castoriadis saw a tension in the modern West between, on the one hand, the potentials for autonomy and creativity and the proliferation of "open societies" and, on the other hand, the spirit-crushing force of capitalism. These are characterized as the capitalist imaginary and the creative imaginary:

I think that we are at a crossing in the roads of history, history in the grand sense. One road already appears clearly laid out, at least in its general orientation. That's the road of the loss of meaning, of the repetition of empty forms, of conformism, apathy, irresponsibility, and cynicism at the same time as it is that of the tightening grip of the capitalist imaginary of unlimited expansion of "rational mastery," pseudorational pseudomastery, of an unlimited expansion of consumption for the sake of consumption, that is to say, for nothing, and of a technoscience that has become autonomized along its path and that is evidently involved in the domination of this capitalist imaginary. The other road should be opened: it is not at all laid out. It can be opened only through a social and political awakening, a resurgence of the project of individual and collective autonomy, that is to say, of the will to freedom. This would require an awakening of the imagination and of the creative imaginary.

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Re: What is the Simulacrum?
Post on Wed 04 Apr 2012, 12:46 am by C1
mike lewis wrote:
Quote :
Cornelius Castoriadis saw a tension in the modern West between, on the one hand, the potentials for autonomy and creativity and the proliferation of "open societies" and, on the other hand, the spirit-crushing force of capitalism. These are characterized as the capitalist imaginary and the creative imaginary:

I think that we are at a crossing in the roads of history, history in the grand sense. One road already appears clearly laid out, at least in its general orientation. That's the road of the loss of meaning, of the repetition of empty forms, of conformism, apathy, irresponsibility, and cynicism at the same time as it is that of the tightening grip of the capitalist imaginary of unlimited expansion of "rational mastery," pseudorational pseudomastery, of an unlimited expansion of consumption for the sake of consumption, that is to say, for nothing, and of a technoscience that has become autonomized along its path and that is evidently involved in the domination of this capitalist imaginary. The other road should be opened: it is not at all laid out. It can be opened only through a social and political awakening, a resurgence of the project of individual and collective autonomy, that is to say, of the will to freedom. This would require an awakening of the imagination and of the creative imaginary.

This so clearly describes our predicament. I would differ on one thing, however - the last sentence. What is required now is a mass reprogramming of billions of minds, and this would take an enormous event that would shock our collective Amygdala's in our brains, followed by immediate and intense new programming. We're talking about rewiring billions of brains, and significantly modifying their neural networks (collection of synapse's). This is not easy, and is incedibly difficult to do on ones own without an external reason to do so. Personally, without devine intervention, I don't see how it happens, for attempting to rewire someone else's brain with clear rationale thought is almost always met with extreme resistance, and sometimes counter-attack. It's in our biological makeup.
Re: What is the Simulacrum?
Post on Wed 03 Oct 2012, 11:14 pm by Clairvoyant
So why the mushroom? lol!
Re: What is the Simulacrum?
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