Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Godspeed Mr. Baudrillard

Jean Baudrillard died today at the age of 77, in France. I read his book "Simulacra and Simulation"after grad school (1995?) and it continues to haunt me to this day. One of his arguments (back then) was that our financially motivated mass media and our ultra modern consumerist society has created such a chaotic and confusing structure of symbols and artificial experiences that it is impossible for us to see our reality as it actually exists.

The book must have had a huge impact on the Wachowski brothers as Baudrillard's philosophy is all over their trilogy, The Matrix. If you look closely at the book where Neo hides his data disc, it is none other than "Simulacra and Simulation." (See attached picture if you don't have a DVD of The Matrix available.)

Baudrillard once wrote: "Information can tell us everything. It has all the answers. But they are answers to questions we have not asked, and which doubtless don't even arise. "

And on America, he wrote, "Deep down, the US, with its space, its technological refinement, its bluff good conscience, even in those spaces which it opens up for simulation, is the only remaining primitive society. "

And, even back in the mid-90s, he knew enough to say, "Television knows no night. It is perpetual day. TV embodies our fear of the dark, of night, of the other side of things. "

Good night, Mr Baudillard, and good luck.

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