The Trap of Simulations in Consumerism and Beyond: Nihilism and Hyperbole in Baudrillard and the Way Out for Rhetorical Agencies

La Disparition Du Monde Réel/The Disappearance of the Real World

I open this post with a video of Baudrillard for the purpose of seeking meaning in his desert of meaninglessness. The mass media brought forth the violence of the images, the death of the subject and the object, and many other issues that haunts the present era. How do we get our resurrection when we realize that we are overwhelmed by commodities and images. How do we balance the banal with the fatal in this crazily undefinable postmodernist world?

According to this video, Baudrillard stresses the present and the absent at the same time as an implication of his hyperreal, which is the real more than the real—the non real. His early awareness of the photography technology and the television’s subversion of time and space leads us to his crystalized idea of simulation.

I understand from reading the first part of his Simulations—”The Precession of Simulacra” that he is trying to show us the fallacy of an existent reality. Drawing our attention to the fallacy of the appearances, he actually achieved his goal of pulling us back to the essence of capitalism and the consumer society.

The very opening of the book

“The simulacrum is never that which conceals the truth—it is the truth whoch conceals that there is none.

The simulacrum is true.

—Ecclesiastes”

When I first read this, I was totally shocked and had no idea what he is talking about because I have no impression that there is something similar in the Bible. Then, after a second thought I realized it is just a parody or his play of words to reach a black humor? Or, is it simply an irony?

He gives the example of the Empire and its fall and then moves to argue the essence of mapping–precession of simulacra. He loves to use the image of desert. I guess he is using it as a symbol of death when he says that the map and the desert both disappears with simulation.

“Never again will the real have to be produced—this is the vital function of the model in a system of death, or rather of anticipated resurrection which no longer leaves any chance even in the event of death. A hyperreal henceforth sheltered from the imagery, and from any distinction between the real and the imaginary, leaving room only for the orbital recurrence of models and the simulated generation of difference.”

Reading his assertions makes me feel inspiring but at the same time depressing. Psychology and medicine have no remedy for this powerful simulation rather than a superficial and recognizable “feigning”. Similarly, to Baudrillard, the death sentence of very reference makes even God a simulation due to the “murderous capacity of Byzatine icons.”

The successive phases of the images

1) the reflection of a basic reality; 2) masks and perverts a basic reality; 3) masks the absence of a basic reality;  4) bears no relation to any reality

reminds me of the apple trade mark, maps, as well as what I experienced in Vegas. This process is summarized by Foss & Foss according to different historical periods. The very act of mapping and imitating is vital to understand Baudrillard.

usamapnew

the-venetian-in-las-vegas

Venetian Hotel, Las Vegas

paris-hotel-casino-las-vegas

Paris Hotel, Las Vegas

The idea of simulation becomes easy to understand when I take a look at the commodified postmodern architectures. What they give us is a sense of reality, but they are actually not the reality. The Window of the World at Shenzhen City, P.R.China is another example of simulation in architectural representation. The postmodern copy of a copy of a copy phenomenon is just what Baudrillard argues in his Simulacra and Simulation. The idea of the “hyperreal” comes from “the procession of simulacra,” which is why he considers cultural and media constructed reality as simulations. Baudrillard gives the example of Disneyland when he talks about the hyperreal and the imaginary.

Baudrillard also refers to the Watergate as the same scenario as Disneyland He considers the simulative political incantation as a “moebius-spiralling negativity.” However, we have to search for the unsaid in his arguments. It seems that he leaves no place for the role of agency due to his negativity on the existence of the masses. Nevertheless, he is trying to put the object in the gaze so that we as the subject can have a clearer view of the simulations of nihilism in mass media and technologies. Therefore, his theory is not an absolute denial of the reality, but a hyperbole of the simulations in order to present the real.

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