File spoon-archives/baudrillard.archive/baudrillard_1994/baud.May94, message 11

Date: Mon, 23 May 1994 09:40:26 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: interpretation and praxis

On Mon, 23 May 1994 wrote:
> 	It's all very interesting on a psycholinguistic level, I 
> know, but do you think we're interpreting to death -- avoiding
> praxis?  I'm personally concerned as a teacher and a scholar
> about postmodern nihilism.  Calling into question our metaphors and
> our word choices can be useful, but I wish we could call them
> into question and then move beyond them.

Well, you've probably pissed of or at least annoyed some Derrideans out 
there.  Cool.  However, although I understand the impetus behind your 
complaint, I guess I would characterize it differently.  I like to imagine 
a somewhat rosier hermeneutic scenario--interpreting to life, I suppose, 
rather than to death.  I don't know about this "postmodern nihilism" 
thing.  I think it's easy to fall into, but it's not necessary a trap.  In 
a sense, to "lapse" into nihilism is, from a "postmodern" perspective, a 
very "unpostmodern" thing to do.  Nihilism is that stuff you used to do 
when you decided you didn't care about things.  But now the questions are 
different, or so we like to think, in our shiny postmodernism.  It seems 
to me that, if anything, the world needs more interpreting.  
Interpreting, especially now that we can so readily "deconstruct" stuff 
over and over, becomes all the more important and necessary when 
everyone's doing it, because then you have to compete with 
others--interpret or be interpreted, so to speak.  Actually, both happen 
anyway.  So I guess I see interpretation as an inherently socioculturally 
useful act.  However, you have to make "political" decisions about what's 
fit to turn your gaze upon.  Maybe that's where things get messy.



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