File spoon-archives/baudrillard.archive/baudrillard_1995/baudrillard.09-95, message 5

Date: Wed, 20 Sep 95 16:57:09 PDT
Subject: Re: The Shadow of the Shadow of the SILENT Majorities

On Wed, 20 Sep 1995 15:06:09 -0500 (CDT) you wrote:

>I am here, in my simulated cyber-form.
>I know nothing of the last reading, but am currently reading Sim/Sim for 
>a graduate seminar and would like or would be willing to start things off 
>on that track.
>Anyone else interested?

I really enjoyed that book.  Here, you might appreciate this, although I don't 
know if it's any good, it's excerpted from a larger paper.

	In Baudrillard's essay entitled Simulations, he presents the idea that 
         "simulation" follows on the heals of two previous orders of appearance, evolving 
         since the time of the Renasissance.  The first order, "parallel to the mutations of the 
         law of value" was the Counterfeit.  This was the "dominant scheme of the 
         "classical" period from the renaissance to the industrial revolution."  Following this 
         era was the era of Production which dated the industrial period.  And now we have 
         moved into the culminating period with the present scheme of Simulation which is 
         "controlled by the code."(24)  Simulation is marked by the "liquidation of all 
         referentials -- worse:  by their artificial resurrection in a system of signs...[the] 
         substitution [of] signs of the real for the real itself, that is, an operation to deter 
         every real process by its operational double."(25)
         The simulation, in its opposition to representation, befogs the distinction 
         "between `true' and `false', between `real' and `imaginary.'"(26)  Representation 
         takes the sign and the real to be equivalent, and it views simulation as false 
         representation.  Simulation, instead, immures representation within itself, taking 
         representation to be "itself a simulacrum."(27)  The representation to the simulacrum 
         flows then through the phases of reflecting then masking and perverting reality.  
         This then emerges as the masking of the absence of reality; finally the 
         representation becomes something with no relation to reality; "it is its own pure 
         simulacrum."(28)  This then precludes the ability to separate the true from the false; 
         "the real from its artifical resurrection."(29)
         We need this artificial resurrection because we need to have a past, visible in 
         its continuum, providing a beginning, "a visible myth of origin to reassure us as to 
         our ends."(30)  But within this false risorgimento of beginning and ending, there is an 
         appropriation of the disinterred past; offering claims of connectedness which justify 
         the present.  In other words, the present is not built upon the bones of the past, but 
         rather, the past is constructed on the withering all-but-dead corpse of the present.  
         By seeing the past; by cumulating the apparition of the past, we ensure continuance 
         of the linearity and additory nature of the culture.(31)  
         But the cleanliness of this false resurrection is not always the case.  When 
         contradictions between the present and past arrise, as they inevitably must do, there 
         arise two solutions.  First, exterminate the past so that the evidence of the 
         contradiction between reality and a universal law are obliterated, or, secondly, to 
         convert the past until it becomes an implication of the present, which in effect offers 
         the same result as the first solution.(32)
         Thereby, we see in the relationship between the present and a past, an 
         unclean and unconscionable relation of force.  This relation, however, is hidden 
         behind a moral superstructure which guarantees not only the continual resuscitation 
         of the relations of force, but also the constant regeneration of public morality in 
         support of the resuscitation.(33)  Yet, the most potent force within this interaction is 
         the principle of public morality.  Even indignations and denunciations of the 
         relations of force, themselves revive moral order, and represent the "indifferent and 
         shifting configuration [of relations of force] in the moral and political 
         consciousness of men."(34)  Thus, relations of force--rationality and morality--as 
         Baudrillard conceives, is nothing but a scandal which openly and actively promotes 
         and allows itself to be combatted, provided that the scandal is both received and 
         combatted in the name of rationality and morality.  Therefore, because the solution 
         to the scandal is the scandal itself, the task today is conceal the fact that no scandal 
         exists.(35)  Again, we can say that "the defense of the criterion imposed invokes the 
         criterion again or it appeals to another criterion itself in need of grounding."(36)
         And more scandalous, power--every form of power--denies itself.  It speaks 
         of its own dolor and the menace it faces.  Through these protestations to its 
         imperilled existence, it is able to "rediscover a glimmer of existence and 
         legitimacy."  Even more glorious are those occurances when the `mannequins of 
         power' are in reality murdered, for then the simulacrum of the menace to a fragile 
         and threatened power truly becomes more real than real.(37)  Indeed, power always 
         displays and represents the menace to its existence as real, even if this isn't the 
         case.  This is because "transgression and violence are serious, for they contest the 
         distribution of the real.  
         Simulation is infinetely more dangerous, however, since it always suggests, 
         over and above its object, that law and order themselves might really be nothing 
         more than a simulation."(38)  Therefore, simulations must always be taken to be real 
         in order to protect the distribution of power.  However, through this process the real 
         becomes a sign--a simulation--as "they are inscribed in advance in the decoding and 
         orchestration rituals of the media, anticipated in their mode of presentation and 
         possible consequences.  In brief, they function as a set of signs dedicated 
         exclusively to their recurrence as signs, and no longer to their `real' goal at all."(39)  
         Thus, power lives by the simulation of its simulation.  Power provides a map 
         without territory.(40)  Power "injects realness and referentiality everywhere, in order 
         to convince us of the reality of the social, of the gravity of the economy, of the 
         finalities of production."(41)  Power illustrates to us what threatens its existence, and 
         then, like it does with history, it produces that which it references.  Today power is 
         thus threatened by the simulations it has created; it is threatened by the prospect of 
         itself "vanishing in the play of signs," and so it risks everything.  "It gambles on 
         remanufacturing artificial, social, economic [and] political stakes,"(42) for it will 
         surely die without these threats.  Thus, "in the end the game of power comes down 
         to nothing more than the critical obsession with power--an obsession with its death, 
         an obsession with its survival, the greater the more it disappears."(43)
         This process--this obsession--is, as it were, controlled by "a sort of genetic 
         code, which controls the mutation of the real into the hyperreal." This controlling 
         code is that which we call the `media.'(44)  It is through this `absolute manipulation' 
         the the political, social, psychological domains loose their distinction between 
         reality and simulation.  The media, then, "only exist to maintian the illusion of 
         actuality--of the reality of the stakes, of the objectivity of the facts."(45)  However, 
         more than simply presenting lies as facts and facts as lies, this manipulation by 
         power transfers itself from the representation of meaning to the `programming' of 
         perceptions and knowledges about reality.(46)
         While power creates law and creates order, with the purpose of maturating 
         "planned infalibility, of maximal security and deterrence," it cannot rely upon these 
         exclusively because of the "aura of transgression" arising from law, and the "aura 
         of violence" arising from order.  Therefore, through the programming of 
         perceptions, power creates social and individual norms, which casts opposition to 
         power into a state of induced sleep, confusion and dumbfoundedness.(47)  And 
         through the creation of these norms, power is capable of erasing its beginning, its 
         origin.  By geneticising its existence through norms, it more thoroughly encodes its 
         own removal from time and space, and therefore of the obligations it made as well 
         as putting an end to the myth of its own end.(48)
         Thus, from the point of successfully encoding the norms in the genetics of 
         individuals and society, the media ends its programming for the ends of power and 
         begins to test the observer in order to assure the successful existence of power.  
         Opinion poles, those great servants of the public, create the opinions they are 
         searching for--individuals luckily are freed from the laborious task of producing 
         opinions on their own.(49)  Rather than conscious thought, we only need to reproduce 
         the opinions which we were told we had.  Then, through the mechanisms of order 
         and law, but also through the norms themselves, those who have been insufficiently 
         or incorrectly programmed are weeded out by the institutions and individuals who 
         can easily spot deviations.(50)  However, through the process of providing a voice to 
         everyone--by granting universal suffrage--power is capable of giving the illusion of 
         responsiveness, even though it has created the terms in which it will respond.  
         Moreover, giving everyone a voice, either in their reproduction of prescribed 
         opinions through poles, or through the ballot of inadequate choices, neutralizes the 
         political field "if only by the consensus on the rules of the game."  
         Thus, power creates its own legitimacy, creates the rules which ensures its 
         legitimacy, creates the programming of norms which ensures its legitimacy, creates 
         the definition of what opposes it, and then persecutes that which opposes its 
         legitimacy, and proves that it offered everyone the option of participating in the 
         creation of its legitimacy by parading those who refused play by its prescribed 
         rules.  Therefore, power is real not only because it can be reproduced, but because it 
         is "always already reproduced."(51)
         (24)      Simulations.  Pg. 83.
         (25)      Ibid.  Pg. 4.
         (26)      Ibid.  Pg. 5.
         (27)      Ibid.  Pg. 11
         (28)      Ibid.  Pg. 11.
         (29)      Ibid.  Pg. 12.
         (30)      Ibid.  Pg. 19.
         (31)      Ibid.  Pg. 19.
         (32)      Ibid.  Pg. 20.
         (33)      Ibid.  Pg. 27.
         (34)      Ibid.  Pg. 28.
         (35)      Ibid.  Pg. 28.
         (36)      William Connolly. in Language and Politics (Shapiro, ed.)  Pg. 151-152.
         (37)      Baudrillard, Simulations.  Pg. 37.
         (38)      Ibid.  Pg. 38.
         (39)      Ibid.  Pg. 41.
         (40)      Personal conversation with Anne Norton.
         (41)      Simulations.  Pg. 42.
         (42)      Ibid.  Pg. 44.
         (43)      Ibid.  Pg. 45.
         (44)      Ibid.  Pg. 55.
         (45)      Ibid.  Pg. 71.
         (46)      Ibid.  Pg. 57.
         (47)      Ibid.  Pg. 63-64.
         (48)      Ibid.  Pg. 112.
         (49)      Comments by Professor David Easton during a variety of colloquia in response to 
         practitioners of the statistical manipulation of survey opinion data.
         (50)      Simulations.  Pg. 120.



Scott Penrose-Kafka					
  Program in Political Psychology
  Department of Politics and Society	
  University of California, Irvine
  	(For PGP Public Key: See end of quotes below)


Destroying Knowledge

"The time has come, it seems, to face the facts:  
revolution is movement, but movement is not 
revolution.  Politics is only a gear-shift and 
revolution only its overdrive"

"Fear is the cruelest of assassins:  It never 
kills but keeps you from living."
				An old saying.

"Under the Republicans, Man exploits Man.
Under the Democrats, it's the other way around."
				A not-so-old saying.

"Empiricism is the matrix of all faults menacing a discourse
which consider itself scientific."

"There is a jubilation proper to spectacular nullity, and the last
form it takes is that of *statistical contemplation*"

"The obligation to talk with those one would reject imposes an
obligatory community where none may be desired, giving the lie
to consent and the tollerance of difference.  Coerced participation
in dialogue, coerced speech, is presented as an invitation to 
self-expression and equality, yet those who are brought into
these against their will have already been denied one aspect of
their self-determination.  They enter subordinate."
				Anne Norton

"Narrated reality constantly tells us what must be believed and 
what must be done.  What can you oppose to the facts?  You 
can only give in, and obey what they "signify," like an oracle, 
like the oracle of Delphi.  The fabrication of simulacra thus 
provides the means of producing believers and hence people 
practicing their faiths."
				de Certeau

"The person who follows others has no trust in himself: that's 
why he follows others. The man who has trust in himself 
learns from others but does not follow. He follows his own 
insight. Whatsoever the risk he never compromises." 

"Because modernity is excessively conscious of time, it
somehow removes joy from human existence."
				P.M. Rosenau

"[The] arithmetic element of the State found its specific
power in the treatment of all kinds of matter:  Primary 
matters (raw materials), the secondary matter of 
worked objects, or the ultimate matter constituted by 
the human population.  Thus the number has always 
served to gain mastery over matter, to control its 
varitations and movements, in other words to submit 
them to the spatio-temporal framework of the State"
				Deleuze & Guattari


PGP key for Scott Penrose-Kafka

Version: 2.6.1





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