File spoon-archives/lyotard.archive/lyotard_2001/lyotard.0106, message 76

Date: Sat, 16 Jun 2001 17:53:57 -0400
Subject: Re: tantalising times - arguing for aethism - symbolic

Steve and All,

Steve  wrote:

>  Baudrillard has always wanted to
> take, or give precedence to the position of
> symbolic .exchange :over that
> of sign exchange and exchange value.

Discussions of sign and symbol usually leave me confused.  I think of
symbols as marks and noises, icons, images, and of signs as symbols that
point to an entity, an idea, etc.


> All
> The symbolic another line we can take in relation to the proliferation
> of religions is to consider the issue of religion through the work of
> Baudrillard.
> Those familiar with Baudrillards work will be familiar with his
> critique of residual meaning as an anti- or non-symbolic principle. (In
> terms of latent or hidden meaning).  Baudrillard has always wanted to
> take, or give precedence to the position of symbolic exchange over that
> of sign exchange and exchange value. But states, correctly, that
> Symbolic exchange is not the organising principle of modern society.
> It is almost a truism to suggest that religion(s) attempt to own and
> occupy the terrifying symbolic realm of society, in that they, even in
> our exchange and use bound societies work though a relationship with
> death and the dead. Baudrillard presents in Symbolic Exchange and Death
> an argument that is descended from Durkheims classical text The
> elementary forms of the religious life. But with the significant
> difference that his argument has a direct relationship with the inhuman
> materialist core which we recognise as the post-modern. [At least the
> variety of the PM that I argue has meaning]. The history and origin of
> religion is proposed as being from some kind of enchanted (ignorant and
> brutish)  world of traditional societies  not just the societies that
> acceded and welcomed the invention of the megamachine of the state but
> also those that struggled against and resisted the state form (see
> Clastres Society Against the State for example), the world of the
> traditional societies was formed out of the fatalistic culture of the
> peasants  (I am conscious that I am conflating the economic and
> material differences between say Medieval peasantry and primitive tribes
> but still). What makes Baudrillard especially interesting is his
> suggestion that the Symbolic order is superior to that of the order of
> the sign. (There is a deep critique of the Marxist theory of exchange
> and use value here). What this argues is that - symbolic exchange is
> over the economic  but with the arrival of capital what Baudrillard
> describes whilst describing the destruction of the symbolic by exchange.
> Religion and here we must get rid of the idea of progress in religions,
> leading from animism to polytheism and then to monotheism, in the course
> of which the immortal soul emerges becomes in effect one primary
> aspect of the organisation of the symbolic. In the fatalistic cultures
> of  the indo-european and indo-iranian mythological lines at a certain
> point, probably during the first despotic empires, the religions
> occupying one of the organising poles of the society began inventing the
> immortality, the godhood to the rulers of the state. Baudrillard
> phantasies that social movements were rife demanding the right for
> immortality for all The symbolic in its religious guise offers a
> resolution for the fatalism that derives from the appalling human
> condition founded of course in death, economic inequality and despair.
> What does immortality matter?. Its all imaginary. Yes and it is
> exciting to see that this is where the basis of the real social
> discrimination lies, and that nowhere else are power and social
> transcendence so clearly marked than in the imaginary. The economic
> power of capital is based in the imaginary just as much as is the power
> of the Churches: capital is only its fantastic secularisation
> The increased secularisation of the social derives from the collapse of
> the symbolic and the increased domination of exchange and (Baudrillards
> sign). But with the collapse of the dominance of the symbolic we end up
> with proliferation of religions  they proliferate because they no
> longer have such a straightforward relationship to the state.
> As an afterthought its worth stating that the relationship to Lyotard is
> through the Libidinal Economy work - libidinal intensity, desire,
> difference and the surrendering of death which is always there to be
> exploited by capital - 'the abjection of value and and the rule of
> capital'.
> Recommend:
> Baudrillard - Symbolic Exchange and Death
> Baudrillard  The illusion of the end
> Baudrillard  The mirror of production
> Regards
> sdv


Driftline Main Page


Display software: ArchTracker © Malgosia Askanas, 2000-2005