Jean Baudrillard


French Sociologist, Postmodernism Philosopher, Cultural Theorist, Political Commentator and Photographer

Author Quotes

In order for ethnology to live, its object must die; by dying, the object takes its revenge for being 'discovered' and with its death defies the science that wants to grasp it.

It is perhaps not a surprise that photography developed as a technological medium in the industrial age, when reality started to disappear. It is even perhaps the disappearance of reality that triggered this technical form. Reality found a way to mutate into an image.

Laughter on American television has taken the place of the chorus in Greek tragedy. In other countries, the business of laughing is left to the viewers. Here, their laughter is put on the screen, integrated into the show. It is the screen that is laughing and having a good time. You are simply left alone with your consternation.

Of course, nothing will prevent our enlightened politicians and intellectuals from considering the autumn riots as minor incidents on the road to a democratic reconciliation of all cultures. Everything indicates that on the contrary, they are successive phases of a revolt whose end is not in sight.

Philosophy leads to death, sociology leads to suicide.

Santa Barbara is a paradise; Disneyland is a paradise; the U.S. is a paradise. Paradise is just paradise. Mournful, monotonous, and superficial though it may be, it is paradise. There is no other.

Such is ?real time?, the time of communication, information and perpetual interaction: the finest deterrence-space of time and events. On the real-time screen, by way of simple digital manipulation, all possibilities are potentially realized ? which puts an end to their possibility.

The disaffection, neurosis, anguish and frustration encountered by psychoanalysis comes no doubt from being unable to love or to be loved, from being unable to give or take pleasure, but the radical disenchantment comes from seduction and its failure. Only those who lie completely outside seduction are ill, even if they remain fully capable of loving and making love. Psychoanalysis believes it treats the disorder of sex and desire, but in reality it is dealing with the disorders of seduction... The most serious deficiencies always concern charm and not pleasure, enchantment and not some vital or sexual satisfaction.

The mass is silent as animals and their silence is comparable to the silence of the animals. Although examined to death (and the constant request that is submitted, the information is equivalent to experimental torture of animals in laboratories), it does not say or where is the truth: right, left? Neither you prefer: the revolution, repression? It has no truth or reason. Although they lend all artificial words. She has no conscience or unconscious.

The opposite of knowledge is not ignorance, but deceit and fraud.

The superiority of Western culture is sustained only by the desire of the rest of the world to join it. When there is the least sign of refusal, the slightest ebbing of that desire, the West loses its seductive appeal in its own eyes.

There exists, between people in love, a kind of capital held by each. This is not just a stock of affects or pleasure, but also the possibility of playing double or quits with the share you hold in the other?s heart.

This is what ?political? power comes down to today. It is no longer driven by any positive will; it is merely a negative power of deterrence, of public health, of security policing, immunity policing, prophylaxis.

Under these conditions, an Afghan woman hidden behind a moucharabieh window or another woman covered with a metallic net on the cover of Elle present contrasting alternatives to the image of Catherine Millet?s wild virgin. It is the opposition between an excess of secrecy and an excess of indecency.

We will live in this world, which for us has all the disquieting strangeness of the desert and of the simulacrum, with all the veracity of living phantoms, of wandering and simulating animals that capital, that the death of capital has made of us?because the desert of cities is equal to the desert of sand?the jungle of signs is equal to that of the forests?the vertigo of simulacra is equal to that of nature?only the vertiginous seduction of a dying system remains, in which work buries work, in which value buries value?leaving a virgin, sacred space without pathways, continuous as Bataille wished it, where only the wind lifts the sand, where only the wind watches over the sand.

Why did this [Vietnam] war, so hard, so long, so ferocious, vanish from one day to the next, as if by magic? Why did this American defeat (the largest to reversal in the history of the USA) have no internal repercussions in America? If it had really signified the failure of the planetary strategy of the United States, it would necessarily have completely disrupted its internal balance and the American political system.

In our culture, futility plays the role of transgression and fashion is condemned for having within it the force of the pure sign which signifies nothing.

It is quite simply the name in virtue of which they have no fear of death. Here is the profound jealousy and the revenge of ?zero death? on those men who are not afraid ? it is in that name that they are inflicted with something worse than death . . . . Radical shamelessness, the dishonor of nudity, the tearing of any veil. It is always the same problem of transparency: to tear off the veil of women or abuse men to make them appear more naked, more obscene. . . .

Like dreams, statistics are a form of wish fulfillment.

One can live with the idea of distorted truth. But Their metaphysical despair came from the idea que the image did not conceal anything at all, and que These images Were in essence not images, such as an original model would have made ??Them, but perfect simulacra, forever radiant with their own fascination. Thus this death of the divine referential must be exorcised at all costs. One can see que the iconoclasts, Whom one Accuses of disdaining and negating images, Were Those Who accorded Them Their true value, in contrast to the iconolaters who only saw reflections in Them and Were content to venerate the filigree God.

Photography is our exorcism. Primitive society had its masks, bourgeois society its mirrors. We have our images.

Seduce is to die as reality and reproduce an illusion

Take provocation, for instance, which is the opposite and the caricature of seduction. It says: "I know that you want to be seduced, and I will seduce you." Nothing could be worse than betraying this secret rule. Nothing could be less seductive than a provocative smile or inciteful behavior, since both presuppose that one cannot be seduced naturally and that one needs to be blackmailed into it, or through a declaration of intent: "Let me seduce you"

The discourse of truth is quite simply impossible. It eludes itself. Everything eludes itself, everything scoffs at its own truth, seduction renders everything elusive. The fury to unveil the truth, to get at the naked truth, the one which haunts all discourses of interpretation, the obscene rage to uncover the secret, is proportionate to the impossibility of ever achieving this. ?But this rage, this fury, only bears witness to the eternity of seduction and to the impossibility of mastering it.

The masses have kept it only the image, never the idea. They were never affected by the idea of God, which remained a subject of priests, nor the anguish of sin and personal salvation. What they retained was the fascination of the martyrs and the saints, the final judgment, the dance of the dead, was the spell, was the spectacle and the church ceremony, the immanence of the ritual - against the transcendence of the idea. Were pagan and heathen remained in his own way, never attended the Supreme Instance, but living offal images, superstition and the devil. Degraded practices in relation to the spiritual commitment of faith? Can be. This is their way through banality of rituals and profane simulacra, to undermine the categorical imperative of morality and faith, the imperative sublime sense, they repelled. Not because they could not reach the sublime lights of religion: they ignored them. Not refuse to die for a faith, for a cause, for an idol. What they reject is the transcendence is the interdiction, the difference, the wait, asceticism, which produce the sublime triumph of religion. For the masses, the Kingdom of God has always been on the earth, in pagan immanence of the images in the show that the Church offered them. Fantastic deviation of religious principle. The masses have absorbed religion in sort¡lega and spectacular practice adopted.

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French Sociologist, Postmodernism Philosopher, Cultural Theorist, Political Commentator and Photographer