by Jean Baudrillard
The fact that we are entering on a retroactive form of
history, that all our ideas, philosophies, mental faculties are
progressively adapting themselves to this model, is quite evident. This
may just as well be an adventure, since the disappearance of the end is,
in itself, an original or creative situation. It seems to be
characteristic of our culture and our history which have no end in sight
either as guarantors of an indefinite recurrence, of an immortality
pursued in the opposite direction. Up till now, immortality was conceived
of as a region of the beyond, an immortality yet to come, today however,
we have concocted another type of immortality, one on this side of the
fence that incorporates the recession of outcomes ad infinitum.
The situation may be original, but the final result or
outcome of things is evidently lost in advance or up front. We will never
get to know the original chaos, the Big Bang, and because it is a
classified event, we had never been there. We could retain the hope
however, of seeing the final moment, the Big Crumb, one day. A spasmodic
enjoyment of the end to compensate for not having had the chance to revere
the beginning [l'origine]. These are the only two interesting moments, and
since we were frustrated with the first one, we invest all the more energy
into the acceleration of the end, into the precipitation of things or
events towards their ultimate loss, a loss from which we were at least
thrown the crumbs in the form of the spectacle. Dreaming of an
unprecedented opportunity open to a generation to obliterate the end of
the world, which is just as wonderful as being part of the beginning. But
we have arrived too late for things to begin, only the end or outcome
seems to careen under our sway...
This site offers a short discussion of Baudrillard's
influences, an annotated bibliography and more.
Jean Baudrillard is "a talisman: a symptom, a sign,
a charm, and above all, a password into the next universe," (Kroker
and Levin, BC 5); if you read too much Baudrillard "you are in danger
of turning into a hyper-reader, and transforming the text under the power
of your imagination into something of the sort it became in the hands of
the Neo Geos and their apologists. At this point you are taking
Baudrillard too seriously," (Danto, 48); "Baudrillard has begun
to work equally hard at playing the Disappearing Theorist. He has
progressively and deliberately abandoned the protocols of systematic
research, scrupulous argument, thesis formulation, 'critique' -- in favor
of a style of personal jotting (and jaunting) about the world ...
this travelling man is no Mad Max. There's no sense in Baudrillard's glass
bubble that anything nasty might happen," (Morris, HR, 28-9).
"The upshot of Baudrillard's analyses is to license a kind of
intellectual dandyism," (Callinicos, 147). And so, "in the end,
does Theory ... come to embrace itself as work-of-art, dire object, and
absolute commodity," (Morris, 101, 210)...