Jean Baudrillard, discouraging philosopher
“El simulacro no es lo que oculta la verdad. Es la verdad la que oculta que no hay verdad. El simulacro es verdadero”, Jean Baudrillard.
Jean Baudrillard was a French philosopher and sociologist who focused on the contemporary society. In his first book El sistema de los objetos (1968), he tried to apply the concepts of Ferdinand Saussure´s linguistics in Karl Marx´s political and economical theories, analysing the value of changes as significant and the value of use as significant. In that first book, he also analyses the indiference with which North Americans have constructed a new culture of transparence.
His second book La sociedad de consumo (1970), was influenced by structuralism (what is based on cultural realities). He studied that movement through the study of consumism.
El espejo de la producción (1973), is used by Baudrillard as an attack to classical Marxism, because it has become the mirror of the bourgeois society. He claims that it has placed production at the center of lige and has naturalized the capitalist organization of society.
Symbolic Exchange and Death written by Baudrillard in 1976, he produced one of his most important and dramatic provocations. There he made attempts to overcome the limitations of the traditional Marxist economy that privileges the economic sphere.
In Estrategias fatales (1983) he claimed that violence, misery and ongnorance have not dissapeared from contemporary society, on the contrary, they were part of its daily reality, even though citizens cannot perceive it.
According to Baudrillard, the contemporary world is characterized by a process of desmaterialization of reality, in which people´s eyes are directed to television screens; and communication has converted into an absolute value.
In another book, Otro por sí mismo (1987), he argued for an ideology focused on the extasis of communication because
“as America (1986) claimed, myths have been dismissed and the excess of information difficults the search of sense”
Baudrillard also wrote La transparencia del mal (1990), where he explained that society tries to achieve a new image of itself. To write finally his last book with sixteen main points where all his work is summarized: Contraseñas (2002).
According to Baudrillard, “El público es un escenarioy la representación es una escena, luego se trata siempre de una representación. Cuando se habla de problemas que están más allá o más acá de la representación se puede dar una paradoja, pero qué se le va a hacer. Uno se enfrenta al público o a los medios aunque sea para hablar de lo obsceno o de cualquier cosa. Pero es la paradoja de todo discurso”. He adds: “Todo discurso está siempre descentrado con respecto a su objeto”.
Another theme worked by Baudrillard´s reflexions was the suffering and the exorcism of body, such as terrorism, VHS, cancer and the mutation of the body. Although that seems to occur mainly in non-developed countries, Baudrillard says:
”La pregunta de si es necesario un análisis diferente para los países menos desarrollados surge a menudo”
And as he explained, those countries have the same dreams, ghosts, and lives with the same symbolic model, they may be in nedd of many raw material and prodcuts, but they have acquired access to the same model.
To sum up, the books Baudrillard wrote may seem provocative and full of attacks or intricate messages, but it does achieve its purpose as a philosopher, to think about the reality we are surrrounded by and not be just viewers in a world full of complexities. Instead, observants and thinkers.
- Mark Glazer, Structuralism(1996). Retrieved from http://www.utpa.edu/faculty/mglazer/theory/structuralism.htm
- Virginia Álvarez Grondona, Juan Cruz Sánchez Mariño y Martina Maymó, Hiperrealidad ¿Quién fue Baudrillard? (2007) Retrieved from: http://hiperrealidad.blogspot.com.es/2007/11/quien-fue-jean-baudrillard.html
- Biografias y vidas, Ferdinand de Saussure. Retrieved from: http://www.biografiasyvidas.com/biografia/s/saussure.htm
- Kellner, Douglas, “Jean Baudrillard”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2009 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.). Retreived from: http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2009/entries/baudrillard/.
Vásquez Rocca, Adolfo “Baudrillard; de la metástasis de la imagen a la incautación de lo real“, En EIKASIA. Revista de Filosofía, OVIEDO, ESPAÑA. ISSN 1885-5679, año II, Nº 11 (julio 2007) pp. 53-59.
Biografias y vidas , Karl Marx. Retrieved from: http://www.biografiasyvidas.com/biografia/m/marx_karl.htm