Impossible Exchange

Impossible Exchange

The uncertainty of the world lies in the fact that it has no equivalent anywhere; it cannot be exchanged for anything.

The uncertainty of thought lies in the fact that it cannot be exchanged either for truth or for reality.Jean Baudrillards now familiar investigations into reality and hyper-reality shift here into a more metaphysical frame.

Politics is laden with signs and meanings, but seen from the outside it has no meaning.

This book might be said to be the exploration, first, of the fateful consequences, and subsequentlyby a poetic transference of situationof the fortunate, happy consequences of impossible exchange.

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And he would contend, the matrix (hyper-real) is real enough to us, and we can only theorize and exist in This World, so don't go about thinking you are The One to escape the matrix just because You read alternative news sources.

Lots to chew on: science, illusion, the meaning of the world; politics, representation, art, and being real. This was the hypothesis with which we discovered the world, atoms, molecules, particles, viruses and so forth. Today, they say that science no longer discovers its object but invents it. The object-thought is no longer reflective, but reversible. Object-thought, thought become inhuman, is the form of thinking which actually comes to terms with impossible exchange. It no longer attempts to interpret the world, nor to exchange it for ideas; it has opted for uncertainty, which becomes its rule. For though there is no there is no possible equivalence between thought and the world, there does occur, beyond any critical point of view, a reciprocal alteration between matter and thought. So the situation is reversed; if, once, the subject constituted an event in the world of the object, today the object constitutes an event in the universe ofo the subject. Has not humanity, with its inborn consciousness, its ambiguity, its symbolic order and its power of illusion, ended up altering the universe, affecting or infecting it with its own uncertainty? Our lives are no longer marked by original sin but by the risk of failing to fulfil their ultimate potential; so we accumulate plans, ideals and programmes; we constantly pass the buck and seek to outdo each other in a universal effort to perform. In the virtual and media world, the mass and the individual are merely electronic extensions of each other. Perhaps this is the only last eventuality there is: the destiny of the disappearance of matter into anti-matter, of sex into the other sex, of the individual into the mass. Like matter, which saw itself split first into atoms, then into increasingly elusive particles -- in such a way that you sense there will never be a final, truly elementary stage of matter, any more than there will be a definitive reference stage of the human being. * * * It gradually dawns on you that you have only to look at the political and social world to see that it is made up of countless parallel, rigged careers, of speculation and crookery which is never denounced, of perfectly impenetrable insider deals, of mystifications we shall never see unmasked. Then there is nothing to rule out the paradoxical hypothesis that it is indeed our thought which governs the world, on condition that we first think that it is the world which thinks us. There is no social contract any longer: on the media screens, only the image-play-back functions. The political insurrection of people who no longer want to be represented, the silent insurrection of things which no longer want to signify anything. The contract of signification - that kind of social contract between things and their signs - itself seems broken, like the political contract, with the result that we find it increasingly hard to represent the world to ourselves and decipher its meaning. Things themselves rebel against decipherment - or perhaps we no longer wish to decipher them? Not only do people no longer want to be represented, they do not even want to be liberated. Money becomes the universal transcription of a world bereft of meaning. If you wanted to put a brake on the total extrapolation of the world into money, you would first have to eliminate the demand for meaning. We are thus torn between the imagining of meaning, the demand for truth, and the increasingly probably hypothesis that the world has no final truth, that it is a definitive illusion. Most current photographs merely reflect the objective misery of the human condition. But we forget that the image, too, disappears, overcome by reality. What is sacrificed in this operation is not so much the real as the image, which is dispossessed of its originality and doomed to a shameful complicity. It is a photography which attests not so much to the real as to a profound disavowal of its object, and also a disavowal of the image, which is assigned to represent what does not wish to be represented, assigned to commit a rape of the real. The image reveals not something moral or related to objective conditions, but that which remains indecipherable within each one of us; it is not of the order of reality but of the evil genius of reality, happy or otherwise.

unfortunately baudrillard only paints a world on a canvas, trapping himself within his perpetual contradiction without a way out.

A great book if you are newer to Baudrillard, especially if you have already read S&S, and are going a little further.

We live in a world dominated by simulated experiences and feelings, Jean Baudrillard believes, and have lost the capacity to comprehend reality as it actually exists.

  • English

  • Philosophy

  • Rating: 3.93
  • Pages: 152
  • Publish Date: December 17th 2001 by Verso
  • Isbn10: 1859843492
  • Isbn13: 9781859843499