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Mar 06, 2007



Bravo, Lisa! That's like 40 posts in one! Sad to see Baudrillard go, though I only knew him from his simulacrum, which persists...


"What do you all think?"

I think there's so many links in that text it's a little hard to read...


Mais il n'y a qu'une REALITE!

I posit that at the core there is no real boundary between the virtual and the real phenomenologies. Both are publicly accessible and both contain real social interactions, and real values,both create group histories, group/collective memories and so on and so forth. Both allow group creation of products, values etc... Both allow the corruption of everthing that can be created both within and out of the virtual. So your statement paraded as a question (rhetorical?): 'are we that opaque mass that happily accepts meaningless substitutes for meaning' There is as much 'meaning' in the virtual as in the 'real'. Note that the distinction real and virtual is purely technological: ie what sustains the phenomenas. Which ever way you look at it, even if reality is deconstructed, as has been done not only by the recent post modern left bank western philosophers,and by a whole series of really ancient asian philosophies e.g. advaita vedantism, buddhism, non-dualism etc... reality and virtuality are indeed on the same plane...no difference, both functionally and epistemologically. I have always been very surprised at the endless posts about 'hey what are you doing in the virtual world? Get a real life' I am still thinking why some people find 'reality' more meaningful than 'virtuality'

Ramesh Ramloll


The converse of "there is no truth" is that there aren't any lies, either. That assertion removes a kind of existential gravity, allowing the possibility for doing things differently (on multiple axes) and legitimizing the way we place context-dependent values on experiences.

On the other hand, it isn't binary - some things have more of the Baudrillard-nature than others, possibly because of the amount of inherent complexity and knock-on effects. So using the existence of a virtual world as a platform for marketing, for gold farming, for socializing, or for politicking is only morally or socially neutral if you're using the existence of one Potemkin village to argue that all of them are like that.


lol, yeah, I went a little nuts with the links.

@Ramesh - Yes, I agree wholeheartedly and I'm certainly being sort of rhetorical here, but that's because I'd normally be the first to dismiss Baudrillard's concerns as contrarian, cynical, dystopian, the-old-days-were-so-much-better stuff. In fact, I am typically very careful to use the terms physical and virtual rather than physical and real, because I personally believe that the virtual is sometimes more real than the physical, or can at least add dimensions to the experience that offer a more complete view of reality. And that's why I find these questions interesting - if I am having a relationship with my simulacrum that I perceive as being meaningful and real (whether the simulacrum does or not), then who's to say it's not? Yet we are prone to passing judgement based on what we subjectively perceive as real. For some, the interfaces to virtual worlds are too awkward for that to be a seamless experience and it therefore feels artificial and unreal. But for others, the interface is as transparent as that of our brains to our physical environments - and in those cases, yes, reality spans the physical and the virtual.

I actually like to think that we are becoming less of a mass as people filter out of the mainstream and into the long tail of the many, many communities and tribes that proliferate in virtual spaces. What I see is diversification, not homogenization. But Baudrillard's point goes even deeper than that into realms of meaning, semiotics and recursiveness that I don't entirely get. So I'm hoping someone will explain it to me. ;-)

And where, btw, does that scary D&G ad fit in all of this?


Ha. Just fixed my diacritics.


Excellent post, I liked that it had all those links, and it was a proper requiem.


interesting bullets, but you left out one -- a page full of links is now considered 'content'


Ah dunno, still sounds like a lot of “hype” in the hypereality. If the medium (VR, VW, MMO) is the message we’re currently experiencing all the trumped-up romance, doomsaying and propaganda that gets dragged along with ANY new thing. I believe your bullet points are mere diversions not disillusions. Then again I’m not embracing post-modernism.


Beautiful post Lisa!

In response to your question about the presence of simulacra perhaps negating “truth”, I will weigh in with Ramesh. Not to suggest that there is no reality, but I will suggest that Meaning is constructed based on our own experiential narratives and that the virtual versus real dichotomy is a false distinction in many ways.

I’m more of a fan of psychologist Jerome Bruner’s work when it comes to questions about meaning and reality. He highlighted what he believed to be one of the fundamental forms of human thought called “narrative thinking.” According the Bruner, the human mind tells stories to ourselves and to others, through which we construct meaning. We take our individual experiences and contextualize them in a larger narrative that makes sense of those experiences in a socially negotiated way. Thus the role that memory, belief systems, and experiences all play in our ongoing interpretations of reality. Authenticity is not some simple binary but something that is co-created in relation to experiences of the world in a social context.

I’ve always taken issue with Baudrillard’s notion of hyperreality as a technologically created reality somehow more exciting and interesting than banal reality. The most emotional, exciting experiences I’ve had are certainly not from the TV or video games and even those worlds and experiences crated in my own imagination outstrip virtual worlds. EEeeesh, I could go on about the role that “anthropomorphic” virtual worlds might play in our own sense of reality in video games but perhaps I’m ranging too far from this fine framing of Baudrillard’s questions ☺


Right on Jen. I agree that the virtual/real dichotomy is false, just as any pure computational closure is impossible and all systems bleed into one another, are inevitably dependent (in a very technical 100% sense). Forms/genres/things are simplifications of the vast information surrounding us and suit our narrative simulations.

There is a distinction between Baudrillard's reality and hyper-reality, but those are just two blips on a continuum of changing environment as witnessed from the mean human POV. It's all turtles upon turtles. What does the reality/hyper-reality continuum mean from the context of a multi-dimensional stack of interlaced simulations?


I'm waiting for the modern day philosophers to counter argue with "lol stfu its just a game!"


I've never thought that being skeptical of the real ought mean one negates it.

I *know* theres a real, I can see it, and it follows with my intuitions and calculations what form it might take.

But thats not really what baudrillard was talking about to be honest.

RIP big fella. Catch you in space.


yo im back and i have a new web cheak it out hommiez:


lol kool a page wgere u could put a coment on hectik bruhh dis shit is like fuckin bebo manim going now catch up wid da cool facts later on

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