"The need to speak, even if one has nothing to say, becomes more pressing whenone has nothing to say, just as the will to live becomes more urgent when life has lost itsmeaning."--from The Ecstasy of Communication
Firstpublished in France in 1987, The Ecstasy of Communication was Baudrillard'ssummarization of his work for a postdoctoral degree at the Sorbonne: a dense, poetically crystallineessay that boiled down two decades of radical, provocative theory into an aphoristically eloquentswan song to twentieth-century alienation. Baudrillard's quixotic effort to be recognized by theFrench intellectual establishment may have been doomed to failure, but this text immediately becamea pinnacle to his work, a mid-career assessment that looked both forward and back. By carefullydistilling the most radical elements of his previous books, Baudrillard constructed the skeleton keyto all of the work that was to come in the second half of his career, and set the scene for what hetermed the "obscene": a world in which alienation has been succeeded by ceaselesscommunication and information. The Ecstasy of Communication is a decisive,compact description of what it means to be "wired" in our braver-than-brave new world,where sexuality has been superseded by pornography, knowledge by information, hysteria byschizophrenia, subject by object, and violence by terror.
The Ecstasyof Communication is an anti-manifesto that confronted and dispensed with such influencesas Marshall McLuhan, Guy Debord, and Georges Bataille. It is an essential crib-book, lexicon, andcompanion piece to any and all of Baudrillard's books. Twenty-five years after its originalpublication, it remains not only a prescient portrait of our contemporary condition, but also a darkmirror into which we have not yet dared to look.