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 Baudrillard's now familiar investigations into reality and hyper-reality shift here into a more metaphysical frame. Working his way through the various spheres and systems of everyday life—the political, the juridical, the economical, the aesthetic, the biological, among others—he finds that they are all characterized by the same non-equivalence, and hence the same eccentricity. Literally, they have no meaning outside themselves and cannot be exchanged for anything. Politics is laden with signs and meanings, but seen from the outside it has no meaning. Schemes for genetic experimentation and investigation are becoming infinitely ramified, and the more ramified they become the more the crucial question is left unanswered: who rules over life, who rules over death?
Baudrillard's conclusion is that the true formula of contemporary nihilism lies here: the nihilism of value itself. This is our fate, and from this stem both the happiest and the most baleful consequences. This book might be said to be the exploration, first, of the 'fateful' consequences, and subsequently—by a poetic transference of situation—of the fortunate, happy consequences of impossible exchange.
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Singularity of the Phantasm
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absence absolute accursed share artificial intelligence automatic black market body chance cloning culture death drive definitive Demi Moore desire destiny dice disappearance double dream dual duality equivalent Eternal Eternal Return event everything Evil evolution existence fact fate fetishism final solution force freedom genetic hence Henrietta Lacks human hypothesis idea identity illusion immortal impossible exchange individual inhuman kind language Les Liaisons dangereuses liberation living coin living matter longer machines meaning merely mirror moral natural never object one's opposite original paradox parallel passion perversion phantasm photograph play poetic possible put an end rule Saul Bellow secret seduction sense servility sexual sexual fetishes simply simulacrum simulation single principle singularity social society species speculation sphere stage symbolic technical things thinking thought tion truth universe useless function utopia violence virtual reality wealth
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