August 03, 2010

Quick note on Bataille and Baudrillard

I tend to read Baudrillard's "Hyperreality" in the strong sense; that is, that our reality is a state of total simulation. I don't necessarily think that this is true, but that it is the most fruitful way to take in Baudrillard's insights. Anyway, I had this idea related to "reversibility" as discussed in an earlier post. This little thought that I wanted not to forget was something like, "if our reality resists a reversal from Real to Hyperreal, then it is probably because totality of simulation is staved off by an efficient 'expenditure without return' in Bataille's sense". My recollection of Bataille is somewhat spotty, so don't hold it against me.

Bataille talks about systems with a finite growth threshold and an infinite, or excessive, means for growth. The earth is such a system, with the sun providing an energy source that outstrips the earths capacity to house the production predicated on this energy. Other examples are the capitalist economy, symbolic economies of all kinds, and so on. One way or another the system will "blow off some steam", either catastrophically when the capacity is reached, or strategically (though this need not be conscious) through expenditure without return. War, sacrifice, and even luxury are examples of ways to let off some of the pressure.

We throw money into Bentley's and jewels and whatnot in order, among other reasons, to stave off catastrophe. This is our expenditure without return. We're damn good at it too. This would be one reason why ours is not a hyper-reality, if in fact it is not: we're good at avoiding the limit points of systems of which we are a part. There is no reason to believe that ideological systems should be any different, though a more in-depth analysis ought to be undertaken for this to me more than a passing connection of ideas.

ADDENDUM: An example of sacrifice in our culture today.

No comments:

Post a Comment