Jean Baudrillard – thinking the virtual and the real, 77

French cultural theorist, sociologist, theorist of postmodernity, philosopher, Jean Baudrillard, died yesterday in Paris. He was 77. RIP.

One of the favourite professors, thinkers who built his philosophy centers on the twin concepts of “hyperreality” and “simulation”.

These terms refers to the virtual or unreal nature of contemporary culture in an age of mass communication and mass consumption. We live in a world dominated by simulated experience and feelings, Baudrillard believes, and have lost the capacity to comprehend reality as it really exists. We only experience prepared realities– edited war footage, meaningless acts of terrorism, the destruction of cultural values and the substitution of “referendum.” In Baudrillard’s words,

“The very definition of the real has become: that of which it is possible to give an equivalent reproduction. . . The real is not only what can be reproduced, but that which is always already reproduced: that is the hyperreal… which is entirely in simulation.”

Open Lecture given by Jean Baudrillard after his seminar for the students at the European Graduate School in 2004.


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