Baudrillard considers how human cloning—as well as the "cloning" of ideas and social identities—heralds an end to sex and death and the divagations of living by instituting a realm of the Same, beyond the struggles of individuation. In this day and age when everything can be cloned, simulated, programmed, and genetically and neurologically managed, humanity shows itself unable to brave its own diversity, preferring instead to regress to the pathological eternity of self-replicating cells. By reverting to our viral origins as sexless immortal beings, we are, ironically, fulfilling a death wish, putting an end to our own species as we know it.
Next, Baudrillard explores the "nonevent" that was and is the turn of the millennium. He provocatively puts forward the thesis that the arrival of the year 2000 could never take place because we could neither resolve nor leave behind our history, nor could we stop counting down toward our future. For Baudrillard, the millennial clock reading to the millionth of a second on its way to zero is the perfect symbol of our time: history decays rather than progresses. In closing, Baudrillard examines what he calls "the murder of the real" by the virtual. In a world of copies and clones in which everything can be made present in an instant by technology, we can no longer even speak of reality. Beyond Nietzsche's symbolic murder of God, our virtual world free of referents is in the process of exterminating reality, leaving no trace: "The corps(e) of the Real—if there is any—has not been recovered, is nowhere to be found."
Peppered with Baudrillard's signature counterintuitive moves, prophetic visions, and dark humor, The Vital Illusion exposes the contradictions that guide our contemporary culture and rule our lives.
„Die Konsumgesellschaft“ ist ein zentrales, im deutschen Sprachraum bisher kaum beachtetes Werk von Jean Baudrillard in deutscher Erstübersetzung.
- Douglas Kellner
"Perhaps Baudrillard's most widely admired text, or at least, as he himself once wryly observed, "the last book that inspired any confidence".... For anyone seeking a way into Baudrillard's highly inventive, uncompromising, and occasionally maddening oeuvre, Symbolic Exchange and Death is still one of the best places from which to start."
- Radical Philosophy
Jean Baudrillard is one of the most celebrated and most controversial of contemporary social theorists. This major work occupies a central place in the rethinking of the humanities and social sciences around the idea of postmodernism.
It leads the reader on an exhilarating tour encompassing the end of Marxism, the enchantment of fashion, symbolism about sex and the body, and the relations between economic exchange and death. Most significantly, the book represents Baudrillard's fullest elaboration of the concept of the three orders of the simulacra, defining the historical passage from production to reproduction to simulation.
A classic in its field, Symbolic Exchange and Death is a key source for the redefinition of contemporary social thought. Baudrillard's critical gaze appraises social theories as diverse as cybernetics, ethnography, psychoanalysis, feminism, Marxism, communications theory and semiotics.
Un essai sur la singularité donc, qui anime leur oeuvre et leur recherche à tous deux . Et qui détermine une certaine éthique aussi. Un texte passionnant et passionné aux prises avec les grandes mutations qui s'annoncent.