I’ve resurrected Baudrillard from the simulacrum of death in the latest addition to my serial novel, Part 6 of Nomad X. Staying true to the Baudrillardian enigma, I’ve “discovered” a long lost speech by him, rife with the usual polemics and “terroristic” language.
This coincides with this thought-provoking essay just published on C Theory. In Radical Being Rachel Ward examines Baudrillard’s essay Radical Thought, looking a to live with Baudrillard’s anti-dialectical approach, one that affords hope in the face of postmodernism:
Breaking the false dialectic of reality and illusion is not by defending reality. This was the failed strategy of the Enlightenment. Rather by betting on illusion, and its ultimate disappearance, the truth presents itself. Gravity for example, does not reveal itself through thought or descriptions. Only by releasing our human grasp on some thing and entering into the space of unknowing can an object fall and gravity be revealed. [...]
Baudrillard does not ask for a production of radical thought but that we allow radical truth as being. This implies that thought is not the end. We are already free of an outdated dialectic of reality and illusion and can live enigmatically with a truth that overdetermines both. This is not the end-game of illusion, which will always be interwoven with reality, but rather a possible end game of postmodenrity.
I think Kierkegaard already addressed this in Either/Or when he wrote about faith. I think “throwing yourself” into the enigma is really the key to understanding and coping with postmodernism, and perhaps what she means by Radical Being.
Anyway, this is all to say, despite a Kierkegaardian approach to Baudrillard’s thought, that we are still very much in the grips of postmodernism. Badiou wants out with the Event, the Truth of which transcends us, but he fails to convince me. Zizek talks about it when he laments a fractured left in the face of a (seemingly) monolithic right. But he’s still doing it ironically by invoking Stalin. At least I hope so. I’d rather take the “radical being” approach than espouse some Truth, left or right, and end up becoming something akin to the Tea Party or the neocons. For sure, that kind of Truth is a force to be reckoned with, but, as Baudrilard says: It’s about “Ciphering, not deciphering. [...] Accentuating the fake transparency of the world to spread a terroristic confusion, to spread the germs or viruses of a radical illusion, that is to say operating a radical disillusion of the real.”