The shock of losing the meaning (on Baudrillard)

We live in a world that has become more real than ever before. A world filled with meaning, meaning that has been given to it by technological progress. We are enthralled in a world of media and a virtual reality that preludes it. Baudrillard sees reality as a simulation, a doubling that has nothing behind it. There is nothing that exists behind the meanings and the symbolism that we attribute it too. Language gives meaning to the world, it constructs our very reality. The symbolisms and the appearance that we give unto events or things is what constitutes their essence. Looking at events through an inhuman perspective, there exists nothing but action, there is no meaning, no symbolic order that can assign it a meaning, it does not exist in idea. Through a human lens an event starts to take on many attributes, through language it becomes a simulation of itself, covering the nothing that it is, instilling in it a meaning that is relative. This meaning does not exist, it is simulated by outside sources which are mediums of information.

The reality that exists has become so hyper-realized that events in real-time do not hold the same values as a past or future event. An eruption or outbreak penetrates through the veil of reality producing a shock.  How could this happen? why did this happen? this sudden lapse of meaning is what gives it the shock. The event happening in real time becomes too real than real (hyperreal), having no symbolic value it takes us right out of the reality that we are living in and places us right in the thick of a true reality with no meaning. This reality is very inhumane and it destroys the simulation of reality. It is only after the event, that it becomes simulated and is given meaning.

I would like to use pornography as an example for what Baudrillard means by the “hyperreal”. In pornography the scenes enacted are more real than “real”. They are pure fantasy, they give the acts symbolic value through a medium of information (video), this gives the acts more reality, there is meaning here. Sex in real life, the sensuous activity experienced  loses the meaning it had through hyperreality. It is very different because it is now more real than real, it has lost a meaning and it becomes shocking. The act is not what is expected, it takes you out of the semblances of reality and places you into a  “hard” reality. This is the same thing that happens when events that have been simulated through their appearances and imagery actually transpire in real-time. The meaning is gone, it’s lost. The very fact that the meaning is (for a short period) nonexistent signifies that the very meanings the events have are simulated by a power outside of itself, that brings it into our reality, that covers the nothingness inherent in our true reality, in the apathy of the world.

When Baudrillard says certain events have not actually happend what he means is that, the imagery and the ideological values that we assign to these events are not part of reality, they are part of a hypperreality that assigns it meaning. This is the simulation. We simulate the event through the symbolic order of language and affixing it the appearance of what it represents.

We are very stuck in this hyperreality (where things take on more reality), that actual events seem almost unreal compared to it. There is a dissonance here where one world permeates itself throughout all of life and another world at sudden times takes over through a “violent” act and changes the very fabric of what we know to be “reality”. This reality, this new reality, that is very different from any other historical period has fetishized life to the point it has disillusioned itself.


the artist’s painting (freeverse)

we live in the contrasts
right in the middle 
between two tides
sprawling the colors 
on the canvas 

a bluish hue 
golden yellows
the traces of my melancholy 

such wonder, such brightness 
these feelings 
they don't escape me
they hold a heavy gravity 
greys and blacks filled in,
in these contrasts
the artist paints the picture

a deep violet
vibrant reds
the traces of my happiness

for all of this 
i surrender 
to the life 
within the colors
and the tides 
of contrast

old men and wisdom (freeverse)

The youth live foolishly they say
they must look onto the wise ones
the old have all the answers
but what do they need your wisdom for
Old man
you’ve been a fool your whole life
it is only now
bones brittle,
hair grey,
strength lost,
passions gone,
cut off from experience
in boring leisure
you’ve escaped your foolishness and have grown wise
they should learn like you did
if they took your words to heart
they wouldn’t grow wise
they would be fools in old age
and this world holds no place
For old fools

the wheel (freeverse)

more for the wheel 
more souls
as it turns
set on fire, it burns
more momentum 
going faster and faster 
through the canvas of this life
creating and destroying as it sees fit
supplied by the fuel of millions
in constant motion 
paving the way

the flame gets brighter
it's hot and it's withering  
too much fire, it was not made for this 
we kept pushing it
engulfing everything in its heat
as it carves into the flesh of the earth 

overcome with the burden 
it will consume this world
in white hot embrace

your face is a home (freeverse)

your face is home
the contours of where i rest
outlines most familiar 
a shape i have taken  
this is home to me
i can explore it for a lifetime 
live there forever

as it gets older
what lies beneath 
still pure 
and the face
will always be a home

as i look into your eyes
i see a peace
take comfort within your gaze
as everything flows through nothingness
and i drift away 
there is so much here
ready for me
waiting for me

as i look around 
mouth and nose 
monuments of beauty 
i nestle myself there 
finally found my peace
have been longing for this
for a place to call home 

vessel for experience (freeverse)

everyones telling me i'm doing wrong
i need to fix myself
fix my problems
but as i am here
i am open to experience 
open to life and its offerings
problems will always come
and people are too serious 
think they'll be around forever 
i've accepted this shadow of death 
with it, i live freely 
i don't want to fix my problems 
i want them to destroy me
my problems make who i am
how else can i write?
if i'm not in the thick of all this 
how can i understand it all?
if i'm not the one living it 
i want life to flow through me
i want to live every life
take on every role 
a vessel for experience
is what i am 

collective madness (freeverse)

through an observers perspective 
seeing all of them and their interactions 
you would think they were all crazy 
here in this place
not a soul has maintained their sanity
seems to be like this in all places
a collective madness 

they destroy so much for nothing
carried away by strong currents of blinding emotion and drive 
a world run by a maelstrom of desires unattainable 
created from a source outside of the self 
perpetuating illusions
losing themselves for broken dreams
perverted visions bought from a life mutilated by fantasy
so many chained by insanity 
so much madness, it's normal 
whose really sane in a world like this? 
is it the ones that have broke away? 
that have withdrawn in their own worlds 
free from this one 
possessing total freedom

that's what "insanity" is- 
freedom from a collective insanity 
and into a private one 

it's in isolation insanity becomes a problem 
in a group, community, society, 
it's the only way to be normal