Sometimes I feel equal amounts of nostalgia and utter terror when I ponder how today truth is sacked, destroyed, replaced with nothingness and we just keep on keeping on as if nothing happened, as if someone told a really offensive joke, but you’re ignoring it in order not to create too tense a situation, and slowly but surely all those offensive jokes stack, creep up on you, and make you unsure whether or not they contained some kernel of truth. It’s moments like that when I have this cathartic instinct that, in fact, nothing is being eroded, there never was any truth to anything, that nothing of value is being lost, because all there ever was is beauty (or love, really, call it what you want) and we project all kinds of desires onto beauty, like being real, being true, being innocent, being pure, being absolutely unique, and just about anything imagineable. It’s these kind of ambiguities that keep my mind restless and always paranoid, on edge, it’s our thoughts that make us (sometimes deliberately) fall into trapholes in order for us to see, experience, the dungeon that is consciousness.
Reading Simulacra and Simulations has spooked me the fuck out. Constantly I am seeing new simulations inmy own life flash before my third eye. When you realize that certain narratives, ideas, indicators, models, shape the way you think, what way to retaliate is there? How do we even strike back? Or is it simply navel-gazing, wanting-to-see, wanting this book to be meaningful? Can’t you view practically everything through the lense of Simulacra and Simulation? Lately I’ve had an epiphany about porno, based on really just a short sentence, a snippet of an undeveloped idea. It develops, grows roots, until it is steadfast implanted in my mind. I can’t share it, precisely because it sent a shiver down my spine and revealed some things that I might not be ready to deal with.. yet:
The pleasure of an excess of meaning, when the bar of the sign falls below the usual waterline of meaning: the nonsignifier is exalted by the camera angle. There one sees what the real never was (but “as if you were there”), without the distance that gives us perspectival space and depth vision (but “more real than nature”). Pleasure in the microscopic simulation that allows the real to pass into the hyperreal. (This is also somewhat the case in porno, which is fascinating more on a metaphysical than on a sexual level.)
Get it? Well, you don’t have to. Half this book is indecypherable for a small light like moi. Oddly enough it feels like his ideas still stick, like one can suck all the meaning out of a passage without understanding half of it. Maybe that is his forte, too, to convey ideas not solely based on concise language, but based on something that goes beyond feelings, a sort of inherent understanding of concepts we have internalized subconsciously, but cannot explain with our conscious mind. Seldom has a book manage to both captivate and influence me. Still, I remain critical. Still, I re-read every passage, and sometimes declare them overtly wordy bullshit. Mental masturbation with no trajectory or body. It’s a conflicting read. You can be sure that in the future, there will be more Baudrilliard, hopefully next time it’ll be something substantial, an Essay perhaps, and not another directionless ramble.
I made two trips to southeast-asia in my life. One just after graduating, backpacking with my family, and one completely alone. They could not have been more different. While I did have a great time, there was something I noticed on my second, but not my first. There were so many Europeans, especially white males in their 20s or 30s however, who were obviously, blatantly looking for something they could not find. You could see the sadness in their eyes, you could hear the questions echo in their head, you could almost smell their insecurities and it seemed like, of course this is me projecting, but it really did seem like they were doing it to compensate. And it only worsened their situation.
It seems like the isolation hit them even harder than it did at home. None of them seemed particularly happy or excited. All the things going on around them, all that life, like some big ant hill that you poke, a stoic observer, seemed to only further their state of pupation. But it became most obvious when directly talking to other travellers. How they immedeatly identified my anxieties. How they, carefully and discretely, revealed theirs. But there was no connection though. Maybe there is some hobby you share, maybe some preference, maybe a past experience, but these people are utterly alien. Because we’re all so god damn self aware nowadays. Identifying their situation and realizing it mirrors your own hurts badly.
And this is coming from someone who loves travelling alone. It was a profoundly weird experience that I do not care to repeat. Whenever I was with the locals I lavished in the experience, the hospitality, their openness, their mood, their subtle, curious glances. Whenever I was with other Europeans, Americans, Australians.. especially ones my age, I felt more lonely than ever.