Simulations, Jean Baudrillard (1983)
Translated by Paul Foss, Paul Patton and Philip Beitchman
“The Precession of Simulacra,” pages 11-12
This would be the successive phases of the image:
-it is the reflection of a basic reality
-it masks and perverts a basic reality
-it masks the absence of a basic reality
-it bears no relation to any reality whatever: it is its own pure simulacrum.
In the first case, the image is a good appearance – the representation is of the order of sacrament. In the second, it is an evil appearance – of the order of malefice [evil enchantment]. In the third, it plays at being an appearance – it is of the order of sorcery. In the fourth, it is no longer in the order of appearance at all, but of simulation.
Baudrillard was harder to explain before our current political situation: now the first through fourth orders of the image (this is the “I m age” / ego) can be clearly discerned.
Imagine “We the People” as an image.
Is “We the People” a first order reality, one based on the constitutional representation ratio found in Article 1? Or is “We the People” a simulation of the usurpation and therefore a fake representation?
Perhaps the nativity scene is a useful image for understanding Baudrillard’s four orders. To begin with, to understand there is a baby Jesus missing, one has to know of the first order, of a complete Jesus nativity. Take Aspasia or Socrates, for example, individuals living 400 years before Jesus; they would have difficulty imagining the setting; even more difficult, meaning for the bottomless manger, absent baby Jesus and the third wise man represented as an ass. A Socrates might also see the angel more as a guiding spirit, a daemon, more than we allow ourselves to see directing signs and spirits.
Baudrillard also noted, to quote in paraphrase, that nostalgia assumes its full meaning when the real is no longer what it used to be.
We the People: to be or not to be first or fourth order? – To be constitutionally real or constitutionally fake?
The answer is on the horizon we call now.
*Next Up: Wednesday 19 July and a 2020: In High Spirits, a Seven-Twenty Preamble.
Posted by Bryan W. Brickner