[iDC] Some thoughts on Jean Baudrillard

Christiane Robbins cpr at mindspring.com
Tue Mar 13 13:59:40 EDT 2007

Hey Trebor and IDC:

I have been observing the postings of the last week or so with  
somewhat of a morbid fascination.   I have to admit that this is my  
first online wake and it has left me with somewhat of a feeling of  
marked discomfort, as may be expected in any wake.   However, somehow  
I am bewildered.   The perhaps overdetermined irony of this simulated  
wake is appreciated - yet uncanny.

Somehow … and curiously …. one of Baudrillards’ earlier books, The  
System of Objects,  is striking a nerve right now as I follow these  
posts.  Within his category of the metafunctional, he extends his  
focus to the useless, the aberrant and the “schizofunctional.”

Within that broad context, I offer the following passage:

“  We may thus trace functional mythologies, born of technics itself,  
all the way to a sort of fatality in which the world-mastering  
technology seems to crystallize in the form of an inverse and  
threatening purpose.  At this point it behoves us to do two things.   
In the first place, we must reframe the problem of the fragility of  
objects, and of their defection; for although in the first instance  
objects present themselves to us as reassuring, as factors of  
equilibrium, albeit of a neurotic kind, they are also in the end a  
factor of continual disillusionment.  Secondly, we must challenge our  
society’s implicit assumption that a rationality of ends and means  
governs the sphere of production and the technological project itself.

The object’s dysfunctionality, its counter purpose, is governed by  
two parallel set of determinants:  a socio-economic system of  
production and a psychological system of projection.  It is the  
reciprocal involvement of these two systems, their collusion, that we  
need to define.”

Jean Baudrillard, The System of Objects, first published 1968, pg.  
123 – The Transformations of Technology.”

Perhaps it is now time for us to acknowledge our own conduit of  

All best,


Christiane Robbins

... the space between zero and one ...
Walter Benjamin


The present age prefers the sign to the thing signified, the copy to  
the original, fancy to reality, the appearance to the essence for in  
these days illusion only is sacred, truth profane.

Ludwig Feuerbach, 1804-1872,
German Philosopher

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