The Precession of Simulacra

"The simulacrum is never what hides the truth - it is the truth that hides the fact that there is none. The simulacrum is true"
- Ecclesiastes

webwork of Adrian Pajarillo 052506

What is real? What is not?


The reading of John Baudrillard in "The Precession of Simulacra" came from his book "Simulacra and Simulation" which deals with signs and symbols and these things replace the meaning of reality itself. The article discusses on how simulation has become more real than reality itself. The article is somewhat confusing as are all post-modern works. But what really intrigued me was the fact that even though we go through life and try to put meaning into it, reality itself has lost its meaning. Simulation is dominating our society.


This domination on reality can be quite clearly seen in the movie The Matrix, wherein most of humanity is living in the simulation itself. It is also amusing that in the movie itself, there are some references to Baudrillard and his book "Simulacra and Simulation." The movie itself is about an alternate reality, and life as Neo had known it was just a simulation of what was real.

But what can we say is real or not? These thoughts have often come to me and to be honest, i don't know how to answer them. Reading Baudrillard made it somewhat clearer, if at all possible, but just like in the context of The Matrix, can we honestly answer ourselves? I have looked at the mirror and have always thought that there must be something else out there, that this life was just a farce. Maybe there is a red pill out there that would wake me up from the madness of this life.

But in this movie, all we can do is sit and watch as the story unfolds. Yes, it tells the story that the World is just a simulation. Yet according to Baudrillard himself, The Matrix just misunderstood him. According to Baudrillard, we are already trapped in a world of simulation. Trapped may be too strong a word, yet his words have a ring of pessimism to it that seems like that the simulation will just go on forever. The Matrix divulges from Baudrillard at this point since there is an offered escape from this simulataion, a chance for the real you may say.


Apart from the Matrix, in a watered down version you may say, games offer another kind of simulation.

RPG's (Role Playing Games) are one form of games that simulates a totally new world inside a monitor. This is an exemplification of how the simulation itself has departed from reality. Being immersed in an entirely different world, pretending to be the hero of the story accomplishing your mission. Another more drastic form of these RPG's are the MMORPG's (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games) wherein players are immersed in another world. It goes the same way as regular one-player RPG's but the big difference is that there is social interaction. This is one reason that makes these games so addicting. A simulation of life within the internet. There is also actually an Anime called .hack//sign that deals with a boy being trapped in these virtual reality. He was trapped within this simulation forcing him to live his "life" in this virtual world.

Other than RPG's, there are also simulation games like "Black and White," "The Sims" and "Rock Band." These forms of entertainment make the player totally immersed in the game pretending to be god lording over the people that worship you while raising your creature, pretending to be living as another person going through one's daily routines, and pretending to be a rock star singing your lungs out or head banging while on the drums. These simulations have departed from reality, creating their own world within the sphere of gaming.
These games themselves bring about another culture of simulation in the form of cosplay. Pretending to be the hero or character in the game itself is not enough for some so they resort to dressing up as them. They create another simulation from a simulation into reality.

And yet, when we look at it, this is the work of capitalism and the advancements of technology. Everything is pretend, nothing is real anymore. The real are relegated to become relics while the simulation is praised beyond the basis of reality.

Jean Baudrillard "The Precession of Simulacra"
Seyda Ozturk "Simulation Reloaded"
Richard Hanley "Simulacra and Simulation: Baudrillard and The Matrix"
Jon Dovey and Helen W. Kennedy "Game Cultures: Computer Games as New Media"

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