the end


the end
  ---- by Richard G. Smith
  Baudrillard's oeuvre is replete with a 'rampant Endism', or 'inverted millenarianism', littered throughout with 'the end' of this, that or the other. The end is a recurrent motif throughout his theoretical writings: the 'end of Marxism' (MP), the 'end of production' (MP, SED), the 'end of the social' (SSM), the 'end of the media' (CPS, SSM), the 'end of music' (S, IE, CM, F, LP), the 'end of sex' (S), the 'end of political economy' (SED; TE), the 'end of power' (FF), the 'end of ideology' (SS), the 'end of science fiction' (SS), the 'end of the subject' (FS, WD), the 'end of the political' (GD), the 'end of war' (GW), the 'end of history' (IE), the 'end of art' (CA) and so on. Indeed, Baudrillard's corpus appears to exemplify Derrida's observation in 1984 that much recent philosophy has an apocalyptic or eschatological tone:
  Not only the end of this here but also and first of that there, the end of history, the end of the class struggle, the end of philosophy, the death of God, the end of religions, the end of Christianity and morals . . . the end of the subject, the end of man, the end of the West, the end of Oedipus, the end of the earth, Apocalypse Now, I tell you, in the cataclysm, the fire, the blood, the fundamental earthquake, the napalm descending from the sky by helicopters, like prostitutes, and also the end of literature, the end of painting, art as a thing of the past, the end of psychoanalysis, the end of the university, the end of phallocentrism and phallogocentrism, and I don't know what else. (Derrida, 1984: 21-2)
  However,itisimportanttorealisethatdespiteallhistalkofends,Baudrillard does not use the word end to mean termination or full stop. He does not think that the numerous topics he says have reached their end are ending or have ended: the media continues, science fiction continues, production continues, music continues and so on. That is to say that by the word end he really means simulacrum: the media continues as simulacrum, wars continue as simulacra and so on. In other words, we are caught in a moment when things are bereft of their substance: history is without history, war is without warfare, sex is without sex, art is without art and so on.
  Baudrillard rarely uses the terms postmodern/ism/ity in his body of writings (Gane, 1990) precisely because all his works are concerned with modernity, or rather with the 'end of modernity'. Thus the important point is that the multiplicity of ends scattered throughout Baudrillard's writings are all a part of modernity coming to an end (not a new postmodern beginning). In other words, Baudrillard's conceptualisation of the end belongs to a logic of dynamism and repetition:
  Modernity is not a dialectic of history: it is the eventness, the permanent play of the present moment, the universality of news blurbs through the media . . . Modernity is not the transmutation of all values, it is the destruction of all former values without surpassing them, it is the ambiguity of all values under the sign of a generalized combinatory. There is no longer either good or evil, but we are not for all that 'beyond good and evil'. (Baudrillard, 1987: 71)
  All the topics Baudrillard identifies as having 'ended' or 'vanished' history, Marxism, music, war, political economy and so on - have done so because, within the model of modernity, they are simulations. In other words, nothing changes, all there is in the end is repetition in advance, endless recycling, an immanent unfolding in a closed space where everything becomes equivalent and idealised as signs in a code: 'Modernity, having inaugurated rupture and discontinuity, is now closed into a new cycle. It has lost the ideological drive of reason and progress, and confounds itself more and more with the formal play of change' (Baudrillard, 1987: 72). In other words, all of Baudrillard's ends are trapped in the hyper-real: a space with nothing beyond it, folded into an exterior (not an 'outside'), beyond transcendence and dialectical negation.
  Passwords
   § code
   § Gulf War
   § hysteresis
   § modernity
   § music

The Baudrillard dictionary. . 2015.

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