drugs

drugs
  ---- by Richard G. Smith
  According to Baudrillard, a 'perverse' logic (SC, 97) drives consumer societies. A logic that fuels, not just the use and abuse of drugs, but also the growth of other phenomena: terrorism, violence, depression, fascism and so forth. These phenomena are all, says Baudrillard, the product or outcome of 'an excess of organization, regulation and rationalization within a system' (SC, 97). In other words, those societies which are defined and 'saturated' by their system of consumption tend to suffer from an excess of systemic rationalisation (logic and rationality, surveillance and control), which perversely leads to the emergence - for no apparent reason - of 'internal pathologies', 'strange dysfunctions', 'unforeseeable, incurable accidents', 'anomalies' (SC, 97), which disrupt the system's capacity for totality, perfection and reality invention.
  It is the logic of an excessive system to fuel the growth of anomalies, which along with AIDS and cancer are pathologies in that they have not come from elsewhere, from 'outside' or from afar, but are rather a product of the 'over-protection' of the body - be it social or individual. The system's overcapacity to protect, normalise and integrate is evidenced everywhere: natural immunity is replaced by systems of artificial immunity - 'hygienic, chemical, medical, social and psychological prosthetics' (SC, 98) - in the name of science and progress.
  In Philip K. Dick's (1977) novel A Scanner Darkly the use of a highly addictive illegal drug, Substance D., has reached epidemic proportions across California's Orange County. The lead character Brian Arctor is both an undercover police officer (Agent Fred) and a Substance D. addict, a narcotic he began to take to 'feel good' and escape the monotony of his daily life (nuclear family, suburban house and so on) in a consumptiondriven authoritarian society of surveillance. However, Baudrillard risks a more shocking and obverse interpretation of such 'escapist' drug-use, namely that it is a defence by dependents against the 'syndrome of immunodeficiency' (SC, 99) endemic to consumer societies: a 'vital, symbolic reaction - though an apparently desperate and suicidal one - to something even worse' (SC, 99). Thus Baudrillard posits a significance to drug addiction that exposes a paradox at the heart of the issue of substance abuse in modern consumer societies: 'It is society which produces this perverse effect and society which condemns it. If it is not going to stop producing the effect, then it should at least stop cursing it' (SC, 101).
  Passwords
   § excess
   § terrorism

The Baudrillard dictionary. . 2015.

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