I think Baudrillard can't be read so simply. It does seem he believes the media account of planes hitting buildings - but it doesn't seem he thinks it is what it purports to be. Keep in mind here that Baudrillard called the Gulf War a "hoax" but he didn't think no planes dropped bombs, or that nobody was killed - he thought it wasn't really a war. It was a non-event, in the sense that nothing changed.whatsgoingon wrote:It is so odd that Baudrillard's philosophy was dead nuts correct about simulation in the modern era, and the book Simulacra and Simulation was then used as a prop in The Matrix, which is the ultimate movie of a simulation, and yet, this philosopher was so easily drawn to the notion that 9/11 was real. Wonder how much money he took to say that?
He calls 9/11 an "absolute event" in contrast to a "non-event" because unlike the non-event, it did create change.
He also drops quite a few hints about what he thinks. Take this part for instance:
Moral condemnation and the sacred union against terrorism are equal to the prodigious jubilation engendered by witnessing this global superpower being destroyed; better, by seeing it more or less self-destroying, even suiciding spectacularly. Though it is (this superpower) that has, through its unbearable power, engendered all that violence brewing around the world, and therefore this terrorist imagination which -- unknowingly -- inhabits us all.
That we have dreamed of this event, that everybody without exception has dreamt of it, because everybody must dream of the destruction of any power hegemonic to that degree, - this is unacceptable for Western moral conscience, but it is still a fact, and one which is justly measured by the pathetic violence of all those discourses which attempt to erase it.
It is almost they who did it, but we who wanted it. If one does not take that into account, the event lost all symbolic dimension to become a pure accident, an act purely arbitrary, the murderous fantasy of a few fanatics, who would need only to be suppressed. But we know very well that this is not so. Thus all those delirious, counter-phobic exorcisms: because evil is there, everywhere as an obscure object of desire. Without this deep complicity, the event would not have had such repercussions, and without doubt, terrorists know that in their symbolic strategy they can count on this unavowable complicity.
I think that last sentence is pretty important. In context, he's talking about the perpetrators counting on the complicity of the public in their "symbolic strategy."
This goes much further than hatred for the dominant global power from the disinherited and the exploited, those who fell on the wrong side of global order. That malignant desire is in the very heart of those who share (this order's) benefits. An allergy to all definitive order, to all definitive power is happily universal, and the two towers of the World Trade Center embodied perfectly, in their very double-ness (literally twin-ness), this definitive order.
No need for a death wish or desire for self-destruction, not even for perverse effects. It is very logically, and inexorably, that the (literally: "rise to power of power") exacerbates a will to destroy it. And power is complicit with its own destruction. When the two towers collapsed, one could feel that they answered the suicide of the kamikazes by their own suicide. It has been said: "God cannot declare war on Itself". Well, It can. The West, in its God-like position (of divine power, and absolute moral legitimacy) becomes suicidal, and declares war on itself.
I haven't read through the whole thing, but it looks like he's dropping a lot of blatant hints there. He was just a person like you or me, keep in mind, and I don't think he was impossible to fool. He was also subject to the same pressures to conform and the same threats of humiliation (very public humiliation in his case), and in fact he'd been defending himself against accusations of "anti-realism" for years.
Maybe he had special knowledge - or maybe he got a whiff of something stinky but he couldn't yet understand that maybe there weren't any hijackers. His belief in the Gulf War as a simulation and a hoax isn't literal; it's in the meaning of it. Nevertheless he does seem to be talking a lot about complicity, mentions a self-attack or suicide repeatedly, and says that the desire to destroy the 'dominant global power' is not just in the heart of the 'disinherited and exploited', but the elites who benefit the most from it.
But he is a philosopher and not one like Karl Popper, who was using philosophy to develop rigorous new empirical methods for use in science. He was more the sort of philosopher that talks out of his rear end often, and uses clever semantics to make simple ideas look more clever and mysterious than they really are. My own take, though admittedly I haven't read the whole thing right through, is that he was just an average spectator like the rest of us, and he was getting the same mixed impressions, hadn't yet clued in to the possibility of it being a *true* hoax rather than his Gulf War sort of hoax, and he was just regurgitating his mixed impressions.
Well, it was totally different than anything that had happened before in the West - but it was old hat in the Near East. In the West, ideas about right and wrong and moral behaviour and all that didn't, for the most part, come from religion - although it wasn't absent either, it was contained in philosophy.nonhocapito wrote:That's just one part of the story. The difference among the two is or at least was enormous. Christianity was a living religion that, for better or worse, furnished moral values and ethics for most of human experience.
I know that nobody wants to hear this today, but Christianity was radically different from any previous religion, and certainly even more from the ancient myths.
The attitude towards victims and sacrifice, mainly; a certain idea of right and wrong, a theoretical drive towards the overcoming of social injustice and hierarchies.
But in the Near East, the idea of religion furnishing moral codes, legitimizing law, and defining right and wrong had been a feature of all the religions of the area for as long as civilization had existed there - and that's still true to some degree. The law was sacred (the idea of secular law, like secular morality, comes from the West, and it's a cultural divide that exists to this day) and it was handed down from and approved by the gods. If you read a translation of Hammurabi's Code, you quickly see it's not like any legal document you'd see today: it's a religious text, and begins with a lot of talk about the gods and righteousness and destroying the evil-doers and "bringing about the well-being of the oppressed" and the gods having summoned Hammurabi and handed him the code, "so that the strong should not harm the weak"