Jean Baudrillard – Quotes

baudrillard-self[1]Baudrillard (27 July 1929 – 6 March 2007) was a French sociologist, philosopher, cultural theorist, political commentator, and photographer. His work is frequently associated with postmodernism and post-structuralism.

Quotes:

If you say, I love you, then you have already fallen in love with language, which is already a form of break up and infidelity.
Baudrillard, Jean.

Never resist a sentence you like, in which language takes its own pleasure and in which, after having abused it for so long, you are stupefied by its innocence.
Baudrillard, Jean.

At the heart of pornography is sexuality haunted by its own disappearance.
Baudrillard, Jean.

Americans may have no identity, but they do have wonderful teeth.
Baudrillard, Jean.

It only takes a politician believing in what he says for others to stop believing in him.
Baudrillard, Jean.

It is always the same: once you are liberated, you are forced to ask who you are.
Baudrillard, Jean.

There exists, between people in love, a kind of capital held by each. This is not just a stock of affects or pleasure, but also the possibility of playing double or quits with the share you hold in the other’s heart.
Baudrillard, Jean.

Cowardice and courage are never without a measure of affectation. Nor is love. Feelings are never true. They play with their mirrors.
Baudrillard, Jean.

The sad thing about artificial intelligence is that it lack artifice and therefore intelligence.
Baudrillard, Jean.

It must be an acting-out, and this acting-out must be that of the world itself.
Baudrillard, Jean. “Integral Reality.”in: Jean Baudrillard = Baudrillardiana. 2008. (English).

For reflecting is a matter of the subject, but thinking is not reflecting, it is making things disappear and transappear, and that makes the object : it makes the subject appear, disappear and transappear.
Baudrillard, Jean. “Integral Reality.”in: Jean Baudrillard = Baudrillardiana. 2008. (English).

For me, the photography, in its purest form, is a variant of the fable. Another way of saving the appearances – a way of signifying, through this fabulous capture, that this supposed “real” world is always about to loose its meaning and its reality, that it actually could do without meaning and reality (but we can hardly face this hypothesis, no more than that there might be nothing rather than something).
Baudrillard, Jean. “Integral Reality.”in: Jean Baudrillard = Baudrillardiana. 2008. (English).

For September 11th, the exhilarating images of a major event; in the other,the degrading images of something that is the opposite of an event, a nonevent of an obscene banality, the degradation, atrocious but banal, not only of the victims, but of the amateur scriptwriters of this parody of violence.
Baudrillard, Jean. “War Porn.” in: Journal of Visual Culture. Vol. 5, No. 1, pp. 86-88, 2006. (English).

These scenes are the illustration of a power which, reaching its extreme point, no longer knows what to do with itself – a power henceforth without aim, without purpose, without a plausible enemy, and in total impunity. It is only capable of inflicting gratuitous humiliation and, as one knows, violence inflicted on others is after all only an expression of the violence inflicted on oneself. It only manages to humiliate itself, degrade itself and go back on its own word in a sort of unremitting perversity. The ignominy, the vileness is the ultimate symptom of a power that no longer knows what to do with itself.
Baudrillard, Jean. “War Porn.” in: Journal of Visual Culture. Vol. 5, No. 1, pp. 86-88, 2006. (English).

In addition, due to their omnipresence, due to the prevailing rule of theworld of making everything visible, the images, our present-day images, have become substantially pornographic. Spontaneously, they embrace the pornographic face of the war.
Baudrillard, Jean. “War Porn.” in: Journal of Visual Culture. Vol. 5, No. 1, pp. 86-88, 2006. (English).

It is quite simply the name in virtue of which they have no fear of death. Here is the profound jealousy and the revenge of ‘zero death’ on those men who are not afraid – it is in that name that they are inflicted with something worse than death . . . . Radical shamelessness,the dishonor of nudity, the tearing of any veil. It is always the same problem of transparency: to tear off the veil of women or abuse men to make them appear more naked, more obscene. . . .
Baudrillard, Jean. “War Porn.” in: Journal of Visual Culture. Vol. 5, No. 1, pp. 86-88, 2006. (English).

It is the American way of life, which we think naive or culturally worthless, which will provide us with a complete graphic representation of the end of our values – which has vainly been prophesied in our own countries – on the grand scale that the geographical and mental dimensions of utopia can give to it.
Baudrillard, Jean. “Utopia Achieved: “How Can Anyone Be European?” in: Chris Turner (Translator). IJBS. Vol. 3, No. 2, July 2006. (English).

The US is more mysterious: the mystery of American reality exceeds our fictions and our interpretations.
Baudrillard, Jean. “Utopia Achieved: “How Can Anyone Be European?” in: Chris Turner (Translator). IJBS. Vol. 3, No. 2, July 2006. (English).

The fact is that a certain banality, a certain vulgarity which seem unacceptable to us in Europe seem more than acceptable – even fascinating – to us here. The fact is that all our analyses in terms of alienation, conformism, standardization, and dehumanization collapse of themselves: when we look at America it is the analyses which seem vulgar.
Baudrillard, Jean. “Utopia Achieved: “How Can Anyone Be European?” in: Chris Turner (Translator). IJBS. Vol. 3, No. 2, July 2006. (English).

But France, or Europe, no longer has the initiative. It no longer controls events, as it did for centuries, but is at the mercy of a succession of unforeseeable blow-backs.
Baudrillard, Jean. “The Pyres of Autumn.” in: New Left Review. Vol. 37, January-February 2006. (English).

The superiority of Western culture is sustained only by the desire of the rest of the world to join it. When there is the least sign of refusal, the slightest ebbing of that desire, the West loses its seductive appeal in its own eyes.
Baudrillard, Jean. “The Pyres of Autumn.” in: New Left Review. Vol. 37, January-February 2006. (English).

Of course, nothing will prevent our enlightened politicians and intellectuals from considering the autumn riots as minor incidents on the road to a democratic reconciliation of all cultures. Everything indicates that on the contrary, they are successive phases of a revolt whose end is not in sight.
Baudrillard, Jean. “The Pyres of Autumn.” in: New Left Review. Vol. 37, January-February 2006. (English).

The world has become so real that this reality is only bearable at the expense of perpetual denial. “This is not a world,” after “this is not a pipe,” Magritte’s surrealist denial of evidence itself – this double movement of, on one hand, the absolute and definite evidence of the world and, on the other hand, the radical denial of this evidence – dominates the trajectory of modern art, not only of art but also of all our deeper perceptions, of all our apprehensions of the world…The world is the way it is. Once transcendence is gone, things are nothing but what they are and, as they are, they are unbearable. They have lost every illusion and have become immediately and entirely real, shadowless, without commentary. At the same time this unsurpassable reality does not exist anymore. It has no reason to exist for it cannot be exchanged for anything. It has no exchange value.
Baudrillard, Jean. “Violence of the Virtual and Integral Reality.” in: Dr. Marilyn Lambert-Drache (Translator). IJBS. Volume 2, Number 2, July 2005. (English).

Even objective reality becomes a useless function, a kind of trash, the exchange and circulation of which has become more and more difficult We have moved past objective reality into something new, a kind of ultra reality that puts an end both to reality and to illusion.
Baudrillard, Jean. “Violence of the Virtual and Integral Reality.” in: Dr. Marilyn Lambert-Drache (Translator). IJBS. Volume 2, Number 2, July 2005. (English).

Any absence, any vacuum, any literalness in it – anything that prevents its meaning from being brought into focus – has been eliminated like the negative in a synthesized image. Such is the integral reality of language. It is also the death of the sign. Integral language does not contain any signs – the sign and its representation have disappeared. Now it is precisely when the sign and the real are no longer exchangeable that reality, now left alone and meaningless, veers off exponentially and proliferates infinitely. The death of the sign paves the way to integral reality.
Baudrillard, Jean. “Violence of the Virtual and Integral Reality.” in: Dr. Marilyn Lambert-Drache (Translator). IJBS. Volume 2, Number 2, July 2005. (English).

This automatic refraction of our thoughts affects us deeply in our own perception of the simplest and most natural world. Feedback seals everything by focusing on it, by automatically simulating it. In a way, feedback is the virus of our postmodernity.
Baudrillard, Jean. “Violence of the Virtual and Integral Reality.” in: Dr. Marilyn Lambert-Drache (Translator). IJBS. Volume 2, Number 2, July 2005. (English).

At this present stage of a networking of all functions – of the body, of time, of language – of a drip-feeding of all minds, the slightest event is a threat; even history is a threat.
Baudrillard, Jean. “Virtuality and Events: The Hell of Power.” in: Chris Turner (Translator). The Intelligence of Evil or the Lucidity Pact (Talking Images). Berg Publishers. November 15, 2005. Paperback, 208 pages, Language English, ISBN: 1845203348.

This is what “political” power comes down to today. It is no longer driven by any positive will; it is merely a negative power of deterrence, of public health, of security policing, immunity policing, prophylaxis.
Baudrillard, Jean. “Virtuality and Events: The Hell of Power.” in: Chris Turner (Translator). The Intelligence of Evil or the Lucidity Pact (Talking Images). Berg Publishers. November 15, 2005. Paperback, 208 pages, Language English, ISBN: 1845203348.

And this is, in fact, the truth of the situation: the fact is that, one way or another, populations themselves are a terrorist threat to the authorities. And it is the authorities themselves who, by repression, unwittingly set the seal on this complicity. The equivalence in repression shows that we are all potentially the hostages of the authorities.
Baudrillard, Jean. “Virtuality and Events: The Hell of Power.” in: Chris Turner (Translator). The Intelligence of Evil or the Lucidity Pact (Talking Images). Berg Publishers. November 15, 2005. Paperback, 208 pages, Language English, ISBN: 1845203348.

Such is “real time”, the time of communication, information and perpetual interaction: the finest deterrence-space of time and events. On the real-time screen, by way of simple digital manipulation, all possibilities are potentially realized – which puts an end to their possibility.
Baudrillard, Jean. “Virtuality and Events: The Hell of Power.” in: Chris Turner (Translator). The Intelligence of Evil or the Lucidity Pact (Talking Images). Berg Publishers. November 15, 2005. Paperback, 208 pages, Language English, ISBN: 1845203348.

Everything that comes close to its definitive formula or its absolute potency can only repeat itself indefinitely or produce a monstrous double — whether it be terrorism or clones.
Baudrillard, Jean. “The “Blowback” of Duality.” in: Chris Turner (Translator). The Intelligence of Evil or the Lucidity Pact (Talking Images). Berg Publishers. November 15, 2005. Paperback, 208 pages, Language English, ISBN: 1845203348.

But the moral law can do nothing against the rules of the game and the order of evil, which takes its revenge come what may.Everything turns around. And the virtual completion of the world, the perfect crime, the fantastic attempt to bring into being an integral world — that phantasm of total information paradoxically allows us to glimpse an even more fundamental form: that of its radical incompletion.
Baudrillard, Jean. “The “Blowback” of Duality.” in: Chris Turner (Translator). The Intelligence of Evil or the Lucidity Pact (Talking Images). Berg Publishers. November 15, 2005. Paperback, 208 pages, Language English, ISBN: 1845203348.

The ideal opposition between good and evil has been reduced to the ideological opposition between happiness and misfortune. The reduction of good to happiness is as baneful as that of evil to misfortune, but this latter is more interesting because it shows up our humanistic vision more distinctly, that vision which sees man as naturally good, and evil and misfortune as mere accidents.
Baudrillard, Jean. “Evil and Misfortune.” in: Chris Turner (Translator). The Intelligence of Evil or the Lucidity Pact (Talking Images). Berg Publishers. November 15, 2005. Paperback, 208 pages, Language English, ISBN: 1845203348.

Absolute depth knows neither good nor evil.Thus the intelligence of evil goes far beyond pessimism.
Baudrillard, Jean. “Evil and Misfortune.” in: Chris Turner (Translator). The Intelligence of Evil or the Lucidity Pact (Talking Images). Berg Publishers. November 15, 2005. Paperback, 208 pages, Language English, ISBN: 1845203348.

This retrospective compassion, this conversion of evil into misfortune, is the twentieth century’s finest industry.
Baudrillard, Jean. “Evil and Misfortune.” in: Chris Turner (Translator). The Intelligence of Evil or the Lucidity Pact (Talking Images). Berg Publishers. November 15, 2005. Paperback, 208 pages, Language English, ISBN: 1845203348.

From this point on, good and evil, which were still opposing powers, but linked to each other in transcendence, are to be dissociated for the purposes of a definitive realization of the world under the banner of happiness. In fact, this idea of happiness bears merely a distant relation to good. For if good is moral in essence, happiness — the performance of happiness — is in essence perfectly immoral.
Baudrillard, Jean. “Evil and Misfortune.” in: Chris Turner (Translator). The Intelligence of Evil or the Lucidity Pact (Talking Images). Berg Publishers. November 15, 2005. Paperback, 208 pages, Language English, ISBN: 1845203348.

There is no need to search for long: the event that opposes the nonevent of the war is September 11.The analysis must start with this will of cancellation, obliteration, and laundering of the original event, which makes this war ghostly, to some extent unimaginable since it does not have a final purpose, a necessity, or even of a true enemy (Saddam is only a puppet).
Baudrillard, Jean. “The Mask of War.” in: Alex Barder (Translator). “Les suicidés du spectacle.” in: Libération. July 16, 2003. (French).

But what is apparent through Saddam is an automatic deprogramming of all that could have taken place, a kind of disease prevention on a worldwide scale, not only of any crime, but also of any event that could disturb the hegemonic world order.This is an ablation of “evil” in all its forms, an ablation of the enemy who does not exist anymore as such (one exterminates it quite simply), an ablation of death: “Zero death” [Zero Mort] becomes the leitmotiv for universal safety.
Baudrillard, Jean. “The Mask of War.” in: Alex Barder (Translator). “Les suicidés du spectacle.” in: Libération. July 16, 2003. (French).

For me it’s useless to attempt to artificially perpetuate a system, because culture became a system of values, it’s no more an organic, symbolic organization of sociality, now it’s a system of market values, but of aesthetic values, not so much economic values. As a system of aesthetic values it is a very antinomic proposition, because culture perishes from this mixture of the symbolic and of values.
Baudrillard, Jean. “Between Difference and Singularity.” An open discussion with Jean Baudrillard. June 2002. (English).

Our reality has become experimental. Without destiny, modern man is left with an endless experimentation of himself.
Baudrillard, Jean. “Dust Breeding.” in: François Debrix. Ctheory. 2001. (English).

Sex is everywhere else to be found, but that’s not what people want. What people deeply desire is a spectacle of banality. This spectacle of banality is today’s true pornography and obscenity. It is the obscene spectacle of nullity (nullité), insignificance, and platitude.
Baudrillard, Jean. “Dust Breeding.” in: François Debrix. Ctheory. 2001. (English).

The public has become Big Brother. We are well beyond panopticism, beyond visibility as a source of power and control. It is no longer a matter of making things visible to the external eye. It is rather a question of making things transparent to themselves, through the diffusion of control into the masses, a mode of control which by the same token erases the marks of the system. Thus, the audience is involved in a gigantic exercise of negative counter-transference (contre-transfert), and this is once again where the dizzying attraction of this kind of spectacle comes from.
Baudrillard, Jean. “Dust Breeding.” in: François Debrix. Ctheory. 2001. (English).

The worst part of this obscene and indecent visibility is the forced enrollment, the automatic complicity of the spectator who has been blackmailed into participating.
Baudrillard, Jean. “Dust Breeding.” in: François Debrix. Ctheory. 2001. (English).

Under these conditions, an Afghan woman hidden behind a moucharabieh window or another woman covered with a metallic net on the cover of Elle present contrasting alternatives to the image of Catherine Millet’s wild virgin. It is the opposition between an excess of secrecy and an excess of indecency.
Baudrillard, Jean. “Dust Breeding.” in: François Debrix. Ctheory. 2001. (English).

The system is perhaps best decoded through its excesses, but it is the same system everywhere. Cruelty is the same everywhere. Going back to Duchamp, we can sum it all up as a case of “dust breeding.”
Baudrillard, Jean. “Dust Breeding.” in: François Debrix. Ctheory. 2001. (English).

Our conventional universe made of subject and object, means and ends, true and false, good and bad – all of these regulated oppositions no longer correspond to the state of our world. The normal dimensions of our so-called real world, in cluding the dimensions of time, space, determination, representation, and also of critical and reflexive thought, are all deceptive.
Baudrillard, Jean. “From Radical Incertitude, or Thought as Imposter.” in: Sylvere Lotringer and Sande Cohen. (Editors). French Theory in America. Routledge. 2001. p. 59-69. Paperback, Language English, ISBN: 0415925371.

It is up to us to entertain a radically different philosophical vision of this situation: the non metaphorical use of scientific concepts doesn’t carry with it an effect of truth because there is no longer a definition of this science just as there is no longer a definition of our real world.
Baudrillard, Jean. “From Radical Incertitude, or Thought as Imposter.” in: Sylvere Lotringer and Sande Cohen. (Editors). French Theory in America. Routledge. 2001. p. 59-69. Paperback, Language English, ISBN: 0415925371.

Henceforth it is no longer the human that conceives the world; it is the un-human that conceives us.
Baudrillard, Jean. “From Radical Incertitude, or Thought as Imposter.” in: Sylvere Lotringer and Sande Cohen. (Editors). French Theory in America. Routledge. 2001. p. 59-69. Paperback, Language English, ISBN: 0415925371.

So far, so good. One enters the critical zone only when this system breaks down – the critical zone of the critical mass, the depolarized zone where polar opposition and dialectics don’t operate anymore, where confusion and short cir cuit, the collision of every pole, open up on an exponential drift.
Baudrillard, Jean. “From Radical Incertitude, or Thought as Imposter.” in: Sylvere Lotringer and Sande Cohen. (Editors). French Theory in America. Routledge. 2001. p. 59-69. Paperback, Language English, ISBN: 0415925371.

So it goes. I want to make clear what it the illusion of architecture in a double contradictory sense is where the architecture creates an illusion and fooling themselves about something, and where it designs a new scenery, a new image of the city and the area , which grows beyond the architecture.
Baudrillard, Jean. “Excerpt.” of: Architektur: Wahrheit oder Radikalität? Literaturverlag Droschl. 1999. Paperback, 38 pages, Language German, ISBN: 385420518X.

The adventure of the architect is held in an almost real world. He is not like an artist in the traditional sense. He is not someone who thinks before a blank sheet or is working on an easel. He must produce within a specific time frame, with a specific budget and for certain people an object. He works with a team and is in a position to leave the name of security, the money of the profession censor directly or indirectly. How can he come to terms with it?
Baudrillard, Jean. “Excerpt.” of: Architektur: Wahrheit oder Radikalität? Literaturverlag Droschl. 1999. Paperback, 38 pages, Language German, ISBN: 385420518X.

But Smurfland was only a miniature universe. The Disney enterprise is much bigger. To illustrate, it should be known that Disney “Unlimited,” having taken over one of the major US television networks, is about to purchase 42nd Street in New York, the “hot” section of 42nd Street, to transform it into an erotic theme park, with the intention of changing hardly anything of the street itself. The idea would be simply to transform, in situ, one of the high centers of pornography into a branch of Disney World. Transforming the pornographers and the prostitutes, like the factory workers in Smurfland, into extras [figurants] in their own world, metamorphosed into identical figures, museumified, disneyfied. By the way, do you know how General Schwarzkopf, the great Gulf War strategist, celebrated his victory? He had a huge party at Disney World. These festivities in the palace of the imaginary were a worthy conclusion to such a virtual war.
Baudrillard, Jean. “Disneyworld Company.” in: François Debrix (Translator). Ctheory. March 27, 1996. (English).

Disney World and its tentacular extension is a generalized metastasis, a cloning of the world and of our mental universe, not in the imaginary but in a viral and virtual mode. We are no longer alienated and passive spectators but interactive extras [figurants interactifs]; we are the meek lyophilized members of this huge reality show.
Baudrillard, Jean. “Disneyworld Company.” in: François Debrix (Translator). Ctheory. March 27, 1996. (English).

 

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