Hyperreality In Three Stigmata Of Palmer Eldritch Cultural Studies Essay

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Since the political turmoil of the 1960s France to the global paranoia of the 1990s, Jean Baudrillard has had an enormous influence on critical theory, sociology, psychoanalysis, semiology and Marxism.

Baudrillard uses the principle that to argue that in our present 'global' society, where technological communication has created an excess propagation of meaning, meaning's self-referentiality has produced, not a McLuhan-esque 'global village', but instead a world where meaning has been eliminated, society is nothing but an opaque mass,and reality has declined into a self-referential cycle, dependant on signs of its existence.

Baudrillard was associated with Existentialist Satre, where he wrote a number of literary reviews for the journal " Les Temps Modernes", rather than adopting the existentialist philosophy, finding Satre's work boring, he had preferred the Marxist sociologist Henri Lefebvre's Critique of Everyday Life (1958) which focused on Marx's concept of alienation.

In Baudrillard's books, The System of Objects, For a Critique of the Political Economy of the Sign and The Consumer Society, he mainly applied structral semiotics to the work of Marx. Drawing from Barthes and Bataille, he argued that the classical economical studies of Adam Smith and the Marxist economics both agreed on the nature of 'use value' without question, but had tried to understand consumer society in opposing ways.

Baudrillard argued against this, by saying that an individual, when purchasing and consuming goods, places him or herself within a system of signs; The human subject is interpolated, perhaps eroded, in the 'seductive' play of objects.

Baudrillard eventually rejected the majority of Marxism outright (in The Mirror of Production and Symbolic Exchange and Death) however the opposition of the semiotic function logic and the logic of the symbolic realm continues in his work to the present day.

His theories claimed that reality no longer emitted signs that can reaffirm our existence, but rather signs are now a basis of systems and structures that form reality as a simulation. His order or simulacra documented the rapid increase in the dominant, circulation of signs, that inevitably replaced what is real, against the phase of more 'primitive' times when signs had a naïve, unproblematic symbolic order.

Hyperreality is the final stage in the precession of simulacra, and draws on Debord's Society of the Spectacle, where he claims that "All that once was directly lived has become a mere representation" (p.12 Society of the Spectacle YEAR, Guy Debord) this is where signs are the dominant language of the spectacle,but are deconstructed then reconstructed into a unified generalisation. Reality thus becomes an inversion of life, the 'spectacle' of society' is the false display of reality based on the belief that society offers nothing but an illusory composition of linguistics and images based on cultural and historical significance, as "all attention, all consciousness converges" (check debord) this puts the neccessary emphasis on that the spectacle is not constructed fromjust images,but rather the relationship between people, thus the spectacle needs people to function by mediating the images.

Modern western society has the predominant ideology based on capitalism, but with the main focus on the capitalist centralisation of value, which overloads a plethora of images, colour, and culture from around the globe which turns into an objective force localised into a collective consciousness "by monopolising all realms of existence" ( ) which completes the cycle of total simulacrum.

Western faith, as expressed in 3Stig, and as a reflection on reality, started to compromise on the representation of God. That a sign can relate to the depth of meaning, and instead of the "true" meaning, the product of this is just a sign. The guarantee of this exchange is the God. However, God himself can be simulated and reduced to a collection of signs that constitute different branches of faith, such as protestant and orthodox, that each have their own symbolic differences within their rituals. So this essentially means that the system of objective discourse creates a gigantic simulacrum, due to the constant cyclical exchange of images.

A good example of a place that is based almost entirely on simulacrum is America. Throughout history, it has subdued its native populace from North to South, then surpassed the previous population, which was mean to be an example of the success of civilization, but in fact it was '...one more step towards symbolic extermination' the overpopulation and overproduction of cultural signs encourages the language of the signs to override previos cultures of their reality and replaced by a copy of what the 'real' or 'true' was.

So simulation begins from the utopian ethic of 'the radical negation of the sign as value' which disregards every reference whilst simultaneously makes an inversion of the sign, as opposed to representation which relies on the principle that the 'real' and the sign are in equilibrium with each other. Representation attempts to negate any notion of simulation by interpreting it as false representation (Plato cave) whereas simulation absorbs the notion of representation as it becomes a simulacrum.

There are three main phases of the successive image; 'reflection of a basic reality' This is often associated with a structure of truth and secrecy which is represented by the dominant religion of christianity as it precedes the postmodern and modern world.

'masks and perverts a basic reality' which is associated with the transition into the post-cybernetic age, the machine age, in which differentations of reality and image are thrown into proliferation due to the introduction of mass production, commodities in novel.

'masks the absence of a basic reality' the postmodern age, simulacrum is the dominant objective force that blurs the distinction between the 'real and representation, there is only the simulacrum.

In The 3 Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch (will now be reffered to as 3Stig) the first order of simulacra

Dominated by counterfeits and false images. Fashion is born, competetion over signs succeeds statutory order, sign is freed, and refers not to obligation but to produced signifieds, meanings like wealth, status, prestige, most classes enter this sign exchange. Signs now take over all aspects of social practice/interaction and provide a schematic for it.

Eg Leo Bulero's head, the extensive use of E-Therapy causes Hnatt to get the same exclusive bourgeouis treatment upon his own brow, connotes wealth, intelligence, genetic superiority, and status.

Palmer's arm, eyes and teeth, labour, wealth

Modern society generates difference rather than creating relationships between members of society,

"is the simulator sick or not, given that he produces "true" symptoms? Objectively one cannot treat him as being either ill or not ill."

Is Eldritch a creator/god, as he can conjure what he wishes in his own realm of reality. Good or Evil? He is being neither, but subjectively is the by product of the industry/production. The physical manifestation of production. " A fragment of a man"

the simulacrum of divinity: "I forbade that there be any simulacra in the temples because the divinity that animates nature can never be represented."

Western faith, as expressed in 3Stig, and as a reflection on reality, started to compromise on the representation of God. That a sign can relate to the depth of meaning, and instead of the "true" meaning, the product of this is just a sign. The guarantee of this exchange is the God. However, God himself can be simulated and reduced to a collection of signs that constitute different branches of faith, such as protestant and orthodox, that each have their own symbolic differences within their rituals. So this essentially means that the system of objective discourse creates a gigantic simulacrum, due to the constant cyclical exchange of images.

http://hyperreality.alechosterman.com/articles/carmichael.pdf

Reality Status:

Signs are dominated by unbreakable and reciprocal symbolic order.

Simulation, and representation have many differences in their meanings, representation comes from the principle of the exchangeability of the sign and of the real, ( quote ) Simulation, comes from the Utopia of the principle of equivalence (explain), Representation attempts to absorb simulation by interpreting it as a false representation, simulation envelops the whole edifice of representation itself as a simulacrum.

Such would be the successive phases of the image:

it is the reflection of a profound reality;

it masks and denatures a profound reality;

it masks the absence of a esoteric reality;

it has no relation to any reality whatsoever;

it is its own pure simulacrum.

In the first case, the image is a good appearance - representation is of the sacramental order. In the second, it is an evil appearance - it is of the order of maleficence. In the third, it plays at being an appearance - it is of the order of sorcery. In the fourth, it is no longer of the order of appearances, but of simulation.

When the real is no longer what it was, nostalgia assumes its full meaning. There is a plethora of myths of origin and of signs of reality - a plethora of truth, of secondary objectivity, and authenticity. Escalation of the true, of lived experience, resurrection of the figurative where the object and substance have disappeared. Panic-stricken production of the real and of the referential, parallel to and greater than the panic of material production: this is how simulation appears in the phase that concerns us - a strategy of the real, of the neoreal and the hyperreal that everywhere is the double of a strategy of deterrence.

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