Jean Baudrillard

Impossible Exchange

"Does the world have to have a meaning...? That is the real problem. If we could accept this meaninglessness of the world, then we could play with forms, appearances and our impulses, without worrying about their ultimate destination. If there were not this demand for the world to have a meaning, there would be no reason to find a general equivalent for it in money. As Cioran says, we are not failures until we believe life has a meaning -- and from that point on we are all failures, because it hasn't. And it is, in fact, because this fetishized money is expressive of a pure and simple absence that it becomes speculative, exponential, itself doomed to crashes and sudden wild swings."


"Anorexic culture: a culture of disgust, of expulsion, of anthropoemia, of rejection. Characteristic of a period of obesity, saturation, overabundance. The anorexic prefigures this culture in rather a poetic fashion by trying to keep it at bay. He refuses lack. He says: I lack nothing, therefore I shall not eat. With the overweight person, it is the opposite: he refuses fullness, repletion. He says: I lack everything, so I will eat anything at all. The anorexic staves off lack by emptiness, the overweight person staves off fullness by excess. Both are homeopathic final solutions, solutions by extermination. The jogger has yet another solution. In a sense, he spews himself out; he doesn't merely expend his energy in his running, he vomits it. He has to attain the ecstasy of fatigue, the 'high' of mechanical annihilation, just as the anorexic aims for the 'high' of organic annihilation, the ecstasy of the empty body and the obese individual seeks the high of dimensional annihilation: the ecstasy of the full body."

The Consumer Society

"There is all around us today a kind of fantastic conspicuousness of consumption and abundance, constituted by the multiplication of objects, services and material goods, and this represents something of a fundamental mutation in the ecology of the human species. Strictly speaking, the humans of the age of affluence are surrounded not so much by other human beings, as they were in all previous ages, but by objects. Their daily dealings are now not so much with their fellow men, but rather -- on a rising statistical curve -- with the reception and manipulation of goods and messages."


"No one keeps count of the mistakes made by the world's political leaders any more, mistakes which, in days gone by, would have brought about their downfall; no one much minds these now within our present system of simulation of government and of consensus through indifference. The people no longer take pride in their leaders and the leaders no longer pride themselves on their decisions. The tiniest bit of window-dressing is all that is needed to restore market confidence."

Cool Memories

"Perhaps our eyes are merely a blank film which is taken from us after our deaths to be developed elsewhere and screened as our life story in some infernal cinema or dispatched as microfilm into the sidereal void."

Simulacra And Simulation

"Power (or what takes its place) no longer believes in the university. It knows fundamentally that it is only a zone for the shelter and surveillance of a whole class of a certain will find its elite elsewhere, or by other means. Diplomas are worthless: why would it refuse to award them, in any case it is ready to award them to everybody..."

Simulacra And Simulation

"People no longer look at each other, but there are institutes for that. They no longer touch each other, but there is contactotherapy. They no longer walk, but they go jogging..."

Cool Memories

"With the truth, you need to get rid of it as soon as possible and pass it on to someone else. As with illness, this is the only way to be cured of it. The person who keeps truth in his hands has lost."

Carnival and Cannibal

"In fact, the Subject is dying out. The subject that is an agency of will, freedom and representation, the Subject of power, knowledge and history is vanishing, giving way to a diffuse, floating, insubstantial subjectivity that is an immense reverberation surface for a disembodied, empty consciousness. As a result, everything now radiates out from an objectless subjectivity, with each monad and molecule caught in the trap of a definitive narcissism, a perpetual image-playback."

Simulacra And Simulation

"Are the mass media on the side of power in the manipulation of the masses, or are they on the side of the masses in the liquidation of meaning, in the violence perpetrated on meaning, and in fascination? Is it the media that induce fascination in the masses, or is it the masses who direct the media into the spectacle?"

Cool Memories (Part 4)

"‘People of good taste leave it to the common herd to think, and to think wrongly’ (Crebillon). That same aristocratic position is today occupied by the common herd, who leave it to the politicians to govern us, and govern us badly. The mediocre have turned the tables."