Jean Baudrillard was a French social theorist who became known as a prophet of artificial reality. His most famous work, Simulacra and Simulation (1981), concerns the point at which representation loses connection with reality, and ultimately displaces it, trapping humanity in a synthetic world of copies of copies, images without originals, references without referents: a closed circuit of artificiality, where that word loses all meaning since it’s all there is. He defines the stages through which simulation must pass to arrive at our present moment, and projects a world which is neither real nor unreal, but hyperreal.
In his documentary series The Power of Nightmares: The Rise of the Politics of Fear (2004), Adam Curtis parallels the rise of militant Islam with the ‘neoconservative’ movement in America. Both movements, he argues, represent irrationalist reactions against secular democracy. The original neoconservatives, including Irving Kristol, Allan Bloom, and Paul Wolfowitz, came together as students […]
“One of the most profound stories in the world is really no more than an elaborate image: Plato’s Parable of the Cave (The Republic, Book VII). He conjures up the picture of a row of men, imprisoned in a cave, their gaze forcibly fixed in only one direction. Here on the wall in front of […]