Jean Baudrillard Impossible Exchange

ISBN 13: 9781859846476

Impossible Exchange

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Baudrillard's investigation into reality and hyper-reality shift here into a more metaphysical frame. Starting from an acute position, that the world has no equivalent, he works his way through the various spheres and systems of everyday life.

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"Everything starts out from impossible exchange. The uncertainty of the world lies in the fact that it has no equivalent anywhere; it cannot be exchanged for anything. The uncertainty of thought lies in the fact that it cannot be exchanged either for truth or for reality. Is it the thought which tips the world over into uncertainty, or the other way around? This in itself is part of the uncertainty."--

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'Everything starts our from impossible exchange. The uncertainty of the world lies in the fact that it has no equivalent anywhere; it cannot be exchanged for anything. The uncertainty of thought lies in the fact that it cannot be exchanged either for truth or for reality. Is it thought which tips the world over into uncertainty, or the other way around? This in itself is part of the uncertainty.'

Jean Baudrillard's now familiar investigations into reality and hyper-reality shift here into a more metaphysical frame. The world, he suggests, has no equivalence; no double, no representation, no mirro. Without a mirror, there can be no verification, and without verification, no 'reality'. Other spheres - economic, political, legal, biological, aesthetic - are all characterized by the same non-equivalence, and hence the same eccentricity. Literally, they have no meaning outside themselves and cannot be exchanged for anything. Politics is laden with signs and meanings, but seen from the outside it has no meaning. Schemes for genetic experimentation are becoming infinitely ramified, and the more ramified they become the more the crucial questions - Who rules over life? Who rules over death? - are left unanswered.

Any attempt to make the world meaningful in value terms, to endow it with meaning, runs up against the insuperable obstacle of the Impossible Exchange Barrier. And this, Baudrillard concludes, is where the true formula of contemporary nihilism lies: the nihilism of value itself. This is our fate, and from this stem both the happiest and the most baleful consequences. This book might be said to be the exploration, first, of the 'fateful' consuquences, and subsequently - by a poetic transference of situation - of the fortunate, happy consequences of impossible exchange.

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