Analysis of Baudrillard’s Philosophy

Baudrillard is a postmodern, post-structural philosopher known for his unique contributions to the world. His contextualizing concepts rule many concepts like technology, fuzzy logic, functionality, hyper-functionality, end of the symbolic, hypermarket, simulacra and simulation.

Most notable is Baudrillard’s reading into technology. Technology in the postmodern world is structured on the grand narratives of opposition and contrast. There is a debate going on in the world whether should resort to eco-farming or farming with genetically engineered seeds. The environmentalists and the technologists are on warpath with each other. Does technology invade the privacy of the self? Yes, in a way it does. Cyber firms like Google and Yahoo collect personal information and pass it on to generate advertisements. In a technological society we are not free from surveillance. There are also positive impacts of technology like the spread of social media and its use by individuals. Twitter, Facebook and blogs like WordPress and Blogger help to generate public opinion and they also help to report news that has been ignored by the mainstream media.

For Baudrillard there are three levels of simulation and they are the first, second and the third. The first level of simulation is an obvious copy of reality. This can be exemplified by the reporting of news on current events like for example: the coup d’ etat in Zimbabwe. The second level of simulation blurs the boundary between reality and representation. An example that could be used is a model depicting the structure of the DNA model. The third type of reality is the one that is produced in virtual space. To illustrate with an example: let us take the Blue Whale game, a virtual game that leads teenagers into suicide. Another example: would be the editorial comment in a newspaper. For Baudrillard all these simulations work together to create a hyper-technological society.

Next concept used by Baudrillard is fuzzy logic. This could be explained with an example; for example air-conditioning in cars can be set up to function in an auto-mode. Pilots can set flight patterns into an auto-driven mode. These are examples of fuzzy logic. Another example would be war simulated games operated with a computer.
The next concept used by Baudrillard is hyper-functionality. A classic example of hyper-functionality is hypermarkets. In a hypermarket we get to buy all sorts of consumer goods. Today’s postmodern societies are fond of using gizmos. A gizmo is a technological construct made to provide pleasure and utility to consumers.
The next concept used by Baudrillard is the end of the symbolic. I would like to disagree with Baudrillard. As an example I would like to use language. Language is a symbolic construct of signs and signs are made up of the signifier and the signified. A signified is an abstract idea and a signifier is a concrete sensible thing and belongs to the sensate realm. Editorials of a newspaper are symbolic as they belong to the realm of ideas. All our communication through the process of using language is symbolic.
The next concept used by Baudrillard is the simulacra. A simulacra is defined as an original for which no copies exist. An example would be that of the media giving an opinion on current affairs. Depending on whether the media is right or left opinions as a simulacra would vary.

Analysis of the Plumed Serpent by D H Lawrence

D H Lawrence belongs to the fin de siècle era and is noted for his masterpiece Lady Chatterley’s Lover. D H Lawrence is a novelist who has abandoned Christian motifs and had sought refuge in pagan customs. The plumed serpent is a leitmotif of the Mexican God Quetzalcoatl.

In this novel the protagonist is an Irish Lady named Kate who is a widow. She finds the culture of Mexico to be pathetic, cruel and dismal. The novel begins with Kate visiting a Bull Fight. She become so repulsive about the cruelty entrenched in the bullfight. She is introduced to Don Raimon and General Cipriano, both eminent political figures of Mexico.

As the novel progresses we find Kate becoming more and more fascinated with the culture of Mexico. Lawrence digresses into a pagan explanation and deification of God Quetzalcoatl. Quetzalcoatl is a God of the Mexicans who is a fiery serpent. Slowly Kate departs from her Christian faith and embraces pagan Mexican traditions.
Lawrence delves into the culture of Mexico with its impoverished peasants and its rich landed aristocracy. Kate a widow becomes charmed by Don Raimon and General Cipriano. Kate is portrayed as a nymphomaniac with a dying passion for men. The violence and yet the charming persona of Mexican men make Kate into cathartic Goddess of sensual pleasures. Kate finally marries general Cipriano. Kate makes Mexico her habitation.

The novel has been read with enthusiasm and one cannot praise the novel too highly as an aesthetic work of art. The novel does not have the rudiments of a story and does not follow a chronological order. The novel uses minimal amount of figures of speech. One is not fascinated by its beauty of language. Lawrence’s fascination for the pagan Mexican God Quetzalcoatl is pathological one and is quite narcissistic with the fetish of pseudo counter culture. Quetzalcoatl can be identified with Greek pagan Gods the like Bacchus who is a master of orgies and drunkenness. In the novel there are very little references of a political culture. May be Lawrence is trying to follow the Nietzsche’s dictum of art: that being the merger of the Dionysian beat and rhythm with the Apollonian harmony and melody. There is very little evocation of pathos in the novel. The novel has no philosophical roots. The novel is glorification of pagan vices. The novel tries to fuse the culture of Mexico with that of the Western roots and Lawrence has failed miserably at this effort. The novel is too traditional and cannot be categorized as the modern. After reading the Plumed Serpent, I feel disappointed.