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Re: <eyebeam><blast> Astronomical Hindsight

Martin Jay wrote:

'In one of his key texts, Fatal Strategies of l983, Baudrillard
introduces precisely the speed of light as a metaphor to explain what he
describes as the progressive attentuation of meaning in the contemporary
world. "Somewhere a gravitational effect causes the light of event(s),
the light that transports meaning beyond the event itself, the carrier
of messages, to slow down to a halt;" he writes, "like the light of
politics and history that we now so weakly perceive, or the light of
celestial bodies we now only receive as faint simulacra."'

'Baudrillard's grasp of 20th-century physics may be faulty, as he misses
the implication of Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity, which has
since been experimentally confirmed. Light itself, the theory argues, is
an absolute constant that cannot be accelerated or decelerated, although
paradoxically space and time can be understood as relative. Because
light, unlike other waves such as sound, is able to travel in a total
vacuum unaffected by the medium through which it moves--such as the
"ether" whose existence modern physics has disproved--and the speed and
directional movement of its observer do not effect its velocity, it is
strictly speaking wrong to speak of the "slowing down" of light.'

With Baudrillard, metaphor has ceased to exist. From the impulse to the
phantasm to the simulacra, the joke of representation lies in ruins in
our childhood closet.

Actually, Baudrillard may be surprisingly closer to the truth than the
"modern" physics which thinks it disproved the ether. See the physicist
Ernst Lehrs' book "Man or Matter" which was written several decades ago
and which the most recent theories - cf. William Tiller at Stanford -
are catching up to. It's a problem of how we conceive of light. Light(1)
in the "material" sense is our experience of light(2) as pure
consciousness/meaning/information slowed down by the gravitation of our
atmosphere/noosphere. The speed of technology/vr/etc only takes the
everyday consciousness closer to a point where light(1) folds into
light(2) whereas there have always been practices of doing this:
esoteric yes, but actually the infinite speed which Deleuze and Blanchot
reach with their "philosophy" is on the same track.

Both Reich's empirical research and Bergson's theoretical analysis point
to the incorrect conception of empty space with objects moving through
space which has characterized our subjectivity during the dualist
"scientific" period. The movement of philosophy and technology over the
past century has only brought us to this abyss. Nietzsche's fortuitous
case of a confrontation with "madness" is only what is in store for each
of us unless we develop the framework for dealing with this "event" -
the folding of light(1) into light(2) is only one doorway into a realm
that circles dream/hypnosis/madness/alien abduction/false
memory/tryptamine communication and other strange phenomena.

Careful with that screen, Eugene.

Baudrillard even scared himself. Nostalgia gets the upper hand in his
last books. Hardboiled he tells the facts: this is what we have done and
this is what's going to happen - are you sure you want to wreck what
took so long to build. Nietzsche's madman in the square again. Surviving
the death of God was nothing compared to the next sacrifice. Oh well,
gravity and linear time were nice while they lasted.


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