Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Baudrillard’s Proxy: Disney and the Deterrence of the Production of Awareness

Baudrillard says it is too simple to say that Disney is a simulacrum of our world. Disney – the idealized experience – gives us a way to deter the production of awareness.

The deterrence of the production of awareness occurs in several ways:
First, you’re able to focus on the appearance of things and the world of phenomena, rather than introspecting and considering your own inner landscape; and
Second, you’re able to put off awareness conceivably indefinitely by reaffirming and perhaps even replacing your own beliefs, values, and assumptions with the embodiments of those you see externalized in the gorgeous and satisfying manifestations of Disney productions and artifacts.

Disney is simply the car with the hood up where you can actually see the engine of the production and transmission of a set of the idealized “real” and a belief in truth.

In most fabrications of reality, or productions eminating from the Matrix, the hood is resolutely slammed shut so that you cannot glimpse or peer into the inner machine.

Toto pulls back the curtain.

The Wizard was the first layer of production, but of course, there’s something behind the Wizard.

What lies behind the Wizard?
            Barthes would suggest Desire.
            Baudrillard would suggest distraction.
            Others (Nietzsche, etc.) would suggest production of the antitheses, antipodal, and oppositional relations (but not, it’s useful to observe, in a dialectic)
            Nietzsche would also suggest a set of juxtapositions that engenders a postmodern knowledge of self.
            Foucault might suggest that Disney exists as a Rosetta stone to our culture – a litmus test of which narratives have positive or negative valence in the world at large.
            Others might look at Baudrillard’s stance (the skin of reason, a “produced” reality, a privileging of the false) as an opportunity to import geomechanical paradigms and hyper-effective metaphors.

For metaphors and discourses of explanation, let’s look at a hardness and brittleness of the culture itself.

            What is our cultural Poisson’s ratio?  Young’s Modulus?
            What is the fundamental strength of materials and brittleness?
            How strong are our constructions?
            How brittle are they?  Can they be hydraulically fractured?
            How pliable are they? Do the fractures self-heal? Do they self-seal?

I’d like to look at the essential permeability of a culture.  Let’s think of ourselves vis-à-vis an idealized vision of how a utopian society would or should be?

            What is the ultimate ontological permeability?
            Penetratability of influences and substances?
            How well do outside values flow through our own values? What is the flow quality?
            Where do things swell and block the transmittal of ideas?  Is swelling all about emotion?
            Diagenesis:  under what condition does the original matrix alter? Where do our original values start to alter? Do they imitate the future?
            Where and when do we feel extreme heat? Hydrothermal alteration?

Baudrillard regards Disneyland as a machine that generates metaphors and mirrors.

Hence, its efficacy of a deterrence to people seeking to posit that there is, in fact, a “real” or any “meaning” in the world we now inhabit, with the minds we currently socialize into conformity with what will allow us to feel a part of a community (even the community as a whole, or a community of resistance, which is always problematized by dependency on the original essence, making resistance ultimately futile; it’s actually simply an outgrowth or an unwitting reinforcement).

If someone were to feel sad at Walt Disney World, I would wonder if what we’re seeing is a re-animation of the Sublime – the great “awe” (and “awfulness… awe-full-ness) – and a sense of loss at the constant contact with that. An ultimate awareness of one’s essential Fallenness – that it’s not possible to stay hooked into the Sublime given the consciousness available today, given today’s ideas of consciousness, spirituality, mind, and cognitive / numinative structures.

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