Beads and Baudrillard
Ancient Beads as an antidote to the simulacra
There was a photographer taking pictures of journalists who were being filmed by a TV crew as they reported
on a PR event, and there was me writing about it. (Victor Lewis Smith - Grasping the Zeitgeist with the ace fashionistas 2007)
Already in the late seventies the French philosopher, Baudrillard coined the term ‘simulacra´.
Baudrillard defines the simulacra as the generation of models of the real without origin or reality.
In the modern world of media and internet man is increasingly removed from contact with the ‘real world’.
He is much more in contact with the signs replicating the real world. In the cyberspace and modern media
world these signs now start to refer to each other instead of referring to real things in the real world. These signs
that refer to other signs in a kind of feed back is then starting to simulate reality, a hyper reality. In this way news
is referring to incidents in ‘reality programs’ (what an ironic name) in the same way as they report news from Gaza.
In this way the real, according to Baudrillard, is slowly swallowed up by the hyper real,
or what we could call an unreal world that is trying to substitute the real:
It is no longer a question of limitation, nor of reduplication, nor even parody.
It is rather a question of substituting signs of the real for the real itself. Baudrillard
To cut it short: we live in a hyper real world, an unreal media and netcreated world that looks real,
but actually could termed with the good old Indian word, Maya, or Matrix if you prefer an updated word.
In this plastic fantastic world of simulacra, or should I say silicone, Baudrillard predicts that there
will be a growing, desperate longing and need for what is really real. But Baudrillard is a pessimistic man.
He saw that only quickly evolving fakes, simulacra, would be given to quench this thirst, with the result
that the thirst would be even greater.
I must confess that though I agree with Baudrillards basic philosophy, I am not at all that pessimistic.
I see a world where we in our hunger for the ‘real’ will redirect our search for the real to our ancient
history and here find ‘tokens’, symbols of reality that in themselves are able to emanate reality.
Any ancient art object will remind us of the real inside ourselves.
In my case I get this thirst for the real quenched when I hold an ancient bead in my hand. A genuine ancient bead is a sign and a piece of reality at the same time.
This bead was made more than a thousand years before www.
It was made in a time where time was almost standing still - and only in this kind of time it is possible to make a bead like this.
And after its making it has become one with human life through symbiosis with sweat from countless generations. Or it has become baptized through the sweat of the earth for millenias.
This bead is like a tuning fork. It makes me vibrate with what is real inside my self.
This timeless bead in time, in my hand right now, reminds me of my favorite monk, Meister Eckhart, when he says:
The happenings of a thousand years ago, days spent millenniums since,
are in eternity no further off than is this moment I am passing now;
the day to come a thousand years ahead or in as many years as you
can count, is no more distant in eternity than this very instant I am in.
All else is simulacra… especially fake beads!
Gunar Myhlman - dedicated to Kevin Ball in honour of his ability to distinguish between the real and the simulacra.