Simulacra and Simulation
Let's explain the Matrix!
After reading The Progression of Simulacra I found myself having to read and reread large portions in an effort to understand Baudrillard's theories, but I believe I have some small and quite possibly completely bass ackwards understanding of many of Baudrillard's concepts. Because I am a big fan of the movie "The Matrix" and because of the film's relation to Baudrillard's subject I'm going to attempt to examine the movie in terms of Jean Baudrillard's theories. Wish me luck!
To understand some of the concepts better I've tried to define them as Baudrillard sees them.
Simulation: "The generation by models of a real without origin or reality: a hyperreal" (Baudrillard 1)
Jean continues to say that a simulation is a real "produced from miniaturized cells, matrices, and memory banks, models of control-and can be produced an infinite number of times..." (B 2)
Simulacrum: A simulation which is not "unreal, but...never exchanged for the real, but exchanged for itself, in an uninterrupted circuit without reference or circumference" (B 6). Aka: A simulation reproduced enough times that it only references old simulations and not reality. (I think!)
System of Signs: The relationship between signs (signifiers) and meanings (signified).
Symbols: Object(s) which represents an idea or belief.
In Baudrillard's world there are 4 stages to what he refers to as the "orders of simulacra". According to Baudrillard "representation stems from the principle of the equivalence of the sign and of the real" (B 6), and that in simulation there is a "death sentence of every reference" (B 6). Baudrillard describes this death of reference in his stages of simulation:
Stage 1: The simulation "is the reflection of a profound reality". - Good
Stage 2: The simulation 'masks and denatures a profound reality". - Evil
Stage 3: The simulation "masks the absence of a profound reality". - Sorcery
Stage 4: The simulation has "no relation to any reality whatsoever. It is its own pure simulacrum". - Pure simulation
TO BE CONTINUED