Sunday, 26 April 2009


Reading around the subject of semiotics the discussion of course turns to signs and symbols and before long you get involved with trying to comprehend simulacra. A definition from the web suggests:

SIMULACRUM (simulacra): Something that replaces reality with its representation. Jean Baudrillard in "The Precession of Simulacra" defines this term as follows: "Simulation is no longer that of a territory, a referential being, or a substance. It is the generation by models of a real without origin or reality: a hyperreal.... It is no longer a question of imitation, nor duplication, nor even parody. It is a question of substituting the signs of the real for the real" (1-2). His primary examples are psychosomatic illness, Disneyland, and Watergate. Fredric Jameson provides a similar definition: the simulacrum's "peculiar function lies in what Sartre would have called the derealization of the whole surrounding world of everyday reality" (34).

The trouble with this territory is the lack of input of the idea of thinking and the part it plays in the whole relationship of percept and concept. Fascinating to read Rudolph Steiner's "The Science of Knowing - Outline of an Epistemology Implicit in the Goethean World View" (1886). In a section on "Thinking & Perception" he writes:

"We are used to seeing the world of concepts as empty and without content, and so used to contrasting perception with it as something full of content and altogether definite, that it will be difficult to establish for the world of concepts the position it deserves in the true scheme of things. We miss the fact entirely that mere looking is the emptiest thing imaginable, and that only from thinking does it first receive any content at all. The only thing true about the above view is that looking does hold the ever-fluid thought in one particular form, without our having to work along actively with this holding. The fact that a person with a rich soul life sees a thousand things that are a blank to someone spiritually poor proves, clear as day, that the content of reality is only the mirror-image of the content of our spirit and that we receive only the empty form from outside. We must, to be sure, have the strength in us to recognize ourselves as the begetters(Erzeuger) of this content; otherwise we see only the mirror image and never our spirit, that is mirrored. Even a person who sees himself in a real mirror must in fact know himself as a personality in order to know himself again in this image. " (pp57)

Now was there ever a gauntlet thrown down to ask us to break free of dualism? I would suggest this is the nub of the emergence of the internet where people are beginning to actually take hold of themselves, their thinking and their actions. (Thinking, feeling and willing!). A new responsibility based out of an awareness of the spirit of thinking.

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