05 February 2006

on good and evil

from the introduction of Jean Baudrillard's The Intelligence of Evil:

At the level of the philosophy of history, 'evil', understood in this way, plays its part in a radically anti-Hegelian vision that draws on dualism, the agonism of the original symbolic exchange paradigm. Whereas for Hegel and Hegelianism, despite surface conflict and contradiction, everything coheres towards unity and a higher synthesis (the List der Vernunft is a principle of good; the real is rational), for Baudrillard the massive, but superficial, unifying drive towards ever-greater commercial, communicational and moral-political unity in globalization, virtualization and humanitarianism is held in check by an underlying agonistic dualism: the self-moving non-unification that is 'evil', all the singular forms (not necessarily violent or terroristic) that are irreducible to this empire of the good, the process whereby power produces its own 'retroversion' and in which 'meaning destroys itself'.

The important thing to remember is that Baudrillard is not discussing good and evil in the moral sense. Nietzsche taught us that we can move beyond those categories. Good and evil are terms used in reference to the system.

The system--the empire of good--continually plants the seeds of its own destruction. I'm not sure if it does this purposefully, but an evil response is the unintended consequence of the actions of the system.

For instance, did the CIA and the Reagan administration ever think that Osama bin Laden and the Afghan muhajadeen would turn on the United States? Probably not.

One could blame this on shortsighted foreign policy which through its power creates the enemies of tomorrow. Hence, the system (good) lives on by spawning its own nemesis (evil).

More to come on this book...


I guess you could say this is the "Original Pime". I stopped blogging here regularly in May 2008 (if you don't count the B-Sides diversion - yes it gets confusing) when I joined the Tumblr revolution. Going forward bravely into 2009, this site will serve to house any large image work I produce.

Peace out.


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