The Seduction of the Real

The world is an illusion.” —Valentinus

“…images precede the Real.” —Jean Baudrillard

“What I call Integral Reality is the perpetrating on the world of an unlimited operational project whereby everything becomes real, everything becomes visible and transparent, everything is ‘liberated’…”.1 Child of Kant and Mani, Pyrrho and Valentinus, and of all those for whom the Real is illusion and delusion – delirium, Baudrillard’s objective ironies formulate the underlying features of our panic ridden world of impulse and evil, the irreality of our becomings. As he’d say in The Evil Demon of Images:

I would like to conjure up the perversity of the relation between the image and its referent, the supposed Real; the virtual and irreversible confusion of the sphere of images and the sphere of a reality whose nature we are less and less able to grasp. There are modalities of this absorption, this confusion, the diabolical seduction of images. Above all, it is the reference principle of images which must be doubted, this strategy by means of which they always appear to refer to a real world, to real objects, and to reproduce something which is logically and chronologically anterior to themselves. None of this is true. As simulacra, images precede the Real to the extent that they invert the causal and logical order of the Real and its reproduction.2

Continue reading