where do we go from here?

I suppose one of the integral themes of postmodernism is the denial of progress, but I keep hoping for Baudrillard to give us some guidelines on where to go from here. So what if we admit to ourselves that we are living in a simulacrum? We are living in a conspiracy world where the government and media feeds us images and events in the hopes that we will not question their morals or our reality. The notion of historical progress has collapsed and there is no reason for us to believe it will suddenly reignite. Now what? Often times I feel as though Baudrillard is too much like Adorno and Horkeimer in the sense that they have little faith in humans ability to interpret what is being presented to them. I understand Baudrillard is not meant to be taken completely literally. Obviously he knows that Watergate did happen and man has landed on the moon. But if Watergate really was meant to prove to Americans that the government is moral, I don't think it succeeded. There are smart people who can read through these "simulacrums." There were people who from the get go questioned the rationale behind invading Iraq. So what about those people? What does Baudrillard suggest they do? If one can acknowledge that he is surrounded by simulacrums, what does he do about it? Is this just the postmodern world we need to accept? Do we simply embrace this lack of reality and lead a meaningless life? I don't understand how anyone can truly be satisfied with a life that lacks meaning. Not even Baudrillard.

Why to a Cyborg-tropolis, of course!

We can begin to chip away at the power of the hypereal by creating our own firmly self-defined 'realities'. Grassroots. Community. Language. Homes. Created around our partial identities, to use Haraway's terms.

Clearly, I need to flesh this out a little bit more, but I do think that Haraway, as one of the single 'solution' theorists we have examined thus far, offers a counter-attack to the nihilism that you seem to have come up against in Baudrillard.

I, too, thought of Haraway when reading Baudrillard, namely in those places where he writes about the implosive potential of simulation, i.e. to collapse poles together and so 'implode' distinctions. I found myself wondering whether this wasn't similar to what Haraway had in mind with the cyborgian 'breach' of dichotomies. Is this a connection that makes sense?

--Guattari Hero

Nihilism is not a term to be taken lightly (especially given its frequent deployment by obnoxious, light-weight critics of "the postmodern"), but Baudrillard is one thinker for whom it might be an appropriate designation - or it's at least appropriate to call the question, is his conclusion nihilistic?

My problem with Baudrillard lies in his emphasis on implosion at the expense of explosion. Whereas the latter breaths new life into philosophical discourse colonized by meaningless, apolitical, and ultimately false distinctions (e.g. free will v. determinism, fact v. value, good v. evil), the former signals theory at its worst. While I appreciate Baudrillard's project of tracing the disavowed affinities between ostensible opposites, other, more productive methodologies reach similar conclusions but also open up spaces for political intervention (the cyborg is an excellent example, I think). Haraway and Baudrillard both "breach" the inherited dichotomies of Western philosophy, but their respective solutions (if this even applies in Baudrillard's case) are 180-degrees apart in terms of political capacity. I'd suggest that the gender difference is more than incidental here.