Saturday, May 7, 2011

Jean Baudrillard on indifference

In his essay 'Conspiracy of Art' the French cultural theorist Jean Baudrillard writes this:

'For me [energy] came from a kind of indifference.  An indifference that was no longer subjective.  A sort of desert form, not a landscape or something found in nature, let alone from culture - an unidentified object.  It would be the same thing in terms of passion: some kind of apathy and apathetic form... a stoic form in fact.  Differentiating between what concern you and what does not, including in your own life. refusing to account for what we're being made to be responsible for. Refusal of that kind is strategic, a kind of tactical indifference'.

This is a quotation that appeals to me and it's written in one of my philosophical notebooks I carry around with me to dip into during the day as a therapeutic re framing of thinking following a counselling or coaching session.

What I take this quotation to mean for me is to cultivate detachment from the over stimulation within the visual field, the host of potentially interesting ideas and more particularly the overload of opinion.

To cultivate a desert awareness is not to turn away from the flow of bios or life but like the counsel offered by Marcus Aurelius the stoic to work from within one's inner Citadel and be strategic in what one responds to. Internal silence, a desert awareness allows for real choices. Here is space to consult the inner compass of values and faith and to focus the awareness.

Baudrillard has been labelled for his claim that the Gulf War never happened, that all people experienced was a stream of images carefully chosen and manipulated to such a difference that reality is too distant. His claim that people prefer 'sexed up' news, sensationalism, gossip I think has much to commend it. Perhaps the philosopher should counsel fasting from too much visual and auditory stimulation?

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