Cool Memories 17

Cool Memories 17

By Jean Baudrillard 布希亞

Translated by Springhero 雄伯

The individual, floating, but held on a leash like dog, like an eye popping out of its socket, hanging on the end of its optic nerve, scanning the horizon through 180 degrees but not sending back any images—a disembodied panoptical terminal runaway organ of a species of mutants.


The body ought to learn to develop the figures of slow motion, of suspense, stepping, fixity, slowness. We are experts in the figures of acceleration but inexpert at instantaneously arresting movement, as animals can, or as happens in ceremonies ( in the Peking Opera, movement does not die away through inertia but always comes to a perfect stop, a perfect climax in immobility).


Look at the difficulty gymnasts have controlling their landings. Even the best of them get it wrong, but this is what it’s really all about, because as a gymnast cannot come to a climax of weightlessness at the slightest point of his movement through the air, he must be able to produce the equivalent of this on the ground., in the ecstasy of landing. The ground must absorb all his energy ( that is the secret of cats). Either you can bounce back up completely or you can break your fall entirely, get rid of all your inertial energy and come to an immediate stop, like a noise absorbed without echo ( what fascinates us in the color black, in the black body is this idea of a total absorption of light, which is equivalent to the dizziness of immobility for the body).


This art of absorbing energy without giving it back, suspending a movement without falling back, escaping those prolongations which give our bodily processes a certain gracelessness is also the art of slow motion and its tragic effect. We have given up that slowness for the prestige of acceleration.


The only role that has fallen to women is that of a sacred prostitution. A radical devotion accompanied by a desperate absence. Just once a woman has to have materialized in your life as if from another world and said ‘ I love you’, and you have to have welcomed her without even knowing her name. Once in your life an idea or a phrase has to have come to you as if in a dream and have immediately taken possession of you. For, if language is to seduce or strike your imagination, words themselves also have to have indulged in a scared form of prostitution. These are the only gestures of affection a blind destiny can show toward us.


Only ideology has prestige in the fashionable world, because it alone is combated. And yet there are more serious ideas which have no visible enemy.


Indifference of the sky to the earth: it will not rain.

Indifference of the soul to things: it will not mingle with them.

Indifference of lips to words: they maintain their silence.

Indifference of dreams to reality: they will not absolve it.






   The hysterical obsession with events is itself a result of the end of history. Since there is no longer any history, events should follow one another in endless succession. Since there are no longer any causes, effects must be produced without any break in continuity. Since there is no more meaning in anything, everything should function perfectly.


   Against the whole controversy about chance.

   Determinism, indeterminism?



   What use is there in establishing that chance is an objective process when it is in fact an ironic process? Certainly it exists, but only as the pataphysics of causes and effects, and fate exists as well, at the same time. The difference is that the irony of fate is greater than the irony of chance, which makes it both haughtier and more seductive.



Cool Memories by Jean Baudrillard 布希亞

Translated by Springhero 雄伯


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