Monday, February 7, 2011

Theory as Ceremony

Ceremony of the World

Ceremony (defined):

 a. An outward rite or observance, religious or held sacred; the performance of some solemn act according to prescribed form; a solemnity (OED)

A ceremony is fatal and has no 'meaning'. The ceremony is not concerned with either subjective desire or objective 'chance' (more on that later), but the fatal object. Ceremonies are composed of discrimination NOT difference (203-205).

For me, there is a kind of relief in Baudrillard's marginalizing "difference" as the ultimate concept. Perhaps it shows my true colors as a middle class while male, but Baudrillard clearly does not completely oppose difference and discrimination. Difference has connotations of 'meaning' (at least B. claims it does). Discrimination (besides unfortunately sounding the history of race) is more about order and rules.

Indeed, Baudrillard argues that, in reality, each of us prefers and arbitrary and cruel order (although they are meant to be disturbed) than a 'liberal' one where we do not know what we want (206). This is a hard pill to swallow, but in a sense I take pleasure in repetition and ritual--when, "something besides the real is at stake." Thus, we play games.

Theory is like a ceremony: "both ceremony and theory [are] violent both are produced to prevent things and concepts from touching indiscriminately, to create discrimination, and to remake emptiness, to redistinguish what has been confused [. . .] ceremony is always sacrificial" (217).

If we are trying to re-introduce the sacred into the world--it seems that we need to look at ceremony as a possible resource--but what type of ceremony is possible in our obscene world?

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