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Unformatted text preview: Pag e 166 Simulacra and Simulations The simulacrum is never that which conceals the truth - it is the truth which conceals that there is none. The simulacrum is true. Ecclesiastes If we were able to take as the finest allegory of simulation the Borges tale where the cartographers of the Empire draw up a map so detailed that it ends up exactly covering the territory (but where, with the decline of the Empire this map becomes frayed and finally ruined, a few shreds still discernible in the deserts - the metaphysi- cal beauty of this ruined abstraction, bearing witness to an imperial pride and rotting like a carcass, returning to the substance of the soil, rather as an aging double ends up being confused with the real thing), this fable would then have come full circle for us, and now has nothing but the discrete charm of second-order simulacra.  Abstraction today is no longer that of the map, the double, the mirror or the con- cept. Simulation is no longer that of a territory, a referential being or a substance. It is the generation by models of a real without origin or reality: a hyperreal. The terri- tory no longer precedes the map, nor survives it. Henceforth, it is the map that pre- cedes the territory - precession of simulacra - it is the map that engenders the terri- tory and if we were to revive the fable today, it would be the territory whose shreds are slowly rotting across the map. It is the real, and not the map, whose vestiges subsist here and there, in the deserts which are no longer those of the Empire, but our own. The desert of the real itself. In fact, even inverted, the fable is useless. Perhaps only the allegory of the Empire remains. For it is with the same imperialism that present-day simulators try to make the real, all the real, coincide with their simulation models. But it is no longer a ques- tion of either maps or territory. Something has disappeared: the sovereign difference between them that was the abstraction’s charm. For it is the difference Page 167 which forms the poetry of the map and the charm of the territory, the magic of the concept and the charm of the real. This representational imaginary, which both culmi- nates in and is engulfed by the cartographer’s mad project of an Ideal coextensivity between the map and the territory, disappears with simulation, whose operation is nuclear and genetic, and no longer specular and discursive. With it goes all of meta- physics. No more mirror of being and appearances, of the real and its concept; no more imaginary coextensivity: rather, genetic miniaturization is the dimension of simulation. The real is produced from miniaturized units, from matrices, memory banks and command models - and with these it can be reproduced an indefinite number of times. It no longer has to be rational, since it is no longer measured against some ideal or negative instance. It is nothing more than operational. In fact, since it is no longer enveloped by an imaginary, it is no longer real at all. It is asince it is no longer enveloped by an imaginary, it is no longer real at all....
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This note was uploaded on 10/20/2010 for the course ENG FMS351 taught by Professor Meng during the Summer '10 term at ASU.
- Summer '10