Jean Baudrillard on kotodama, potlatch and self-sacrifice…

Nevertheless…there does exist a schema of social relations founded on the extermination of [monetary] value. For us, it is a model we see in  primitive social structures, and it is from them that we learn it,    b u t   its radical utopia is beginning to explode slowly throughout all levels of our society – along with that vertiginous feeling that comes from a rebellion that has nothing to do, these days,  with notions of “revolution”, “laws of history”, or even…the “liberation” of “desire”….

From our vantage point, now, there are other nodes of theory that have become the most important: Saussure’s [studies of ancient] anagrams 1), Mauss’ exchange/gift [ – potlatch]….[these] are not simply curiosities on the fringe of linguistics and anthropology…[they] show us clearly, right here and right now, something beyond [monetary] value, something beyond legalism and legality, something beyond [what your therapist calls] “repression”, something beyond the [Western, Freudian notion of] “sub-conscious”. These are the coming things.

And just one more, that seems as important to us as the above-mentioned pair: Freud’s hypothesis of the death-wish.

– – – Jean Baudrillard,  L’Echange symbolique et la mort  ed. Gallimard, 1976,  pp.7-8

1)  Saussure’s investigation of assonance, hidden structure and hidden meanings in ancient Latin poetry.  Opening up a wider perspective onto the direct value of sound (beyond denoted meaning) and those things in the language of antiquity – such as polysemy – that precede rationality.

Comments are closed.