01) "How do our allegedly rational and programmed societies function? What moves the populations, what gets them going? Scientific progress, objective information, insight into the facts and causes, the punishment of those truly guilty or the growth of collective happiness? Absolutely not, nobody cares about that. What fascinates everyone is the debauchery of appearances, that reality is always and everywhere debauched by appearances. That's an interesting game, and it's played out in the media, in fashion, in advertising - more generally in the spectacle of technology, of science, of politics - in any spectacle whatsoever. The veritable contemporary social bond is the concerted partaking in seduction. If a revolution wants to take place then it must first seduce us, and it can only do so with the signs. But while a revolution might alter the course of history, only its sight is truly sublime. And what do we choose? 'The people didn't actually desire a revolution, they merely desired its view,' said Rivarol. For such a simulation-effect, for such a seduction-effect we are willing to pay any price, far more than for the 'real' quality of our lives. The spectaclistic drive is stronger than the self-preservation instinct, you can count on that." - Jean Baudrillard, Fatal Strategies02) Welcome to the show. You're watching Fodder 'n' Frivolities. I'm your host, doolhoofd the disillusionist, and our special guest is the French philosopher Jean Baudrillard; give him a round of applause. The topic of this lamentation is resistance in the postmodern age, or, more accurately, the relative absence of it. In retrospect, every revolution that was pushed through in the wake of its inspiring ideology was merely a passing convulsion of intense change and commotion, not a final alteration, and certainly not the end of history. No civilization has ever succeeded in permanently establishing its utopia. While the baby boomers were still witness to the spectacle of the struggle for their ideals and of general existence, these days we in the west are mostly witness to spectacle in its pure and hollow form. Basically, it's an exacerbated version of the age-old panem et circenses from Juvenal's Satire X: bread and circuses to pacify the masses, fodder and frivolities as opiates to keep the majority doped and duped. Because history repeats itself: nowadays we please ourselves with consumption and spectacle.03) Fodder and frivolities, bread and circuses, consumption and spectacle: it keeps the greater part merry and content, occupied and distracted, oblivious and ignorant. In this field we truly have an enormous freedom of choice - probably because it doesn't matter what we do there anyway. Whether it's Pepsi and Pokémon or Red Bull and Rick & Morty, whether it's the freewheeling pizzazz of jazz or the guttural aggression of metal: you're bound to get seduced by something, by someone, by anyone - anything - whatever; take your pick. As far as food and fun is concerned there is an absolute oversupply today, we're drowning in it, the human craving for excitement is so powerful that a display is put on all around around the clock. Dirk De Wachter, Paul Verhaeghe and Pascal Bruckner have even claimed that we are now living under the tyrannical obligation to constantly enjoy ourselves and always be happy. "Everything has to be amazing morning, noon and night, just okay is not good enough. And we can't seem to handle it anymore when it's not. We have to teach our kids that a little misery now and then is a part of life," De Wachter advises.04) Instant gratification with zero effort is the trend of the time. It has to be snappy, it has to be eyecatching and it has to be sufficiently simplified or not a soul will pay any attention to it, and hardly anybody takes the time to truly think things through anymore. The sad result is a superficial pseudoculture wherein our mental space is colonized by cheap thrills and freakshows, an infantile social sphere wherein our minds are polluted by lame jests, bland music, populistic politics and wildly exaggerated advertrashment. What we've created is a dung heap of hedonism and narcissism, hypes and gossip, selfies and smileys, of braindead entertainment and contemptible commercialism - of spectacle diarrhea.05) Fodder and frivolities is simply the default option - especially in the hotchpotch of the urban jungle, that catastrophic capitalistic carousel. Random buskers here and there, riffraff and beggars and nutjobs and winos, the chaotic pinballing of signals, the deadly traffic and the noise and the sirens; the incessant chatter and the whining of the radio everywhere you go (the stress of excess). The catwalk on the sidewalk, the compulsive fiddle-faddling with the smartphone during every free moment, fleeting flavor from the fast food fief, the sight of the celluloid in the cinema, and another ale or three afterwards. Caught in the rat race and fatally seduced, that's how we live in this fragile artificial cornucopia, hurtling from TV to PC, from sweets to salts, from bombast to balderdash, "ceaselessly striving to procure the petty and paltry pleasures with which we glut our souls" (De Tocqueville, Democracy in America). Obesity, sociobesity, infobesity and tons of throwaway: these are epidemics of overload, the delirium of a mass society gone haywire.06) Spectacle in all shapes and sizes and weights, for sale or for rent or for free, and cosmetic surgery high and low: you'd have to be quite blind not to descry that our economy is one big showbiz. Libraries full of books, video halls full of movies, record stores full of music, boutiques full of clothes, perfumeries full of scents, jewelers full of trinkets, candy corners full of sugar. Supermarkets crammed with consumables, the world wide web stuffed with simulacra, all public spaces chock-a-block with ads, and every business starving for your cash. Extravagance and decadence: in this day and age every event becomes a spectacle - and for a beautiful experience people are prepared to put up a pretty penny (see Pine & Gilmore, The Experience Economy).07) In his master thesis Dries Van Robaeys locates the essence of circus in our insatiable hunger for happenings, and his theory can easily be generalized. Opulent shops and restaurants, crowded parties and festivals and theme parks and tourist traps, television and the internet and video games and virtual realities - the list goes on - comics and magazines, tattoos and body modification, hair and nail and beauty salons, designer products and luxury items. It all consists of a manipulation of appearances, a production of difference, a fabrication of the event, an engineering of the experience and a technical exaction of the spectacle - literature too, by the way. Many more examples may be mustered, because "the society based on modern industry is not accidentally or superficially spectacular, it is fundamentally spectaclistic" (Debord).08) But wait, it gets worse. Let's not forget the ubiquitous exponentiation of everything that was already spectacular. This phenomenon is called spectacle creep, or power creep. Alas, it has nothing to do with the Radiohead song; here the creeping denotes the gradual intensification of the spectacularity. A good example is the transition from videotapes to DVDs, then to Blu-ray, next to VR, and in the future undoubtedly to the Star Trek holodeck. It's about pumping up an experience, in the same way bodybuilders work on their figure, in the same way you crank open the volume of your stereo. It's the logic of the ever escalating dose: harder, better, faster, stronger, tighter, prettier. The virus of extremization is creeping in everywhere. In the battle to attract and allure all possible stimuli are redoubled and reworked to become supernormal stimuli, exaggerated synthetic stimuli that elicit a stronger response than their natural predecessors.09) As we all no doubt have seen, people are willing to go to great lengths to seduce and be seduced, willing to go to enormous lengths to charm and be charmed. Indeed, it's always about the Other as seduction - or, conversely, as disgust: so many dirty apes jumbled together on this rock, every single one firmly convinced it is the most brilliant, important, interesting, beautiful and wondrous thing to ever grace the Earth's face. "Everybody's weird, and they all think they're God," Tom Barman sang. One might even claim that we perform all our feats for the sake of seduction, with results ranging from prodigious and sublime to hilarious and shameful. And humanity has contrived a broad panoply of techniques and technologies able to multiply certain functions, under the motto "to each his own, and may the strongest stimulus prevail."10) Thus vision is magnified with the aid of screens and lenses, photo and video cameras, tele- and microscopes. Music is refined with the assistance of audio equipment, which gave birth to an extensive science of acoustics, including quadraphonics and High Fidelity (abbreviated to hi-fi), the HD of hearing (hyper-realism). In any case, if we can believe the site whatismusic.info, then music has always been a kind of softdrug, since "its primary effect and biological function is," according to Philip Dorrell, "to induce an altered state of mind." Flavor is chemically enhanced in our food - nature doesn't stand a chance against that. The signal that reaches the brain upon tasting a candy bar used to be a sign of healthy nutrition but has now been hijacked and magnified by a perfidious drug-like incentive. This is true for all oral superstimuli: ice cream, candy, soda, energy drinks, burgers, fries, chips - drug food with maximal taste and minimal nutritional value manufactured solely to appetize you and grab your dough. Either way, thanks to abundance, what we chew and chug has become more a matter of seduction and pleasure than of survival and nourishment. Consumption as a show for the mouth: spectacle and spectacle!11) Skin and hair and teeth are peacockingly glamourized in commercials; the body esthetic is professionally manipulated and photoshopped in fashion while models and media moguls bank big bucks. Hilfiger recently launched an app that transforms the visible world around us into a live storefront: with SnapShop you can photograph celebrities on billboards or random passersby and shop for what they're wearing instantly. Under a watchful eye bodily prowess is pushed to extremes in sports, motion is driven to the limits in speed, and sex is barefacedly squeezed out in porn. Thanks to the orgy of liberation, what was once human intimacy henceforth exists in a state of total extroversion, of complete demystification, of full dénouement. Not a trace of suggestion or imagination: instead all possibilities are realized, all perversions are played out, all permutations are exhausted. Both genders are naked, and everything is evident. The same short-circuiting by means of overrepresentation can be found in Arthur C. Clarke's short story The Nine Billion Names of God.12) A similar surfeit takes place in contemporaneous cinema. Cynical prostitution of the towering silver screen (pro-statuere: to put on display) - in contemporary cynical cinema (cynema) it's all about the overwhelming impact of the medium itself. The stories are pulled out of thin air (flimsy fiction) and nothing new (originality degree Xerox), everything revolves around a technical extortion of a tepid bewitchment through a siege on the senses with a series of "dazzling special effects" - which have long ceased to be dazzling, which have long ceased to be special, which have long ceased to be effectual. It's an infinite process of recycling and repetition during which countless sequels and prequels and reboots and remakes and spin-offs and crossovers have already been produced - yet these are not continuations of some laughable second-hand story arc but only even more spectacular clones. Most are merely overt attempts to milk out the wide-stretched hocus-pocus, the completely counterfeited Marvel of the effects even further.13) Perhaps the paradox of computer-generated imagery concocted to baffle the viewer is that it's becoming ever more realistic ànd incredible (amazing ànd unbelievable) at the same time. Overblown sensation: the apocalyptic visuals swell up ever further, are raised to the n-th power, pushed to extreme excesses, beyond the point of ridicule, while the slipshod plot shrinks down with each iteration. It's not far-fetched to talk about the rise of techno cinema, as one can talk about the rise of techno music: no narrative worthy of the name, no message, no logic, no coherence, no credibility; no real substance. All you get is a pellucid concatenation of effects, a useless puppet show devoid of deeper meaning, pre-programmed (dead in advance) and served cold by a machine. Thus reducing the seduction of film to a parade of the extraordinary, fantastical and supernatural, to megalomania and pure ostentation.14) Ghosts and vampires and werewolves and zombies; sharks and dinosaurs and dragons and monsters galore; witches and wizards and magic and fairy tale worlds; time travel and robots and aliens and spaceships; superheroes with superpowers off to save the world in their coquettish costumes. Cinematic wars and battles, lunkheaded exaggerated violence ("action"), hot pursuits, stunts, explosions, dramatic deaths and resurrections, and so on, and so forth, you've seen it all a thousand times. A series of staged shots and shoddy set-ups strung together, all spiced up with a dash of romance, embellished with a few simple jokes and topped off with a syrupy sauce of cliché sentiment as the umpteenth faked trickery (hypokrites: actor). "If nothing is true then all is spectacle, the biggest wallet pays for the most blinding lights," Timothy Snyder aptly remarked, and this is certainly the case here. Technological forcing of the farce: these attractions literally cost hundreds of millions to produce - and rake in lots more as the masses devour it all, preferably with an oversized bucket of corn in one hand and an overpriced coke in the other. Junk food, junk film, junk fun. And of course, once you have it at home on Blu-ray, the romp that was the hype of the moment for three weeks turns out to be just another bummer.15) Seriously: these blockbusters have nothing to offer, they don't differ or deviate in any way, all they are is more of the same standardized muck, jejune dramatics pandering to the lowest common denominator, predictable and forgettable rubbish, and even though they invariably target the heart and the gut instead of the head and the mind, most of them just turn out to be superfluous starefeed bereft of all emotional resonance. "To call the characters cardboard is to insult a useful packing material," Roger Ebert famously quipped about the action dud The Spirit. Michael Bay's fifth Transformers for example is just totally soulless dredge. The Power Rangers reboot: egregious gunk with five sequels already planned. Fantastic Beasts: I walked out after fifteen minutes. The Predator reboot: what a disgrace! Why do so many people invest so much hope into two-hour sessions of infantile eye candy? Would it not be good for us to evolve beyond these vacuous charades? We don't watch such sops for knowledge or information, that's for sure. "More of one thing means less of another. Entertainment prevents people from occupying themselves with important matters" (Bas Feijen, Weapons of Mass Distraction).16) These days they're even adding a third, fourth and fifth dimension to the pellicule. Technological novelties to intensify the cinematic experience are piling up while film is slowly being converted into an UHD virtual reality in an explicit drive for an ever heavier hit of the medium and an ever deeper submersion of the spectator into the nonsense. The sound tapes are already blasted through you in three hundred and sixty degrees Dolby Surround. 4DX: moving chairs with vibrating cushions, the added props of water and wind and scent and light! Laser Ultra 3D: more clarity, more color, more realism, móre detail! The Image Maximum a.k.a. IMAX experience: an even bigger screen and an even more advanced stereophonics of the sound! OMNIMAX: film on a dome that covers your entire field of vision! Or Barco Escape, "the best immersive cinema experience ever: by combining three projectors with three screens - one in front and one on each side - an impressive panoramic image is created that completely sucks the audience in." The trend is easy to detect: more medium, less content - and premium pricing! Much ado about nothing: what's the use of all those gaudy gimmicks and tawdry take-ins when the picture is pudding-brained pulp? But the thirst for simulations appears to be an urge that's becoming more urgent every day. Monster movies with monster budgets on monster screens: hyper-spectacular monstrosities that far surpass all of Baudrillard's predictions.17) From Seduction, Fatal Strategies and The Intelligence of Evil or the Lucidity Pact by Jean Baudrillard: "Seduction rests solely on the fragility of appearances; it does not belong to the order of nature but to that of artifice; above all it supposes the beauty and perfection of an artifact. The object is always the feitiço, the sham, the lure. If you've ever lost your direction at the dash of a word or a look then you know what this perdition means, how you are delivered over to the total illusion of the signs, to the immediate influence of appearances, to go beyond falsehood, into the absolute abyss of artificiality. One single sign can cause a deadly distraction in the blink of an eye. What else can we find collectively or individually today, after the fissure of the referential universes, than fiction, the ironic strategy of appearances? Ultimately intellectuals alone believe in the ascendancy of meaning, the people believe only in the ascendancy of signs. They already said goodbye to reality long ago. They have gone over, body and soul, to the spectacular."18) Then it should come as no surprise that our technology is increasingly assuming the role of an autonomous superstimulus, of a fetish and prosthesis for a doubled Other, worshipped by all. Electronic fun for ev'ryone! Getting high on information is easy, becoming addicted to these new psychedelic devices is no disgrace to us, since at the moment all life is flowing towards our seduction gadgets, all energies are converging around our spectacle machines. You could even call them miracle machines, because as Clarke's third law states, any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. Virtualization is irresistible because it's lean and clean and appears to offer limitless possibilities; technical perfection is fascinating because it resembles a realized utopia; a simulated supersun always shines in the machinic Walhalla of TV and WWW and the metaphorical flowers there have stopped withering; the infotainment buffet is open twenty-four-seven with an all-you-can-eat formula.19) So this is what we have now: docile domestication centered around the diaphanous diorama of technology, brainless entertainment and meaningless amusement, dumbing down and fattening up, bunkering in and sinking away into passive consumption. Fodder and frivolities for the herd, escapistic esthetics for postmodern thrill seekers, shallow sensation for a superficial nation; a dripfeed of fool's gold for a populace of spoiled vidiots. Inavertible catastrophe of generalized simulation: it's a positive feedback loop that has spiraled completely out of hand, leading to phenomena like hikikomori and fictosexuality. There have already been multiple deaths due to computer addiction, and a lot of youngsters, screens in hand, are simply devoting their entire lives to and deriving their entire identities from the games, films, shows, characters and actors they are fans of. If you've ever seen the folly and the greed at a comic con, the conformistic horde, the dopey cosplay and the stalls full of swill, then you should know: the whole world is being Hollywoodized. High tide of (self-)deception: mundus vult decipi! The people clearly prefer fancy flash and pulchritudinous fiction (seduction without reality) over the ugly facts (over a reality destitute of seduction), and are quite content just looking on from afar (the etymology of tele-vision). "People would sooner savor sweet lies than chew plain truths" (from the card game Magic: The Gathering). Luckily, tiny errors still slip into the cattlefodder to reveal it's all bogus, like the Starbucks-cup on the table in season eight episode four of Game of Thrones.20) Due to its power creep, the superstimulus has the tendency to elbow out the original, just like the cuckoo chick pushes the other eggs out of the host's nest: the phantomatic/phantasmatic conviviality of social media increasingly replaces real contact, bingeing Netflix increasingly substitutes real adventure, digital files increasingly supplant real things, porn increasingly usurps real sex; the prosthetic superstimulus of a lifeless illusion-automaton increasingly surrogates real human Otherness. It's a computer-generated dreamworld we pull over our eyes to evade reality: that is The Matrix paraphrased. "Ignorance is bliss!" (By the by, in the fifth minute of the movie it is shown that Neo keeps his valuables in a booksafe - a fake book - of Baudrillard's Simulacra & Simulations.) Future posthumans will undoubtedly be plunged even deeper into virtual reality. "If you look at its evolution and extrapolate that into the future, then eventually VR will become indistinguishable from real life," Elon Musk prophesied. More than that: what used to be obviously phony is now in the process of becoming more real than the real itself. In Travels in Hyper-reality Umberto Eco described how Disneyland shows us that technology can give us more reality than nature, and how the actual world seems like a drab affair in comparison. Additionally, Manuel Castells remarked that we are already in a paradoxical state of real virtuality, "because the internet and the images are a fundamental part of our existence and we can no longer live outside of our own constructions in the networks," because our shared fictions create our reality and form our culture.21) Everything I've said here, all of the above, only makes sense if you assume beauty to be civilization's supreme value, and esthetics to be more powerful than truth, meaning and morality. However, now that countless spectacular and seductive phenomena are blooming and blossoming, it feels like it's time for an agonizing reappraisal of the whole scene. Because except for sharing purposes, there's not a lot of progress to be made by consuming "fodder and frivolities." You can occupy yourself with this ostrichism for as long as you please, you can lose yourself in the vast web of falsehoods until you kick the proverbial bucket, there's enough fast food and puppetry to waste your entire life with, but it won't change anything and it won't help you, it's simply a bottomless pit of eternal diversion. Glutting up the vacuum of your leisure time and the chasm in your soul with a large pizza and the next mediocre series is a short-term strategy that will neither improve your situation nor give it significance: escape of illusion, illusion of escape.22) Whether you're a factory worker or a lottery winner, it doesn't matter, what you'll be facing will still be a hedonic treadmill of infinite (self-)seduction. So if we want to be adults, we should be asking ourselves questions about the value of events that are nothing more than depthless spectacles. Dr. Phil already pointed out that life isn't a sprint but a marathon, while Giorgio Agamben pointed out the irremediably episodic character of every enjoyment, so let it be said that no amount of food and drink or image and sound will ever bring us permanent happiness. Sooner or later everything that appears is doomed to disappear and to pass; or else to reappear endlessly, which is even sadder (hell is repetition). What inevitably dawns is the futility of all the display we are wallowing in on a daily basis. The limpidity of our current experiences, reduced to their own impotent spectacles, can only give rise to nihilism. This manifests itself clearly in our mental well-being: the more we guzzle up, the more we dim down. Which is logical somehow, since the more we see, the more we've seen, the less there's left to see.23) The whole planet is inhabited and all nooks have been explored; information is total and true originality, true alterity is missing. The exhaustion of difference leads straight to indifference, to a homogeneous globalized hell of the same lacking an adventurous dimension. We've browsed each bazaar, we've tested each product; we've tasted each dish, we've drunk each potion; we've heard each genre, we've tried each position; we're becoming blasé, we're slowly but surely getting tired of our own little marionette theater - but: there is nothing else here. Accomplishment might ultimately be the worst possible fate: to pass beyond seduction, towards saturation, disaffection, desensitization. As it turns out, one of the less fortunate effects of affluenza and infoxication is that the Other simply becomes tiresome, and often even a useless function.24) What is starting to haunt us is a kind of neutralization of the events themselves, due to the transpicuousness of their charm. It is the obscene tautology, the grotesque superfluousness, of spectacle for the sake of spectacle. Americans are already talking about blockbuster fatigue, perhaps the time is ripe to introduce a broad concept of spectacle spoliation. Because we are so horribly overfed that nothing truly impresses us anymore. Because we might have technology, photoshop, CGI and conjuring, but real magic does not exist. This is also one of the most important lessons leading to adulthood: that the world is not magical like a Disney movie, but cruel and rife with afflictions instead. Therefore, almost any attempt to enchant is a fraud - and deep down, we know this. When we're tired of our own willful self-deceit, when we've finally seen enough, when we're sick of the affectation and the carnival, when the bubble gum of entertainment has lost its flavor, when the excitement and the enchantment have ebbed away... what will be left? A lethal sobriety? Endless monotony? Boundless boredom? An existential void: the blackout of transparency that awaits us. When you can stare straight through all seductive schemes and sidetracks, only the dark side of life remains.25) From The Big Bang Theory, season five episode nine: Penny: 'What are you and professor fussyface up to tonight?' Leonard: "Star Wars on Blu-ray." Penny: 'Haven't you seen that movie like a thousand times?' Leonard: "Not on Blu-ray. Only twice on Blu-ray." Penny: 'Oh, Leonard...' Leonard: "I know. It's high-resolution sadness."26) Our future is: high-resolution sadness. Perhaps we can even note the emergence of a new disorder, a new nausea: not seasickness but see-sickness, viewing sickness. Spectare: to watch - spectacle means visibility, extreme spectacle means extreme visibility. A pushy, totalitarian and intimidating hyper-visibility; Baudrillard even called it terroristic. Which we owe to our omnipresent technology, that bets everything on the optical. To the clinical precision of the bright rectangle we keep gawking at under hedonic hypnosis and narcissistic narcosis, like moths enchanted by a flame - because that's where the light is shining, that's where most events are played out today: the screen is the scene, the medium the message. We owe it to the hyper-realism of photo and video, to the superlative dimension of the UHD detail and to the overlit rigorousness of immortalized digital information, saved for perpetuity and trapped in its own Eternal Return. To the unblinking stare of the camera; of zooming in, focusing and sharpening; of the close-up, the freeze-frame, the still image.27) What we're dealing with - admittedly blotted with a broad brush - is a monstrous hyper-exact pornography of the social; to put it even more bluntly: it is the panoptic horror of generalized social porn in all its garishness. Not so much in the sense of some circulating sexuality, which is certainly present, but in the sense of the dominant visual voracity that has become so characteristic of our culture, the demented spectaclistic fixation that has long transgressed all bounds of reason, sense and decency. To add another resonant quote, by Yukio Mishima this time: "the special quality of hell is to see everything clearly down to the last detail."28) Pornographic fascination of radical superficiality, pornographic terror of microscopic perfection. Everything must be laundered, polished and purified, right down to the very last letter, pixel and pore. Every individual must be scrutinized, every face pampered, every figure styled, every business logofied, every space sanitized, ad infinitum, ad nauseam. The cameras are everywhere, smaller than ever and present in every device; everyone must enact his/her existence in real time and in broad daylight under the pressure of the lens; even the most banal tableau must be captured for eternity and shared with the entire world. "What Orwell failed to predict is that we would buy the cameras ourselves, and that our biggest fear would be that nobody is watching" (Keith Lowell Jensen).29) Cancerous wild growth of appearances, unrestrained proliferation of images, ice-cold delirium of overcommunication; nonstop newsfeeds, shoreless drivel, quadratic inbreeding of the sign system; completely continuous copulation of the sign system with itself. T.M.I.: Too Much Information! Births and deaths, operations, relationships, weddings, meals (food porn), houses, politics, sports, drawings and paintings, concerts and performances, nature and the animals, the body and sex of course, plus all kinds of crazy crap and wayward weirdness. Everything is cryogenically frozen into its own appearance and broadcast out into the public void, all of life is turned into a spectacle and ogled, in a gigantic cavalcade of exhibitionistic excess, in a hallucinating deluge of visibility. It is the triumph of all that is unsubstantial and superficial, an extravaganza that is far from its finale, for there is no doubt that we will persist in our insanity until the bitter end.30) From Dust Breeding, Fatal Strategies and The Virtual Illusion by Jean Baudrillard: "Together with the demise of the secret, this hyper-visibility is our fatal condition. Television and the media have left their mediatized space to invest 'real' life from the inside and to substitute themselves for it exactly as a virus does in a normal cell; the virtual camera is now in our head and our entire existence has taken on a video dimension; we have internalized our prosthetic image and become the professional showmasters of our own lives. But if everything starts and ends with the visual, which is the most degraded form of existence, the point remains to make such extreme disenchantment an object of sideration and perverse desire. So why not propose a reversed hypothesis, opposed to voyeurism and collective stupidity? Why not suggest that what we all want is just to gain the sense that there is nothing to see, that we'll never get the final clue? And this only to verify a contrario the ultimate power of seduction, tracked down unto death in the succession of lifted veils. There is no reality principle or pleasure principle. There is only a finite principle of reconciliation and an infinite principle of Evil and Seduction."