Storm the Reality Studios and Retake the Universe
Regarding the material world as an imperfect or second rate reflection of the ideal or transcendental realm, Plato viewed the work of art, which he understood to be an imperfect reflection of the material world, as, quite literally, third rate.
However, not only does religious art often seek to represent the transcendental directly, but secular portrait artists were not above artfully flattering idealization of their subjects, just as many landscape artists similarly idealized nature. But, whatever their differences, both transcendentalists and “realists” believe in one or another form of “reality” existing independently of mundane appearances; a belief which empiricists as diverse as Hume and Husserl have called into question.
In light of such skepticism Baudrillard concludes, the simulacrum "...is no longer ... a referential being... (but rather)... It is the generation by models of a real without origin or reality: a hyperreal(ity). Which is to say a transformation of the imperfect world of everyday experience into an artfully idealized hyperreal simulacrum" which, appearing to transcend the imperfect, has become for many, the focus of adoration, even worship. However, such an apparent, Postmodern, artful or alchemical transmutation of the base matter of the imperfect world into a seemingly ideal or perfect material world can ultimately be nothing more than an idealization of the material, which should no more be confused with the materialization of the ideal than should idols be mistaken for incarnations of the transcendental.
Yet such idealization of the real or material world, and its concomitant "commodity fetishism," has largely come to replace any aspiration towards the realization of ideals, and portends the eventual transmutation of the entire world into a Disney World, the entire planet into a Planet Hollywood, the entire universe into a Universal Studio, into a fully integrated theme park or movie set.
Keywords: Hyperreal Simulacrum, Idolization of Material vs Materialization of Ideal
Prof. Simon Glynn
Professor, Dept. of Philosophy