This is the Fourth World War

The Der Spiegel Interview with Jean Baudrillard (an old text still valuable today).

Linked with Jean Baudrillard – France (1929 – 2007).

Published on International Journal of Baudrillard Studies, Vol. 1 /no. 1, JanUARY 2004.
(Interview Translated by Dr. Samir Gandesha, Simon Fraser University, Introduction by Dr. Gary Genosko, Canada Research Chair in Technoculture Studies, Lakehead University).

Some exerpts – HE  SAYS:

  • (9/11) … Of course there are those who committed these acts, but the spirit of terrorism and panic reaches far beyond them. The Americans’ war is focused on a visible object, which they would like to destroy. Yet the event of September 11th, in all of its symbolism, cannot be obliterated in this manner. The bombing of Afghanistan is a completely inadequate, substitute action …
  • (the unavoidable reaction against a system which has itself become megalomaniacal) … With its totalizing claim, the system created the conditions for this horrible retaliation. The immanent mania of globalization generates madness, just as an unstable society produces delinquents and psychopaths. In truth, these are only symptoms of the sickness. Terrorism is everywhere, like a virus. It doesn’t require Afghanistan as its home base …
  • (purpose (of) the War Against Terrorism) … US President Bush aspires to return to trusted ground by rediscovering the balance between friend and foe. The Americans are prosecuting this war as if they were defending themselves against a wolf pack. But this doesn’t work against viruses that have already been in us for a long time. There is no longer a front, no demarcation line, the enemy sits in the heart of the culture that fights it. That is, if you like, the fourth world war: no longer between peoples, states, systems and ideologies, but, rather, of the human species against itself.
  • No one can say how it will all turn out. What hangs in the balance is the survival of humanity, it is not about the victory of one side. Terrorism has no political project, it has no finality; though it is seen as real, it is absurd.
  • Perhaps, but it is not religiosity that drives them to terrorism. All the Islam experts emphasize this. The assassins of September 11th  made no demands. Fundamentalism is a symptomatic form of rejection, refusal; its adherents didn’t want to accomplish anything concrete, they simply rise up wildly against that which they perceive as a threat to their own identity.
  • Why not also say its superiority? Cultures are like languages. Each is incommensurable, a self-contained work of art for itself. There is no hierarchy of languages. One cannot measure them against universal standards. It is theoretically possible for a language to assert itself globally, however, such reduction would constitute an absolute danger …
  • (difficult to tolerate the existence of evil) … Evil was interpreted as misfortune, for misfortune can be combated: poverty, injustice, oppression and so on. This is the humanitarian view of things, the pathetic and sentimental vision, the permanent empathy with the wretched. Evil is the world as it is and as it has been. Misfortune is the world as it never should have been. The transformation of evil into misfortune is the most lucrative industry of the twentieth century.
  • Misfortune is a mine whose ore is inexhaustible. Evil, in contrast, can’t be subdued by any form of rationality. This is the illusion of the West: because technological perfection seems within reach, one believes by extension in the possibility of realizing moral perfection, in an future free of contingencies in the best of all possible worlds. Everything should be redeemed-which is what comprises the contemporary ideal of our democracy. Everything will be genetically manipulated in order to attain the biological and democratic perfection of the human species …
  • … Oh yes, I love the world of the Cathars because  I am Manichaean …

… (full long interview text).

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