The
Philosophy Hammer
Philosophy, Economics, Politics & Psychology Tested with a Hammer

31: Jean Baudrillard part V:
Seduction

Summary by: Jeff McLaren

         Seduction
        
         We live in a world where we are encouraged to seek pleasure without happiness (part 2); with a nihilistic system that is simultaneously making us comfortable and melancholy (part 4). We are melancholy due to the loss of significance and relevance that comes from the implosion of meaning in the media and the movement from the social to the mass in our relationships with others (part 3). We are given two choices: 1) if we fight the system it will crush us; 2) if we join the system it will break us. It will break our spirits and turn us into an indifferent but comfortable mass. These are the two choices the system allows us to contemplate: most people choose to join the system. Very few people are aware that there is a third option: to seduce the system. (See question one below: Q1)
        
         Seduction in the modern world refers to: the act of leading astray; leading away from duty, accepted principles and/or proper conduct. The connotations are usually sexual and always bad. (see Q2) But Baudrillard notion of seduction is immensely bigger and a good thing since he believes the system's accepted principles and proper conduct are responsible for the melancholia in the world.
        
         All discourses that claim truth, power and relevance are deathly scared of seduction and work to demonize and then exorcise it from life. Note for example the negative connotations that come with the word. (See Q3)
        
         Since seduction has been demonized most people do not practice it. they protest by voicing their opinions or by directly challenging the system. Voicing one's opinions is becoming less and less influential – consider the effect of the peaceful protests at the G-20 (see Q4). A violent challenge is futile without victory (consider the escalation of terrorist activities over the last 50 years) (see Q5). Even with a victory it is useless because we are left with the question what kind of a system do we build to replace the old (see Q6)? But by seducing the system we can render it less powerful especially where injustices and abuses are present while not destroying the good aspects. What is required to effect seduction is a mastery of 1) the rituals and symbols in a culture and 2) the strategy of appearances. With these skills and knowledge a slight manipulation of appearances will do.
        
         Seduction is the opposite and stronger pole of power. In our world seduction threatens every power discourse with a sudden reversibility which absorbs the discourse in its own signs and strips it of meaning. [Charlie Chaplin vs Edgar Hoover example]
        
         I believe that Charlie Chaplin and Jerry Seinfeld were masters. Today Jon Stewart of “The Daily Show” is the best practicing system seducer (see Q7).
        
         “Every structure can adapt to its subversion or inversion, but not to the reversion of its terms. Seduction is this reversible form.” (See Q8)
        
         In every system of power, production, rationality, masculinity, that is in every phallocenteric system it is an accident of history that femininity can play the role of the symbolic reversal. Seduction works in the ritual order were all phallocratic systems function in the natural order. Seduction is a challenge from the orders of symbolism, ritualism and appearance to the order of the real and the natural (see Q9).
        
         Questions
        
         1. Is there another way to fight the system? That is: can we fight against injustice and oppression in such a way that the fight does not ruin our lives and that it is not useless?
        
         2. Is seduction a good thing or a bad thing? When can it be good; when can it be bad?
        
         3. Is it possible to have a discourse (the collective words and actions of people) about something that does not claim to be true, serious and is not related to power (besides seduction)?
        
         4. Are peaceful demonstrations becoming more or less effective; more or less popular; more or less successful in effecting change for the better in society?
        
         5. Are violent campaigns becoming more or less effective; more or less popular; more or less successful in effecting change for the better in society?
        
         6. Is there room for improvement in our socio-economic system? Do you want to make the system better or would you like to replace the system with a new one?
        
         7. Irony, sarcasm and laughter are some of the tools of a seducer can you come up with at least four more? Can you explain how they are seductive?
        
         8.
         Subversion: the act of insurrection; taking over; to destroy completely; to ruin.
         Inversion: the act of turning upside down; an exchange of position.
         Reversion: the act of returning to a former condition, belief or interest; turning away
         Some antonyms of reversion are: progress, advance, climb.
         How can we engage in reversion without subversion or inversion?
        
         9. Can you imagine a way to seduce (or in other words: apply reversion to): a) the police; b) the armed forces; c) the president; d) the members of a religion; e) professionals such as doctors and lawyers?
        
         10. Would your life be better or worse if you engaged in more seduction (as a seducer and as one seduced)?


© 2008 - 2017, James Jeff McLaren