“What is a society without a heroic dimension?”
Jean Baudrillard perceived that in our society what we call reality is replaced by arrays of symbols and signs. As a result, our life experience refers more to the experience of simulations in place of reality itself. Simulacra, as described by Baudrillard, take over reality. That is, our society today relies on simulacra losing contact with the ‘real’ world.
It’s not as fantastic as it seems. Just think of people’s lives under constant bombardment of media messages resonant with heavy doses of biases openly expressed or subtly suggested. The amount of information coming from all directions makes it possible to confuse reality with the simulacra created by the media. This blurring goes unnoticed by the media consumer. It works on a subconscious level altering expectations and attitudes.
As an example, consider one of The Hunger Games film’s headlines “Remember who the enemy is.” Most people who do not have any ‘real’ experience of war ‘enemies’ can nevertheless imagine a picture of what ‘the enemy’ would look like, based on all the war consumed on television and film. The concept of ‘the enemy’ has been concreted in our minds by the action genre. Supposedly, destiny selects someone to defeat ‘the enemy’, ensuring that in spite of the odds that selected someone will prevail.
Many other associations like this exist within us regarding the simulacra of ‘the good guy’ fighting for ‘the good side’. From Robin Hood to Wonder Woman to Superman, we have been taught that he or she will eventually succeed. Just remember the simulacra that has been this 2016 Presidential race and make your pick.
These simulacra, these alternate realities, stay within us as ‘real’ reality; being always reminded that there are others out there that want to take over this country. Talk about THE hunger games! Yet, remember to remember who the real enemy is. “We need to wake up and realize that our real enemies are not in some distant land and not people whose names we don’t know and cultures we don’t understand. The enemy is people we know very well and people we can identify. The enemy is a system that wages war when it’s profitable. The enemy is the CEOs who lay us off our jobs when it’s profitable, is the insurance companies who deny us health care when it’s profitable, is the banks who take away our homes when it’s profitable. Our enemy is not five thousand miles away; they are right here at home. If we organize and fight with our sisters and brothers we can stop this war, we can stop this government and we can create a better world. (Michael Prysne)”