Towards a Non-Baudrillard
Theoretical Violence and the Gift
Against the difficulty of thinking outside conditions of the contemporary age, this paper develops a non-philosophical cloning of concepts introduced in Jean Baudrillard’s philosophy, with the aim of introducing a (counter-)gift against the present system’s reproduction. Rather than locating a revolutionary subject in the conditions of reference determined by the (capitalist) system, but also rejecting the catastrophic and nihilistic counter-gifts proposed by Baudrillard himself, this paper performs a cloning of a philosophical decision implicitly present in Baudrillard’s thinking between symbolic exchange (that which haunts the system), and sign-exchange/political economy (the system itself and its simulations), towards developing a non-classical revolutionary “subject” rooted in a plurality of knowledge practices. The cloning presents two new first names of the Real as “exchanged-without-exchange” and “(counter-)gifted-without-giftedness.” These are then taken as tools for orienting thought for imagining the outside of a capitalist/semiotic decision and bringing forth an unbound “man-to-come.” The paper thus situates future post-capitalist planning within a democracy of knowledge practices irreducible to the practices of thinking promoted by the system alone. These are already “(counter-)gifted-without-giftedness” to resist, with a theoretical, but not fatal, violence, the congealed thinking of status quo capitalism and fantastical unplanned alternatives.
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