Baudrillard’s Transparency of Evil

‘We are under the sway’ writes Baudrillard ‘of a surgical compulsion that seeks to excise negative characteristics and remodel things synthetically into ideal forms’ (44). In a ‘lukemic’ order ‘we can no longer speak of Evil. All we can do is discourse on the rights of man — a discourse which is pious, weak, useless and hypocritical’ and ‘invariably deployed in a … reactive mode’ (85). But Evil has not, for all that, disappeared: ‘it has metamorphosed into all the viral and terroristic forms that obsess us’ (81). This metamorphosis is what Baudrillard intended by the title of the book, although (as interview 17 in the Gane collection tells us) the impossible word ‘transparition’ might have captured it better than ‘transparency’. What he had earlier called the ‘revenge of the crystal’, and earlier still the haunting of semiosis by symbolic exchange, is reformulated, in effect, as the ‘theorem of the accursed share’. Whatever purges the latter in itself ‘signs its own death warrant’ (106).



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