The Abyss Of Meaning

Paul Tillich finds hope in The Courage to Be when he writes, “The vitality that can stand the abyss of meaninglessness is aware of a hidden meaning within the destruction of meaning” (163).

Jean Baudrillard finds despair in The Ecstasy of Communication when he writes:

Everywhere one seeks to produce meaning, to make the world signify, to render it visible. We are not, however, in danger of lacking meaning; quite the contrary, we are gorged with meaning and it is killing us. As more and more things have fallen into the abyss of meaning, they have retained less and less the charm of appearances. (55)

Baudrillard mourns the loss of “the charm of appearances” in our hyper-real world. Today we can’t let Nothingness be. We deny silence the right to remain silent. There once was a time, Baudrillard suggests, when the secret essence of things remained hidden, but today we’ve stripped the world of its profound illusion.

Melancholy through writing is Baudrillard’s last defense against madness.

Back to Tillich: “Even in the state of despair one has enough being to make despair possible” (163).

In his despair, Baudrillard has enough being to make despair possible. The depth and vitality of his enigmatic writing invokes a silent resistance within and against the ecstasy of communication. A silent resistance destined, like all forms of (radical) thought, to fall into the abyss of meaning.

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