The levels of simulacra

December 18, 2018 — April 7, 2022

Figure 1: I keep forgetting the name of that grandiose opera set designer of Vienna whose work I run into all the time. It’s Ludovico Ottavio Burnacini. See Mathäus Küsel, The hellmouth, set design from Il Pomo D’Oro

Zvi Mowshowitz explicates some interesting models of how truth-telling works, but because he is, er, loquacious, it helps to have shorter versions of his posts to refer to. Which I might write here.

Original: Zvi Moshowitz on simulacra and subjectivity:

[…]what it means to say “There’s a lion across the river”:[…]

Level 1
There’s a lion across the river.
Level 2
I do’t want to go (or have other people go) across the river.
Level 3
I’m with the popular kids who are too cool to go across the river.
Level 4
A firm stance against trans-river expansionism focus-grouped well with undecided voters in my constituency.

Or alternatively, and isomorphic to the Lion definition, from my previous simulacra post:

“There’s a pandemic headed our way from China” means…

Level 1
“There’s a pandemic headed our way from China.”
Level 2
“I want you to act as if you think there might be a pandemic on our way from China” while hoping to still be interpreted by the listener as meaning “There’s a pandemic headed our way from China.”
Level 3
“I wish to associate with the group that claims there is a pandemic headed our way from China.”
Level 4
“It is advantageous for me to say there is a pandemic headed our way from China.”

We can think of this as a kind of shading from pure discussion of the world-as-it-is to conflict-theoretic manoeuvring, perhaps.

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