left forearm

Above: The left forearm of Dr Henry Bond with allergy scrape-tests. Credit: Oscopic.


For Baudrillard, modern Western liberalism tends to seek the systematic denial of otherness, exoticism and strangeness. Liberal culture ceaselessly promotes assimilation, integration, harmony, homogenization, incorporation, fusion etc. Strangeness is everywhere substituted for the celebration of "difference."

For Baudrillard it is important to recognise that otherness cannot always be neutralized--and it should not always be neutralized. For example, for Baudrillard, on some level, women and men are intrinsically alien to one another (i.e., he espouses an essentialist position). For Baudrillard, rather than seek to diminish the innate physiological and psychological differences between the sexes we should rather accept them--recognising and acknowledging them. ("Each sex with its anatomical and physiological characteristics, with its own desire and all the irresolvable dramas that ensue...")

For Baudrillard, this quality of unreconcilableness also extends to one's relationship to one's own body: to behold and apprehend one's own body as strange and somewhat alien to one's-self should again be honoured and upheld, rather than abhorred, or denied.

For Baudrillard, this insight or awareness of alienness-and-otherness is designated "seduction," and has been described by Dr Marcus Doel as "our culture's saving-grace," seduction--or strange attraction--tends to be experienced as being "drawn towards something that constantly eludes us." The force of seduction--or strange attraction--is that "when everything is, finally, given over to production and obscenity ... seduction will [still] remain in play (Doel)."

Or, in Baudrillard's words: "There is no answer to this collective syndrome of a whole culture, this fascination, this mad whirl of denial of otherness, of all strangeness, all negativity, this repudiation of evil ... [In terms of a solution] we can only remember that seduction resides in the safeguarding of alienness, in non-reconciliation. One should not be reconciled with one's body, nor with oneself, one should not be reconciled with the other, one should not be reconciled with nature, one should not reconcile male and female, nor good and evil."

(30 December 2018, revised 20 January 2019)