On Exactitude in Science Jorge Luis Borges, Collected Fictions, translated by Andrew Hurley. “…In that Empire, the Art of Cartography attained such Perfection that the map of a single Province occupied the entirety of a City, and the map of the Empire, the entirety of a Province. In time, those Unconscionable Maps no longer satisfied, and the Cartographers Guilds struck a Map of the Empire whose size was that of the Empire, and which coincided point for point with it. The following Generations, who were not so fond of the Study of Cartography as their Forebears had been, saw that that vast Map was Useless, and not without some Pitilessness was it, that they delivered it up to the Inclemencies of Sun and Winters. In the Deserts of the West, still today, there are Tattered Ruins of that Map, inhabited by Animals and Beggars; in all the Land there is no other Relic of the Disciplines of Geography.”
—Suarez Miranda,Viajes devarones prudentes, Libro IV,Cap. XLV, Lerida, 1658
The professor mentioned this fable when talking about Baudrillard. After the fake quote from Ecclesiastes, Baudrillard discusses this fable from Borges. Borges attributes this passage to a fictional person. A lot of fakery going on here.
Baudrilard discusses how this map has been created, by cartographers, in the same size as this empire. As time passed and newer generations started to neglect the map, it started wasting away and falling into ruins. The tatters of the map are found in the deserts and the people mistake it for real because it has gone through the process of aging. Baudrillard refers to this desert as the desert of the real.
Isn’t this how we are living our lives? As we live in the age of consumption, aren’t we taking things at face value and make choices that we believe prove we have freedom. We go on clothing websites and make choices on what to buy, but what are these choices but options that our benevolent corporate overlords are presenting to us. We watch Game of Thrones and are excited that a certain character gets resurrected and disgusted when another feeds his stepmom and brother to his dogs (what a bastard! literally!) We feel emotions for stuff that isn’t real. On the train my head is in my phone, like everyone else’s, and we don’t communicate with those that are real and in front of us. Now virtual reality is taking off and we will become engrossed with this experience and be further removed from reality. My question is; do you know where this is leading? Is all of this inevitable and is the role media plays in this our fault?
Here’s a link to a clip from the Matrix where Morpheus talks about the Desert of the Real.