Saturday, 6 September 2014

The Gaza conflict is not taking place

The title of this is an homage to Baudrillards book "The Gulf War Did Not Take Place". It is not about the politics of the situation. Baudrillard exponds the idea of hyperreality, which is his thesis about how we see the world.

The concept of hyperreality is that we never see the truth, the reality about situations in the world, because all of our information about reality comes through the filter of the media - this is not just the news media, but covers all of the television, print media, the internet. So all of the blogs you read, the emails you get, they are included. Baudrillards concept is that because our knowledge is always filtered through these media, we do not know what actually happens, but only what the media want you to know.

This is not the truth. this is a version of the truth.

In some circumstances, we can find the truth, as long as we take our information from various places, as long as we are aware of the bias that our sources have. So I can be pretty sure that Baroness Warsi resigned, and the reasons why she resigned. I have seen images of her resignation letter, and I have not seen anything that indicates that this was not the actual reasons. This is something that, with some work, I can get reasonable certainty on, sufficient to claim that I have a good idea of the truth.

I will talk later about how significant this concept is to our thinking. However the Gaza conflict is a prime example of the significance of hyperreality. The thing is, there is so much misinformation about the conflict that we cannot actually have any real grasp of what is actually happening.

There have been  pictures of victims of attacks - some of which have been shown to be from other conflicts. So we cannot trust the pictures that we are shown - yes some of them are real, and all of them are painful, but we cannot trust what we are shown to truly reflect what is actually going on. Blaming the Israelis for atrocities committed in Syria does not help either cause.

The thing is, all of the information that we receive in the West is biased. That is always the case, but in this case, it seems to be far harder to identify the truth because every agency - the BBC and other Western news outlets included - are biased. Usually, there is a news source that is trying to reflect the actual position, in this case, everyone is pushing a political position, so none of them can be trusted.

The concept of hyperreality is that everyone is impacted by this. All of those people who you trust have been impacted by biased information. Even those on the ground only get a small insight into what is happening - if they see an explosion, they are told who fired the missile, they are told why.

So the Gaza conflict is not taking place, not as we understand it, not as we know it. The conflict as it is represented in the West is not the conflict that is actually happening.

And this means, sadly, that men, women and children are dying and nobody actually knows why. All sorts of people claim the causes and the reasons. But in the end, people die for no purpose. That gets me angry.

This is not about the Gaza conflict, it is about our perception of issues. Those that are most significant to us are the ones that we need to be most careful about. The representation of this conflict is merely a more significant case of what we see all of the time.

The truth is out there. The problem is that getting access to it is, today, impossible. Once we recognise this, we then have a better grasp of truth.

//people also suffer from hyperreality, in that our understanding of stuff is based on our media inputs.

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