One of the most interesting texts that I?ve read touching this subject
(still considering the specific aspect of representation and simulated
representation) is Umberto Eco?s «Travels in Hyperreality?. Of
course, we have to remember that this text was written in 1975, thus,
much earlier than everybody was using terms like «hypertexts»,
«virtual reality» or «cyberspace», at least in the sense that we are
giving to them today as given elements of simulation of a «real»
«second life». In this text Eco identified the world of «Hyperreality»
as the world of «Absolute Fakes», but in a way that made the faking
mechanisms, imitations or simulations, not merely reproduce reality,
but eventually improve it. He illustrates this aspect with the
examples of the faked Disney Worlds, where real life elements like
cities, streets and houses (castles and alike) would offer the perfect
environments for different lifelike figures to play real lifelike
stories. Once inside those stories everybody would be able to live, or
to simulate living (which in that context would mean the same),
different actions obtaining different feelings and different states of
mind that would be rather hard to get without those simulation
I think that this example given by Eco (but we could in fact be
speaking of many fiction films, cartoons or videogames) help us to
understand at least part of the problem: we need to reproduce
different environments and different actions for many different
purposes, from pure entertainment to strict scientific aims, but we
should also remain aware of some words said by Eco about these
processes being generally «an allegory of the consumer society, a
place of absolute iconicism» where the simulation environment «is also
as place of total passivity» and «its visitors must agree to behave
This bring us back to the worries of Baudrillard, that I?ve mentioned
already in a former post, showing that many of the possible simulation
situations that we share, in fact, today are many times signs of other
states of alienation, either in real life situations, or in controlled
These were only some loose thoughts that I tried to put together
aiming to come closer to a more analytical approach within the
discussions, but after reading them now, I can hardly agree that they
contribute to that purpose at all.
Best wishes to you all.
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