Shown above is “Simulacra and Simulation,” a book written by French philosopher Jean Baudrillard in 1981. In the famous book, the author says that in the modern “hyperreal” world, there is no distinction between the copy and the original.


Copies have no longer any originals

Before filming the world-famous Matrix series, its directors of the Wachowski brothers asked actors and actresses to read three books, including “Out of Control” by Kevin Kelly and “Introducing Evolutionary Psychology” by Dylan Evans.

The third book is “Simulacra and Simulation,” written by French philosopher Jean Baudrillard in the early 1980s.

In fact, the book appears in the first movie of the trilogy: when Neo (Keanu Reeves) uses a hollowed-out book to deliver computer discs to his friend. It is “Simulacra and Simulation.”

Sooner or later, Neo is forced to select between the red pill to learn the unsettling truth or the blue pill to remain in contented ignorance.

In the book, Baudrillard defines simulacra as models of a real without origin or reality. Simulacra is built upon the absence of a distinction between the copy and the original.

And simulation refers to the imitation of how the real-world process or system works. In other words, the term alludes to the way to create simulacra.

Hyperreal world

And simulacra proceed the real, the situation which Baudrillard depicts “hyperreal.” Because of the “procession of the simulacra,” people are left with “the desert of the real itself.”

And in the world of hyperreal, so many bizarre things happen, as the author notes.

“Illusion is no longer possible because the real is no longer possible.”

“Law and order themselves might be nothing but simulation.”

“You no longer watch TV; it is TV that watches you.”

“There is no more hope for meaning.”

Back to the Matrix movies: in the hyperreal world, there is no such thing as the red pill and the blue pill because there is no distinction between the real and the copy.

And people will increasingly realize that Baudrillard’s insights offered 40 years ago make sense in the modern society, which brings about augmented reality and artificial reality.