According to Baudrillard, the territory of reality no longer precedesthe map of representation. Images and signs have become more"real" to us than "reality" itself. In the past, signifiers stood in a one-to-one correspondence with their referents: today they do not; theyproliferate in all directions; they themselves are perceived andinterpreted as "real". For example, the Main Street of Disneylandhas become a more "real" representation of Main Street in ourcollective mind than the Main Street of towns and cities itself. Theidea of New York and Paris one experiences in a Las Vegas casinohas become as real or more real to people than the actual citiesthemselves."Something has disappeared: the sovereign difference [betweenmaps and territories] that constituted the charm of abstraction,"Baudrillard writes in
Simulacra And Simulation
. "The real isproduced from miniaturized cells, matrices, and memory banks,models of control -- and it can be reproduced an indefinite numberof times from these. It no longer needs to be rational, because it nolonger measures itself against either an ideal or negative instance. Itis no longer anything but operational."In the past, a "real" moment occurred when a person experiencedanother person's presence and speech, or observed something thatwas happening in the neighboorhood or across the street. Todaywhat we experience more and more are spectacles, images,symbols, signs. To understand to what great degree we have allbecome dependent on circuitry and networks, try living a weekwithout a cell phone, or PC, or TV, or DVD player, or iPod, orradio. Perhaps for many, such deprivation would be equivalent toan emotional and psychological death. The feeling of absencewould hit them in a quite destabilizing way.