The Simulacrum

The simulacrum is never what hides the truth – it is truth that hides the fact that there is none.

The simulacrum is true.

-Ecclesiastes

Jean Baudrillard

 

Inferno – Canto V

And now the notes of anguish start to play

upon my ears; and now I find myself

where sounds on sounds of weeping pound at me.

I came to a place where no light shone at all,

bellowing like the sea racked by a tempest,

when warring winds attack it from both sides.

The infernal storm, eternal in its rage,

sweeps and drives the spirits with its blast:

it whirls them, lashing them with punishment.

When they are swept back past their place of judgement,

then come the shrieks, laments, and anguished cries;

there they blaspheme God’s almighty power.

I learned that to this place of punishment

all those who sin in lust have been condemned,

those who make reason slave to appetite;

and as the wings of starlings in the winter

bear them along in wide-spread, crowded flocks,

so does that wind propel the evil spirits:

now here, then there, and up and down, it drives them

with never any hope to comfort them-

hope not of rest but even of suffering less.

 

Dante Alighieri

Lines 25-45.

Translation by Mark Musa

 

Sonnet 144

Two loves I have of comfort and despair,

Which like two spirits do suggest me still

The better angel is a man right fair,

The worser spirit a woman coloured ill.

To win me soon to hell, my female evil

Tempteth my better angel from my side,

And would corrupt my saint to be a devil,

Wooing his purity with her foul pride.

And, whether that my angel be turn’d fiend,

Suspect I may, yet not directly tell,

But being both from me both to each friend,

I guess one angel in another’s hell.

Yet this shall I ne’er know but live in doubt,

Till my bad angel fire my good one out.

William Shakespeare