chapter  12
Tales of Future Past
Pages 8

There is in fact no insoluble waste problem. The problem is resolved by the post-modern invention of recycling and the incinerator. The great incinerators of history, from whose ashes the Phoenix of postmodernity is resuscitated! We have come to terms with the idea that everything that was not degradable or exterminable is today recyclable, and hence there is no final solution. We shall not be spared the worst-that is, history will not come to an end-since the leftovers, all the leftovers-the Church, communism, ethnic groups, conflicts, ideologies-are infinitely recyclable. What is stupendous is that nothing one thought superseded by history has really disappeared. All the archaic, anachronistic forms are there, ready to emerge, intact and timeless, like the viruses deep in the body. History has only wrenched itself from cyclical time to fall into the order of the recyclable. (Baudrillard, 1994, p. 27)

This quotation comes from Baudrillard’s, The Illusion of the End. In many ways it serves to illuminate the thesis of this book, that observational research is used to document the fermentation of the recycled. It operates as the gloved hand of ideology, masking its likeness to the body. It offers openness with spread fingers in apparent supplication. It is used by the powerful to subordinate the weak and by the fifth cavalry to emancipate the downtrodden. The observer floats like a torn scrap of text upon the turbulences, Baudrillard describes.