The system of objects / Jean Baudrillard ; translated by James Benedict. p. cm. ISBN — ISBN X (pbk.) 1. Values—Psychological. File:Baudrillard Jean The system of objects pdf Baudrillard_Jean_The_system_of_objects_pdf (file size: MB, MIME type. The System of Objects. Marginal Objects: Antiques primary functions. Yet it is not afunctional, nor purely 'decora- tive', for it has a very specific function within the.
|Language:||English, Spanish, Portuguese|
|Distribution:||Free* [*Registration needed]|
The System of Objects is a book by Jean Baudrillard published in This book is based on Create a book · Download as PDF · Printable version. In a provocative analysis written during the unfolding drama of , Baudrillard draws on his concepts of simulation and the hyperreal to argue that the Gulf. Get Free Read & Download Files The System Of Objects Radical Thinkers PDF. THE SYSTEM OF OBJECTS RADICAL THINKERS. Download: The System Of.
Social system elements, either abstract human types or social constructs, or concrete individuals or social groups. Technological System elements, man-made artifacts or constructs; including physical hardware, software and information.
While the above distinctions can be made as a general abstract classification, in reality there are no hard and fast boundaries between these types of systems: e. Systems which contain technical and either human or natural elements, are often called socio-technical systems.
The behavior of such systems is determined both by the nature of the technical elements and by their ability to integrate with or deal with the variability of the natural and social systems around them. Many of the original ideas upon which GST, and other branches of system study, are based come from the study of systems in the natural and social sciences.
Many natural and social systems are initially formed as simple structures through the inherent cohesion among a set of elements. Once formed, they will tend to stay in this structure, as well as combine and evolve further into more complex stable states to exploit this cohesion in order to sustain themselves in the face of threats or environmental pressures. Such complex systems may exhibit specialization of elements, with elements taking on roles which contribute to the system purpose, but loosing some or all of their separate identify outside of the system.
Such roles might include management of resources, defense, self-regulation or problem solving and control. Natural and social systems can be understood through an understanding of this wholeness, cohesion and specialization.
They can also be guided towards the development of behaviors which not only enhance their basic survival, but also fulfill other goals of benefit to them or the systems around them. Thus, it is often true that the environment in which a particular system sits and the elements of that system can themselves be considered as open systems. It can be useful to consider collections of related elements as both a system and a part of one or more other systems.
At some point, the nature of the relationships between elements within and across boundaries in a hierarchy of systems may lead to complex structures and emergent behaviors which are difficult to understand or predict.
Such complexity can often best be dealt with not only by looking for more detail, but also by considering the wider open system relationships. Figure 1: General description of System Context SEBoK Original A system context describes all of the external elements which interact across the boundary of a particular system of interest SoI and a sufficient view of the elements within its boundary, to allow the SoI to be better understood as part of a wider systems whole.
To fully understand the context we also need to identify the environment in which the SoI and wider system sit and the systems in the environment which influence them. Many man-made systems are designed as networks and hierarchies of related system elements to achieve desirable behaviors and the kinds of the resilience seen in natural systems.
While such systems can be deliberately created to take advantage of system properties such as holism and stability, they must also consider system challenges such as complexity and emergence. Considering different views of a SoI and its context over its life can help enable this understanding. Considering systems in context allows us to focus on a SoI while maintaining the necessary wider, holistic systems perspective. This is one of the foundations of the Systems Approach described in SEBoK part 2, and forms a foundation of systems engineering.
Systems and Systems Engineering Some of the systems ideas discussed above form part of the systems engineering body of knowledge. These include hardware, software, firmware, people, information, techniques, facilities, services, and other support elements. Hence, while many SE authors talk about systems and systems ideas they are often based on a particular world view which related to engineered artifacts.
It would also be useful to take a broader view of the context in which these artifacts sit, and to consider through life relationships as part of that context.
To help promote this the SEBoK will try to be more precise with its use of the word system, and distinguish between general systems principles and the specific socio-technical systems created by SE.
The term socio-technical system is used by many in the systems community and may have meanings outside of that relevant to SE. Hence, we will define an engineered system as a socio-technical system forms the primary focus or system of interest SoI for an application of SE. A more detailed discussion of engineered system context and how it relates to the foundations of systems engineering practice can be found below. Introduction to Engineered Systems An engineered system defines a context containing both technology and social or natural elements, developed for a defined purpose by an engineering life cycle.
Engineered System contexts: are created, used and sustained to achieve a purpose, goal or mission that is of interest to an enterprise , team , or an individual. Engineered systems typically are defined by their purpose, goal or mission. Open systems are a useful way to understand many complex situations. Traditional engineering disciplines have become very good at building up detailed models and design practices to deal with the complexity of tightly integrated collections of elements within a technology domain and it is possible to model the seemingly random integration of lots of similar elements using statistical approaches.
Systems Engineering makes use of both these aspects of system complexity, as discussed in the Complexity article.
SE also considers the complexity of relatively small numbers of elements taken from a range of design disciplines together with people who may not always be experienced or have detailed training in their use.
Such engineered systems may be deployed in uncertain or changing environments and be used to help people achieve a number of loosely defined outcomes. For these systems relatively small changes in the internal working of their elements, or in how those elements are combined, may lead to the emergence of complex or un-expected outcomes. It can be difficult to predict and design for all such outcomes during an engineered systems creation, or to respond to them during its use.
Iterative life cycle approaches which explore the complexity and emergence over a number of cycles of development and use are needed to deal with this aspect of complexity. The ways that system engineering deals with these aspects of complexity in the definition of life cycle and life cycle processes applied to an engineered system context is fully explored in Part 3 Life Cycle Definitions As well as being a kind of system an engineered system is also the focus of a life cycle and hence part of a commercial transaction.
Historically, Economists divide all economic activity into two broad categories, goods and services. Goods-producing industries are agriculture, mining, manufacturing, and construction; each of them creates some kind of tangible object. Service industries include everything else: banking, communications, wholesale and retail trade, all professional services such as engineering, computer software development, and medicine, nonprofit economic activity, all consumer services, and all government services, including defense and administration of justice Encyclopedia Britannica The following diagram defines some terms related to an engineered system life cycle and the development of goods products and services.
Figure 2: Life Cycle Terminology Modified from Capability Engineering — an Analysis of Perspectives modified from Henshaw et al, , used with permission In the above figure the capability needed to enable an enterprise to achieve its goals is delivered by the synchronized use of services. Those services are provided by service system which are created, sustained and deployed by one or more organisations.
A service system is composed from people, technology, information, and access to related services and other necessary resources. Some of these resources are provided by enabling services and the technological elements may be developed and supplied as product systems. An enterprise system describes a collection of related capabilities and associated services which together enable the achievement of the overall purpose of an enterprise as a government, business or societal entity.
Measurement and review of enterprise goals may define needs for change which require an organisation to acquire or modify, and integrate the elements needed to evolve its service systems.
The general terminology above is described briefly in the associated glossary definitions and expanded in related articles in Part 4: Applications of Systems Engineering. Engineered System Context Engineered systems are developed as combinations of products and services within a life cycle.
The figure below gives a general view of the full context for any potential application of a SE life cycle. This need establishes the problem situation or opportunity which encapsulates the starting point of any life cycle. Within this service system are the related services, products and people or intelligent software agents needed to fully deliver a solution to that need. The environment includes any people, organisations, rules or conditions which influence or constrain the service system or the things within it.
The SoI for a particular SE life cycle may be defined at any level of this general context. While the focus of the context will vary for each life cycle it is important that some version of this general context is considered for all SE life cycles, to help maintain a holistic view of problem and solution. This is discussed in Types of Systems. An engineered system context describes the context for a SoI so that the necessary understanding can be reached and the right systems engineering decisions can be made across the life of that SoI.
This will require a number of different views of the context across a SE life cycle, both to identify all external influence on the SoI and to guide and constraint the systems engineering of the elements of the SoI.
A full engineered systems context will include the problem situation from which a need for a SoI is identified, one or more socio technical solutions, the organizations needed to create and sustain new solutions and the operational environment within which those solutions must be integrated, used and eventually disposed of. The kinds of views which can be used to represent a SoI context over its life and how those views can be combined into models is discussed in the Representing Systems with Models KA in Part 2.
The activities which use those models are described conceptually in the Systems Approach Applied to Engineered Systems KA in part 2 and related to more formal SE life cycle processes in Part 3. The 3. Similarly, the bourgeois and industrial revolution gradually freed the individual from his involvement with religion, morality and family.
He thus acceded to a freedom in law as an individual, but also to an actual freedom as labour-power - that is, the freedom to sell himself as labour-power. This parallel has nothing coincidental about it, for there is a profound correlation here: both the serially produced 'functional' object and the social individual are liberated in their 'functional' objectification, not in their singularity or in their totality as object or person.
The functional environment is more open, freer, but it is destructured, fragmented into its various functions. Somewhere between the two, in the gap between integrated psychological space and fragmented functional space, serial objects have their being, witnesses to both the one and the other - sometimes within a single interior.
The Model Interior Modular Components This elusive space, which is no longer either a confined externality nor an interior refuge, this freedom, this 'style' which is indecipherable in the serial object because it is subordinated to that object's function, may nevertheless be encountered in model interiors, which embody a new emerging structure and a significant evolution.
The first reaches for the sublime, presenting houses beyond compare: old eighteenth-century mansions, miraculously well-equipped villas, Italian gardens heated by infra-red rays and populated by Etruscan statuettes - in short, the world of the unique, leaving the reader no alternative so far as sociological generalization is concerned, at any rate but contemplation without hope.
Aristocratic models such as these, by virtue of their absolute value, are what underpin the second theme, that of modern interior decoration and furnishing.
The objects and furniture proposed here, though they are high in 'status' value, do impinge on sociological reality: they are not dream creations without commercial significance but, rather, models in the proper sense of the word. We are no longer in 4. In other words, these things happen at a privileged level. And there is a sociological and a social problem with the fact that a restricted group should have the concrete freedom to present itself, through its objects and furniture, as a model in the eyes of an entire society.
This problem will be addressed later, however - see 'Models and Series' below. A glossy magazine devoted to mass-produced products is unthinkable, the only appropriate form here being a catalogue.
Extensible and interlocking components. Can be transformed or enlarged. Harmonious - they create a perfectly matching set of furniture.
Functional - they answer all the needs of modern living. And they meet all your furnishing requirements - bookshelves, bar, radio, cupboards, wardrobe, desk space, cabinets, dresser, drawers, display unit, file storage, hideaway table TECMA is available in oiled teak or finished mahogany.
Discover the fun of designing a miniature three-dimensional model of your furniture, in colour and just the right size to handle!
You can build your model and change it around to your heart's content - all in the comfort of your own home! Then, with perfect confidence, order your original and personal OSCAR furniture - soon to be the pride of your household! A high-quality cabinetwork system, in teak or makor. Jointing and assembling leave no traces.
Four-sided components can be put together in an infinite variety of ways - an infinite variety of genuine furniture adapted to your own particular tastes, size requirements and needs. These are multi-combinable single-block components. You're sure to want them so that you too can give your home that refined atmosphere you've been dreaming about. Symbolic values, and along with them use values, are being supplanted by organizational values.
The substance and form of the old furniture have been abandoned for good, in favour of an extremely free interplay of functions. These objects are no longer endowed with a 'soul', nor do they invade us with their symbolic presence: the relationship has become an objective one, founded on disposition and play. The value this relationship takes on is no longer of an instinctive or a psychological but, rather, of a tactical kind.
What such objects embody is no longer the secret of a unique relationship but, rather, differences, and moves in a game. The former radical closure has disappeared, in parallel with a distinct change in social and interpersonal structures. Walls and Daylight The rooms and the house themselves now transcend the traditional dividing-line of the wall, which formerly made them into spaces of refuge. Rooms open into one another, everything communicates, and space is broken up into angles, diffuse areas and mobile sectors.
Rooms, in short, have been liberalized. Windows are no longer imposed upon the free influx of air and light - a light which used to come from outside and settle upon objects, illuminating them as though from within. Now there are quite simply no windows, and a freely intervening light has become a universal function of the existence of things. In the same way objects have lost the substantiality which was their basis, the form which enclosed them whereby man made them part of his self-image: it is now space which plays freely between them, and becomes the universal function of their relationships and their 'values'.
Lighting Many significant features of this general evolution might be pointed out. The tendency for light sources to be made invisible is a case in point. Small wonder that a system founded on the objective manipulation of simple and homogeneous elements should strive to eliminate this last sign of internal radiance, of the symbolic envelopment of things by look or desire.
Mirrors and Portraits Another symptomatic change is the disappearance of looking-glasses and mirrors. A psycho-sociology of the mirror is overdue, especially in the wake of so much metaphysics. The traditional peasant milieu had no mirrors, perhaps even feared them as somewhat eerie. The bourgeois interior, by contrast, and what remains of that interior in present-day serially produced furniture, has mirrors in profusion, hung on the walls and incorporated into wardrobes, sideboards, cabinets or panelling.
As a source of light, the mirror enjoys a special place in the room. This is the basis of the ideological role it has played, everywhere in the domestic world of the well-to-do, as redundancy, superfluity, reflection: the mirror is an opulent object which affords the self-indulgent bourgeois individual the opportunity to exercise his privilege - to reproduce his own image and revel in his possessions.
In a more general sense we may say that the mirror is a symbolic object which not only reflects the characteristics of the individual but also echoes in its expansion the historical expansion of individual consciousness. It thus carries the stamp of approval of an entire social order: it is no coincidence that the century of Louis XIV is epitomized by the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles, nor that, in more recent times, the spread of mirrors in apartments coincided with the spread of the triumphal Pharisaism of bourgeois consciousness, from Napoleon III to Art Nouveau.
But things have changed. There is no place in the functional ensemble for reflection for its own sake. There, dedicated to the fastidious care of the appearance that social intercourse demands, it is liberated from the graces and glories of domestic subjectivity. By the same token other objects are in turn liberated from mirrors; hence, they are no longer tempted to exist in a closed circuit with their own images.
For mirrors close off space, presuppose a wall, refer back to the centre of the room. The more mirrors there are, the more glorious is the intimacy of the room, albeit more turned in upon itself. The current proliferation of openings and transparent partitions clearly represents a diametrically opposed approach.
Furthermore, all the tricks that mirrors make possible run counter to the current demand for a frank use of materials. A chain has definitely been broken, and there is a real logic to the modern approach when it eliminates not only central or over-visible light sources but also the mirrors that used to reflect them; by thus eschewing any focus on or return to a central point, it frees space of the converging squint which gave bourgeois dcor - much like bourgeois consciousness in general - such a crosseyed view of itself.
All these, constituting a sort of diachronic mirror of the family, disappear along with mirrors themselves when a certain level of modernity is reached although this has not happened as yet on any wide scale.
Even works of art, whether originals or reproductions, no longer have a part to play as an absolute value, but merely in a combining mode. The success of prints as decoration in contrast to framed pictures is in part to be explained by their lower absolute value, and hence greater value in association.
No object, any more than lights and mirrors, must be allowed to regain too intense a focus. The mirror occasionally makes a comeback, but it does so in a baroque cultural mode, as a secondary object - a romantic looking-glass, say, or an antique or bull's-eye mirror. The function is no longer the same and will be addressed below apropos of antiques in general. An essential object has vanished: the clock. It is worth recalling that although the centre of the peasant room is the fire and fireplace, the clock is nevertheless a majestic and living element therein.
In the bourgeois or petty-bourgeois interior it takes the form of the clock that so often crowns the marble mantelpiece, itself usually dominated by a mirror above - the whole ensemble constituting the most extraordinary symbolic resume of bourgeois domesticity.
The clock is to time as the mirror is to space. Just as the relationship to the reflected image institutes a closure and a kind of introjection of space, so the clock stands paradoxically for the permanence and introjection of time. Country clocks are among the most soughtafter of objects, precisely because they capture time and strip it of surprises within the intimacy of a piece of furniture.
There is nothing in the world more reassuring. The measuring of time produces anxiety when it serves to assign us to social tasks, but it makes us feel safe when it substantializes time and cuts it into slices like an object of consumption.
Everybody knows from experience how intimate a ticking clock can make a place feel; the reason is that the clock's sound assimilates the place to the inside of our own body.
The clock is a mechanical heart that reassures us about our own heart. It is precisely this process of infusion or assimilation of the substance of time, this presence of duration, which is rejected, just like all other returns to inwardness, by a modern order based on externality, spatiality and objective relationships. Towards a Sociology of Interior Design? It is the whole world of Stimmung that has disappeared, the world of 'natural' harmony between movements of the emotions and the presence of things: an internalized atmosphere as opposed to the externalized atmosphere of modern 'interiors'.
Today, value resides neither in appropriation nor in intimacy but in information, in inventiveness, in control, in a continual openness to objective messages - in short, in the syntagmatic calculation which is, strictly speaking, the foundation of the discourse of the modern home-dweller.
Traditional good taste, which decided what was beautiful on the basis of secret affinities, no longer has any part here. That taste constituted a poetic discourse, an evocation of selfcontained objects that responded to one another; today objects do not respond to one another, they communicate - they have no individual presence but merely, at best, an overall coherence attained by virtue of their simplification as components of a code and the way their relationships are calculated.
An unrestricted combinatorial system enables man to use them as the elements of his structural discourse. Advertising widely promotes this new conception of decoration: 'Create a livable and well-organized three-room flat in 30 square metres!
In the case of serial objects, the possibilities of this functional discourse are reduced. Objects and furniture of this kind are dispersed elements whose syntactic links are not evident; to the degree that they are arranged in a calculated way, the organizing principle is penury, and the objects appear impoverished in their abstraction.
This is a necessary abstraction, however, for it provides the basis, at the level of the model, for the homogeneity of the elements in functional interaction.
First of all man must stop mixing himself up with things and investing them with his own image; he will then be able, beyond the utility they have for him, to project onto them his game plan, his calculations, his discourse, and invest these manoeuvres themselves with the sense of a message to others, and a message to oneself.
By the time this point is reached the mode of existence of 'ambient' objects will have changed completely, and a sociology of furnishing will perforce have given way to a sociology of interior design.
Roland Barthes describes this new stage as it affects cars:. The car thus 25 S Y S T E M O F Both the images and the discourse of advertising attest to this development: the discourse, by placing the subject directly on the stage as actor and manager, in both the indicative and the imperative moods; the images, to the contrary, by leaving the subject out, for his presence would, in a way, be an anachronism.
The subject is himself the order he puts into things, and this order excludes redundancy: man has simply to remove himself from the picture. His presence has accomplished its task. What man now creates is a space, not a dcor, and whereas the figure of the master of the house was a normal part - indeed, the clearest connotation - of the traditional dcor, a signature is thoroughly alien to any 'functional7 space.
Man the Interior Designer We are beginning to see what the new model of the home-dweller looks like: 'man the interior designer' is neither an owner nor a mere user - rather, he is an active engineer of atmosphere.
Space is at his disposal like a kind of distributed system, and by controlling this space he holds sway over all possible reciprocal relations between the objects therein, and hence over all the roles they are capable of assuming. It follows that he must also be 'functional' himself: he and the space in question must be homogeneous if his messages of design are to leave him and return to him successfully.
What matters to him is neither possession nor enjoyment but responsibility, in the strict sense which implies that it is at all times possible for him to determine 'responses'. His praxis is exclusively external. This modern home-dweller does not 'consume' his objects. Here again, 'taste' no longer has the slightest part to play, for in both its meanings it refers us back to selfcontained objects whose form contains an 'edible' substance, so to speak, which transfers its phantasied power to a specific set of practices.
Since we can no longer tinker with the object itself, we are reduced to tinkering with the way it is driven. Instead of consuming objects, he dominates, controls and orders them.
He discovers himself in the manipulation and tactical equilibration of a system. There is clearly something abstract about this model of the 'functional' homedweller. Advertising would like us to believe that modern man no longer fundamentally needs his objects, that all he has to do now is operate among them as an intelligent technician of communications.
Our environment, however, is a directly experienced mode of existence, and it is very abstract indeed to apply to it computational and informational models borrowed from the purely technical realm. Furthermore, this objectivizing approach is accompanied by a cascade of ambiguous phraseology - 'to your own taste', 'to your own measurements', 'personalization', 'the atmosphere will be yours alone', and so forth - which appears to contradict that approach but in fact covers for it.
The objective game which man the interior designer is invited to play is invariably taken over by the double-dealing of advertising. Yet the game's very logic conveys with it the image of a general strategy of human relations, the image of a human project, of a modus vivendi for the technical age - a genuine change of civilization whose impact may be discerned even in everyday life.
Consider the object for a moment: the object as humble and receptive supporting actor, as a sort of psychological slave or confidant - the object as directly experienced in traditional daily life and illustrated throughout the history of Western art down to our own day.
This object was the reflection of a total order, bound up with a well-defined conception of dcor and perspective, substance and form. According to this conception, the form is an absolute dividing-line between inside and outside. Form is a rigid container, and within it is substance. Beyond their practical function, therefore, objects - and specifically objects of furniture - have a primordial function as vessels, a function that belongs to the register of the imaginary.
They are the 8.
A law of dimension also seems to come into play, however, at the level of symbolic organization: any object above a certain size, even one with phallic significance car, rocket , becomes a receptacle, vessel or womb, while any below a particular size becomes penile, even if it is a bowl or a knick-knack. All this makes up a complete mode of life whose basic ordering principle is Nature as the original substance from which value is derived. In creating or manufacturing objects, man makes himself, through the imposition of a form i.
It is the passing down of substances from age to age, from form to form, which supplies the archetype of creativity, namely creation ab utero and the whole poetic and metaphorical symbolic system that goes with it.
So too, with the form perfectly circumscribing the object, a portion of nature is included therein, just as in the case of the human body: the object on this view is essentially anthropomorphic.
Man is thus bound to the objects around him by the same visceral intimacy, mutatis mutandis, that binds him to the organs of his own body, and 'ownership' of the object always tends virtually towards the appropriation of its substance by oral annexation and 'assimilation'. What we glimpse today in modern interiors is the coming end of this order of Nature; what is appearing on the horizon, beyond the break-up of form, beyond the dissolution of the formal boundary between inside and outside and of the whole dialectic of being and appearance relating to that boundary, is a qualitatively new kind of relationship, a new kind of objective responsibility.
As directly experienced, the project of a technological society implies putting the very idea of genesis into question and omitting all the origins, received meanings and 'essences' of which our old pieces of furniture remained concrete symbols; it implies practical computation and conceptualization on the basis of a total abstraction, the 9. Intellectual and artistic production, traditionally seen in terms of gifts, inspiration or genius, has never really been anything more than an echo of this archetype.
Whereas the earlier civilization, founded on the natural order of substances, may be said to have been underpinned by oral structures, the modern order of production, calculation and functionality must be viewed as a phallic order linked to the enterprise whose goal is the supersession and transformation of the given and the opening up of new objective structures; but it is at the same time a faecal order founded on an abstraction or quintessence meant to inform a homogeneous material world, on the measuring off and division of material reality, on a great anal aggressiveness sublimated into play, discourse, ordering, classifying and placement.
The organizing of things, even when in the context of technical enterprise it has every appearance of being objective, always remains a powerful springboard for projection and cathexis. The best evidence of this is the obsessiveness that lies behind so many organizational projects and of most relevance to our present discussion behind the will to design.
Everything has to intercommunicate, everything has to be functional - no more secrets, no more mysteries, everything is organized, therefore everything is clear. This is not the old slogan of the houseproud: a place for everything and everything in its place. That obsession was moral, today's is functional - and explicable in terms of the faecal function, which requires absolute conductivity in all internal organs.
Here we have the basis for a character profile of technical civilization: if hypochondria is an obsession with the circulation of substances and the functioning of the primary organs, we might well describe modern man, the cybernetician, as a mental hypochondriac, as someone obsessed with the perfect circulation of messages.
As a matter of fact this model of praxis emerges clearly only when a high technical level has been attained, or in the context of very advanced everyday objects, such as tape recorders, cars or household appliances, whose dials, dashboards or control panels bespeak the degree of mastery and coordination required to operate them. It should be noted that everyday life is still very largely governed by the traditional forms of praxis.
In the discourse of advertising the technical need for design is always accompanied by the cultural need for atmosphere. The two structure a single practice; they are two aspects of a single functional system. And both mobilize the values of play and of calculation - calculation of function in the case of design, calculation of materials, forms and space in the case of atmosphere. A person will 'like' a particular colour, or have 'their' colour.
Colour may be dictated by an event, a ceremony, or a social role; alternatively, it may be the characteristic To the extent that arrangement involves dealing with space, it too may be considered a component of atmosphere. Above all it remains circumscribed by form; it does not seek contact with other colours, and it is not a free value.
Tradition confines colours to its own parochial meanings and draws the strictest of boundary-lines about them. Even in the freer ceremonial of fashion, colours generally derive their significance from outside themselves: they are simply metaphors for fixed cultural meanings.
At the most impoverished level, the symbolism of colours gets lost in mere psychological resonance: red is passionate and aggressive, blue a sign of calm, yellow optimistic, and so on; and by this point the language of colours is little different from the languages of flowers, dreams or the signs of the Zodiac. The traditional treatment of colour negates colour as such, rejects it as a complete value. Indeed, the bourgeois interior reduces it for the most part to discreet 'tints' and 'shades'.
Grey, mauve, garnet, beige - all the shades assigned to velours, woollens and satins, to the profusion of fabrics, curtains, carpets and hangings, as also to heavier materials and 'period' forms, imply a moral refusal of both colour and space.
But especially of colour, which is deemed too spectacular, and a threat to inwardness. The world of colours is opposed to the world of values, and the 'chic' invariably implies the elimination of appearances in favour of being black, white, grey - whatever registers zero on the colour scale - is correspondingly paradigmatic of dignity, repression, and moral standing. It would be generations before cars and typewriters came in anything but black, and even longer before refrigerators and washbasins broke with their universal whiteness.