Guy Debord The Society of the Spectacle - Irfan Ajvazi

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Abstract
The foundation of every society is the result of an arbitrary act: one of its parts takes control over the rest and (re)makes the world in its own image. Any sort of tribal, theocratic, feudal, political dimension in the history of our civilisation has indeed shaped reality according to its peculiar needs and aims, by means of a system of thought that could justify its permanence in time. The creation of artificial needs requires a distorted perception of inherent threshold values; otherwise, Debord says, we wouldn't be the well-oiled cogs we're expected to be in the machinery of the system. The list of our natural needs is indeed quite short: only a few biological functions and a couple of psychophysical drives to be satisfied when necessary, such as sex and sociality. As a matter of fact, it doesn't take much for a human being to survive. Modern society can't afford to accept the concept of 'strictly necessary' though, not after its very existence became anachronistic and even threatening to a world ruled by the market-a world that needs buyers and consumers in order to survive. What Debord clearly points out is indeed the fake sense of freedom in our choices, the great lie presiding over our lives as consumers-a surrogate freedom that was bestowed upon us as yet another commodity. Even our dirtiest excesses are fed their daily fix of filth by the market; as long as our kinks imply some sort of purchase, we'll always find an industry willing to satisfy them. a use of the commodity arises that is sufficient unto itself; what this means for the consumer is an outpouring of religious zeal in honor of the commodity's sovereign freedom. waves of enthusiasm for particular products, fueled and boosted by the communications media, are propagated with lightning speed. a film sparks a fashion craze, or a magazine launches a chain of clubs that in turn spins off a line of products. the sheer fad item perfectly expresses the fact that, as the mass of commodities becomes more and more absurd, absurdity becomes a commodity in its own right... The spectacle is the moment when the commodity has attained the total occupation of social life. Not only is the relation to the commodity visible but it is all one sees: the world one sees is its world. Modern economic production extends its dictatorship extensively and intensively. In the least industrialized places, its reign is already attested by a few star commodities and by the imperialist domination imposed by regions which are ahead in the development of productivity. In the advanced regions, social space is invaded by a continuous superimposition of geological layers of commodities. At this point in the \"second industrial revolution,\" alienated consumption becomes for the masses a duty supplementary to alienated production.
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Archival date: 2022-01-12
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