books pdf La Société du SpectacleAuthor Guy Debord –

9 in a world that really has been turned on its head, truth is a moment of falsehood.20 the absolute denial of life, in the shape of a fallacious paradise, is no longer projected onto the heavens, but finds its place instead within material life itself the spectacle is hence a technological version of the exiling of human powers in a world beyond and the perfection of separation within human beings.67 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 and absurd, absurdity becomes a commodity in its own right188 when a newly independent art paints its world in brilliant colors, then a moment of life has grown old by art s brilliant colors it cannot be rejuvenated but only recalled to mind the greatness of art makes its appearance only as dusk begins to fall over life. I read Society of the Spectacle way back in college when one is young and naive, and you re supposed to care about heady, outdated French philosophy that is utterly disconnected from the real But now that I m older and I have a world of experience to draw from, I m fairly certain it wouldn t resonate as it once did To wit, the so called radical situationist ethic is now a totally mainstream, mass media commodity in and of itself Beijing hosts pillow fight flash mobs in Tian anmen square, orchestrated with consumer electronics on high speed internet connections the next day, everyone goes about their business as usual.My beef with Debord and his ilk Hakim Bey, for instance is twofold their message is hyperbolic, poorly articulated, loaded with cyclical logic, and often imbued with the sexy but none the less empty rhetoric of retro romaticism notice, as Steev has, the thin nature of their masterpieces this is no accident or coincidence and, of course, they espouse a remote worldview that is tremendously arrogant and at least as fantastic and absurd as that with which they claim to despise about the human condition.Case in point, Debord s regressive contention that The spectacle was born from the world s loss of the unity, and the immense expansion of the modern spectacle reveals the enormity of this loss The abstractifying of all individual labor and the general abstractness of what is produced are perfectly reflected in the spectacle, whose manner of being concrete is precisely abstraction Putting aside for a moment the meta mind fuck jibber jabber of the author s writing not to mention the rich irony of a book itself a kind of spectacle that s only about 600 year old littered with such sentences that so expertly illustrate how the spectacle s manner of being concrete is precisely abstraction it s pretty clear that Debord laments the development of our species and longs for a return to some supposedly glorious golden era when everything and everybody was awash in unity Not sure how far back he wants to go, but given his frustrations with the spectacle s representation of the real, the charming paintings of the 18,000 year old Caves of Lascaux in the lands of his own native France clearly isn t far enough Maybe the dawn of agriculture The big bang When, prey tell, were we whole, Mr Debord I recommend this book to folks if only to become aware of this particular subset of intellectual sophistry But please don t take it to heart If you really want to revel in photos of your kid, by all means, enjoy your spectacular abstractifying I won t tell the smug intelligentsia if you won t Few Works Of Political And Cultural Theory Have Been As Enduringly Provocative As Guy Debord S The Society Of The Spectacle From Its Publication Amid The Social Upheavals Of The S Up To The Present, The Volatile Theses Of This Book Have Decisively Transformed Debates On The Shape Of Modernity, Capitalism And Everyday Life In The Late Twentieth Century Now Finally Available In A Superb English Translation Approved By The Author, Debord S Text Remains As Crucial As Ever For Understanding The Contemporary Effects Of Power, Which Are Increasingly Inseparable From The New Virtual Worlds Of Our Rapidly Changing Image Information Culture I gave this Guy a chance.In any expository writing, particularly when persuasion is the goal, the writing should be as clear as possible to reach the widest audience.This essay is laid out in numbered statements Some are only a sentence long, others may run a page or two, but all are written in a style that tells me the author is concerned with his style than the content Perhaps this is the thing to do in intellectual circles, where stylish profundity that requires effort to decode is valued.See if you can figure out what the following means This is statement number 56 The spectacle, like modern society itself, is at once united and divided The unity of each is based on violent divisions But when the contradiction emerges in the spectacle, it is itself contradicted by a reversal of its meaning the division it presents is unitary, while the unity itself is divided Say what These are not the words of someone who is writing to the masses, the very masses that he is out support and enlighten Debord is writing for the intellectual 1% of which he is a member.It s not that he has nothing meaningful to say If I can get anything out of what I have read, he believes in much of the socialist communist bedrock that people are alienated from the work they do and that we live in a word of products paraded before our eyes which induce us to spend our labor maintaining the system that produces them Therefor, humanity supports a system, we do not have a system that supports our humanity The goal is to keep us wanting and buying, while not paying attention to the fact that we are deluded.I made it a third of the way through before looking on the shelf for another book to read I enjoy intellectual challenge, but I appreciate clarity above all There are many ideas that require mental effort to understand, that even the most lucid prose is hard pressed to convey, but what Debord is taking on is not one of those ideas To expect change, which I believe he does, is idle if you can t get people to understand the points you are trying to make to alert them to their plight So this book is an unintentional tragedy having nothing to do with the subject.You will find that here and there one of Debord s numbered statements will ring perfectly true and make its point, but this is so rare that it isn t worth the effort to plow through all the rest.One star for a book that commits suicide.PS there is a possibility that the translator mangled the translation from French to English, but that s a stretch. It only took 154 pages to change our world Guy Debord s manifesto book length essay that is truly a masterpiece of political writing that borders on the poetic It is also a crystal clear view how culture is formed in the 20th and of course the 21st century The theater is built in front us and we are lead to believe that we actually participate in its adventure As Johnny Rotten said at the last Sex Pistols concert in the late 70 s Have you ever felt the feeling that you have been had Well, something of that effect Nevertheless the show goes on and on It s wise to realize that it s a show and nothing else. This book is very difficult to read for several reasons It is a very direct translation from the original French text The Situations had developed their own vocabulary to describe what were then new and unidentified sociological phenomena we now have a different lexicon to describe this widely acknowledged phenomena today Debord, in this book, practices what he preached with the Situationists in his use of detournment the reuse of elements of well known media to create a new work with a different message But in this case, the well known works are the writings of Hegel and Marx The book may be completely meaningless without this backdrop.That said, the ideas within are also very rewarding.I have studied the Situationists from an art historical perspective My interest therefore lies primarily in Debord s writing about how images mass media literally mediate our personal relationships and our fundamental understanding of reality to pernicious effect Or, accurately, he explores the contingencies of this phenomenon He actually spends no time explaining the process of how this alienation occurs ground already tread by Marx , but explores the consequences with astonishing discipline extrapolating and extending Marx and Hegel s contributions in an attempt to understand the entirety of the mental environment produced by the confluence of advanced capitalism, mass media, and govmnt complacency If you have an extraordinary amount of patience, an interest in Marx s concepts of alienation, and or an interest in culture jamming, Adbusters or any other modern interpretation of Situationist ideas , this book is for you Zitti tutti, va in scena il Potere Non c dialogo Non c scelta Gli individui sono testimoni passivi, ammirano le immagini, scelte dal potere, che sostituiscono la realt Il pubblico guarda, non agisce e non reagisce Reale e virtuale si confondono, perdono identit Si assiste cos allarimozione di ogni verit vissuta sotto la presenza reale della falsit assicurata dall organizzazione dell apparenzavero ci che il potere mostra Il resto impostura Il reale perde consistenza, annullato lo stesso accade all individuo, alle sue necessit e ai suoi desideri annientati per trasformare l io in mero consumatore.In questo modo il potere manipola Continuo rinnovamento tecnologico fusione economico statale segreto generalizzato falso indiscutibile eterno presente.La societ dello spettacolo schiaccia, imprigiona e domina l individuo, oramai isolato, in una societ che s fatta, essa stessa, spettacoloLa coscienza spettatrice, prigioniera di un universo appiattito, limitato dallo schermo dello spettacolo, dietro il quale la sua vita stata deportata, non conosce pi se non gli interlocutori fittizi che la intrattengono unilateralmente con la loro merce e con la politica della loro merce Lo spettacolo, in tutta la sua estensione, il suo segno dello specchio Qui si mette in scena la falsa via d uscita di un autismo generalizzato.Viviamo in una societ dove tutto merce, spettatore compreso Dall essere all apparire Questa l evoluzione dell individuo nella societ dello spettacolo Non guardiamo pi le cose, ma la rappresentazione delle stesse Non siamo altro che consumatori d illusioni.Guy Debord scrisse La societ dello Spettacolo nel 1967 Profetico, o acuto osservatore Una critica aspra rivolta alla societ capitalistica e alla sua cultura Non si pu evitare, leggendolo, di fare un parallelo con la societ attuale E sorge una domanda ancora possibile un cambiamento Spectacle is the image society creates in order to contemplate itself and legitimate its existence When the abstraction is made real by the dissolution of reality, what we have is a Society of the Spectacle, where images are no longer the product but the producer of their own market In this beautifully written essay, poetic and conceptually rigorous at a time, French theorist Guy Debord demonstrates how and why economy has autonomously generated a dimension parallel to reality the Spectacle in order to establish a new order of things which is totally, absolutely and mercilessly self referential 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.Scarcity and vulnerability made individualism hardly conceivable anyway, and forming some kind of community was not an option economy was based on necessity and wasn t supposed to satisfy any need but pure survival What basically kept humanity together was the shortage of nearly everything, as well as the difficulty to get hold of the little available It took two industrial revolutions and their intellectual premises of laissez faire and Positivism for the masses to know what superfluous means and what the superfluous is like In the 19th century economy escaped the rules of society by flooding it with an unprecedented flow of goods and an even unprecedented sense of their availability One century later, it was no longer a matter of creating a market to satisfy needs the real task was creating new needs in order to satisfy the market.Thus the society of the spectacle was born of unnecessary abundance 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 Buying only what we really need or genuinely like has something disquieting about it It reeks of stinginess and misery it makes us uncomfortable That s why we buy food than we can reasonably consume, clothes we never wear, cars we can t afford and technology we hardly ever use because we re trained to do so and to feel like shit if we don t 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 In fact we believe this to be an era of total liberation, whereas it s merely a time of limitless transactions orchestrated by les machines de la consommation permise , the machines of permitted consumption.One must certainly take into account the author s Marxist tendencies when it comes to his analysis of our social structures and their inner dynamics nevertheless, his most objective vision is precisely the critic of Marxism and its ideological failures Forget all leftist rhetoric, apology and agiography this book deals with reality, not utopia Debord wrote this essay in 1967, when the world was divided into the spheres of influence of Uncle Sam s Capitalism and post Stalinist Communism Although the imminent ruin of the latter was already obvious to any observer, the author focuses on an aspect that was and still is generally overlooked by most thinkers the defeat of the workers on both sides of the barricade, due to the same deliberately induced alienation What the workers still lack after two centuries of struggles and revolts is neither the will nor the chance to accomplish their revolution, but a reason to Why bother After all, in the Society of the Spectacle one is supposed to be a spectator.Till the day one can t afford the ticket any see also Emmanuel Goldstein, The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism , in G Orwell s 1984. The Society of the SpectacleReview in English below Debord , 67 68 98 08.I m not sure to what extend this particular greek translation is responsible of the difficulty of Debord s text, but it s certainly a demanding read that takes all the focus and devotion one can give it Yet, behind the writing style s excessive formality, lies a gospel which was published in 67 and inspired the French May of 68 A work that, today, seems to be apt than ever The question is why it never inspired a May of 98 or one of 08 and how many Mays shall pass before this society of the spectacle collapses on its own dead corpse.Multiple readings are necessary. Re read this bad boy for research purposes The spectacle is a concept that s very swanky to talk about in dinner parties like George Orwell s 1984, but it is often simplified and, ironically enough, objectified by its debaters Everybody acknowledge we live in the society of spectacle, but either don t believe its rules apply to them or adopt a defeatist attitude towards it.What is the spectacle, then Debord has a great way of summarizing it the colonization of human life by commodities It s people arguing over iPhones vs Androids People crafting their identity around fictional characters ahem Tyler Durden ahem and shunning their relationship to their real environment It s people thinking hard work alone will lead them anywhere they want because they ve been told by people who haven t necessarily worked harder than them in order to become successful and who are very self conscious about protecting the social order they prosper in You get the gist We live in a neoliberalism economy where the most important think we can do is buy, so the best way we can turn the system around it by starting to think critically about your own consumerism It s 2017 Let s make Guy Debord cool again.