Monday, September 17, 2012

Society of the Spectacle

          By approaching the ideas from a theoretical and philosophical standpoint, Debord illustrates the fundamental reasons why and how society has subconsciously taken a direct part in contributing to the powerful impact of images in The Society of the Spectacle. He does not only revolve his theories around the visual representations themselves, but how society chooses to use those images to communicate with each other, conduct their lifestyles, and ultimately develop a mindset based on this idea of spectacle.  
          Debord intelligently critiques media as well as the world of consumers and prosumers. He explores the idea that society relies heavily on the easy attainable hyper-realty or "pseduworld". He states that, "Fragmented views of reality regroup themselves into a new unity as a separate pseudoworld that can only be looked at. The specialization of images of the world evolves into a world of autonomized images where even the deceivers are deceived" (Debord 2). This passage suggests the belief that society has lost touch on the boundaries between what is real and what is not. Whether it is realized or not, society has taken it upon itself to adopt this inability to distinguish the different worlds. It raises the question: who is the joke really on? 

          Because modern society is bombarded with images deriving from the world's mass media, individuals are raised to believe that they understand what is beyond their confined boundaries, or the outside world. One may think that they are taking a direct part in another's life based solely on a Twitter or Facebook post, the same way a middle-class family may be indirectly deceived into thinking that they have some kind of association with a current war because of its exposure in the daily news.

          Debord states that, "The spectacle is the stage at which the commodity has succeeded in totally colonizing social life. Commodification is not only visible, we no longer see anything else; the world we see is the world of the commodity" (Debord 42). The "commodity" that he refers to, is merely an idea of thought. The idea serves as a tool for his argument that society has simply, but undoubtedly changed. It is not specified as any one thing, but is used in a more ideological sense; the idea that in a world of consumerism, we are driven not only by what we produce, but what we think we should consume based on what is presented. 

          After analyzing the overall argument and theories that Debord poses in Society of the Spectacle, it becomes evident that his theories can easily be applied to modern-day society. That particular aspect of his ideas, and overall notion, is particularly fascinating when truly put into perspective. Debord was not only exceedingly ahead of his time, but a brilliant theorist, philosopher, and writer who undeniably executed his approach in his writing both fiercely, and passionately. 

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