…Guy Debord / La Société du Spectacle II…



  • It is the essential gesture of these performances and images to capture as performance and image everything that, as human activity, exists in a fluid state, in order to own it – to make it property – in a frozen state, in the shape of things that have finally become society’s sole source of value: by formulating themselves as the imprint: the negative image, as it were, of value as it can actually be lived. In this essential gesture we recognize our old enemy, who knows so well how to appear at first glance something trivial and perfectly natural, whereas on the contrary it is in fact something tremendously complex and full of metaphysical subtlety: consumer goods.

* – * – *

In the English-speaking world, money was first used to escape from social obligation – to buy out one’s social obligations… This was the reason it first became widely used.

But as we learn in budo: if you escape a social obligation, then you also don’t have – you don’t get to acquire – the experience of performing that obligation. And so you have no idea of the real value of performing that obligation…

And as we can see, increasingly, today… and this is becoming more and more visible: by definition, the “imprint” is made by people who are under pressure, under compulsion… in a hurry.  So they h a v e no real sense of value.

And consumer goods are the comforting short hand, the abbreviated avatar of their guilt – for the social relations escaped from.

So, in the English-speaking world, when the pre-Reformation abbeys, convents and monasteries were abolished – they became big, fancy houses for rich merchants and nouveaux riches… with no chapel.

Whereas in a recusant household, the chapel would still be there: still the beating heart of the household… and they would sing the old music – and play it on viols – wood and gut and voices raised in sweet harmonies, making the air dance all together.

And often, today, we see something that originally was religious – pantheistic or animist, rooted and local – and many-layered – for sale in a simplified form. A form that you  c o u l d  still use to build a deeper understanding – but no-one has the time or the know-how. So its monetary value is a wish based on a distant memory of its real, experienced value.

That wish is how the keeping-you-always-wanting-more works!

read more:

Comments are closed.