in Process, Research

Reflection on Society of the Spectacle

I was shocked to see that this book was published in 1967. It almost seems to be a little too accurate of a prediction, on how we live our lives now. Capitalism has definitely engineered humans’ behaviour, from post-world war. It has redefined what ‘basic survival’ meant. It seems like Debord was trying to suggest that we constantly need (not want) more into to ‘survive’ in this augmented reality even though we have met the true essentials. But what struck a chord with me was the idea that we don’t just ‘need’ from a place of genuinely having something improve our lives but instead we ‘need’ because it would make us look more attractive to others. We are obsessed and bombarded with images and appearances and it completely overweights the truth and experiences. While the idea of the Spectacle has infiltrated the collective imagery, it has most frequently done so through the popularisation of its most glaring surface, heading us towards aesthetic capitalism. A personal example for me to illustrate this point would be when I first got a Macbook, 16 years old me definitely did not know what brilliant retina display meant but she knew that owning a Macbook meant- cool and hip. Another example would be when I post IGstories of myself at the gym. By posting a photo of myself there, often its not about what I have done there, what I have gone through but instead, its the portrayal, of how I want others to see me- fit and healthy. Yet, knowing this and realising it now, it is slightly uncomfortable to know that we have been sustaining such a mindset, it is almost impossible to reverse it anymore.