Thus Spoke The Spectacle


Guy Debord

The Society of the Spectacle
Comments on the Society of the Spectacle

"In all that has happened in the last twenty years, the most important change lies in the very continuity of the spectacle. This has nothing to do with its perfecting of its media instruments, which had already reached a highly advanced stage of development: it means quite simply that the spectacle's domination has succeeded in raising a whole generation molded to its laws. The extraordinary new conditions in which this entire generation has effectively lived constitute a precise and comprehensive summary of all that, henceforth, the spectacle will forbid; and also all that it will permit."

Marshall McLuhan

Understanding Media
The Medium is the Massage

"All media work us over completely. They are so pervasive in their personal, political, economic, aesthetic, psychological, moral, ethical, and social consequences that they leave no part of us untouched, unaffected, unaltered. Any understanding of social and cultural change is impossible without a knowledge of the way media work as environments."

"Once we have surrendered our senses and nervous systems to the private manipulation of those who would try to benefit from taking a lease on our eyes and ears and nerves, we don't really have any rights left."

Neil Postman

Amusing Ourselves to Death
Conscientious Objections

"What is happening in America is not the design of an articulated ideology. It comes as the unintended consequence of a dramatic change of our modes of public conversation. But it is an ideology nonetheless, for it imposes a way of life, a set of relations among people and ideas, about which there has been no consensus, no discussion and no opposition. Only compliance. Public consciousness has not yet assimilated the point that technology is ideology."

Noam Chomsky

Manufacturing Consent
assorted writings and speeches

"Marginalizing people through directing them to consumption is a major means of control, and we shouldn't underestimate how extreme it is. The United States is the most advanced country in this respect because it's the most free country. It's a credit to the American people that they're the most propagandized. The efforts to control them have to be much more extreme because there are few ways to coerce people thanks to previous triumphs…The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum."

Lewis Mumford

The Myth of the Machine
Interpretations and Forecasts

"Western society has accepted as unquestionable a technological imperative that is quite as arbitrary as the most primitive taboo: not merely the duty to foster invention and constantly to create technological novelties, but equally the duty to surrender to these novelties unconditionally just because they are offered, without respect to their human consequences. One may without exaggeration speak of a technological compulsiveness. At the moment any impulse, however normal, becomes irresistible in its own right and for no other reason than that it exists, it becomes pathological."

Erich Fromm

The Sane Society
Escape from Freedom

"Many psychiatrists and psychologists refuse to entertain the idea that society as a whole may be lacking in sanity. It is naively assumed that the fact that the majority of people share certain ideas or feelings proves the validity of these ideas and feelings. But the fact that millions of people share the same vices does not make these vices virtues, and the fact that millions of people share the same forms of mental pathology does not make these people sane."

Jacques Ellul

The Technological Society
Perspectives on Our Age

"In a perpetual monologue by means of which he escapes the anguish of silence and the inconvenience of neighbors, man finds refuge in the lap of 'technique,' which envelops him in solitude and at the same time reassures him with all its hoaxes. Television, because of its power of fascination and its capacity of visual and auditory penetration, is probably the technical instrument which is most destructive of personality and human relations."

Friedrich Nietzsche

Thus Spoke Zarathustra
The Science of Joy
The Genealogy of Morals

"As the will to truth thus gains self-consciousness—there can be no doubt of that—morality will gradually perish now: this is the great spectacle in a hundred acts reserved for the next two centuries…the most terrible, most questionable, and perhaps also the most hopeful of all spectacles."