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{On the Spectacle /TSDF}

The Spectacle was born from the world's loss of direction and unity, resulting from the proclamation of the death of God and from the destruction of the feudalist order. The immense expansion of the postmodern spectacle reveals the enormity of this loss.

It emerged in the 1920's and was first diagnosed in the 1960's and now - left unnoticed, unquestioned and unchallenged - the spectacle has succeeded in establishing its hegemonic dominion over the globe. It has become the prevailing way of everyday life - it is the unreality that we now live in.

The Spectacle is not a collection of images; it is a worldview that has actually been materialized, that has become an objective reality: it is a social relation between people that is mediated by images – an autonomous movement of the nonliving – that presents itself as a vast inaccessible reality that can never be questioned. Its sole message is: ''What appears is good; what is good appears."

The spectacle is a visible negation of life, a negation that has taken on a visible form. It is the visual reflection of the ruling economic order, where goals are nothing and development is everything. It aims at nothing other than itself and with the utilization of the reigning economic order's infrastructure and media apparatuses the spectacle maintains its power as the only legitimate discourse in a given society – whichever happens to be infected by the spectacle’s phantasmagoria of exhaustion, misery and boredom. The Spectacle is permitted to use these assets presented by the reigning economic order, for they share with each other the same language of exploitation, the same currency for symbolic exchange of capital (or, in other words: power) and the same subjects of this exploitation.

Since the spectacle has access to the means of production and communication, which are subjected to the rule of prevailing economic worldview, it is responsible for the partial control and monitoring of the media apparatuses, which regulate the traffic between sending and receiving of images between people. Thus, it can either filter and censor or totally negate the images that suggest a narrative incompatible with the Spectacle's own, legitimate narrative.

In the latter case, the narrative is either ridiculed or condemned before it is repressed from the public discourse and, in the former case, it is at first suppressed so that people will be unaware of its existence and later, eventually, it is recuperated, absorbed and aligned as an inherent part of the Spectacle’s own structure. This is done to ensure that the spectacle's hegemony is left unchallenged and its empire (constituted by screens and images of appearance) intact.

Because the Market has already totally subjugated the people to itself and because the spectacle has the power to divert the attention of the people with an incessant fabrication of pseudo-needs by the media industrial complex - whose innate objective is to maintain the material reconstruction of the religious illusion embedded in earthly life by projecting it as fetishism onto commodities - everyone is a part of it and wants to be a part of it, no one questions it.

When a society has reached the point where the basic needs of human beings are satisfied and the society as a whole is stable and abundant, the unholy alliance between the prevailing economic order and the Spectacle changes the mode from merely replacing the economic necessity of satisfying these basic needs with a necessity for boundless economic development that will serve the interests of the ruling class, which is to maintain the dominant economic order – that is, the illusion of eternal growth, guided by the invisible hand of markets.... Eventually, it will lose all connections with authentic needs of human beings and, instead, replaces him with the commodity that will contemplate itself in a world of its own making.

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{The Effects of the Spectacle on the Spectator /TSDF}

The alienation of the spectator - the subject who is simultaneously the product, the witness and the unintentional cause of his own fragmentation and atomization - which reinforces the rule of the contemplated objects, is a process which can be summarized as follows: the more he contemplates the images, the less he actually lives; the more he identifies with the dominant images of need, the less he understands his own life and his own desires. The Spectacle's estrangement from the acting subject is expressed by the fact that the individual's gestures are no longer of his own; they are the gestures of someone else who represents them to him/her.

The present stage of the Market's domination over social life, in which social life has been completely occupied by the mechanical accumulation of commodities, has brought about an evident shift firstly from "being" to "having", which is now succeeded by yet another level of downward spiraling from "having" to "appearing". Consequently, all "having" now must derive its immediate prestige and its ultimate purpose from appearances.

The image, mediated by the Spectacle, has to return as series of fragments to the fragmented individual, so that the person could never actually realize the image of blissful social unification through consumption, promised by the spectacle. The fragmented individual is left intentionally unsatisfied as an unfinished product, who, in order to feel complete, is dependent on the images and objects distributed by the media-industrial complex. But the reality is that the fragmented individual can never attain this image or the total recollection of his fragmented Self through the consumption of objects, for the objects and images that were prestigious in the spectacle become mundane as soon as they are taken out of the structural context of the spectacle. The machinery of the spectacle is dependent on the anxieties and insecurities caused by the isolation and alienation of the subject from his own subjectivity. This is why the spectacle has to be everywhere: to make the person feel as if he could not be at home anywhere else. However, it is precisely due to this fact - the fact that the spectacle is everywhere - that the person feels at home nowhere.

With every situation that we once directly lived being receded into a mere representation(*), the whole world is ultimately converted into a series of representations(*) that are now being exchanged between people and mediated by images. In a world where only means for social interaction and unification are exercised through images via technological apparatus of the spectacle, and when the world itself is reduced to nothing but a crowd of representations that are lacking any real meaning or depth, the images become real beings, leading to the total alienation of self-reflective thought and thus, ultimately, of subjectivity.

Subjectivity is the capacity of the Absolute Spirit to project its self onto itself and reflect on itself, which manifests as the self-conscious being’s inner world. Subjectivity arises from the recognition of one's own existence and upon reflection on the cognitions reconstructed off of the surrounding external world. In order for there to be Self-consciousness, there firstly has to be a perceiving being that is distinguished from mere objects by the fact that it has the capability to form perceptions. Secondly, there has to be another being, so that one can become aware of oneself by seeing oneself through the eyes of another. One cannot have any concept of oneself without having actually experienced a moment of identification with the other and thus, it requires the other’s recognition of one’s being.

But, since the people are increasingly surrounded by and exposed to the presence of commodities and images - distributed by the spectacle’s media-industrial complex - that lack the ability to perceive and thus identify with the other, the process vital for the formation of the subject’s subjectivity is threatened. Furthermore, even though the images and commodities produced by the alienating Spectacle lack these qualities that we, as self-conscious beings, self-evidently possess, human beings with a sense of self can identify with these images, due to the fact that images have become real beings (or, figments of real beings).

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{Alienation Perfected /TSDF}

When a human being excessively identifies with the commodities and images produced and provided to him by the spectacle, his strength of self-consciousness is gradually diminished and, conversely, the probability that his consciousness is replaced with a false-consciousness (that is, a consciousness which diverts the true desires of a consciousness towards the fabricated false-needs devised by the Spectacle) is increased. Ultimately, he is degraded to the level of a spectator, who is forced to observe himself in a state of unconsciousness as he passes through practical changes in his condition of existence.

Imprisoned in a flattened universe bound by the screen of the spectacle, behind which his own life has been exiled, the spectator's consciousness no longer knows anyone but the fictitious interlocutors who subject him to a one-way monologue about their commodities and the politics of the commodities. The Spectacle as a whole is his ''mirror sign,'' presenting illusory escapes from vapid senselessness.

In a society where no one can any longer be recognized by others, each individual becomes incapable of recognizing his own (un)reality. The Spectacle, the ultimate false-consciousness, is at home; separation has built its own world.

The Spectacle obliterates the boundaries between true and false by repressing all directly lived truths beneath the real presence of falsehood, which is maintained by the organization of appearances. Individuals who passively accept their subjection to an alien everyday reality are thus driven to the brink of madness, the situation in which the undermined consciousness of the subject copes and reacts to the fate he has been forced into by resorting to illusory magical techniques. The result of this pseudo-response to an unanswered communication is the indirect acceptance of the Spectacle and consumption of its commodities.

In the society of the Spectacle, which seemingly is capable of satisfying the needs of the individuals, although only momentarily – until the spectator’s next disillusionment with some other mediocre commodity – independence of thought, autonomy, and the right to political opposition are being deprived of their basic critical and (r)evolutionary function.

In such a society, the Spectacle may justly demand acceptance of its principles and doctrines, and reduce the opposition to the level of either mere incoherent rabble or timid discussion and promotion of alternative policies within the spectacle’s realm (of interests).

Thus, under the conditions of superfluous commodification of everyday life, non-conformity with the spectacle’s system itself appears to be socially useless, heavily disapproved and condemnable act, and the more so when it entails tangible economic and political disadvantages and threatens the smooth operation of the whole.

Furthermore, when every form of opposition and antagonism are reduced to the role of criticism and then recuperated as a part of the spectacle’s internal dynamics of structure, the antagonistic forces die out, once the avant-garde revolutionaries discover that their actions, instead of undermining the spectacle’s power, are, in fact, only supporting its structure and dynamic movement to its next, stronger stage.

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{On the 'Shadow-figures' /TSDF}

Thus, the people are left powerless, voiceless, and forced to surrender under the power of the spectacle. Under this pretext the spectacle seizes the absolute authority over dictating the needs, hopes, dreams and even desires on behalf of the people, for it presumes (and partly deludes itself) to be the one and only true expression of the will of the people.

It is with this absolute power that enables it to invade the inner-world of the people and to reduce human beings to the level of images, after which they become mere hollow shadow-figures – analogous to rechargeable projector-mirrors – that manage only to reflect the prevailing order of the Spectacle, that is: the ruling order's nonstop discourse about itself, its never-ending monologue of self-praise, its self-portrait at the stage of totalitarian domination over every aspect of life.

These hollow ‘shadow-figures’ are linked solely by their one-way relationship to the very center that keeps them isolated from each other. The spectacle thus reunites the separated, but it reunites them only in their separateness.

Consequently, this one-directed discourse gives rise to a pseudo-world that ends up falsifying everything with its false-representation of reality (in essence, a pseudo-ideology materialized), which is imposed upon these ‘shadow-figures’ through the distribution of images via the media-industrial apparatus. In this world real adults - people who are masters of their own lives - are nowhere to be found, for there are no longer people who are capable of forming an authentic and independent thought about things that, rather than being merely amusing or entertaining, are serious and important. This is to say: there are no longer stoics, only epicureans who fail at even imitating a genuine stoic.

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Politics in such a world is centered around one issue: who gets to have the most time in being the center of attention, to occupy the nexus of the world around which the world - and as an extension: the people in it - rotates.

A thought is generated, invariably, by a motive, which has its ground in desires, needs, interests and emotions. But since the spectacle has replaced the subject’s needs with pseudo-needs, obscured his innate desire for consciousness with å sense of false-consciousness and diverted his subjective interests towards the interests of objects, it can be said that nothing motivates him, and thus he is no longer capable of original thought – only superficial and detached emotions. This is Nietzsche’s worst nightmare come true: nobody wills anything, and even those who still are willing can only manage only its degenerated form – that of ‘will to will’.

Twisted and transfigured by this pseudo-world and with the internalized duty of alienated consumption and appearing, he has become an uncritical, unreflective and passive being who lives an inauthentic life governed by his öne-dimensional thoughts that are circling around commodities, sensual pleasures and appearances, and, naturally, around himself. He can avoid facing his undefined existence by wallowing in comfort and by clinging to the dominant mindsets and images, imposed by his surrounding culture. He is sufficed with the exchange of his free-will for a custom-made individuality – individuality that can only be affirmed in how he personalizes his commodities.

Despite this possibility to customize one’s own individuality, it is not genuine individuality – it is an individuality promised by images of need and fulfilled through consumption of objects. His individuality is determined by his distinctiveness from others through appearances and possession of objects of mass production, which are antithetical to genuine ‘beingness’. Therefore, he is clearly the enemy of his own individuality and the closer his life comes to being his own creation, the more he is excluded from that life, for it is the objects one own, that end up owning one’s Self.

All his energy is spent for the purpose of getting what he wants, and he will never question the premise of this activity: that he knows his true wants. He never stops to reflect whether the aims he is pursuing are something he himself wants, since he is incapable of thinking outside the spectacle’s dominion.

If such thinking were to surface, the spectacle would cloud it amongst the noises of static hissing and crackling that are coming from the blind mechanical movement of the apparatuses of the spectacle. If an original thought is formed, the spectacle diverts and clouds it with the static noises common to the apparatuses of the spectacle.

The Spectacle's material reconstruction of the religious illusion of paradise-on-earth is everything he thinks he will ever require for leading a satisfying life.

What the spectacle has done is that it has formed a new ideological mindset, which we are coining here ‘comallodianism’. It is the outcome of 1) the blurring of the border between what is real and what is simulation 2) the inability to rebel or resist the spectacle 3) forced consumption of images and objects and 4) the debilitation of the subject and his reduction into a feeling, consuming object that can choose and change its color to its liking and choose its own ambience to set the pace for this object’s monotonous movement.

This mindset emphasizes the convenience of wallowing in comfortable apathy or acedia, in comparison to the surrounding harsh desolate reality. It teaches that pain equals bad, feelings equate truth, everyone should love oneself (including his or her ow imperfections), everyone is special, that everything is relevant, that there are no truths or falsehoods, that no one can be wrong and that one should always prefer to his illusions than to desperation.