Power of the Spectacle

In this day and age people love spectacles. They can be loud and obnoxious or quiet and very shiny. Regardless, spectacles grab the attention of the people even if it is for small moment in time.  In the simplest sense, a spectacle is an image. Theses images are representations of people’s lives and experiences. Representations alone do not tell the story, but Debord seems to believe that people accept the spectacle to tell their stories rather than engage in actual social experiences. The Society of a Spectacle is a society in which people have allowed themselves to be ruled by packages of images and cultural snippets to represent their lives rather than going out and experiencing it themselves.
Debord explains that the spectacle “consists of taking up all that existed in human activity in a fluid state so as to possess it in a congealed state as things which have become the exclusive value by their formulation in negative of lived value, we recognize our old enemy, the commodity, who knows so well how to seem at first glance something trivial and obvious, while on the contrary it is so complex and so full of metaphysical subtleties” (Debord Chapter 2,).
Power is easily associated with the large corp[orations trying to exert their force over the masses. Power, however, can be rather beneficial as it also lies in the hands of the people because technological advancements provide them with a cheap and easy means to battle control. In addition, people have the power to dictate how they’d like to be represented.  Instagram is an interesting application because it allows people to literally capture moments they deem ideal for the message they’re trying to present and actually package it into a convenient file that be instantly be shared with millions of other users.

People have likened social media interactions with what it means in their actual lives. For example, Jimmy posted a status on his Facebook profile. Jimmy waits. Several hours later, Jimmy returns to his Facebook to see that over 11 people have “liked” his status. Jimmy now feels like he’s the man of the hour. It is seen on numerous occasions where people give others online incentives to follow each other’s profiles. What used to be hour long conversations on the phone with peers is now less than half a minute conversations between text messages and other social media applications.
It is 2014 and society has made quite the number of scientific and technological advancements, but for some reason it is being said that people are becoming lazier and dumber. In theory, advancement is supposed to uplift the people,make them stronger. With these new devices such as smart phones and Google Glasses, people seem to have a more of an interest in living vicariously through them more than anything.

The commodity is only as valuable as people make it out to be. Society has a chance, albeit slim, to take control and devalue it, if that’s what it wants. The scary part is that society doesn’t know. The late Steve Jobs once said that, “people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.” It’s aright for people to enjoy the technological advancements, but they must be able to distinguish between what is on their screen and what actually see in front of them.


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