Published in 1967 by French author Marxist theorist and writer, Guy Debord, The Society of the Spectacle is a work of philosophy, which features 221 short theses, divided into 9 chapters. The society of the spectacle is basically series of thesis that focus on the idea that everyday life is now has been replaced with “representation”, meaning the constant uses of media. Our society is engulfing in the rapid rise of technology to the point where we are lost in the media, therefore contributing to the loss of human connection. Debord stated; “ All that has once directly lived has become a mere representation”, meaning that all human connection that once was attached to everyday life has been lost with our obsession with media based products and activities.
“The spectacle presents itself as something enormously positive, indisputable and inaccessible. It says nothing more than “that which appears is good, that which is good appears. The attitude which it demands in principle is passive acceptance which in fact it already obtained by its manner of appearing without reply, by its monopoly of appearance”.
This is how Debord describes the spectacle, something that present itself to the people as something we need or something we must have or we will not be as happy as we can be. It presents itself as something we must have to gain acceptance for society. The spectacle represents new technology and any new products that catches our eye.
This quote quotes from Deboard explain the notion of commodity in the spectacle. “The world of the commodity is thus shown for what it is, because its movement is identical to the estrangement of men among themselves and in relation to their global product.” Commodity relates to the goods we receive. As we gain more and more goods, i.e. money, we become obsessed with it and think of ways to make more. The more money we make, the more attached to it we become. As we become more attached to currency, we loss our attachment or connection for others.
MIT professor Sherry Turkle wrote a book in 2011 titled Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other and gave a TED Talk on the subject of the book called “Connected, but Alone”. She explains how the loss human of connection is rising at a rapid rate. At the beginning of the talk, she discussed a text message she received from her daughter which, in her opinion was the equivalent to receiving a hug from her. We are comforted with text messages and tweets. Our addiction to high-tech devices and social media result in us being distant from each other.
Popular culture is incorporated with the idea of the spectacle. We blindly follow popular culture and hang on every word of our pop culture heroes, i.e. actors, singer, rappers, and other celebrities. We dress, act, talk, and follow them them faithfully. In some cases, we become who they are because we idolize them. We escape to their world, ignoring reality. Our addition to popular culture can also add to the loss of human connection.