"The entire life of societies in which modern conditions of production
prevail, heralds itself as an immense accumulation of SPECTACLES.
Everything that was directly lived has moved away into a
The images that detach themselves from every aspect of life fuse
in a common stream where the unity of life can no longer be
re-established. Reality considered PARTIALLY unfolds itself in its
own general unity as a pseudo-world APART, an object of mere
The specialisation of images of the world finds itself
accomplished in the world of the automatised image where the
liar has lied to himself. The spectacle in general, as the concrete
inversion of life, is the autonomous movement of the non-living.
The spectacle presents itself simultaneously as society itself, as
a part of society, and as INSTRUMENT OF UNIFICATION. As a part
of society it is specifically the sector which concentrates all
looking and consciousness. Due to the very fact this sector is
SEPARATE, it is the common ground of the deceived gaze and of
false consciousness, and the unification it achieves is nothing
but an official language of generalised separation.
The spectacle is not an aggregate of images but a social relation
amongst people, mediated by language. The spectacle, grasped
in its totality, is both the result and project of the existing mode
of production. It is not a supplement of the real world, its added
decoration. It is the heart of the unrealism of the real society. In
all its specific forms, as information or propaganda, advertisement
or direct entertainment consumption, the spectacle is the present
MODEL of socially dominant life. It is the omnipresent affirmation
of the choice ALREADY MADE in production and its corollary
Separation is itself part of the unity of the world, of the global
social praxis split into image and reality. The social practice
before which the autonomous spectacle installs itself is also
the real totality which contains the spectacle. But the gash within
this totality mutilates it the point of making the spectacle appear
to be the goal. In a world which is REALLY UPSIDE DOWN, the
true is a moment of the false.
Considered in its own terms, the spectacle is AFFIRMATION of
appearance and affirmation of all human life, that is of social
life, as mere appearance. But the critique which reaches the truth
of the spectacle uncovers it as the visible NEGATION of life; as a
negation of life which HAS BECOME VISIBLE.
The spectacle presents itself as something enormously positive,
indisputable and inaccessible. It says nothing more than "whatever
appears is good, and whatever is good appears". The attitude
it requires in principle is this passive acceptance, which in fact
it has already obtained by its method of appearing without reply,
by its monopoly of appearance.
The spectacle subjugates living men to itself to the extent that
the economy has subjugated them. It is no more than the economy
developing itself for itself. It is the faithful reflection of the production
of things, and the false objectification of the producers.
Where the real world changes into simple images the simple
images become real beings and efficient motivation of hypnotic
At the rate that necessity is socially dreamed, the dream
becomes necessary. The spectacle is the nightmare of
enchained modern society which ultimately only expresses its
desire to sleep. The spectacle is the guardian angel
of this sleep."
*Society of the Spectacle
And Other Films*