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SKETCHES FOR THE SOCIETY OF THE SPECTACLE, GUY DEBORD [1967]
APUNTES PARA LA SOCIEDAD DEL ESPECTACULO, GUY DEBORD [1967]

1# Separation Perfected / La Separación Perfecta

“But for the present age, which prefers the sign to the thing signified, the copy to the original, representation to reality, appearance to essence . . . truth is considered profane, and only illusion is sacred. Sacredness is in fact held to be enhanced in proportion as truth decreases and illusion increases, so that the highest degree of illusion comes to be the highest degree of sacredness.”

—Feuerbach, Preface to the second edition of The Essence of Christianity

2# The Commodity as Spectacle / La Mercancía como Espectáculo

“The commodity can be understood in its undistorted essence only when it becomes the universal category of society as a whole. Only in this context does the reification produced by commodity relations assume decisive importance both for the objective evolution of society and for the attitudes that people adopt toward it, as it subjugates their consciousness to the forms in which this reification finds expression. . . . As labor is increasingly rationalized and mechanized, this subjugation is reinforced by the fact that people’s activity becomes less and less active and more and more contemplative.”

—Lukács, History and Class Consciousness

4# The Proletariat as Subject and Representation / El Proletario como Sujeto y como Representación

“Equal right to all the goods and pleasures of this world, the destruction of all authority, the negation of all moral restraints — in the final analysis, these are the aims behind the March 18th insurrection and the charter of the fearsome organization that furnished it with an army.”

—Parliamentary Inquest on the Paris Commune

5# Time and History / Tiempo e Historia

O, gentlemen, the time of life is short! . . . An if we live, we live to tread on kings.

—Shakespeare, Henry IV

6# Spectacular Time / El Tiempo Espectacular

“We have nothing of our own except time, which even the homeless can experience.”

—Baltasar Gracián, The Art of Worldly Wisdom

7# Territorial Domination / El Acondicionamiento del Territorio

“Whoever becomes the ruler of a city that is accustomed to freedom and does not destroy it can expect to be destroyed by it, for it can always find a pretext for rebellion in the name of its former freedom and age-old customs, which are never forgotten despite the passage of time or any benefits it has received. No matter what the ruler does or what precautions he takes, the inhabitants will never forget that freedom or those customs — unless they are separated or dispersed . . .”

—Machiavelli, The Prince

8#Negation and Consumption Within Culture / La Negación y el Consumo de la Cultura

“Do you really believe that these Germans will make a political revolution in our lifetime? My friend, that is just wishful thinking. . . . Let us judge Germany on the basis of its present history — and surely you are not going to object that all its history is falsified, or that all its present public life does not reflect the actual state of the people? Read whatever newspapers you please, and you cannot fail to be convinced that we never stop (and you must concede that the censorship prevents no one from stopping) celebrating the freedom and national happiness that we enjoy.”

—Ruge to Marx, March 1843

9# Ideology Materialized / La Materialización de la Ideología

“Self-consciousness exists in itself and for itself only insofar as it exists in and for another self-consciousness; that is, it exists only by being recognized and acknowledged.”

—Hegel, The Phenomenology of Spirit