[Writer and theorist, b. 1931, Paris, d. 1994, Champot, Upper Loire, France.]
In societies dominated by modern conditions of production, life is presented as an immense accumulation of spectacles. Everything that was directly lived has receded into a representation.
Where the real world changes into simple images, the simple images become real beings and effective motivations of hypnotic behavior.
In our society now, we prefer to see ourselves living than living.
The spectacle is not a collection of images; rather, it is a social relationship between people that is mediated by images.
Images detached from every aspect of life merge into a common stream, and the former unity of life is lost forever. Apprehended in a partial way, reality unfolds in a new generality as a pseudo-world apart, solely as an object of contemplation. The tendency toward the specialization of images-of-the-world finds its highest expression in the world of the autonomous image, where deceit deceives itself. The spectacle in its generality is a concrete inversion of life, and, as such the autonomous movement of non-life.
The spectacle is capital to such a degree of accumulation that it becomes an image.