Existence comprises life and death. Existence can be beautiful but also terrifying. Existence is beautiful when it is used as a tool for life. Only when you manage to live moments in which you align with chaos that hides under every logical interpretation, when the will manages to emanate from the abyss of the ego and not from the wrinkled monolithism of this world. Continue reading
When man began to talk to himself, he took the first steps into a new world. No longer was his thinking tied solely to his sensuous activity — it now had a life of its own. A ‘spirit world’, a ‘geistwelt’, with concepts as its creatures, made its home in man’s head, and there it has stayed.
It was, I suspect, language which liberated thought. Language is not merely descriptive, it is creative. Thus, we do not simply reflect, we fantasise. We sever ideas from their roots and manipulate them into our very own works of art.
Guy Debord’s (1931–1994) best-known work, La société du spectacle (The Society of the Spectacle) (1967), is a polemical and prescient indictment of our image-saturated consumer culture. The book examines the “Spectacle,” Debord’s term for the everyday manifestation of capitalist-driven phenomena; advertising, television, film, and celebrity.
Debord defines the spectacle as the “autocratic reign of the market economy.” Though the term “mass media” is often used to describe the spectacle’s form, Debord derides its neutrality. “Rather than talk of the spectacle, people often prefer to use the term ‘media,’” he writes, “and by this they mean to describe a mere instrument, a kind of public service.” Instead, Debord describes the spectacle as capitalism’s instrument for distracting and pacifying the masses. The spectacle takes on many more forms today than it did during Debord’s lifetime. It can be found on every screen that you look at. It is the advertisements plastered on the subway and the pop-up ads that appear in your browser. It is the listicle telling you “10 things you need to know about ‘x.’” The spectacle reduces reality to an endless supply of commodifiable fragments, while encouraging us to focus on appearances. For Debord, this constituted an unacceptable “degradation” of our lives. Continue reading
(Author’s note: The frequent use of quotation marks in this essay is to reinforce the idea that nature and wilderness are concepts, not actual beings.)
Nature has not always existed. It is not found in the depths of the forest, in the heart of the cougar or in the songs of the pygmies; it is found in the philosophies and image constructions of civilized human beings. Seemingly contradictory strands are woven together creating nature as an ideological construct that serves to domesticate us, to suppress and channel our expressions of wildness.
Civilization is monolithic and the civilized way of conceiving everything that is observed is also monolithic. When confronted with the myriad of beings all around, the civilized mind needs to categorize in order to feel that it is understanding (though, in fact, all it is understanding is how to make things useful to civilization). Nature is one of the most essential of civilized categories, one of the most useful in containing the wildness of human individuals and enforcing their self-identification as civilized, social beings. Continue reading
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