While information is readily accessible with a mere swipe of a thumb or finger, there is another source that is significantly more influential to the way we live our lives. It has become, and continues to be, a polished staple in historical communication; the primary delivery tool for instilling our beliefs and establishing a group consensus.
The most overly used of our human senses is that of sight, simply because it provides one with the most amount of information, of which we have conditioned ourselves to believe is of most importance (“Seeing is believing“). However, within nearly every household sits, or hangs, the god of our digital age that has conditioned humans to be susceptible to spectacle.
Whatever you want to call it, the “tube,” the idiot box, the “telly,” television is the major device used in our social indoctrination. Viewing images and symbols on a TV screen induces an emotional response within us, as well as a biological drive (sex, thirst, hunger, etc.). Seeing something horrible will trigger more anger than hearing something horrible, and the same goes for sexual desire. Whether an emotional response or biological drive, both induce one into a state of submission. Therefore, we have become slaves to the spectacle.
A picture may be worth a thousand words, but a symbol is worth a thousand pictures. Even if we venture out of the house and away from the television, the bombardment of images and symbols doesn’t cease. Driving down the highway, we see one store logo after another, each producing a different response within ourselves. There’s another reason why they are placed at towering heights, other than to be seen from afar.
The symbol of the crucifixion of Christ, however dreary and negative it actually is, can always be found high above in every Catholic church. Like the corporate logos littering the sides of every highway, one is forced to look up at these symbolic spectacles. This reduces one back to an infantile state, like that of a child gazing up at a parent—our original gods. This state of infancy is no different than being in a state of fear, where our minds become most vulnerable to outside influence.
Our corporate capitalists have penetrated not only what we produce and consume, but how information is shared and communicated. What we feel, what we believe, what we think of ourselves and the world, or what is right or wrong, are all filtered through, and constrained by, the media we consume—the spectacle.
Manifested in mass entertainment, news and advertising, the spectacle alienates us from ourselves and our desires in order to facilitate the growth of capital. It serves as capitalism’s primary tool of social control through seduction and distraction in an unseen and unforced way. As a result, our lives have been degraded from ‘being’ to ‘having,’ and from ‘having’ to ‘appearing.’
We can see it today in the modern day activist, who cares more about the media attention his/her action receives, than the end result generated. More than often, our modern activist will not strike for a cause, but will strike a pose for a camera.
Self-image is everything nowadays. However the world sees us now determines how we see ourselves. It’s as if we are all back in high school, where social status means everything—to the uninitiated or weak-minded, that is. The celebrities that we glamorize and are continuously drawn to are children—from the Jackie Coogan and Shirley Temple’s of the old, to the Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus’s of today.
This worship of children isn’t the sole reason, but one factor in the infantile state of mind we seem to have descended into, during the Age of the Egyptian god, Horus.