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Response to RZM (Reply #18)

Mon Feb 6, 2012, 04:51 AM

31. This applies to all forms of consumer behavior.

All forms. From people who buy into Apple products to people who buy into their favorite local team, it apples across the board. It is not a particularly unique observation. The problem is, of course, that Chomsky and others falsely attribute this sort of behavior to mass manipulation, when it is merely a response to legend, or more clearly, Joseph Campbell's "Power of Myth." You'll note that Chomsky doesn't go so far as to say that these things do not have uses (indeed, the video cuts short right there when he admits as much), but for Chomsky the uses are statist, authoritarian, subversive, and manipulative.

However, the Power of Myth, or Legend, or the Hero's Journey is an integral part of human evolutionary behavior. Be it a team playing against another and winning, or be it a product that is popular which is "legendary," and "everyone wants it." Sort of being emotionless, logical human beings, it is inseparable from the human psyche. Perhaps one day we will move on from this behavior, but until that point it will provide a pivotal role in our evolution.

This is why Debord's critique of the "spectacle" falls short, because it effectively dismisses legend, without actually addressing the reasons it exists (and the reasons it's so easily exploited by capitalism and the state). It exists because as a species we have not yet evolved beyond those mechanisms that kept us as spiritual, emotional beings.

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LineLineReply This applies to all forms of consumer behavior.
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