"In the inverted reality of the spectacle, use value (which was implicitly contained in exchange value) must now be explicitly proclaimed precisely because its factual reality is eroded by the overdeveloped commodity economy and because counterfeit life requires a pseudo-justification."
-- Guy Debord, Society of the Spectacle
"All born salesmen know that the addicting excitement of a sales victory is short-lived. No matter how great the sale, it is never enough. Selling, for such people, becomes not an occupation, but a lifestyle."
-- Edwin Black, IBM and the Holocaust
Surface talk promotes surface thought, which in turn promotes an ungainly prioritization of surface concerns over all else. All else falters and crumbles as the surface is internalized. The surface penetrates and becomes that which is and that which is not conscious, and all mental activity is filtered through the subjective abstractions representing the surface.
The problem is made evident when examining the categories of external responses to surface stimuli: under what conditions can external reactions be considered genuine, let alone intelligent? Visceral and emotional reactions may be the former -- and may excite similar responses in the stimulant (which can certainly be contextually valid) -- but are often not the latter. If often not the latter, and if often going unrecognized as such, then we find the penetration of periphery into the foundational logic. The problem could not be more serious. The unreasoned has corrupted the reasoned, transforming the potential of rationality into the norm of rationalization. As well: internally speaking, can subjective experiences of external responses be categorized as wholly accurate? Again, if and when emotional, the surface has unified with the esoteric, and what we perceive is veritably what we receive.
The distinction here is reflected in the distinction between elaborate social constructs celebrating puffery rather than merit; allurement rather than sympathetic understanding; pathos rather than ethos. This is not a dichotomy; the oppositions given here are not points along the same scale, but exist instead within entirely different distributions.
Internalization is of course a generic process with little regard for particulars, so the upshot here is that as internalization of the surface increases, merit decreases, and the promotional idea becomes the promotional instinct. Those whose primary task is the promotion of a culture of deference to honorifics and nominal distinction as such are often the least critically developed, and hence the least meritorious, and consequently, the least deserving of the very deference, honorifics, and distinction they promote; or perhaps, ironically, the most.
Is this a good approach to discourse? How serious is it? Is it completely serious? If so, are both the presentation and the content deadpan serious? Do both the presentation and the content have the same intent?
Returning however to hallowed costs and feral solutions: what then is the connection between marketing, reality, and my choice of opening quotations? Here, the quotable answer for themselves: "The spectacle is not only the servant of pseudo-use, it is already in itself the pseudo-use of life."
Part of the series: Narcissa