Society of Postspectacle
"In the beginning Postspectacle was a reaction, a vague intention to alter, expand or break some of the implicit conditions, to escape the general atmosphere, a desire to move away from the spectacle. It started from the questions: How to perform in a society of spectacle? And why? What’s the point of adding another spectacle to the artworld when we are living in a generalized spectacle? Postspectacle doesn't really have an answer, but by dealing with these questions some practices emerged. One is to dislocate the performance and bring the "outside spectacle" to art spaces. For instance, Postspectacle invited the Romanian Army to host a dance workshop and perform a drill show in a contemporary dance venue. A reversed operation is to infiltrate the big stages of mass media, business and politics with the skills, knowledge and approaches from performance. The Presidential Candidate is one of the results of this operation." (Postspectacle, initiated by Florin Flueras and Ion Dumitrescu, 2008)
We're in all sorts of collapses, but the scariest is the generalized mental collapse, the ease to which the spectacle rules absolutely. The ease of capturing the masses and moving them from one global show to the next. Of making people see, think and feel only inside official narratives. Of making them enter irrational, fanatical frenzies. Of transforming them into mindless fundamentalists ready to hate, censor, cancel and aggress anything divergent. Art used to criticize the default perspectives and propose alternatives, deviations. Now is as mindless and heartless as everything else, another sphere of the spectacle. As J.J. Charlesworth noticed, "Rather than being a place where we might deliberate and ask ourselves questions about our shared present, art is permitted only the role of transmitting the ‘correct’ messages about how we should think about it."
In Society of Spectacle, Debord describes the spectacle as a worldview that became objective. "It is not a mere decoration added to the real world. It is the very heart of this real society's unreality. In all of its particular manifestations news, propaganda, advertising, entertainment - the spectacle represents the dominant model of life." The spectacle is "a social relation between people that is mediated by images. … Everything that was directly lived has receded into a representation. … The spectacle is capital accumulated to the point that it becomes images. … The spectacle is the ruling order's non-stop discourse about itself." We are trapped in the ruling order's show, asleep, dreaming their dreams, surrounded by their images, "dynamic figments that provide the direct motivations for a hypnotic behaviour. … The spectacle is the bad dream of a modern society in chains and ultimately expresses nothing more than its wish for sleep. The spectacle is the guardian of that sleep."
In Postspectacle we were looking for ways to affect and eventually surpass the generalized spectacle, for possible ways of exiting, of perceiving and behaving outside it. We wanted to intervene in the spectacle, but also on the level where the spectacle is embodied, on ourselves. We also knew that it might be hopeless, our slogan for Presidential Candidate campaign was "Give up Hope". Yet, some Postspectacle practices and tools emerged. First Postspectacle step is to see politics, mass-media, the entire informational spheres as spectacle. To see the spectacle. To see how it's staged. To acknowledge that it has direction, characters, plot, drama, settings, and narrative control. To be aware of the think tanks, behavioral experts and all kinds of agencies that work on how we feel about "reality". To see the machinery of the spectacle. In Postspectacle at OTV (2009) we appeared at the national Romanian Mirror Television and we activated these questions with concrete examples of our situation there, live in the studio, creating a sort of meta-show about the components of the spectacle.
Malcolm X: "If you're not careful the newspapers will have you hating the oppressed and loving the oppressors." Another Postspectacle essential ingredient is suspicion. Suspicion of the spectacle characters – politicians, corporate paid journalists and scientists, celebrities, influencers, hyped intellectuals and other spectacle enablers. Have maximum suspicion of any narrative they try to establish. See what they call "reality" as spectacle. Edward Bernays, one of the pioneers of modern propaganda, who worked with the US corporate and state powers: “The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organised habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country.” We know that the common sense certainties and attitudes are scientifically managed public opinion – manufactured consent. If something seems like certainties, like common sense, that is where to dig. In a world of spectacle you're better off assuming the opposite of what they say. "In a world that is really upside down, the true is a moment of the false."(Debord)
Spectacle is based on emotional traps. It uses telenovelistic, basic dramatic tools. With good vs bad guys narratives, fake or absent contexts and histories. Fear is central. Usually there is a great scarry threat that you need to be protected from, by Power. And hate towards the enemy, and even more for the dissenters from the Narrative. All kinds of divide et impera and identity politics are weaponized for this, to fracture society along strong lines. The only important and decisive division should be oligarchs vs world, and that's the only one not touched by the spectacle. Spectacle asks for a great deal of make believe. Powerfully constructed, meme style images and directed situations are employed to produce the emotional terrain for the narrative and the perception shifts in order to create consent or support for the desired course of action. Examples: The fake, directed fiction movie, of people who were celebrating the collapsing of Sadam Hussain statue. People who supposedly suddenly collapsed in Wuhan streets, stroked by covid – images that pushed everyone in intense fear and a series of irrational behaviors that symbolically started with hoarding toilet paper. The hundreds of "heroic" and "horrifying", Ukraine war stories that were often supported by video games images and, ironically, US / NATO attacks on Middle East, or "moving", "inspiring" stories like the "Ukrainian girl who confronts the Russian soldiers", actually a Palestinian girl against Israeli soldiers – all to produce a war frenzy and fanaticism, people who ask for escalations and are against the possibilities for negotiation and peace. Postspectacle would mean to be aware that, in the words of Agamben "truth and falsity became indistinguishable from each other and the spectacle legitimized itself solely through the spectacle." To be aware that we live in a post-real world in which the spectacle defines, circumscribes, and becomes more real than reality itself.
Spectacle is not an open reality, its readings and meanings are already embedded into it. It's directed, choreographed to produce certain thoughts, emotions, perspectives, to elicit certain responses. Spectacle organizes the entire reality towards certain aims. It's not spectacle for the sake of spectacle. There are think tanks, behavioral experts and all kinds of agencies that work on the feelings you have about what's going on. Algorithms that keep you in the spectacle on social media. The search engine's manipulation effect is one of the largest behavioral effects ever discovered. Rehearsals of the next shows in complex simulations where everything is prepared, like 201 Event (October 2019), in which a coronavirus pandemic spreading from China was simulated, and the oligarchy was rehearsing the control of the narrative, fact checkers, ways for suppressing the unofficial perspectives, the "misinformation"... Although everyone knows that the profit motive underlies what happens in our reality, somehow the spectacle succeeded in making people think that the state-corporate oligarchy is concerned about our health or safety. This distortion is difficult to understand, especially from people that, in an abstract way, criticize capitalism, but are not able to see it in its most glaring manifestations – Pharma, Big Tech and the Military Complex. A Postspectacle attitude would be to ask ourselves why the spectacle wants us scared and conformist? What do they want us to see, think, feel, do, conform to? Who's spectacle are we forced to embrace? Postspectacle means to feel what certainties are enforced, and deviate.
In Neocatarsis (2009) we go in front of the audience and repeat simultaneously "beginning, beginning, beginning…" Then we go to "action, action, action…" looking around as if a lot is happening around us. We sing "music, music, music…" We change our neutral postures and positions and say "composition, composition, composition…" We turn our heads towards each other and in a conflictual tone say "conflict, conflict, conflict…" Then in an emotional, quivering tone "emotion, emotion, emotion…" And so on with other dramatic stages and components of a spectacle. We finish with: "the end, the end… the end." Neocatarsis is a precise reduction of the spectacle to its core elements. An abstract drama about the skeleton of the spectacle in which all its ingredients are isolated and separately performed. A self-referential spectacle decomposing itself. An important Postspectacle question is: what's the spectacle saying? Postspectacle can mean a practice of reading the spectacle, a habit of seeing through images. In John Carpenter's They Live, the flashy ads and products of our culture appear through the special sunglasses as simple words black on white, as what they actually are and tell you every day, everywhere, all the time: "consume", "obey", "no imagination", "no thought", "do not question authority", "conform", "stay asleep". Through those Postspectacle sunglasses we would probably see all the surrounding spectacle as similar if not the same: "be afraid", "no thought", "obey", "abandon your freedoms and rights", "conform"...
In sane circumstances, two different perspectives are not a problem, dialog is possible, disagreement is fine. In a society of spectacle this isn't the case. Spectacle is totalitarian, it's just one spectacle, you cannot overlap two spectacles, it ruins the show. Spectacle can crumble if it's not a total reality, that's why any questioning or debate that can point to its outside is firmly stopped. People who live in the spectacle become irrational, aggressive, fanatically protecting the spectacle. That's why the overlapping of two spectacles is an important Postspectacle practice. Postspectacle Shelter (2012) was an event in the House of the People, which houses the Romanian Parliament and the National Museum of Contemporary Art. It was part of the Presidential Candidacy campaign and set as an environment meant for all sorts of collisions. In the same space coexisted: a tribune for the Presidential Candidate, a spot for philosophical lectures and workshops, a corner for medical assistance, and a spot where food was cooked and served for homeless people, artists, and philosophers. It was an overlap of a charity event, a presidential campaign, a philosophical conference, a homeless shelter, a canteen and an art show. There was criticism and some frustration about the unclear nature of Postspectacle Shelter. Is it art, activism, charity, political event, or what? The overlapping disturbed the conventions and certainties in all those spheres that tend to function more and more as spectacle.
Currently the spectacle in the West about Putin and Russia as the ultimate evil is not allowed to coexist with the perspective of some alternative media, and of many non western populations that have suffered at one point or another at the hands of US or NATO, and their hundreds of invasions, coups, chaos and misery creating operations. They tend to see US and NATO as evil and their challengers if not as heroes, at least as lesser evils. They tend to support Russia, on the model "being against war in my book means supporting those who challenge Western global hegemony." They point out that the war started in 2014 with the US installed puppet regime that in the last 8 years, with the help of US radicalized and trained neo-nazis on the Al Qaeda model, daily bombed the Russian speaking Ukrainians in Donbas, killed 14000, did the Odessa massacre, and in general installed a nationalist terror there. But nobody paid any attention, because the spectacle didn't tell us to. They point out the hypocrisy of the most people in the West who seem to care only for the invasions and bombings that media tells them to care of. Chomsky showed long time ago how two parallel similarly awful genocides are completely different portreyed, Cambodia had kilometers of news columns condemning the genocide while East Timor, being done by "our side", was basically not covered. The evidence of double standards is dismissed as ‘whataboutery’. Spectacle asks you to stop comparing, stop analyzing. Comparison is a fundamental aspect of intelligence, so we are effectively asked to not engage in thinking. And, as an anonymous Medialens article says, to not engage in ethics: "If ‘we’ are no better, or if ‘we’ are actually worse, then where does that leave ‘our’ righteous moral outrage? Can ‘compassion’ rooted in deep hypocrisy be deeply felt?" The spectacle creates importance for one narrative, hiding others. Inside one narrative spectacle, thinking is replaced by certainties and cliches. Postspectacle encourages the capacity of holding multiple divergent perspectives at the same time. This frees the capacity to think.
In 2010 Postspectacle invited a Romanian Army unit to perform in a dance venue. Alina Popa described the event like this: "Watching a choreographed army parade, a real one, on the dance carpet of the National Dance Center in Bucharest in 2010, one was not invited to criticism but to a shift of horizon: to watch this show as one would watch a dance piece. No comment, just believing it, and watching yourself believing, indifferently (not with irony). The dance, the performativity, was the movement of the context, the movement of it becoming meta-context, because of the contingency inflicted within its structure (the outside of the theater, the military reality, was injected into the 'autonomous' theater field). This was the Military Performance, a Postspectacle work. In Postspectacle, a trade was being made: the rolling further of the performance carpet outside of the theatre provoked the unrolling of the reality from outside the theatre onto the formal stage. And we were sitting in-between." In the same year in Postspectacle at Mall we proposed the reversed dislocation. I appeared as an orthodox priest doing a mass in then the biggest mall in SE Europe and declaring it as the National Cathedral (at that time, the huge National Salvation Cathedral started being constructed in Bucharest with huge public efforts). A Postspectacle practice is to dislocate the spectacle. To cunningly place one spectacle in the setting of another one. The Postspectacle effect can be achieved because of a performative inadequacy between the context and the inserted spectacle.
The spectacle establishes the mental horizon, the perimeter of possible thinking and speaking. Guardians of the spectacle labels such as "conspirationniste", "antivaxer", "putinist", signal to the conformist the dangerous zones that should be instinctively avoided and hated. Any attempt to exit the state-corporate imagination or to question the suprademocratic zones of power that produce the spectacle is "conspiracy theory", and is made to be socially unacceptable, and scary. "Conspiracy theory", according to M.C. Miller is: “something that if true, you couldn’t handle it.” Recently "conspiracy theory" started to also mean, more and more, "corruption investigation". People started to assume the label, like in the first line of Conspirationniste Manifesto (book by the famous Invisible Committee) - "We are conspiracy theorists, like all sensible people today." Postspectacle could mean the courage of going over the feeling of uneasiness at the thought of deviating from the spectacle. The courage to cross the edge of the Narrative and go into "conspiracy theories" or whatever label the freedom of thinking gets. This doesn’t mean that we have to believe the alternative narratives. To immerse in different perspectives is healthy, even just for the fact that in this way their nature as perspectives, as narratives, becomes apparent.
It might feel that there is no choice, the pressure is too big, you better submit to the show. You better "think" like you should, "correctly", like the others. You don't want to be that insensitive conspirationniste. Orwell named this process "crimestop" or "protective stupidity": "Crimestop means the faculty of stopping short, as though by instinct, at the threshold of any dangerous thought. It includes the power of not grasping analogies, of failing to perceive logical errors, of misunderstanding the simplest arguments if they are inimical to Ingsoc, and of being bored or repelled by any train of thought which is capable of leading in a heretical direction. Crimestop, in short, means protective stupidity." "Protective stupidity" is not necessarily a conscious choice. According to Stuart Mill, "if the pressure of public opinion becomes too great, with too little ability to shield our lives from that pressure, that inner-voice of self-reflection can become squelched in a potentially mindless conformity toward social conventions." It is not that people choose to follow custom “in preference to what suits their own inclination. It does not occur to them to have any inclination, except for what is customary.” When the spectacle is too powerful, it replaces the inner life, thinking is replaced by cognitive mimetism. This mindless submission to the spectacle leads to meaningless and emptiness, and it's the foundation of totalitarianism.
The engine of mindless conformity is a class of people who protect and enhance the spectacle. Some call this class "the professional managerial class" or "managerial left", they tend to be in academia, NGOs, arts. Tim Foyle calls them "flying monkeys": "The status quo is maintained by a vast army of Flying Monkeys, motivated by their stubborn, self-interested, unprincipled and reflexive hive mentality. … These are the status seekers, the 'woke' PC crowd, Lenin's 'useful idiots', the teacher’s pets, conspiracy deniers and coincidence theorists, the intelligentsia, sycophants, and defenders of the crown. … They sincerely believe that reading the Guardian or the New York Times or watching 'the news' every day renders them well informed. … Their opinions are handed to them fully formed by their trusted media source. … Their conscience is applied to approved issues, where they know their virtue signalling and displays of outrage will always bring approval and will not be at risk of challenge and investigation. … They will gladly rail against and ultimately attack the prescribed enemy of the day. … When a new threat or change is unveiled by the Parasites, the Flying Monkeys are always in the vanguard, ready to play their part in whipping the Folk into shape, stirring or shaming them into action or inaction as required. … They will always choose to be politically correct rather than actually correct, as the former brings social status which rarely attaches to the latter. … They may speak eloquently, repeating personal or societal cliches to soothe themselves and to mock, belittle or dismiss others, but independent and original thought is not their forte. … Their relationship to the world is self-centred but, unlike the Parasite, small-minded. … The Flying Monkeys are the most harmful enemy of Humane Being - as they enforce acceptance of the incessant chaos that rains down from ‘on high’ and serve to shield and protect the Parasites from criticism and investigation." Postspectacle can mean the courage to resist the overwhelming urge and pressures to conform.
Pillar Artist (2019) is a Postspectacle work inspired by the pillar saints, who were as nonconformist as it gets. "The pillar saints spent their lives on top of pillars. Unlike the hermits who simply disappeared from the world, the pillar saints didn't retreat in caves, mountains or deserts. Their way to escape the world was in the world, elevating themselves onto devices of solitude in the middle of people. Their withdrawals were performative, they were at the margins, or within cities. The pillars were allowing them to access another horizons, to construct parallel worlds just a few meters above everyday reality. At the same time they appear as strange monuments for the grounded others below, some alien consciousnesses were observing them from up there. This religious/politic/poetic gesture rendered an elated perspective in the public space, a distance to the normalized perspectives, and a danger to contaminate the life under the pillars. People confronted with these alien forms of life were intrigued to understand what could motivate such acts, and to wonder how their own lives, their agitation and their petty dramas, were appearing from the pillars’ heights. Neither a critique nor a protest, the pillar practice was rather an exit from this world and an opening to another. These meta charged ongoing actions were meant to trigger the imagination and the possibility for other worlds to exist. Pillar Artist is a twisted re-visitation of these ancient durational-performances, proto-monuments and pre-artworks. The public is invited to become pillar artists for a while. The work entails a short training and signing of a contract which stipulates that the person accepting this call would live on the pillar for at least one hour." Ascesis has quite negative connotations in our culture but it's an important shield against spectacle in cultures from other places and times. Illich points to the fact that most traditions give importance to "guarding the eye". In our hedonistic and narcissistic culture there is no space for this. Postspectacle can start by stopping watching or reading "the news", by reducing or eliminating the time on algorithmic social media and ignoring the stupidifying entertainment.
According to Illich we're at the point where "to view" is "to take in a show". The "show" is the way in which we meet and obey the machine, and the way in which the political capacities of people are destroyed on our way to totalitarianism. We live in programmed environments, "communicating" with machines and with each other "on the terms of the machine", acquiring machinic lives. "Whatever structurally does not fit the logic of machines is effectively filtered from a culture dominated by their use. … We have come to live in a society where the most important effect which our major tool systems have is to shape our view of reality and to generate in us a set of certainties. … The machine-like behavior of people chained to electronics constitutes a degradation of their well-being and of their dignity which, for most people in the long run, becomes intolerable. Observations of the sickening effect of programmed environments show that people in them become indolent, impotent, narcissistic and apolitical. The political process breaks down because people cease to be able to govern themselves; they demand to be managed." Spectacle disembodies, "it abstracts human experience from the human body", this is its fundamental danger – because "one is prevented from touching and embracing reality … we lose any reference to the experience, to the body." The way to know the world is "by being in it, first; by participating in it, not by having data on it." We're in a process of a radical disembodiment, acquiring machine-like bodies. The embodied, affective experience is replaced by "the show". In the words of Sadie Plant: "people are removed and alienated not only from the goods they produce and consume, but also from their own experiences, emotions, creativity, and desires. People are spectators of their own lives, and even the most personal gestures are experienced at one remove." It's not only reality that is replacing – the spectacle is replacing our lives.
The show produces a form of educated stupidity. It entraps us in cliches, experience becoming a pseudo-experience of those cliches. We're gradually used to reality as show, as something disconnected from our bodies, provided from outside. This is what we learn in school, knowledge comes from experts. The lesson is to distrust, to disconnect from our direct embodied experience, and to trust the disembodied knowledge as service provided by authority. School, like all other institutions, forms subjects that think and work inside the spectacle, people who produce and perpetuate the spectacle, people who justify and defend the spectacle, and people who actively cut the exits and the hopes for an outside of the spectacle, denigrating and canceling those who try to escape. Until a point, the more "educated" you are, the more your relationship with knowledge is disembodied, and you're easier to be trapped in propaganda, in a pseudo-reality, in spectacle. As Pasolini said, the uneducated see, feel, understand things, and have a certain grace, true philosophers and artists too. It's the bourgeois people in the middle that are full of bullshit conformists. People who are less disembodied, still trusting their direct experience over the show cannot be convinced about something that is completely different from what they experience. They see the profesional, managerial, NGO type people that want to "educate" them as crazy or as sold and corrupted. Living inside the spectacle can be seen as a form of a mental disease. Living in a pseudo-reality is the definition of madness, and, collectively, of mass psychosis formation.
Postspectacle can mean to open the possibility for thought. For this, Duncan Reyburn suggests that we need the courage to do what is "almost an abomination in this anti-culture with its obsessive flattening", "to perceive humanly, with hesitations and questioning". He's inspired by Plato suggestion "that enticing people into thinking requires eliciting a felt tension between what appears and what we know." Although we are in this very strange world "where contradictory impressions do not inspire more thought. In fact, they often inspire the very opposite", we should allow "contradictory impressions" to push us to think beyond the obvious, "beyond the play of shadows on the proverbial cave’s wall". The cave parable is also one of the first descriptions of the spectacle – postspectacle dynamic. Thinking is rare, says Deleuze, you need to be pushed out of the cave, to be forced to escape the trap of parroting experts, to overcome education, the world of "recognition". To be forced to think, you need to be "perplexed" by "an object not of recognition but of a fundamental encounter". By a "being of the sensible" that "forces it to pose a problem". For the possibility of encountering "that which can only be sensed", we need to reclaim from the spectacle our embodied experience. Postspectacle would be the reconnection with our own bodies and experiences. The move toward embodied, contextual awareness. In Postspectacle at OTV (2009) during the show at Romanian Mirror Television we asked the audience to touch their TVs, to touch our hands that were on cameras, to look around their TVs, to change the way in which they integrate the screens in their visual field, and eventually their lives… and many other tricks for creating awareness about the embodied context that the disembodied show wants to replace. from our bodies, provided from outside.
The spectacle provides "the current thing" that we should "support" and be emotionally invested in. A polarized emotionality in which the people who we should empathize with and the people who we should hate and cancel are very clearly and simply designated. The spectacle makes you feel inhumane if you don't respond to it with the correct emotions. Irmgard Emmelhainz calls it "despotic empathy": "The codependent politics of appearance demands a form of despotic empathy generated by situating oneself, or others on whose behalf one speaks, in the place of the martyr or scapegoat seeking recognition and visibility. … The modern practice of 'looking at the pain of others' has created a form of 'reified subjectivity' that enables a spectacularized, uncommitted, and 'post-political' position vis-à-vis the world." Despotic empathy is the foundation of identity politics that cancels the potential of a common ground and common good, it makes politics impossible. For Agamben this is one the most destructive aspects of the spectacle: "For this reason (precisely because what is being expropriated is the possibility itself of a common good), the spectacle’s violence is so destructive; … The extreme form of the expropriation of the Common is the spectacle, in other words, the politics in which we live."
Despotic empathy is not directly imposed, it's more like the spectacle makes you feel exactly what you're supposed to feel. Your feelings are constructed, you're disconnected from your body and connected to the spectacle. For Illich, despotic empathy is the foundation of the Antichrist. He traced the apocalyptic replacement of embodied experiences by emotions and certainties provided by the show. I wrote about this in Love: "According to Illich, God's Incarnation brought a new possibility of a love based being, outside of norms and identities – “not under the law, but under grace.”(Paul). The “expanded horizon” for love introduces a new type of freedom as possibility into the world, and a new type of evil – to neglect or pervert this love. Against Christ's project of eliminating the rule based life, the church started a process of institutionalisation and perversion of love, its transformation into rules. The good, the love, the faith were transformed into norms, services and commodities. By becoming imposed, love, charity, hospitality become radically perverted, destroyed. This process was continued and amplified by institutions like school, medicine… They dispossess humans of their capacities and practises of learning, healing, creating. People got disembodied, the sense of themselves lost and the connection between their feelings and nature dismantled – "the poetic, performative quality of existence was erased and forgotten in field after field." Institutionalisation "deaden the heart and shackle the imagination", creating a world "immune to grace". "The felt body was replaced by the external observation and manipulation of the anatomized body." The "extraordinary disembodiment" process culminates with people's acquiring of "medical bodies". Love, the possibility of love, people's "own sensual nature" was gradually replaced by disembodied despotic feelings that were coming from experts, dogmas and mainly from the show. The core of our being, the capacity to affect and to be affected, to love, was replaced by a spectacle induced emotionality. Our world became the negative actualization of the Christ, the culmination of the new evil that appeared as a corruption of love – the Antichrist." Normativity replaces love, the human is replaced by the machinic – a system that "thinks" and "feels" as is programed by the spectacle. Love goes extinct, replaced by a spectacle of care, despotic empathy, and dystopic "love". Things are not anymore directly experienced, we live images of experiences. Instead of a portal to experience, body becomes a terminal of the show. Postspectacle can mean to destabilize the programming, the image formations and the spectacle interiorization, the path to which the show is interiorized and activated in us. Postspectacle can be also a return to embodiment, to the power to affect and be affected, to love.
Yesterday at the spa, seeing the pools surrounded by fake cliffs, fake palms, and the fake night sky above, I remembered last February's natural pool from Portugal's mountains. Very cold water, uncomfortable, but definitely preferable, it felt alive. At spa there is confort, but something essential is missing, the place feels dead. Water is warm and appears cleaner, but it's not water, it is H2O and chloride. Temperature is perfect, but there is no weather. The place has no soul. This seems to be an advantage for most people in which the sensitivity for this extra (we can call it numinous, spiritual, divine, grace, aura, love) is extinguished. Without this sensitivity you're prey for spectacle. You live in an idea of beauty, of nature. In an image of the experience. If you cannot feel love, the aura of things, reality and the simulation are equal. They're both spectacle. Actually, if we exclude love, the simulation wins, because it can be more catchy, shiny, a better, more comfortable show. Spectacle is a dead but very active environment. And everyone seems to be so trapped in it. This disembodiment is really scary and Illich was right, it feels like Antichrist. (note 10.01.2022)