Feuerbach

Debord quotes Feuerbach at the beginning of “The Society of the Spectacle” … “But certainly for the present age, which prefers the sign to the thing signified, the copy to the original, representation to reality, the appearance to the essence… illusion only is sacred, truth profane”

Susan Sontag also responds to the same quote by Feuerbach in the last chapter of “On Photography”; she writes that “a society becomes “modern” when one of it’s chief activities is producing and consuming images … first hand experience becomes indispensable to the health of the economy.”

It may be the result of inaccurate translation but I find myself questioning Feuerbach; it is untrue to say that the present age prefers “the sign to the thing signified, the copy to the original, representation to reality, the appearance to the essence …” rather people have become habituated to this situation. For instance, the city dweller knows of the country through images rather than experience; he would probably prefer to be in the countryside rather than see it on TV yet his job and family life prevent it. Feuerbach would appear to be writing with a sense of authority rather than understanding.

Here he is again, sounding a little more reasonable perhaps …

“Only when we abandon a philosophy of religion, or a theology, which is distinct from psychology and anthropology, and recognise anthropology as itself theology, do we attain to a true, self-satisfying identity of the divine and human being, the identity of the human being with itself.”

One can read the whole book online at …

http://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/feuerbach/works/essence/index.htm

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