The logic of consumption

“The human being needs to pay for his own existence, it is an indeterminate and contracted debt before birth, a religious debt that the liberals rationalized and generalized to the entire face of the Earth.”

Consumption structures a “geography”, and defines the mode of use of each space and place. It generates hierarchies of use and strives for the constant construction of managed spheres, necessary for the functioning of work and of itself.

Work needs a disciplinary space, but one would almost say that consumption requires it even more, the modern consumer is meek enough not to “take” what he cannot afford, but willing enough not to stop consuming. Between “meekness” and “incitement to desire” moves our “managed” society.

There are many other geographies inherited from other times. Humanity vehemently drags its past that is installed in the present in molded and conflicting strata. The new historical forces shape the previous ones without being able, many times, to extinguish them. Capitalism has needed the invaluable inheritance of previous phases: property, although transformed, the primacy of man, are elements on which our current reality rises and without which it would be inconceivable.

Marxism in the background what promises is that this logic will end up crushing and flattening the rest of the forces that humanity has managed so far, hierarchies, etc. But is this true? Is the logic of the market equating all the vital human spheres?

The logic of consumption surrounds us, she directs the vital movements in the public space. Freedom is equivalent to the purchasing capacity with which it is matched. Freedom in its simplest sense: of possibility. The very possibility of our acts must agree with it. The advertising metaphor of a world in continuous movement is the ironic staging of the constant exchange of capital. Mediator of every vital act and of every possibility of action.

It seems that an old debt contracted by humanity with the divinity that gave it shelter arises here. The human being needs to “pay” for his own existence, it is an indeterminate debt and contracted before birth, a religious debt that the liberals rationalize and generalize to the entire face of the Earth.

Our walk dirties the earthly paradise and more if our feet are those of poverty. We have to pay for our dishonorable presence in this world that only belongs to God. In this way the oldest idea finds its update in contemporary neoliberalism: it is not efficiency, nor private interest, it is the “religious” belief by which humanity, the poor, must pay to possess of a world they get dirty. And it doesn’t belong to them.

In this strict environment, with such a totalizing logic, sitting on a street with a banner is already a revolutionary act, it is the positive part of a “so” dominant logic: anything outside of it is intolerable and therefore harmful.

But consumption is desire, these packaged desires must have a history and training parallel to capitalism itself. We are Taught to desire?

This desire has an uncomfortable relative: deprivation. The inaugural deprivation of capitalism, works in constant signs through the system of continuous protection of property and merchandise. As a vivid warning that threatens every corner. The memory of deprivation (the privatization and alienation of all reality and its objects carried out by modernity) may be the trigger for the excitement of the act of consumption and not so much the desire for possession. There is nothing as desirable as what we are denied by system. In short, the sublimation of the fear of being punished. Release of a atavistic debt and punishment, a relief in the form of industrial commodity.

If this were so, the desire to consume would be both a reactive and affirmative impulse. It would affirm the state of things and deny it, by wanting to end the initial deprivation and confirm its validity in the act of consuming.

The paradigm of disaster

The struggles of the present, are they not the extraction of the consequence of the disaster? No longer the exploitation of one class by another, nor the tension of the weak against the strong, but rather the denunciation of a system in constant danger of failure, of being shipwrecked in error and in systemic failure.

Ecology, climate change, economic and financial crisis, all human spheres seem to be on the verge of collapse. The “nature” itself, now colonized as a system that is perfected in its will to understand-dominate, understand-conserve, is in a state of systemic crisis. The economic system, the financial system, both built according to a structured set that ensures its own stability, like an entropic system that conserves its heat and is governed by complex mathematics. In the calculation of productive and consuming forces, the system fails, is not inclusive, does not absorb pockets of “poverty”, “gettos” that remain outside the system, which “errs” to the extent that it can not manage the total population and total forces.

Every counterculture affirms: “the system is in crisis”, all techno-politics affirms: “our system is stable”. Therefore, the struggle has shifted to the tension system-in-stability vs. system-in-crisis. All the powers to come will ensure a more stable system, that is the struggle.

But how have we reached this level of tensions? How has the critical and the stable become the reference in which to judge situations in all areas?

Rushed response: the domain of the techno-scientific interpretation of all reality and its consequent conversion into “system” offers the possibility, when the paradigm is completely dominant, to attack its tensions in the key of failure of the system.


(The real is systemic and the systemic is real)

The real is what enters the explanatory universe of a “system”. But not in a philosophical sense, as when we speak of a Kantian or Cartesian system. System is the technical-scientific entity crossed by mathematical and physical explanatory structures, created from the second half of the 19th century to the present day.

Statistics and complex mathematics are the tools that surround populations, such as the molecular structure of a gas when it warms up or the sound waves traveling through the air.

However, the indeterminacy inherent in these explanations generates a whole series of indeterminate unknowns and prefigures the possibilities of disequilibrium, of the overflow of quantifiable units. The exuberance of the variables and their continuous growth means that the systems do not bend to the dream of castrating them by introducing them into the universal resolver of all reality: “computer science”.

The computer is the promise of balancing every system by solving all variables, and driving them to equilibrium. The price is the reduction of all reality to the techno-scientific logic, to the system.

Internet, subordination and virtualized reality

The Internet has undergone an evolution as if it were human history itself. It began as a communal time of gatherers and hunters and has become a form of reigns of the Bronze Age.

The neo-liberal era has vectors and poles of direction that point to a structure of “local caciques”, where few magnates accumulate the subordination of large groups, articulated very irregularly with the State. This locality is expressed both geographically and by economic sectors. This same scheme has reproduced internet. A new epoch of accumulation of locality, when, in theory, we lived in a global age.

In that sense, the internet has reproduced this structure perfectly. It would be an example of technology shaped by an economic and power scheme.

The need to adhere to poles of importance and attraction is internal to the functioning of social networks. His logic, moreover, strongly emphasizes the feeling of isolation and loneliness if not complied with that precept. In its operation, the flow itself or the relationship have no value unless they are hierarchical.

Social networks are not mechanisms to relate individuals, but rather, instruments of forced creation of hierarchies and groups of monitoring and subordination. There is an “appearance” of horizontality, but really, what they generate are vertical relationships and bags of subordination.

Nowhere can you feel as alone as in the midst of an immensity of people. Loneliness is relative to what surrounds you and the relationship model that is dominant. Under the guise of being a potential ocean of relationships and a call to the virtual relationship; We are subjected to a system of rewards and punishments of “vertical communality” and mocked ontological reality.

The desire to socialize itself is conveyed towards a model that swells, certainly capital (which is mocked those who generate it digitally), in addition to a scheme that feeds bags of power, meaning and superiority.

New forms of “authority” arise, like an ironic laugh for the dream of a horizontality of opinions. A superior authority backed by a digital communality, theoretically voluntary and horizontal. In a clear example of how technological possibilities can open a huge field and yet the historical configuration does not allow its development.

The data generated by one’s “life” becomes capital per unit of time. The users become fertile generators of a product that is alienated, converted into virtual data mediators; producers and limited consumers, of a mass of data privatized.

The constantly created creative capital is constantly alienated. Transformed into forms usable by capital and States. It is no longer the digital “identity” and the traces negotiated as assets, it is a whole mechanism of fixation of behavior, identifiable, individualizable, measurable and ultimately salable and usable. The own way of using and the objectives of its use are already predetermined. An individualized subject is created to adhere to actions, predetermined actions that constitute its attributes are created and so on.

The reality is not “real” if it is not virtualized, the experiences are not, but are shared, the more they are, the more real they will be. Ontologically, the real has been transformed. If in the laboratory it is the devices themselves that give us the mediation with reality, in the digital world reality does not come together until it is included in virtuality. That is why the virtual and digital world of communication networks is our mediation with the “authentic reality” of our time.

In an endless circuit of Reality Show we have to participate simultaneously as actors and spectators of our own existence and that of others. Validated, yes, in its “ontological power” by the received repeatability. (The likes)

In this way it continues to be fulfilled that it is technology that defines the real. And it is their mediation that gives us their contours. However, technologies are daughters of the power of an era and are molded by it.

The model of Reality Show, has become the preferred model of aesthetic representation, to see oneself in the virtual world is the fulfillment of the desire to renew and intensify our own reality in the world. As an evolution of mass media: individualized and globalized at the same time.

It is said that the servant dreamed of being king, in our time we wanted to be televisions and repeat the scheme: single issuer, and multiple and passive receivers. Although technology has allowed different forms, we have not managed to escape from a communication-power scheme that has taught us to relate.