The Fetish

an object of unreasonably excessive attention or reverence

 

Every criticism ultimately exposes itself as an aesthetic attraction. And these morsels are greedily absorbed by modern, liberal society, and so any criticism that was able to hide until then immediately dissolves into supple popularities.

Time to think once more about the fetish. For example:

Jean Baudrillard begins to treat fetishism as a sign of social value; the fetish object is seen as a symbol of the owner's social status. Here, the fetish is no longer an unreal object to which properties are attributed that it does not have in reality, but it is a means of conveying social values through material culture. For Baudrillard, the fetish is the site of a fusion or confusion of subject and object...

A fetish (derived from the French fétiche, which comes from the Portuguese feitiço, and this in turn from Latin facticius, 'artificial' and facere, 'to make') is an object believed to have supernatural powers, or in particular, a human-made object that has power over others. Essentially, fetishism is the attribution of inherent value, or powers, to an object.

Initially, the Portuguese developed the concept of the fetish to refer to the objects used in religious practices by West African natives.

The theory of fetishism was articulated at the end of the eighteenth century by G. W. F. Hegel in Lectures on the Philosophy of History. According to Hegel, Africans were incapable of abstract thought, their ideas and actions were governed by impulse, and therefore a fetish object could be anything that then was arbitrarily imbued with imaginary powers...

Oh yes, having power!

Karl Marx already wrote in Capital about the fetish character of the commodity and its mystery: "At first glance, a commodity seems to be a trivial thing. But if you look more closely, you can recognise its metaphysical subtleties and theological quirks in the commodity.

We too have become commodity.

Later Guy Debord has found in the concept of the spectacle the point at which one can leverage contemporary society.

The fetishism of commodities is a deterministic myth, designed to conserve the existing order by convincing the people in it that they can do no other. By picturing themselves as unfree, men make themselves unfree: their prophecy of powerlessness is self-fulfilling.

How can this paralysing picture be shattered, this confusion dispelled?

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