Guy Debord (1931-1994) was a French writer, theorist, and political activist.

He is considered one of the most influential theorists of the twentieth century.

His best known works include the 1967 book “Society of the Spectacle” and the 1972 book “The Society of the Spectacle Revisited”.

Debord was a critic of capitalism and what he saw as its negative effects on society.

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He is also credited with coining the term “the spectacle” in his 1967 book.

In today’s society, Debord saw a world where people are controlled by the exchange of money, and the ability to consume.

He argued that this exchange system had replaced human relationships, and that humans become objects in society.

You will find below a curated collection of the best ‘Guy Debord’ quotes that you can read and share with others.


Top 10 Guy Debord Quotes

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All that once was directly lived has become mere representation. ~ Guy Debord.

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The spectacle is not a collection of images, but a social relation among people, mediated by images. ~ Guy Debord.

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The more powerful the class, the more it claims not to exist. ~ Guy Debord.

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Behind the masks of total choice, different forms of the same alienation confront each other. ~ Guy Debord.

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I have written much less than most people who write; I have drunk much more than most people who drink. ~ Guy Debord.

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None of the activity stolen by work can be regained by submitting to what work has produced. ~ Guy Debord.

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I have written less than most writers. But I have drunk far more than most drinkers. ~ Guy Debord.

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History has always existed, but not always in a historical form. ~ Guy Debord.

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The dominion of the concentrated spectacle is a police state. ~ Guy Debord.

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The spectacle in general, as the concrete inversion of life, is the autonomous movement of the non-living. ~ Guy Debord.

Popular Guy Debord Quotes

The spectacle is the epic poem of this struggle, a struggle that no fall of Troy can bring to an end. The spectacle does not sing of men and their arms, but of commodities and their passions. ~ Guy Debord.

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The language of the spectacle consists of signs of the dominant system of production – signs which are at the same time the ultimate end-products of that system. ~ Guy Debord.

The spectacle is nothing more than the common language of this separation. What binds the spectators together is no more than an irreversible relation at the very center which maintains their isolation. The spectacle reunites the separate, but reunites it as separate. ~ Guy Debord.

Looting is a natural response to the unnatural and inhuman society of commodity abundance. It instantly undermines the commodity as such, and it also exposes what the commodity ultimately implies: the army, the police and the other specialized detachments of the state’s monopoly of armed violence. ~ Guy Debord.

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The passions have been sufficiently interpreted; the point now is to discover new ones. ~ Guy Debord.

Famous Guy Debord Quotes

As specialists of apparent life, stars serve as superficial objects that people can identify with in order to compensate for the fragmented productive specializations that they actually live. ~ Guy Debord.

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Just as early industrial capitalism moved the focus of existence from being to having, post-industrial culture has moved that focus from having to appearing. ~ Guy Debord.

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So far from realizing philosophy, the spectacle philosophizes reality, and turns the material life of everyone into a universe of speculation. ~ Guy Debord.

With the destruction of history, contemporary events themselves retreat into a remote and fabulous realm of unverifiable stories, uncheckable statistics, unlikely explanations and untenable reasoning. ~ Guy Debord.

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The advertisements during intermissions are the truest reflection of an intermission from life. ~ Guy Debord.

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Here, in order to remain human, men must remain the same. ~ Guy Debord.

When art becomes independent and paints its world in dazzling colors, a moment of life has grown old. Such a moment cannot be rejuvenated by dazzling colors, it can only be evoked in memory. The greatness of art only emerges at the dusk of life. ~ Guy Debord.

Conversely, real life is materially invaded by the contemplation of the spectacle, and ends up absorbing it and aligning itself with it. ~ Guy Debord.

Profound Guy Debord Quotes

In his book, "The Society of the Spectacle" he argues that modern society is dominated by images and illusions that are created by the media. He believes that people are so controlled by these images that they no longer have any authentic experience or understanding of the world around them.

In the zone of perdition where my youth went as if to complete its education, one would have said that the portents of an imminent collapse of the whole edifice of civilization had made an appointment. ~ Guy Debord.

We must destroy the Spectacle itself, the whole apparatus of the commodity society… We must abolish the pseudo-needs and false desires which the system manufactures daily in order to preserve its power. ~ Guy Debord.

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The spectacle thus unites what is separate, but it unites it only in its separateness. ~ Guy Debord.

In societies where modern conditions of production prevail, all of life presents itself as an immense accumulation of spectacles. Everything that was directly lived has moved away into a representation. ~ Guy Debord.

What is false creates taste, and reinforces itself by knowingly eliminating any possible reference to the authentic. And what is genuine is reconstructed as quickly as possible, to resemble the false. ~ Guy Debord.

Imprisoned in a flattened universe bounded by the screen of the spectacle that has enthralled him, the spectator knows no one but the fictitious speakers who subject him to a one-way monologue about their commodities and the politics of their commodities. The spectacle as a whole serves as his looking glass. What he sees there are dramatizations of illusory escapes from a universal autism. ~ Guy Debord.

Boredom is always counter-revolutionary. Always. ~ Guy Debord.

Thought-Provoking Guy Debord Quotes

He used a lot of examples from his own life to help explain his theories. He was part of a group of thinkers called the Situationists, who believed that people should live in a society where they could be creative and have control over their own lives.

Art need no longer be an account of past sensations. It can become the direct organization of more highly evolved sensations. It is a question of producing ourselves, not things that enslave us. ~ Guy Debord.

Though separated from what they produce, people nevertheless produce every detail of their world with ever-increasing power. They thus also find themselves increasingly separated from that world. The closer their life comes to being their own creation, the more they are excluded from that life. ~ Guy Debord.

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Plagiarism is necessary, progress implies it. ~ Guy Debord.

The spectacle is capital accumulated to the point where it becomes image. ~ Guy Debord.

The loss of quality that is so evident at every level of spectacular language, from the objects it glorifies to the behavior it regulates, stems from the basic nature of a production system that shuns reality. The commodity form reduces everything to quantitative equivalence. The quantitative is what it develops, and it can develop only within the quantitative. ~ Guy Debord.

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Like lost children we live our unfinished adventures. ~ Guy Debord.

Work is only justified by leisure time. To admit the emptiness of leisure time is to admit the impossibility of life. ~ Guy Debord.

Ideas improve. The meaning of words participates in the improvement. Plagiarism is necessary. Progress implies it. It embraces an author’s phrase, makes use of his expressions, erases a false idea, and replaces it with the right idea. ~ Guy Debord.

Spectacle is the sun that never sets over the empire of modern passivity. ~ Guy Debord.

Wise Guy Debord Quotes

He will essentially follow the language of the spectacle, for it is the only one he is familiar with. ~ Guy Debord.

In a world that has REALLY been turned on its head, truth is a moment of falsehood. ~ Guy Debord.

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Quotations are useful in periods of ignorance or obscurantist beliefs. ~ Guy Debord.

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. ~ Guy Debord.

There is nothing more natural than to consider everything as starting from oneself, chosen as the center of the world; one finds oneself thus capable of condemning the world without even wanting to hear its deceitful chatter. ~ Guy Debord.

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This society eliminates geographical distance only to produce a new internal separation. ~ Guy Debord.

Capital is no longer the invisible center governing the production process; as it accumulates, it spreads to the ends of the earth in the form of tangible objects. The entire expanse of society is its portrait. ~ Guy Debord.

Among the small number of things that I have liked and known how to do well, what I have assuredly known how to do best is drink. Even though I have read a lot, I have drunk even more. I have written much less than most people who write; but I have drunk much more than most people who drink. ~ Guy Debord.

Best Guy Debord Quotes

The present phase of total occupation of social life by the accumulated results of the economy leads to a generalized sliding of having into appearing, from which all actual having” must draw its immediate prestige and its ultimate function. ~ Guy Debord.

In the spectacle – the visual reflection of the ruling economic order – goals are nothing, development is everything. The spectacle aims at nothing other than itself. ~ Guy Debord.

The spectacle is a permanent opium war designed to force people to equate goods with commodities and to equate satisfaction with a survival that expands according to its own laws. ~ Guy Debord.

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What appears is good; what is good appears. ~ Guy Debord.

Young people everywhere have been allowed to choose between love and a garbage disposal unit. Everywhere they have chosen the garbage disposal unit. ~ Guy Debord.

Separation is itself an integral part of the unity of this world, of a global social practice split into reality and image. The social practice confronted by an autonomous spectacle is at the same time the real totality which contains that spectacle. But the split within this totality mutilates it to the point that the spectacle seems to be its goal. ~ Guy Debord.


So these were the 57 top quotes about Guy Debord.

If you like these quotes and sayings, then you can also read my other posts on Murray Bookchin quotes and Chick Corea quotes.

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About Guy Debord

Guy-Ernest Debord was a French Marxist theorist, filmmaker, and work critic who was a member of the Letterist International, the founder of a Letterist faction, and a founding member of the Situationist International.

He was also a member of Socialisme ou Barbarie for a short time.

He died on 30 November 1994 in Bellevue-la-Montagne, France.