The capitalist and consumerist ethics are two sides of the same coin, a merger of two commandments. The supreme commandment of the rich is ‘Invest!’ The supreme commandment of the rest of us is ‘Buy!’ The capitalist–consumerist ethic is revolutionary in another respect. Most previous ethical systems presented people with a pretty tough deal. They were promised paradise, but only if they cultivated compassion and tolerance, overcame craving and anger, and restrained their selfish interests. This was too tough for most.
The history of ethics is a sad tale of wonderful ideals that nobody can live up to. Most Christians did not imitate Christ, most Buddhists failed to follow Buddha, and most Confucians would have caused Confucius a temper tantrum. In contrast, most people today successfully live up to the capitalist–consumerist ideal. The new ethic promises paradise on condition that the rich remain greedy and spend their time making more money and that the masses give free reign to their cravings and passions and buy more and more. This is the first religion in history whose followers actually do what they are asked to do. How though do we know that we’ll really get paradise in return? We’ve seen it on television.Yuval Noah Harari
On the night of Tuesday, August 19, 1969, a thief dressed in black walked into Harvard University’s Widener Library. He carried a backpack holding a ball-peen hammer, a screwdriver, a chisel, masking tape, rope, a crow bar, and electricians’ gloves. Once he reached the top floor, he hid inside a men’s bathroom until the doors locked for the night. He was virtually alone with 8 million volumes.Aaron Skirboll
The code sits and cries its little ones and zeros tears. The code then regathers its wits and decides that, really, a branding exercise is what it needs. It begins to converse with other code. This code isn’t really friends with other code, but other code seems to take from it all the time.Michael Stahnke
Folkloric dances in the metro, innumerable campaigns for security, the slogan “tomorrow I work” accompanied by a smile formerly reserved for leisure time, and the advertising sequence for the election to the Prud-hommes (an industrial tribunal): “I don’t let anyone choose for me” - an Ubuesque slogan, one that rang so spectacularly falsely, with a mocking liberty, that of proving the social while denying it. It is not by chance that advertising, after having, for a long time, carried an implicit ultimatum of an economic kind, fundamentally saying and repeating incessantly, “I buy, I consume, I take pleasure,” today repeats in other forms, “I vote, I participate, I am present, I am concerned” - mirror of a paradoxical mockery, mirror of the indifference of all public signification.Jean Baudrillard