Don’t be so quick to write off the liberal arts.
A new humanism?
In the themes of competition and “personalization” we are better able to see the underlying system of conditioning at work. In fact, The System of Objects, the ideology of competition, which under the sign of “freedom” was previously the golden rule of production, has now been transferred entirely to the domain of consumption. Thousands of marginal differences and an often formal differentiation of a single product through conditioning have, at all levels, intensified competition and created an enormous range of precarious freedoms. The latest such freedom is the random selection of objects that will distinguish any individual from others. In fact, one would think that the ideology of competition is here dedicated to the same process, and consequently to the same end, as it is in the field of production. If we can still view consumption as an independent activity (profession liberate), allowing the expression of personal preferences, while on the contrary production appears to be quite definitively planned, this is simply because the techniques of psychological conditioning (planification) are not as developed as those of economic planning.
Two words: personal branding.
It’s stupid and anyone who engages in it is also stupid.
We still want what others do not have. We are still at the competitive and heroic stage of product selection and use, at least in Western European societies (in the East the problem is deferred) where the systematic replacement and cyclical synchronization of models has not yet been established as it has in the United States.
Psychological resistance? The force of tradition? More simply, the majority of people are still far from achieving the economic status where only one repertoire of models would be available as all commodities would comply with the same maximum standard; where diversity would matter less than possessing the “latest” model – the imperative fetish of social valorization. In the United States 90 per cent of the population experience no other desire than to possess what others possess.
*cough iPhone 7 cough*