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2. Materialist Experiment
Materialist Experiment n° 2

Ten Comments on ‘Eight Theses on Phantasmagoria’

Dix commentaires sur ‘Huit thèses sur la fantasmagorie’
Diez comentarios sobre las « Ocho tesis sobre la fantasmagoría » 
Christos Lynteris


These ten comments on Marc Berdet’s ‘Eight Theses on Phantasmagoria’ approach the problem from an anthropological perspective underlining the materialist and psychodynamic interrelation between mystification, reification and myth.

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1Phantasmagoria is the highest stage of capitalism, in the sense that it is the latest stage of false consciousness. As such, phantasmagoria is as abstract as concrete; it is a social relation and the mystification of that same relation in reified forms and structures.

2Phantasmagoria produces society by providing an always already false synthesis of partial and conflicting social/class interests into a desire a harmonious society.

3Phantasmagoria is not simply a fallen utopia, it is a utopian fall: it is the crowning of alienation as the destiny of humanity.

4As such, phantasmagoria is a condition of demanding and sanctioning an immediate access to reality to the exclusion of the always mediated real.

5This collective imaginary identification with existing reality as the only possible desire and at the same time as the only possible reality is constantly rewarded by a symbolic register of interlaced alibis.

6Phantasmagoria not only collects and synthesises these alibis, it produces reality in their image, neutralising the delay of the real by means of a perpetual murmur with no semantic content. Hence its fear of the void.

7Phantasmagoria conceives of the void to be averted at all costs as the consciousness of contradictions. For phantasmagoria there can only be synthesis and multiplicity, which is one and the same thing: a continuous chain of unmediated images.

8The dream of social harmony, the fantasy of the end of history, the desire for non-mediation is the highest form of Thanatos. Exploiting and cultivating the death drive, phantasmagoria is the concrete expression of the collective unconscious of capitalist society.

9As such, phantasmagoria is not only a dream; it is the dream of the dead. The dream that the dead will not live their second death and thus cease to exist. Phantasmagoria is the utopia of eternal life, for the dead.

10As the utopia of the dead, phantasmagoria seeks the eternal return of the same. No longer simply a narration of ‘harmony with enjoyment’, it takes the form of myth in that it demands the constant everyday ritual re-enactment of the impossibility of the real, of the inconceivability of the realisation of social antagonism.

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Electronic reference

Christos Lynteris, Ten Comments on ‘Eight Theses on Phantasmagoria’Anthropology & Materialism [Online], 1 | 2013, Online since 15 October 2013, connection on 12 June 2021. URL:; DOI:

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About the author

Christos Lynteris

By this author

  • An Anthropological Critique
    L’Etat comme relation sociale. Une critique matérialiste anthropologique
    El estado como una relación social. Una crítica materialista antropológica
    Published in Anthropology & Materialism, 1 | 2013
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