5/2 Walter Benjamin: "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction
One might generalize by saying: the technique of reproduction detaches the reproduced object from the domain of tradition. By making many reproductions it substitutes a plurality of copies for a unique existence. And in permitting the reproduction to meet the beholder or listener in his own particular situation, it reactivates the object reproduced. These two processes lead to a tremendous shattering of tradition which is the obverse of the contemporary crisis and renewal of mankind. Both processes are intimately connected with the contemporary mass movements. Their most powerful agent is the film. Its social significance, particularly in its most positive form, is inconceivable without its destructive, cathartic aspect, that is, the liquidation of the traditional value of the cultural heritage (p. 221).
I chose this particular passage because the insight within it is very strong and accurate. What this passage explains is mechanical reproduction takes away from the originality of what was originally produced. The uniqueness of anything original is lost not only with substitutes but, with time. As used in this passage, mankind has become lost of values and morals watered down through this very mechanical reproduction. This is also why he states film to be the most powerful agent. Film captures the originality of what was happening at the time of what ever was being created. For example; when Martin Luther king was killed, or when they filmed Hitler's camp. Through these original truths are seen how watered down many if not all cultures have become. Almost to the point of it's destruction.