In this dazzling dialogue with Sylvere Lotringer, Paul Virilio for the first time displayed the whole range of his reflections on the effect of speed on our civilization—every one of which has been dramatically confirmed over the years since this book's publication.
"Pure war" is the name of the invisible war that technology is waging against humanity. In this dazzling dialogue with Sylvere Lotringer, Paul Virilio for the first time displayed the whole range of his reflections on the effect of speed on our civilization and every one of them has been dramatically confirmed over the years. For Virilio, the foremost philosopher of speed, the "technical surprise" of World War I was the discovery that the wartime economy could not be sustained unless it was continued in peacetime. As a consequence, the distinction between war and peace ceased to apply, inaugurating the military-industrial complex and the militarization of science itself.Every new invention casts a long shadow that we are generally unwilling to acknowledge in the name of progress: the invention of automobiles inaugurated car-crashes; the invention of nuclear energy, Hiroshima and Tchernobyl. The technologies of instant communications have invented another kind of accident: the extermination of space and the derealization of time. Instant feedback is shrinking the planet to nothing, and "globalization" is its ultimate accident. First published in 1983, this book introduced Virilio's thinking to the United States. For successive generations of readers, it remains one of the most influential and far-reaching essays of our time.
Paul Virilio was born in 1932 and has published a wide range of books, essays, and interviews grappling with the question of speed and technology, including Speed and Politics, The Aesthetics of Disappearance, and The Accident of Art, all published by Semiotext(e).
Sylvère Lotringer is Jean Baudrillard Chair at the European Graduate School, Switzerland, and Professor Emeritus of French literature and philosophy at Columbia University.
Mark Polizzotti has translated more than fifty books, including works by Patrick Modiano, Gustave Flaubert, Raymond Roussel, Marguerite Duras, and Paul Virilio. Publisher and Editor-in-Chief at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, he is also the author of Revolution of the Mind: The Life of André Breton and other books.