Cities are … distinguished by the catastrophic forms they presuppose and which are a vital part of their essential charm. New York is King Kong, or the blackout, or vertical bombardment: Towering Inferno. Los Angeles is the horizontal fault, California breaking off and sliding into the Pacific: Earthquake.
Pornography is the quadraphonics of sex. It adds a third and fourth track to the sexual act. It is the hallucination of detail that rules. Science has already habituated us to this microscopics, this excess of the real in its microscopic detail, this voyeurism of exactitude.
The local is a shabby thing. There’s nothing worse than bringing us back down to our own little corner, our own territory, the radiant promiscuity of the face to face. A culture which has taken the risk of the universal, must perish by the universal.
The price we pay for the complexity of life is too high. When you think of all the effort you have to put in –telephonic, technological and relational –to alter even the slightest bit of behavior in this strange world we call social life, you are left pining for the straightforwardness of primitive peoples and their physical work.
You need an infinite stretch of time ahead of you to start to think, infinite energy to make the smallest decision. The world is getting denser. The immense number of useless projects is bewildering. Too many things have to be put in to balance up an uncertain scale. You can’t disappear anymore. You die in a state of total indecision.
Topics: Indecision, Decisions
The era of the political was one of anomie: crisis, violence, madness and revolution. The era of the trans-political is that of anomaly: an aberration of no consequence, contemporaneous with the event of no consequence.
With the truth, you need to get rid of it as soon as possible and pass it on to someone else. As with illness, this is the only way to be cured of it. The person who keeps truth in his hands has lost.
Laughter on American television has taken the place of the chorus in Greek tragedy. In other countries, the business of laughing is left to the viewers. Here, their laughter is put on the screen, integrated into the show. It is the screen that is laughing and having a good time. You are simply left alone with your consternation.
If we consider the superiority of the human species, the size of its brain, its powers of thinking, language and organization, we can say this: were there the slightest possibility that another rival or superior species might appear, on earth or elsewhere, man would use every means at his disposal to destroy it.
In the same way that we need statesmen to spare us the abjection of exercising power, we need scholars to spare us the abjection of learning.
Smile and others will smile back. Smile to show how transparent, how candid you are. Smile if you have nothing to say. Most of all, do not hide the fact you have nothing to say nor your total indifference to others. Let this emptiness, this profound indifference shine out spontaneously in your smile.
A society which allows an abominable event to burgeon from its dung heap and grow on its surface is like a man who lets a fly crawl unheeded across his face or saliva dribble from his mouth — either epileptic or dead.
Topics: Events, Humanity
If everything is perfect, language is useless. This is true for animals. If animals don’t speak, it’s because everything’s perfect for them. If one day they start to speak, it will be because the world has lost a certain sort of perfection.
The very definition of the real has become: that of which it is possible to give an equivalent reproduction… The real is not only what can be reproduced, but that which is always already reproduced: that is the hyperreal
Mistakes, scandals, and failures no longer signal catastrophe. The crucial thing is that they be made credible, and that the public be made aware of the efforts being expended in that direction. The “marketing” immunity of governments is similar to that of the major brands of washing powder.
Santa Barbara is a paradise; Disneyland is a paradise; the U.S. is a paradise. Paradise is just paradise. Mournful, monotonous, and superficial though it may be, it is paradise. There is no other.
The liberated man is not the one who is freed in his ideal reality, his inner truth, or his transparency; he is the man who changes spaces, who circulates, who changes sex, clothes, and habits according to fashion, rather than morality, and who changes opinions not as his conscience dictates but in response to opinion polls.
We are becoming like cats, slyly parasitic, enjoying an indifferent domesticity. Nice and snug in the social, our historic passions have withdrawn into the glow of an artificial coziness, and our half-closed eyes now seek little other than the peaceful parade of television pictures.
Computer science only indicates the retrospective omnipotence of our technologies. In other words, an infinite capacity to process data (but only data — i.e. the already given) and in no sense a new vision. With that science, we are entering an era of exhaustivity, which is also an era of exhaustion.
We are no longer in a state of growth; we are in a state of excess. We are living in a society of excrescence. The boil is growing out of control, recklessly at cross purposes with itself, its impacts multiplying as the causes disintegrate.
Driving is a spectacular form of amnesia. Everything is to be discovered, everything to be obliterated.
Wondering Whom to Read Next?
- Jacques Derrida French Philosopher, Literary Theorist
- Simone de Beauvoir French Philosopher
- Jean-Paul Sartre French Philosopher
- Michel Foucault French Philosopher
- Claude Levi-Strauss French Anthropologist
- Henri Poincare French Mathematician
- Henri Bergson French Philosopher
- Gaston Bachelard French Philosopher
- Guy Debord French Philosopher
- Pierre Teilhard de Chardin French Jesuit Scientist