Integral accident  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons, Technology cannot exist without the potential for accidents. For example, the invention of the locomotive also entailed the invention of derailment and French philosopoher Paul Virilio sees the accident as a negative growth of social positivism and scientific progress.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons, Technology cannot exist without the potential for accidents. For example, the invention of the locomotive also entailed the invention of derailment and French philosopoher Paul Virilio sees the accident as a negative growth of social positivism and scientific progress.

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Enlarge
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

The integral accident (l'accident intégral) is a term devised by French philosopher Paul Virilio.

Technology cannot exist without the potential for accidents. For example, the invention of the locomotive also entailed the invention of derailment. Paul Virilio sees the accident as a negative growth of social positivism and scientific progress. The growth of technology, namely television, separates us directly from the events of real space and real time. We lose wisdom, lose sight of our immediate horizon and resort to the indirect horizon of our dissimulated environment. From this angle, the Accident can be mentally pictured as a sort of "fractal meteorite" whose impact is prepared in the propitious darkness, a landscape of events concealing future collisions. Even Aristotle claimed that "there is no science of the accident," but Virilio disagrees, pointing to the growing credibility of simulators designed to escape the accident -- an industry born from the unholy marriage of post-WW2 science and the military-industrial complex. A good example of Virilio's integral accident is Hurricane Katrina and the disastrous events that followed, which brought the eyes of the world upon a single nexus of time and place. From his article on Katrina, "Ah ouai, ce méchant vent, vent qui siffle, siffle. Tout le monde regarde, c'est sur toutes les chaînes, c'est l'émission dont le monde parle. Et c'est tellement, tellement mouillé la bas." Roughly translated, "Oh yeah, that nasty wind, wind that blows, blows. The whole world is watching, it's on every station, it's the program the world is talking about. And it's soggy, so soggy, down there."



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