The Lost Dimension by Paul Virilio

By Paul Virilio

To learn those 5 essays of 1983 is to start to return to phrases with the theoretical cataclysm of the current. In misplaced measurement, Paul Virilio considers the displacement of the idea that of dimensional area by means of Einsteinian space/time because it is expounded to the obvious barriers of the postmodern urban and modern financial system. Virilio imagines a coming international of interactive, informational networks providing a prison-house of illusionary transcendence. He images international terrorism (perpetrated through and opposed to technological states) filling up the surreal void of an deserted actual. In a multidisciplinary excavation of up to date physics, structure, esthetic thought, and sociology, Virilio lines the dystopic solidarity of the modern Western situation with lightning prescience and readability.

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Example text

From this perspective, obj ects, even the tiniest ball or the sheerest veil or the finest thread, must be represented by three dimensional figures , in the exact same manner as a large, coarse ball. But, in fact, every physicist knows that we must proceed differently, and that it is more useful to think that the veil, the thread, or the ball, if they are s ufficiently fine, are respectively closer to the second, first and zero dimensions - (we note here the practical usefulness ofthe account ofthe large, ofthe gross as of the small, stories connected to the anthropomorphic char­ acteristics of the observer), In other words , the physical dimension inevitably has a pragmatic, and hence subjective, base; it concerns the degree of resolution.

At the 10-centimeter degree of resolution, it is a ball, and thus a three-dimensional figure. At the 10-millimeter degree of resolution, it is a construction of threads , and thus a one-dimensional figure. At the O. l-mm degree ofresolution , each thread b ecomes a kind of column, and the whole be­ comes again a three-dimensional figure. O l-mm degree of resolution, each column dissolves into filiform fibers and the whole is once again a uni-dimensional figure, and thus we see the determination ofthe dimension continu­ ously jumping around.

All this ends up with Stephen 46 The Morphological Irruption Weinberg and Ilya Prigogine, Nobel-Prized physicists, redis­ covering Plato's cave, the magic box of the pre-rational origins of science. These days it is almost required that one affirm the magical and symbolic aspect ofthe sphere, ofthe circle, of the center and its periphery. From the high epochs of cosmogony right down to Einstein in 1916 explaining gravitation as the result of a spatio-temporal curvature of the universe we rigorously exclude the influence ofthe cylinder and ofthe tubular form in our modern intellectual histories, beginning with hydraulics, the innovation of eyeglasses and of the stethoscope, which was the first audio-visual media.

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