Virilio: Third Time is the Charm

Part III begins with the following: “Sight was once a cottage industry, an ‘art of seeing’.  But today we are in the presence of a ‘tangible appearances business’ that may well be some form of pernicious industrialization of vision” (Virilio 89).

I think this is very relevant to the rest of the book and how he stresses that we are losing our sense of individuality and appreciation of the arts.  We used to care about sight and vision for the art and aesthetics of it, but as with many other facets of life money has taken the front seat.

The vision industry is now based off the automation of production.  Vision is no longer the possibility of seeing, but the impossibility of not seeing (90).  The movie and television industries are growing at such a rapid pace, and the technology is becoming so intricate that our eyes have become accustomed to anything.

Special effects used to wow us and take our breath away, but now our very bodies are used to it.  We have grown so accustomed to technology enhancing our sight that we can hardly tell the difference between what is real or not.

I also thought Virilio’s comments on the sex industry were very relevant and could be generalized to account for our behavior in general.  He states, “that the sex industry now offers lovers an illusory and artificial space, an easy way out of people’s inability to deal with each other responsibly” (118).  I think this closely relates to all social media, the cell phone and people’s interactions with one another.

People suck at personal interactions.  That’s the simple truth.  People cannot have the same kind of face to face interactions that they used to because of the draw of the cell phone and social media.  How many conversations have you had interrupted by a phone or awkward silence dictated by checking Facebook?  Probably a lot.  We have been using social media and texting as a crutch and something to hide behind.  When we text we have time to think of an appropriate response or even ask a friend.  A face to face interaction puts us on the spot and forces us to react quickly.  This artificial space is crippling our ability to have simple personal interactions.


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