Paul Virilio

Paul Virilio (born 1932) is a cultural theorist and urbanist. He is best known for his writings about technology as it has developed in relation to speed and power, with diverse references to architecture, the arts, the city and the military.


  • When you invent the ship, you also invent the shipwreck; when you invent the plane you also invent the plane crash; and when you invent electricity, you invent electrocution... Every technology carries its own negativity, which is invented at the same time as technical progress.
    • Politics of the Very Worst, New York: Semiotext(e), 1999, p. 89
  • All of us are already civilian soldiers, without knowing it…The great stroke of luck for the military class’s terrorism is that no one recognizes it. People don’t recognize the militarized part of their identity, of their consciousness.
    • Pure War. New York, NY, U.S.A.: Semiotext(e), 1983. p. 18
  • Wealth is the hidden side of speed and speed the hidden side of wealth.
    • Pure War. New York, NY, U.S.A.: Semiotext(e), 1983. p. 30
  • The thing about collaborators is that you don’t know you are one whereas as a member of the resistance, you do. [In WWII,] the worst cases of collaboration weren’t among the real collaborators, that official militia, but among the people at large, who were collaborators without knowing it, by a sort of laxity, an apathy.
    • Pure War (2008), p. 183

Quotes about Paul VirilioEdit

  • What he resists is not technology proper, but the propensity for us to confer upon technology a salvific function. Virilio, in other words, resists the mythologizing of technology, and he does so because it is precisely by idealizing technology that we come to unthinkingly embrace it.
    • Gil Germain, Spirits in the Material World (2009), p. 102

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