The Collapse of Time: No Future, No Progress, No Knowledge

Science itself is on the verge of systemic crash, a philosophical coma. – Paul Virilio

Bernard Stiegler like Virilio, Berardi, and many others puts forth the notion that our world has entered a speed-zone of accelerated reality in which progress has actually and in fact come to an end in stasis: a realm of timeless present, or presentism of the immediate. In his Regimes of Historicity: Presentism and Experiences of Time the historian François Hartog would speak of this immediacy as ‘presentism’: “Today’s presentism is experienced as enclosure: as the acceleration of speed and mobility or living hand to mouth in a stagnating present. A realm within which the future is seen as a looming threat not a promise of emancipation. The future has become a time of disasters, and ones we have, moreover, brought on ourselves”.

The notion of the End of History is really about the end of humanity, about what Stiegler will term the great divorce between technology and society: “With the collapse of the idea of progress, an idea that can never be anything other than a belief, it is the very belief in politics that collapses.” (24, The Decadence of Industrial Societies) This disadjustment of technology from society is a part of that “disconnection” (David Roden) process whereby technology is entering its own accelerated processes without humanity, a ‘real time’ system of hyper-synchronized time (Steigler), of accelerated reality (Virilio) of the present or immediacy. We are being enfolded into the technicity of time itself, becoming machinic processes in a realm without temporality, cut off from the past as well as the future. This is the transitional moment of Singularity in process…

As Stiegler reports,

At  this  point ,  then,  with  technological  evolution having  become incessant  and therefore  hyper-diachronic  (that is, technological  obsolescence  is  involved  in  a  process  of  continual acceleration),  the  paradoxical  result  is  that   societies  and  the individuals  composing them  regress  to  their  most archaic  stages, and withdraw  to  a  state of  herdish  hyper-synchronization  in which  they  become disindividuated.(24).

Virilio of Planetary Imprisonment and Exodus:

“I think the real imprisonment is just ahead. The mass claustrophobia that takes hold of peoples is one of the reasons for the great ecological panic, which is characterized in part by the fear that the planet is incapable of guaranteeing our development. That is why movement, escape, exodus become permanent phenomenon. The only solution now is to move constantly or flee definitively. …

The slogan of our times is: “just-in-time, zero stock.” The slogan of mass retail should in fact grace the door to our future. Stock is just as much the stock exchange as the city: accumulation is left behind in favor of acceleration. …

Consider the logics of distribution that we see today: there are fewer and fewer warehouses, almost no stock, only the flow of goods. You can see how acceleration, the pure speed of circulation, has overcome accumulation. Turbo-capitalism has exploded the capitalism of accumulation and the major banks in favor of even larger banks that no nation state will ever be able to bail out.

I prefer the revelation to the revolution. What is revealed is that the acceleration of reality is eliminating the accumulation of products but also of goods, habitats, people.

Science itself is on the verge of systemic crash, a philosophical coma. In the face of this crash, I suggested creating a “university of disaster” that has nothing to do with the disaster of the University. It is an invitation to acquaint ourselves with the era of speed. The great ecological fear combines three types of pollution: pollution of substance, distance, and knowledge. Think of the famous phrase by Norbert Weiner, the father of cybernetics: “The world of the future will be an even more demanding struggle against the limitations of our intelligence.”

– Paul Virilio, The Administration of Fear


Bernard Stiegler –

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3 thoughts on “The Collapse of Time: No Future, No Progress, No Knowledge

  1. And History ‘begins again’. HC. As i suspected. We have alot in common . I ddnt know people were developing or had developed ideas that i already knew.


  2. I mean SC. I am searching but skeptical. Though i have always suspected it, it is always dufficult to really see it, ehen my experience-knowledge is/was repeated in another. Am i wrong? We will see.


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