French philosopher Paul Virilio is best known for coining the term Dromology, or the science of speed. He states that speed, specifically the speed of people, has been an important factor in the development of society. The government has always manipulated the speed of its people in order to control the movement of its people. An early example of this is the construction of roads within the city’s walls to better mobilize armies during siege tactics. However, the invention of guns made city walls obsolete yet the roads still remained in the city, now allowing the people to utilize this technology and move faster within the city’s borders. The speed of the people is now being limited to prevent possible revolution. Virilio uses the example of highway speed limits to express this.
Virilio also uses speed as a basis to attempt to understand the current human condition. Virilio writes, “The development of high technical speeds would thus result in the disappearance of consciousness as the direct perception of phenomena that informs us of our own existence” (Virilio, Aesthetics of Disappearance 114). By replacing our interactions with our environment with ones that are manufactured or simulated, our interpretations of the world can then become manipulated. Virilio also writes, “… as if virtual images of informatics as well as televisual images were only the syndrome of a coming transparence that would affect, this time, consciousness itself” (Virilio, Lost Dimension 150).
According to Jung, the things that inhabit our consciousness eventually get stored into our subconscious. Jung would come across this through his relationships with his psychiatric patients. Van der Berk writes, “Jung identified many kinds of such contents: desires, impulses, intentions, affections, observances, intuitions, etc. All of this material can be unconsciously stored, either fully or partially, temporarily or permanently” (van der berk 5). If we consciously digest contents that are fabricated or manipulated, then they can also get stored into our psyche, creating false interpretations of the world.
In Stephen M. Kosslyn’s book, Image and Mind, Kosslyn explores the importance of imagery in information storage. He also goes into depth about the experiments he conducted in relation to images and information. Through his experiments, Kosslyn concludes, “Mental images appear in a sort of three-dimensional space. This in no way means that images occur in a real three-dimensional space, but rather in an environment that possesses certain functional properties in common with that type of space” (Kosslyn 108). This three-dimensional space is the same three-dimensional space that occurs in photographs, film, and computer memory. Kosslyn then writes, “… images also allow one to transform information, to mimic dynamic aspects of our environment… we use our imagery as a ‘simulation’ of possible (and, perhaps, of impossible) transformations in the world” (Kosslyn 456).
This simulated space potentially creates a conundrum. By replacing our own conscious level of interaction with that of one that is simulated, we are subjecting our consciousness with imagery that behaves just like our own mental imagery. This potentially allows our unconscious to more readily store the simulated imagery. Kosslyn also writes, “In addition to possibly serving some role in concept learning, reasoning, and pattern recognition, imagery my well serve to make unconscious thoughts and desires manifest in consciousness, as Freud and others have maintained” (Kosslyn 456).
In Jung’s individuation process, he proposes that the inner transformation of an individual becoming a mature individual within society exists within five phases. We constantly flow between these phases and different parts of our being can exist in different phases as well. Van der Berk writes, “The unconscious mind of this modern person functions in the same way as it did for millions of years. The people from ancient times and for the most part also our own great-grandparents were unconscious of their projections, but they knew how to channel their unconscious drives by means of their projections.” Van der Berk continues, “The modern person, who is predominantly engaged with rational consciousness, represses this unconscious world rather than integrating it into his consciousness.” (Van der Berk 41-42). The difference between the modern man and their ancestors is the evolution of technology and the manipulation of conscious material.