This was a line I considered including in my 3 Quotes in 3 Days! kick a few weeks ago. I didn’t for reasons^ — chief among them, the fact that what I like about these words is how they make me think about the idea in reverse:
Where there can be shipwreck, there is always first a ship.
I endured a shipwreck (of sorts) yesterday. While I still feel the shock of it today, truth is — this ship has been in the process of wrecking my entire life.
All we have ever spoken of is the wreck.
All I can remember feeling is the wreckage.
If I am wreckage, then I am also a ship. Then I have also always been a ship.
Today I leave the reefs.
^ Quote Note: I’m a stickler for context and accuracy. These words by Paul Virilio fail on both counts!
I first came across these words lined out the way they are in my header image and thought they must have come from a poem. Or, at least, from a poet. Nope! Turns out Virilio is cultural theorist who writes about technology (among other things). And he was talking quite literally about ships — and about the faults built into any new technological advance:
The accident is an inverted miracle, a secular miracle, a revelation. 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. (Quoted here).
I still think I like my version better, though.