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Ballard: Quotations

Back to RE/Search #8/9: J.G. Ballard

I would say that if one had to categorize the future in one word, it would be that word ‘home.’ Just as the 20th century has been the age of mobility, largely through the motor car, so the next era will be one in which instead of having to seek out one’s adventures through travel, one creates them, in whatever form one chooses, in one’s home. The average individual . . . will have all the resources of a modern TV studio at his fingertips, coupled with data processing devices of incredible sophistication and power . . .

For the first time it will become truly possible to explore extensively and in depth the psychopathology of one’s own life without any fear of moral condemnation. Although we’ve seen a collapse of many taboos within the last decade or so, there are still aspects of existence . . . I’m not talking about criminally psychopathic acts, but what I would consider as the more traditional psychopathic deviancies. Many, perhaps most of these, need to be expressed in concrete forms, and their expression at present gets people into trouble. One can think of a million examples, but if your deviant impulses push you in the direction of molesting old ladies, or cutting girls’ pigtails off in bus queues, then, quite rightly, you find yourself in the local magistrates court if you succumb to them . . . But with the new multi-media potential of your own computerized TV studio, where limitless simulations can be played out in totally convincing style, one will be able to explore, in a wholly benign and harmless way, every type of impulse—impulses so deviant that they might be seemed, say to our parents, to be completely corrupt and degenerate . . .

—Interview by Dr. Chris Evans (Penthouse, April 1979)

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