Twenty-seven years ago, French radical theoretician Régis Debray was sentenced by a Bolivian military tribunal to 30 years in jail. He had been captured with the guerrilla band led by Ernesto “Che” Guevara, Fidel Castro’s legendary lieutenant. Released after three years, largely because of the intervention of compatriots such as President Charles de Gaulle, André Malraux, and Jean-Paul Sartre, Debray returned to writing. (His 1967 Revolution in the Revolution is considered a primer for guerrilla insurrection.) He spent five years in the early ’80s as a special advisor on Latin American relations to French President François Mitterrand.
Creating a discipline he calls “mediology,” Debray has investigated how it is that abstract ideas can end up as world-changing ideologies. Today, he is developing a new theory of the transmission of ideas through history, to grasp how words become flesh, ideas ideologies.
Régis Debray: “I would make an analogy between what I call mediology and the strategy of the neurosciences. While the neurosciences are dedicated to overcoming the inherited duality between mind and brain, mediology tries to view history by hybridizing technology and culture. It focuses on the intersections between technology and intellectual life.”
“As Thomas Edison said a century ago, “whoever controls the film industry will control the most powerful influence over people.” And today that means everyone on the planet. Images govern our dreams, and our dreams drive our actions. ”