Thursday, February 17, 2011

Technology

“True art, true knowledge, true technique are a "vocation," a "calling forth" that imposes upon man his native "calling." Since Roman engineering and seventeenth century rationalism, Western technology has not been a vocation but a provocation and imperialism. Man challenges nature, he harnesses it, he compels his will on wind and water, on mountain and woodland, The results have been fantastic. Heidegger knows this: he is no Luddite innocent or pastoralist dropout. What he is emphasizing is the price paid. Things, with their intimate, collaborative affinity with creation, have been demeaned into objects. The German word is Gegenstande, which, literally and marvelously to Heidegger's purpose, signifies that which "stands against," which "affronts." We may, on the levels of utility and abstraction, have made ourselves lords of creation. But the elements of the natural world have become Gegenstande, They stand against us. Our relationship to and with them is, to use a sociological tag, "an adversary relationship," a confrontation. We are alienated from that which we decompose and exploit, as the Hegelian master is alienated from his indispensable servant. Of the two vital senses of Entbergung [Heidegger’s term for “revealing”] we have retained only the coercive, the literally extractive. We have compelled nature to yield knowledge and energy, but we have given to nature, to that which is live and hidden within it, no patient hearing, no in-dwelling. Thus our technologies mask Being instead of bringing it to light." (Martin Heidegger, 139)


1 comment:

Paul Morgun said...

by George Steiner in his book about Martin Heidegger