Heidegger — Technology / Art / The Environment

February 20, 2009

Heidegger describes our relationship to technology in a manner similar to how Deleuze describes our human relationship to islands:

We are to understand technology through enframing in two very important ways. First, technology is a process, or coming-to-presence, which is underway in the world and which has truly gigantic proportions. The two concepts that Heidegger used as analogies in arriving at the word ‘Ge-stell‘ were ‘Gebirg” and ‘Gemuet.’ Both of these are processes of cosmic scope. The former is the gradual building, emergence, folding, and eroding of a mountain range. The latter is the welling up and building of emotional feelings that originate in the depths of our beings, as differentiated from the simple emotions that arise quickly and spontaneously in normal contexts. Second, technology viewed as enframing is a process that is shaping human destiny today and that has been shaping human destiny in relation to the universe for almost as long as we conceive of our history. What we call technology and think to be a neutral instrument standing ready for our control is actually a specific manifestation of this whole process. {[7], p. 19} The concept of enframing suggests that human life in the context of the natural world is gathered wholly and cosmically within the essence of technology. Just as the technology that we now see ongoing in the world shows the characteristic of challenging-forth the objects around us, the whole process within which human life is developing challenges-us-forth to this mode of revealing the real or of ordering nature into standing reserve. Our control over technology is an illusion; it and we alike are being shaped, like an evolving mountain range, in the process that Heidegger called enframing. The possession of what we commonly call technology is only a fragmentary, though characteristic, aspect of that whole development; language thought, religion, art, and all other aspects of human life are coordinated into this development as a part of enframing.  

Just as humans have progressively limited the being of the natural objects around them, Heidegger observed, they too have acquired a progressively limited character or being. While we have come to think that we encounter only ourselves in the world, “in truth, however, precisely nowhere does man today any longer encounter himself, i.e., in his essence.” {[7], p. 27} While all epochs of human evolution contain danger, the epoch of modern technology possesses the gravest danger because it is the epoch whose characteristic is to conduct humanity out of its own essence. Modern technology, in Heidegger’s view, is the highest stage of misrepresentation of the essence of being human.  Tad Beckman 


Modern technology puts nature in reserve.  (oil tanks) by using technology to put nature in reserve we are putting our own lives in reserve.  

Art is not what makes the turning away from technology possible or necessary; it is rather proposed as the form of revealing through which we may be conducted out of that epoch.

 It is therefore an essential kind of human awareness that brings us into relation with the nature of our being as human beings who dwell on the earth through that specific recognition and understanding of objects and their relations that they call their world. Clearly, art in general, like poetry, is a uniquely vital journey into the basic human issue of finding the essence of home within life on this earth.

Joy comes from Serenity and Serenity is the “spatially ordered”

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