The essence of technology is by no means anything technological. Hammers, computers, and guns are all tools that are considered technological. However, the essence of technology does not pertain itself within physical objects. Tools are meant to be used for progress, meeting a goal or task. Heidegger himself believed that the essence of technology collects itself in a type of thinking. Modern technology is very distinct from technology in the ancient times. For example, ancient Greece perceived technology as a way of revealing the nature of the Earth and admiring it for its art. That same cannot be said with technology in the present. Modern technology is judged by the function and outcome of an object (or as much as of a device). Heidegger knew this too well as it configures to his work “Enframing of technology”.
Enframing is to look at everything else in the world as merely a resource waiting to be used or consumed. This type of viewpoint on the world devalues the importance of nature and everything around us. Modern technology has asserted to the population that the Earth is only important as its resources it has for humanity. What was once valued and seen as art by the Greek is now being exploited by humans to makes their lives easier. The change from how we fit into nature has now been how nature should fit into us. What we would see as a flowing river is now being converted to create energy with the construction of dams and hydroelectric plants. That river is what we call standing reserves. What modern technology has done to us is to consume the resources of the Earth for the benefit of our future. In a way, enframing is the essence of modern technology.
Humanity has revealed itself that it no longer values nature and is more self-destructive than ever before. Is this the reason why we are inevitably responsible for our own downfall? We as humans have our own identities that ae built around our environment. Our bodies, minds, conscious have been exposed to modern technology, molding us in its design to enfram ourselves. This is considered dangerous for us because humanity has brought destruction and chaos with too much control over nature. The creation of atomic bombs and poisonous gas are one of many examples that has inflicted humanity. We ask ourselves, why do we consume ourselves into this behavior. The truth is that we can never really encounter ourselves and the Earth because of modern technology. The rise of modern technology has led to many changes in our perception of weapons, war, and eventually, ourselves. By using technology in almost every way possible everywhere in the world, we have become its ruler. But with that, we also become its caretaker.
Humanity has demonstrated that we are now responsible for nature. By aligning ourselves back to a healthy relationship with nature, Heidegger believes that the actions taken by humanity will stop being self-destructive. However, would modern technology still be a problem preventing us to preserve nature? Not exactly. If humanity were to perceive the world from an artistic perspective and take in the values almost like what the Greeks did, humanity can appreciate and make changes to help nature. It would also prevent further enframing and still maintain our relationships with technology that we use daily. I am not saying that we must be like the Greek, but we have to realize what we are doing and how it is affecting the environment before it is too late. I believe that nature has brought our existence to be their caretaker as we posses a gift that none other have. And with great power, comes great responsibility.
Heidegger, Martin. “Existence and Being.” Existence and Being by Martin Heidegger (1949), www.marxists.org/reference/subject/philosophy/works/ge/heidegg2.htm.
Heidegger, M., & Lovitt, W. (1977). The question concerning technology: And other essays. New York: Harper Colophon.
“Enframing the Flesh: Heidegger, Transhumanism, and the Body as Standing Reserve.” Enframing the Flesh: Heidegger, Transhumanism, and the Body as “Standing Reserve”, jetpress.org/v24/bailey.htm.