The Changing Spaces of Reading and Writing

Technology as a way of revealing

I noticed that Rich had already posted a passage from Heidegger and “The Question Concerning Technology”, but I would like to discuss another part of it. Early in this essay Heidegger states that “Technology is a way of revealing”. I think that this is important and that the “revealing” Heidegger mentions is closely connected with what he elsewhere calls “regioning”, which he says opens “the clearing of Being”. By this he does not mean a type of conscious thought or unconscious thought but rather something that makes both of these possible to begin with. It is tied up with speaking a language and with dwelling among other people in the world. (He gets rather mystical when he tries to describe it in his later writings.) The view of technology as a way of revealing would suggest that technology is inextricably bound up with the way in which we live, our practices, and our institutions. It would support Neil Postman’s claim that a technology’s function follows from its form and that new technologies threaten institutions. It may be a bit disturbing, though, as we usually like to think of ourselves as rational beings who can represent technology objectively and freely decide how we will use it. As Heidegger himself explains at the end of the essay, though, it is not necessarily a fatalistic picture.


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