Scientific Brains Bringing It Forth

At the end of President Truman’s announcement that “an American plane dropped one bomb on Hiroshima” he says that the event’s greatest marvel was “the achievement of scientific minds making it work”.  This peculiar atta Little Boy recalled for me, on hearing it ,both the movie/book Donovan’s Brain and Heidegger’s essay The Question Concerning Technology.

In this essay, Heidegger points out that thinking of technology as instrumentality is correct but not true, that this evades the nature of instrumentality.  He then posits a series of attributes to technology.

Technology in the broad historic sense is a way of revealing of brining forth the world.  Modern technology though goes beyond both instrumentality and revealing to become a challenging to nature, a demand that it stand always at the ready as energy and raw materials. To do this, every thing must be regulated and secured.  Heidegger calls this standing reserve.

However, this process has no end point.  Humans are drawn into it and disappear into the general standing reserve.  He calls this process Enframing.

Enframing means the gathering together of that setting-upon which sets upon man, i.e., challenges him forth, to reveal the real, in the mode of ordering, as standing-reserve. Enframing means that way of revealing which holds sway in the essence of modern technology and which is itself nothing technological.

This is a dangerous situation.  But the danger is not so much the demonic machines this technology makes possible, as the situation in which humanity thinks that it always and everywhere only encounters itself denying us “a more original revealing”.

The danger carries within it the possibility of escape.  Human reflection can return us to the earlier meaning of technology-as-revealing, as “revealing that brings forth truth into the splendor of radiant appearing.”

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