The question concerning technology
by Heidegger, Martin (1977)
The Question Concerning Technology (German: Die Frage nach der Technik) is a work by Martin Heidegger, in which the author discusses the essence of technology. Heidegger originally published the text in 1954, in Vorträge und Aufsätze. Heidegger initially developed the themes in the text in the lecture "The Framework" ("Das Gestell"), first presented on December 1, 1949, in Bremen. "The Framework" was presented as the second of four lectures, collectively called "Insight into what is." The other lectures were titled "The Thing" ("Das Ding"), "The Danger" ("Die Gefahr"), and "The Turning" ("Die Kehre")
What is modern technology? It too is a revealing. Only when we allow our attention to rest on this fundamental characteristic does that which is new in modern technology show itself to us. And yet the revealing that holds sway throughout modern technology does not unfold into a bringing-forth in the sense of poiesis. The revealing that rules in modern technology is a challenging [Herausfordern] ,13 which puts to nature the unreasonable demand that it supply energy that can be extracted and stored as such. But does this not hold true for the old windmill as well? No. Its sails do indeed turn in the wind; they are left entirely to the wind's blowing. But the windmill does not unlock energy from the air currents in order to store it. In contrast, a tract of land is challenged into the putting out of coal and ore. The earth now reveals itself as a coal mining district, the soil as a mineral deposit. The field that the peasant formerly cultivated and set in order [bestellte] appears differently than it did when to set in order still meant to take care of and to maintain. The work of the peasant does not challenge the soil of the field. In the sowing of the grain it places the seed in the keeping of the forces of growth and watches over its increase. But meanwhile even the cultivation of the field has come under the grip of another kind of setting-in-order, which sets upon [stellt] natureY It sets upon it in the sense of challenging it. Agriculture is now the mechanized food industry. Air is now set upon to yield nitrogen, the earth to yield ore, ore to yield uranium, for example; uranium is set upon to yield atomic energy, which can be released either for destruction or for peaceful use. (p.14)
ThemesThe Question Concerning Technology, Heidegger Citations
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