For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

"Heidegger and the technology of further education"

by Standish, Paul (1997)


The new further education, characterised by managerialism, accounting systems and the packaging of learning, has brought about far-reaching changes for staff and students, changes that can broadly be understood in terms of technology. This paper seeks to gain a new perspective on this through a consideration of Heidegger?s exploration of techne and of the pathologies of technology. The various responses that Heidegger advocates in the face of technology are then related to possibilities of good practice in technical and further education. The discussion involves questions concerning work and language, especially as these arise in conditions of postmodernity.

Key Passage

This context of rapid industrialisation may have its bearing on the preoccupation throughout Heidegger's writing with work and with technology. In this he was again influenced by Nietzsche but also, to his cost, by Ernst Junger. Junger fully embraced new technology and idealised the role of the worker in service of the fully technological state. This was carried to its extreme in the combination of heroism, nationalism, and technology that war made possible. He claimed that the worker/soldier epitomised a higher form of life and the realisation of Germany's destiny. In a strange distortion of Nietzsche, Junger recognised such conditions in the age of technology as requiring not individuals but types, men stamped with the identity required by allegiance in an age of technology. In the vision of Junger there is an aestheticism, the technological state having no justification beyond its perfection as an expression of will. Sometimes Junger's words are reminiscent of the First Futurist Manifesto, published in Le Figaro in 1909, with its affirmation of danger, energy and fearlessness, its celebration of the magnificence of machines and its glorification of war, `the world's only hygiene' (Hughes, 1991, p. 43). Something, it seemed, needed to be purged. Against the liberal priorities of rational deliberation and choice, Heidegger is already in Being and Time (1927) attracted by the possibilities of regeneration that the idea of destiny (Geschick) seems to suggest. (p.443)


Heidegger, Technology, Education, Techne, Pathology, Postmodernity


Technology, On Heidegger

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