A Defense of Technology


The profusion of technology during the past century has aroused the suspicions of great many philosophers. One of the most potent critiques of technology came from Heidegger. For him, technology is not limited to machines and gadgets. It is rather a way of thinking, which he called technological way of thinking. This way of thinking is much older than modern science. It has its origins in ancient Greek philosophy. After Plato, Philosophy gradually lost its original freshness and degenerated into technological thinking. He contrasts techne (skilled craftsmanship) with physis (self-blossoming emergence). While the former has given rise to sciences and technology, the latter can only be expressed through poetry. With Aristotle, techne gained ascendancy over physis and gradually put it into oblivion. With this shift, the whole of western civilization started to fall prey to nihilism. And in modern age, technology is the visible face of the ghost of nihilism.
I am not in disagreement with this Heideggerian discourse. I think he was right in criticizing technology and western metaphysics through it. But I want to share a feeling which I recently had about the humane face of technology. Sometimes techno-gadgets can give us unexpected bouts of happiness which are the most prized occasions of human life. For true happiness is always unexpected.
If the life is a carnival, the only bliss is conversation. Conversation is the most inseparable part of humanness. Life would become utterly meaningless without the gift of communication. And here lies the positive side of technology. Mobile phones and internet has increased possibilities of human communication boundlessly. The other day, when I was chatting with S., I was startled by this fact. These strange modes of communication can generate a strong feeling of wonder which is often supposed to be killed by technological advancements.

Comments

  1. see techgnosis - a book. and also works by simon during. Sophie will be able to give you the details.
    bal.

    ReplyDelete

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