Technology: Modern Times

Technology as the Twentieth-Century Neurosis

The tendency to perceive the world in the abstract and conceptual manner that calculative thinking entails took a more drastic turn in the twentieth century with the birth of the computer era and the amazing gains that technology has enjoyed over the past century, evidenced in the development of housing, transportation, medicine, and so on. But have these gains made us any happier?

The question of technology is a complicated. For example, it remained the focus of Heidegger’s attention throughout his lifetime. Although it would be extreme to suggest that Heidegger was opposed to science, he believed that science had overtaken our lives to such a degree that we have now forgotten how to think in a nonscientific manner. One of Heidegger’s most infamous statements about the status of science is that “science does not think” and that the thinking science employs is an impoverished variation of it, epitomized by the credence given to scientific “research” and the like, which Heidegger dismisses as thought-less and thought-poor.

Indeed, one of the consequences of the technological age may well be what has presently been depicted as the “postmodern condition,” the ultimate expression of our contemporary obsession with technology and the technology culture it has spawned. This is a culture that, from Heidegger’s perspective, is fundamentally ill, in the sense of being “ill at ease” with itself, a product of the pervasive emptiness that characterizes what some describe as the twentieth-century neurosis.

Technology: Modern Times

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