Media, Information and Technoculture 2500A/B Lecture Notes - Lecture 13: Martin Heidegger, International Development, The German Ideology

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MIT 2500B: Meaning of Technology
Week 13: Saving Power
April 4
We live in a technological society
oWe think of ourselves as extraordinarily civilized and powerful
oHow powerful are we?
oHow much of this world do we really understand?
Technology promises knowledge and control
Promises to create a world in which the unknown becomes known, reveals all aspects of the real
Technology orders our world, makes it safer
Protects us against the elements and the odds
Requires trust – even if things are not perfect now, they will be
Do we just expect machines to work in the asme way that we expect the sun to rise in the
Has our belief in technology become just that, belief?
Our need for technological knowledge has been replaced by blind faith, the indiscriminate use of
This belief goes largely unchallenged because we trust it
Black box – used when a set of instructions or machines are too complicated to comprehend
oDenote what goes in and what comes out
oWhat goes out is always consistent with what goes in
oThe process is effectively irrelevant
Our machines are all black boxes in one way or another
Generally, we know very little about machines
We receive our machines in closed systems
The machines that we use and the effects that they have remain invisible to us
We can’t take technology for granted
Machines affect us in ways that we don’t recognize
Transform the nature of our world
Condition our relationship with the world and our relationships with other people
The tools and systems that we use, create, continue to hold power over us even when we’re not
fully engaged with them
The meaning that we inscribe on our machines is necessary for the understanding of our society
Radical alteration of the social practices structuring daily life
World is constantly being made and remade with every technological advancement
Narrative points toward the future
The question becomes, what kind of future do we want? What kind of world do we want to
make with the technologies we produce?
Everything we do is shaped and informed by machinery
What are we without technology? Who are we without our tools?
Humans are nothing more or less than technical life
We cannot survive without equipment
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Pervasive ignorance, refusal to know that structure our orientation toward technology and
therefore toward the world
Violent eruptions unfolding everywhere are in response to the tools produced
Tools rearrange our lives – both for better and for worse
Happens in the interest of a tiny global minority, not in the interests of the people
What kind of future do we want? Whose future are we collectively accepting?
Heidegger gives us the ground on which we can build on in order to understand what is
happening to us and to the world around us
Heidegger tells us how we think and feel in relation to technology
What can we do about this? What are our options?
Despite all the problems plaguing our world as a result of the ways in which we develop it,
choosing to abandon technology is not an option
There is no life outside technology
Is so central to all that we do, all that we are
Everything we are is already technologized
We need clothes, fire, tools of every kind
We tend to think harder about the things that confound us
Technology is the way in which we overcome boundaries and limits
We are not gods, nor are we destined to be gods
We are limited, struggling human beings
This is not something we should feel bad about – it is something we should embrace
Our lives only hold meaning insofar as we have something to lose
Any prospect for a happy but contested future stems from this fact
Any conception of technology and our relationship to the world should be based on a
conception of ourselves as being fundamentally limited
We must produce an entirely new kind of relationship, both to the world and to other people
If one reads Marx as a communist, it still continues to enframe
Societies which claim to be communists still went about enframing the world in a particular way
The change that takes place must be fundamental, more than just changing the ways those in
power yield their power
The serious question that needs to be asked is whether or not we need it, and how to go about
building a world that don’t institutionalize power structures
People are fundamentally enframed as standing reserves of intelligence and power
Need a production and reproduction of totally new kinds of people
oResponsible beings that know what it means to be forever accountable for other people
Ours is a time where responsibility is so warped that we no longer know what it means and that
we expand a dangerous state of indifference
What kind of world we want cannot be divorced from what kind of people we want to be, what
relations to nature we cherish, what style of life we desire
Most of us operate under the dangerous assumption that we live in the best possible world
We live in a society that develops greed and selfishness at the expense of every other quality
Think about what it would be like to live in a society that purposely develops other qualities
besides greed and selfishness
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