Critical Response Of Heidegger's The Age Of World Pictures

2590 words - 10 pages

Humans control technology, but even this control is informed by our instrumental conception of what technology is; our understanding of technology is dominated by what the technology does and how humans use the technology, rather than by how the technology orientates being and its relationship between human subjects. The definition of technology based on pragmatisms creates a "blind spot" that prevents further understanding. In this paper I attempt to understand how being and humans stand in relationship to technological mechanism in the modern world. I argue, in reference to Heidegger, that the essence of technology is a form of "framing" normalized as a means of control and surveillance by the state to reinforce power and hierarchies. Technology has been presented as a form of empowerment to the individual. Technical rationality today has become the rationality of domination, forming a compulsive character against the society alienated from itself. I demonstrate such through Chow, Tagg and Gates' discussion on technologies applied to atomic bombing, photography and biometrics respectively.In The Age of World Pictures, Heidegger reflects upon the essential phenomena of the modern age by dealing with the relations between human subjects and modern science. By distinguishing modern sciences as a process of "research", as opposed to that of "knowing" in which "ongoing activity" occurs, Heidegger suggests that modern sciences as a methodology is supported and guided on the basis of a form of "fundamental law" to "adduce the facts that either verify and confirm the law or deny it confirmation". This ontology is encapsulated in the term subiectum described as "that-which-lies-before" in which man becomes the "relational center" upon all. When a human subject becomes subiectum, which has precedence over other centers of relationship, the world becomes a pictorial representation. Heidegger emphasizes the historicity of the modern age through this transformation. Heidegger shows that amidst modern technology, human subjects have become "functionaries of enframing". The essence of technology is viewed and realized by the individual constituents of technological processes as a "frame of mind". Accordingly, "world picture", when understood essentially, does not connote "a picture of the world" but "the world conceived and grasped as picture". It is a system that stands before subjects, in which all things belong to and stand together. To Heidegger, we are immersed in the world and move amongst ready-at-hand things with the help of a referential totality provided by this world. What makes human subjects the equivalent of modern beings is their position amidst this picture performed through their capability of measuring and executing for the purpose of gaining mastery over that which is whole.To Chow, the world is not only seen as a picture but in the context of war "in the age of bombing", the world has been essentially conceived and transformed into "a...

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