For this post I want to expand on a comment I posted in reply to a classmates blog last week. I thought Charles’ post was very interesting in the way he expressed the ambiguity and sometimes confusing aspect of pursuing a definition of technology. In my comment I discussed the connection between technology and progress that Heidegger discusses in The Question Concerning Technology. This is an essential part of the discussion which we talked about in our last class. If technology is intertwined with progress, then they both seem to be concepts that go against nature or attempt to separate humans from nature. This is where Kate Soper begins in the Nature, Human and Inhuman chapter of the book What is nature?, where she discusses this distinction in Western thought between what is done by nature and what is done by humans. This is one of the ideas we discussed in class where we described technology as the act of humans using nature to work for or serve us. This allows us to distinguish between objects that humans make and objects that other living beings make because there is intent with humans, while we classify the behavior of other living beings as “instinctual” (Soper, 38). This distinction forces me to wonder where we are going in our pursuit of progress with technology. Is there an endgame? Or are we just going to continue to attempt to control nature and make it work for us until we’ve run ourselves into the ground? These are the questions that I think of when we discuss our seemingly never ending pursuit of progress with technology by exploitation of nature. When we discuss technology and our exponential advancements of it I think about where we will be in a century if we continue to find ways to make nature work for us with purpose and intent that is not always aimed at a higher good.
Heidegger, Martin. The Question Concerning Technology, and Other Essays. New York: Harper Perennial, 2013.
Soper, Kate. What Is Nature?: Culture, Politics and the Non-Human/ Kate Soper. Oxford: Blackwell, 2009.