Heidegger sensed that the language machine belongs to our destiny. What did he mean when he said the language machine would “take language into its management and master the essence of the human being”? Was he simply reacting to change? Should we place him historically among the reactionaries of his time?!! I think not. Political terms of reaction or progress are too crude here. Heidegger’s statement invites us to insight, not political agendas. He was meditating on a technology still in the bud. Now that this technology is blossoming, we need to consider what he was getting at. Neither Luddite nor technophobe, Heidegger resisted every attempt to categorize his views as either optimistic or pessimistic. Whether the glass was half-empty or half-full, Heidegger was interested in the substance of its contents. He was a soft determinist, accepting destiny while studying the different ways of absorbing its impact. In this respect, he resembled the Canadian philosopher of communications, Marshall McLuhan.

“The Computer As Component: Heidegger and McLuhan” by Michael Heim, published in Philosophy and Literature, vol. 16, no. 2, pp. 304-319 (PDF)

Michael R. Heim is, among other things, an author and lecturer specialized in the field of virtual reality. For more info, visit his official website at mheim.com


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