Modern technology synchronizes non-Western histories to a global time-axis of Western modernity. As both opportunity and problem, the synchronization process allows the world to enjoy science and technology, but it also draws the world into the global time-axis which, animated by humanism, is moving towards an apocalyptic end, whether it be the technological singularity, the “intelligence explosion,” or the emergence of “superintelligence.” Martin Heidegger already described this global time-axis in 1967: “The end of philosophy proves to be the triumph of the manipulable arrangement of a scientific-technological world and of the social order proper to this world. The end of philosophy means: the beginning of the world-civilization based upon Western European thinking.”15
Orientalists may respond with an uncanny smile: what an exaggerated statement! But the truth easily emerges when we observe the technical apparatus surrounding us and the gigantic force that is pushing us towards an apocalyptic end. What Heidegger calls the “end of philosophy” is nothing but the victory of the anthropological machine, the victory of a humanism that aspires to reinvent Homo sapiens as Homo deus through technological acceleration. Neoreactionaries and transhumanists celebrate artificial intelligence in the name of a posthumanist triumphalism, because superintelligence and technological singularity demonstrate the “possibility of sublime humanity.”
The so-called Dark Enlightenment is an effort to push the Heideggerian “end of philosophy” to the brink through a catastrophic intelligence explosion.
The philosopher Martin Heidegger argued that technological advancement is a process of revealing and building. We can’t control what we reveal through exploration and discovery, but we can—and should—be wise about what we build. If you just “move fast and break things,” don’t be surprised if you break something important.
Pop Matters on disclosure in the new version of Malick's The Tree of Life.
To call Malick's aesthetics "Heideggerian" may be too schematic and reductive, but the influence of Heidegger is clear. Intrinsic to being human, according to Heidegger, is the ability to ask questions about being, about the mysteries and meaning of being. For Heidegger, we are predisposed to be philosophers, to both be intimately a part of the world and simultaneously, and paradoxically, to be distant from the world with our questioning. What is key, though, is our orientation towards the world. Rather than place our selves as the center of all relations and reduce the rest of the world to resources whose sole purpose is for human exploitation and use, what makes us fully human is to see and engage with the richness and awesomeness of being in all its multiplicity. According to Heidegger, we must learn the art of patience and allow the world to disclose itself, a disclosure that cannot be forced by human will.
Heidegger’s chief concern is not with how this particular thing X relates to that particular thing Y, but rather how it is that the meaning of Xs and Ys and their possible relations gets determined in the first place. What does it mean for such things to be; what does it mean to say that they are? This question of “ontology” (the study of being), rather than questions regarding the “o ntic” relations between particular beings, is what primarily interests Heidegger. Moreover, his central concern is not just with “regional ontology”, that is, with the meaning of the being of, for example, biological things, artificial things, mental things, social things or imaginary things. Rather, following Aristotle’s understanding of ontology as “first philosophy”, Heidegger wants to know first and foremost about “being as such”. What is the sense of being that all entities share? What is the being of all beings?
In NDPR Dimitri Ginev reviews Jeff Kochan's Science as Social Existence: Heidegger and the Sociology of Scientific Knowledge.
Heidegger argues that like Dasein's basic mode of being-in-the-world, the "derivative" mode of being-in-the-world-by-objectifying-the-world finds its meaning in temporality. Like all meaningful entities taking place in the facticity of existence, the procedurally objectified scientific objects always remain amenable to a meaningful reconstitution within the temporalizing of the mathematically projected horizon (conceived of as a horizon of temporality).
Here one is not necessarily talking simply about hurt feelings, but as with regard to the Jewish question whether Heidegger’s philosophy, just like Nietzsche’s, is constitutively anti-Christian, and if not constitutively anti-Christian, then decidedly anti-Catholic. The question of the relation is unavoidable. Many Catholic thinkers of the twentieth century honed their theological reflection by engaging Heidegger.
In The Question Concerning Technology, philosopher Martin Heidegger suggests that the way for humans to enter into a freeing relationship with technology is for humanity to unlock the dynamis of technology so that technology can unlock the dynamis of humanity. The message is: fear not! That is, don’t fear the solution, fear the problem. The problem is that we’re slaves to technology. There’s a solution for everything, except for this Sisyphean usage curse. We’re wasting our lives, squandering our creative potential, doing work that could be done for us. So, solve the usage costs problem!
[The] long time is the time-space of a concealed history. No modern thinking, indeed no metaphysics in general, suffices to experience, let alone to know this history.
Because, however, our own thought and action is everywhere metaphysical, we cannot yet find our way into the historical space of this history. We ourselves must first learn something still more provisional, waiting for the favor of being able to await authentically the long time.
such waiting, certainly, does not consist in the empty waiting for some stroke of fortune that will supposedly throw salvation our way, toward those of us who are entirely unprepared. Waiting for the favor of being able to await the long time is reflection. Reflection is readiness for knowing.