Thursday, March 22, 2012
In NDPR, Ladelle McWhorter reviews Timothy C. Campbell's Improper Life: Technology and Biopolitics from Heidegger to Agamben.
Campbell begins with Heidegger's discussion of typewriting and handwriting in Parmenides. Heidegger says here that mechanical means for inscribing and communicating are among "the main reasons for the increasing destruction of the word". The realm of the hand is the proper realm of the word, from which the typewriter (and no doubt the computer) tear writing away. The typed word is a mere transcription of writing that serves to preserve it. The word thus becomes a mere means of communication. Obviously this analysis of the typewriter connects closely with Heidegger's analysis of modern technology in "The Question Concerning Technology," where he speaks of modernity's conversion of the soil into mineral deposits and the river into a resource for generation of electricity. Modern technology reveals the world in the manner of challenging and reveals it as standing-reserve. Everything, even human beings, is transformed into a potential resource, made available, stored up, and deployed.
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