"For though it nothing less than an act of genius to invent a machine, it is the nagging drudgery of mere motion to feed one" (110).

We're servants to machinery, he says, while also saying that "adapting" ourselves to tech is adapting ourselves to an aspect of ourselves." How can we be slaves to ourselves? If we're genius enough to invent a limb so to speak is it possible for us to, or do we want to, cut it off? In Parmenides, Heidegger says that tech has its own "metaphysical essence" and we need to understand it if "Western historical man is to be saved" . . . "What kind of man is alone capable of carrying out the 'mastery' of technology"?


Shogun Marcus's picture

After reading "Here & Elsewhere" for my collaborative book presentation, I noted how often Burke critiqued man and technology in his fiction. He seems to be concerned with the combination of technology and capitalism and what we might be losing through that dynamic. I think that Burke felt that technology posed a risk for man to lose an authentic sense of himself (and by and large I think he was correct).

We are not only servants to machinery, but also becomes a tech-slaves. Dare to say… we didn't owned technology, technology owned us. When technology dominates our lives, and influence everything, and we are being submissive with this, we are slaves.

johnjayjacobs's picture

what I think is important is to know that we are both master and slave simultaneously. We are masters of our bodies, but slaves to bodily needs. We create our technology but adapt our ways of behaving, doing, living to the technology we create. It is a symbiotic relationship, and not always a happy one.

I agree; tech is simultaneously a blessing and a curse. But if I've learned one thing from this program, it is that it is a mistake to believe that a person can master anything. Which begs the question, can a person likewise never be mastered? That would be a bit more hopeful... And we'd have to specify in what way we are talking about mastery.

johnjayjacobs's picture

oooh, that is a more hopeful view... thanks for polishing our perspective SS!

DS's picture

Kevin Kelly wrote a wonderful book called "What Technology Wants". It's really good, and it too raises the question of control. Certainly technology controls and is controlled...but there area always parameters inherent in the procedure of the technology and the linguistic and functional limitations of man. Thus, as ever, drawing the question of technology out into a reflexive and ever more complicated issue.