Technology and Meditation

This article discusses, from a Heideggerian perspective, technology as a fundamental question of our age and consequently the technological understanding of being. Technology has become an eminently autonomous phenomenon in our age, entering between man and being, and imposing its understanding of being on him. Because of this problematic understanding, man forgets his essential relation to being and the very meaning of his existence on earth. The calculative and/or representative thinking constitutes the basis of technological understanding. Heidegger proposes as an antidote to it the meditative manner of thinking. According to him, the essence of thinking is but meditation. The fact that man is a “thinking being” signifies that he is a “being that meditates”. Meditation leads us to serenity/calmness (Gelassenheit), and then to the truth of being. In the framework of meditative thinking and serenity, Heidegger speaks of two significant attitudes as remedy to technology and technological understanding: “indifference toward things” and “openness to mystery”. Man who lives meditatively and serenely knows saying “both yes and no” to technology and maintaining an appropriate relationship to technological devices. Thus, this man, whose relationship to being remains always lively, knows how to serenely and meaningfully reside on earth. The second element of the meditative thinking in Heidegger is, as mentioned, “openness to mystery”. We can experience both elements in our technological world. Once we remain open to mystery, it becomes possible to go beyond the narrow horizons of the calculative and/or representative imagination. We can therefore keep what remains (or should remain) as mysterious away from the reductive light of science, and develop a respect for the enigma of mystery. Thus, we can open up a space for the immeasurable, the indefinable, and unfathomable, in a word, for mystery, in our world that science or the technical reason has demystified; this way we can give its surprise-character back to being, which measurement, calculation, design and objectification have imagined as dissolved/dissolvable. This makes it possible to be vigilant against the reductive attitude of the technical-scientific reason, which consumes everything that it re-presents (vor-stellen), by turning it into an “object of knowledge” and translating it into its own terms. Consequently, man who holds “indifference toward things” and “openness to mystery” can develop an appropriate way of living by saying “both yes and no” to technology, and find an opportunity for a calm residence on earth. Özkan GÖZEL
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