“Being in Time” and “The Question Concerning Technology” – Heidegger

Heidegger, Martin. The Question Concerning Technology. New York: Garland Publishing Inc., 1997. Print.

In “Being and Time,” Heidegger’s attempts to remove the barrier between subject and object. Heidegger argues that our relation to the world is not solely mediated by our thinking about our interactions with objects. He argues this point by discussing the idea of “flow,” or those moments when we fall into the rhythm of a task and seem connected to it on a subconscious level. He goes on to discuss the modes of existence where we blend “unthinking” activities alongside intentional activities. For instance, the ability to drive a car blends both unthinking and intentional activities. I know where the break and the accelerator are without thinking, but they aid in my intentional ability to navigate between two points. In such moments, we blend into the world and to our environment in such a way that subject and object are not clearly defined.

This idea of flow is an important one in games. For a game to have “flow” is for it to possess the ability to seamlessly incorporate the player into the system; or for Heidegger for the game to blur the distinction between subject and object such that player and game become a single and joined experience. Equally important is the idea that when a game allows for flow, the player feels a sense of agency; they are no longer a subject acting against an object but are instead one with the moment where subject and object coalesce.

This concept of the removal between subject and object is carried over in “The Question Concerning Technology,” where Heidegger attempts to shift focus from technology as object to the modes of thinking that exist behind it.  If we stop thinking of technology as an object and instead conceive of it as part of a humanity activity itself, our relationship with it changes as well. All technology is a form of instrumentation that leads to an appearance of a “bringing forth.” A human conceives of a need, brings a technology forward to acquire the need, and from this gains new truth and understanding. In this way, technology becomes an extension of humanity and an extension of the subject. Or perhaps to put it more correctly, the subject and object disappear and there is simply humanity at work and in that work humanity moves toward truth.

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