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Heidegger and das Gestell - Essay Example

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Heidegger contributed one of his very last and short pieces of writing in his address to the 10th annual meeting of Heidegger circle in 1976 in US. In this address the question of technology was raised by him…
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Heidegger and das Gestell
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Heidegger and das Gestell

In his writing, he states that the world which is dominated by technology will also result in the forgetfulness and unawareness and he also asks the participants to contemplate and think deeply about the question of technology, its importance and also the possible effects on the human life. The technological change was certainly very significant and transformational shift in a short period of time and Heidegger attempted to capture the most significant aspect of the change by means of a concept called Gestell, which is normally translated as “Enframing” lexically meaning “frame” or “rack” in German, but philosophically it is a newly invented word which acquires its meaning from some of the other related concepts built around the root-verb of stellen (meaning to place); just as in herstellen (to make), & vorstellen (to represent), and also the word Gestalt (meaning pattern) (Ruin, 2010).
One of the most famous & talked about essays from Heidegger’s earlier period was “The question concerning technology”, which he delivered in 1953 as a lecture. He writes there, “We now name the challenging claim that gathers man with a view to ordering the self-revealing as standing-reserve: Ge-stell [enframing]” (El-Bizri, 2000: 86). The statement mention is surely puzzling and hard to understand. So in order to comprehend the correct meaning of the statement and the importance of the idea of Gestell as Heidegger believed, the statement needs to be considered in a very specific context based not only on his thoughts and ideas about technology but also his understanding of the meaning of being and history beyond those terms. Gestell is a German word and it was used by the philosopher Martin Heidegger when he was describing the elements behind or beneath modern technology. Das Gestell means enframing and Heidegger used this word for defining our current constellation of intelligibility. When some term is translated from one language to another there are, more often than not, changes in the true meaning of the word and at times such changes lead to major problems concerned with larger concepts of technology and then comes up the idea of “enframing” (Gestell). “In the idea of Gestell lies the idea of information” (Heidegger, 1982). The reason behind Heidegger using this word for defining the notion is that it completely and fully defines the idea. “By etymologically connoting a gathering together (‘Ge-’) of the myriad forms of stellen (’to set, stand, regulate, secure, ready, establish’, and so on), it succinctly conveys his understanding of the way in which our present ‘mode of revealing’ – a ‘setting-upon that challenges forth’ – forces the ‘presencing’ (anwesen) of entities into its metaphysical ‘stamp or mold’ (Pragung) (Thomson, 2001: 248-249). Das Gestell is a metaphysical paradigm and like the other such paradigms, it is also for determining what the world that we know of means and signifies. From the perspective of das Gestell the world is simply a place from where one can get resources. According to Heidegger, das Gestell is “nothing technological, nothing on the order of a machine. It is the way in which the real reveals itself as standing reserve” (Ralkowski, 2009: 159). “We now name that challenging claim which gathers man thither to order the self-revealing as standing-reserve: "ge-stell" (enframing). We dare to use this ... Read More
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