The Question Concerning Technology

ἀλήθεια for revealing. The Romans translate this with veritas. We say "truth" and usually understand it as the correctness of an idea.

But where have we strayed to? We are questioning concerning technology, and we have arrived now at ἀλήθεια, at revealing. What has the essence of technology to do with revealing? The answer : everything. For every bringing-forth is grounded in revealing. Bringing-forth, indeed, gathers within itself the four modes of occasioning—causality—and rules them throughout. Within its domain belong end and means, belongs instrumentality.11 Instrumentality is considered to be the fundamental characteristic of technology. If we inquire, step by step, into what technology, represented as means, actually is, then we shall arrive at revealing. The possibility of all productive manufacturing lies in revealing.

Where and how does this revealing happen if it is no mere handiwork of man? We need not look far. We need only apprehend in an unbiased way That which has already claimed man and has done so, so decisively that he can only be man at any given time as the one so claimed. Wherever man opens his eyes and ears, unlocks his heart, and gives himself over to meditating

Technology is therefore no mere means. Technology is a way of revealing. If we give heed to this, then another whole realm for the essence of technology will open itself up to us. It is the realm of revealing, i.e., of truth.12

This prospect strikes us as strange. Indeed, it should do so, should do sO' as persistently as possible and with so much urgency that we will finally take seriously the simple question of what the name "technology" means. The word stems from the Greek. Τεχνικών means that which belongs to τέχνη. We must observe

11. Here and elsewhere "belongs within" translates the German gehört in with the accusative (literally, belongs into), an unusual usage that Heidegger often employs. The regular German construction is gehört zu (belongs to) . With the use of "belongs into," Heidegger intends to suggest a relationship involving origin.

12. Heidegger here hyphenates the word Wahrheit (truth) so as to expose its stem, wahr. He points out elsewhere that words with this stem have a common derivation and underlying meaning (SR 165). Such words often show the connotations of attentive watchfulness and guarding that he there finds in their Greek cognates, ὁράω, ὥρα, e.g., wahren (to watch over and keep safe) and bewahren (to preserve). Hyphenating Wahrheit draws it overtly into this circle of meaning. It points to the fact that in truth, which is unconcealment (Unverborgenheit), a safekeeping carries itself out. Wahrheit thus offers here a very close parallel to its companion noun Entbergung (revealing; literally, harboring forth), built on bergen (to rescue, to harbor, to conceal). See n. 10, above. For a further discussion of words built around wahr, see T 42, n. 9.

Martin Heidegger (GA 7) The Question Concerning Technology and Other Essays