The Pros and Cons of Technology

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The question of whether modern technological development has been beneficial or detrimental to human beings is perhaps the most pressing question that faces our society. If technology is harmful, then we need to minimize or eliminate the danger. If technology is not the source of the problems and concerns that are frequently attributed to it, then we need to find another cause for the social and psychological pressures faced by our society, so we can address these problems. Ever since the advent of the Industrial Revolution, people have voiced complaints about the harmful effects of technology. Therefore, we need to examine what Martin Heidegger, a twentieth-century German philosopher, called "The Question Concerning Technology." In his introduction to Heidegger's speech entitled "The Question Concerning Technology," editor David Krell stated that on this question "hinges nothing less than the survival of the species man and the planet earth."

Martin Heidegger was one of the individuals who examined this question most carefully. However, groups such as the Freedom Club (or FC), of which the Unabomber is a member, have brought it to our attention most forcefully. Since Dr. Theodore Kaczynski has recently agreed to accept responsibility for the Unabomber crimes, this is also a particularly appropriate time to examine these problems.

FC alleges that the Industrial Revolution has brought about much psychological devastation and environmental destruction, while Heidegger warns against the possibility that man may be enslaved by technology. Not only ivory-tower intellectuals and maladjusted hermits spend time considering the problems posed by technology, however. Diverse popular fiction writers such as Kurt Vonnegut Jr., Ald...

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...s of personal freedom against which FC warns. For Heidegger, this questioning process is the most important part of the artistic process. For, as Heidegger states, "questioning is the piety of thought." (Heidegger 317)

Works Cited:

Heidegger, Martin. "The Question Concerning Technology" in Martin Heidegger: Basic Writings. Ed. David Krell. New York: Harper & Row, 1977.

Huxley, Aldous. Brave New World. New York: Perennial, 1969.

Mill, John Stuart. "On Liberty" in Classics of Western Philosophy, ed. Steven M. Cahn. Indianapolis, 1995.

Miller, Walter M., Jr. A Canticle for Leibowitz. New York: Bantam, 1968.

Orwell, George. 1984. New York: Plume, 1983.

Unabomber. Industrial Society and Its Future. Online. Internet. 3 June 1998. Available

Vonnegut, Kurt Jr. Player Piano. New York: Dell, 1952.

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