Calculative Thinking In Heidegger's The Memorial Address

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In “The Memorial Address”, Heidegger pessimistically expresses his concern for the future of human thought as influenced by advancements in modern technology. He does so first by introducing and defining two modes of thinking employed by humans, meditative thinking and calculative thinking. The basis of his concern stems from his fear that mediative thinking, a deeper mode of thought, is slowly disappearing and thus, perpetuating in us a state of thoughtlessness. This thoughtlessness threatens our “rootedness” in this world. In the state of thoughtlessness, Heidegger suggests “we do not give up our capacity to think” but instead “let it lie fallow.” In stating such, he suggests not that man is incapable of thought, but rather, the direct…show more content…
For example, when building a house, we first design a blueprint taking into account possible shortcomings. In doing so, we ensure that the end product is well designed and fully functional. The same goes for any scientific experiment. We know what we aim to achieve and plan accordingly. This method of thinking however, lacks depth in that we never contemplate the meaning underlying our behavior; it does not help us understand ourselves or our place in the world. Heidegger believes that in order “ for a human …work to flourish, man must be able to mount from the depth of his home ground into the ether ” That is to say that anything meaningful in this world is contingent upon knowing our origin. Therefore, by denying our thoughtlessness simply by recognizing our advancement in science and technology, we are only further justifying what Heidegger wishes to assert as we fail to use meditative…show more content…
Heidegger believes that we are, by nature, mediative beings and this meditative quality is interconnected with our sense of origin, or “autochthony.” By employing meditative thinking we begin to ask more important questions that help us reflect on our being and place in the world. Technology threatens this as it creates a world which is systematic and reliant only on calculative thought. We are constantly striving for what is new and more efficient and thus forget to ponder. We do not stop to question how these technologies are affecting our lives nor how they can prove harmful to our existence; atomic weaponry is a prime example. If man begins thinking solely in a calculative manner then “man [will] deny and [throw] away his own special nature — the he is meditative being. Heidegger concludes his speech by proposing a solution to the issue at hand. He does not suggest that we rid the world of technology, but rather that we must gain a new perspective of its place within it. We must look at our technological devices as “things which are nothing absolute but remain dependent upon something higher.” He calls this “releasement toward things.” This releasement must be paired with “openness to mystery” or an awareness to the hidden meaning of technology. We do not know why technology has become increasingly significant, though in “being open to the meaning hidden in technology” we are employing meditative
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