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BASIC WRITINGS

Such activity always merely responds to the challenge of enframing, but it never comprises enframing itself or brings it about.

The word stellen [to set] in the name Ge-stell [enframing] does not only mean challenging. At the same time it should preserve the suggestion of another Stellen from which it stems, namely that producing and presenting [Her- und Dar-stellen], which, in the sense of ποίησις, lets what presences come forth into unconcealment. This producing that brings forth, e.g., erecting a statue in the temple precinct, and the ordering that challenges now under consideration are indeed fundamentally different, and yet they remain related in their essence. Both are ways of revealing, of ἀλήθεια. In enframing, the unconcealment propriates in conformity with which the work of modern technology reveals the actual as standing-reserve. This work is therefore neither only a human activity nor a mere means within such activity. The merely instrumental, merely anthropological definition of technology is therefore in principle untenable. And it may not be rounded out by being referred back to some metaphysical or religious explanation that undergirds it.

It remains true nonetheless that man in the technological age is, in a particularly striking way, challenged forth into revealing. Such revealing concerns nature, above all, as the chief storehouse of the standing energy reserve. Accordingly, man's ordering attitude and behavior display themselves first in the rise of modern physics as an exact science. Modern science's way of representing pursues and entraps nature as a calculable coherence of forces. Modern physics is not experimental physics because it applies apparatus to the questioning of nature. The reverse is true. Because physics, indeed already as pure theory, sets nature up to exhibit itself as a coherence of forces calculable in advance, it orders its experiments precisely for the purpose of asking whether and how nature reports itself when set up in this way.

But, after all, mathematical science arose almost two centuries before technology. How, then, could it have already been set upon by modern technology and placed in its service?


Martin Heidegger (GA 7) The Question Concerning Technology - Basic Writings (1993)