The Question Concerning Technology

Thus the challenging-enframing not only conceals a former way of revealing (bringing-forth) but also conceals revealing itself and with it that wherein unconcealment, i.e., truth, propriates.

Enframing blocks the shining-forth and holding sway of truth. The destining that sends into ordering is consequently the extreme danger. What is dangerous is not technology. Technology is not demonic; but its essence is mysterious. The essence of technology, as a destining of revealing, is the danger. The transformed meaning of the word "enframing" will perhaps become somewhat more familiar to us now if we think enframing in the sense of destining and danger.

The threat to man does not come in the first instance from the potentially lethal machines and apparatus of technology. The actual threat has already afflicted man in his essence. The rule of enframing threatens man with the possibility that it could be denied to him to enter into a more original revealing and hence to experience the call of a more primal truth.

Thus where enframing reigns, there is danger in the highest sense.

But where danger is, grows
The saving power also.

Let us think carefully about these words of Hölderlin.* What does it mean to "save"? Usually we think that it means only to seize hold of a thing threatened by ruin in order to secure it in its former continuance. But the verb "to save" says more. "To save" is to fetch something home into its essence, in order to bring the essence for the first time into its proper appearing. If the essence of technology, enframing, is the extreme danger, if there is truth in Hölderlin's words, then the rule of enframing cannot exhaust itself solely in blocking all lighting-up of every revealing, all appearing of truth.

* From "Patmos." Cf. Friedrich Hölderlin Poems and Fragments, trans. Michael Hamburger (Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, 1966), pp. 462-63.—ED.