these technical devices that we fall into bondage to them.
Still we can act otherwise. We can use technical devices, and yet with proper use also keep ourselves so free of them, that we may let go of them any time. We can use technical devices as they ought to be used, and also let them alone as something which does not affect our inner and real core. We can affirm the unavoidable use of technical devices, and also deny them the right to dominate us, and so to warp, confuse, and lay waste our nature.
But will not saying both yes and no this way to technical devices make our relation to technology ambivalent and insecure? On the contrary! Our relation to technology will become wonderfully simple and relaxed. We let technical devices enter our daily life, and at the same time leave them outside, that is, let them alone, as things which are nothing absolute but remain dependent upon something higher. I would call this comportment toward technology which expresses "yes" and at the same time "no," by an old word, releasement toward things.4
Having this comportment we no longer view things only in a technical way. It gives us clear vision and we notice that while the production and use of machines demands of us another relation to things, it is not a meaningless relation. Farming and agriculture, for example, now have turned into a motorized food industry. Thus here, evidently, as
4. Die Gelassenheit zu den Dingen. Gelassenheit, although used today in German in the sense of "composure," "calmness," and "unconcern," also has older meanings, being used by early German mystics (as Meister Eckhart) in the sense of letting the world go and giving oneself to God. "Releasement" is not as old a word in English, but because it is rare and so free from too specific connotative meanings, it can carry with relative ease the very special and complex meanings which are implicit here and made explicit in the Conversation which follows. (Tr.)