The Question Concerning Technology

But at the same time Enframing, in a way characteristic of a destining, blocks ποίησις.

Thus Enframing, as a destining of revealing, is indeed the essence of technology, but never in the sense of genus and essentia. If we pay heed to this, something astounding strikes us: It is technology itself that makes the demand on us to think in another way what is usually understood by "essence." But in what way?

If we speak of the "essence of a house" and the "essence of a state," we do not mean a generic type; rather we mean the ways in which house and state hold sway, administer themselves, develop and decay-the way in which they "essence" [Wesen] . Johann Peter Hebel in a poem, "Ghost on Kanderer Street," for which Goethe had a special fondness, uses the old word die Weserei. It means the city hall inasmuch as there the life of the community gathers and village existence is constantly in play, i.e., comes to presence. It is from the verb wesen that the noun is derived. Wesen understood as a verb is the same as währen [to last or endure] , not only in terms of meaning, but also in terms of the phonetic formation of the word. Socrates and Plato already think the essence of something as what essences, what comes to presence, in the sense of what endures. But they think what endures as what remains permanently [das Fortwährende] (ἀεί ὄν). And they find what endures permanently in what, as that which remains, tenaciously persists throughout all that happens. That which remains they discover, in turn, in the aspect [Aussehen] (εἶδος, ἰδέα), for example, the Idea "house."

The Idea "house" displays what anything is that is fashioned as a house. Particular, real, and possible houses, in contrast, are changing and transitory derivatives of the Idea and thus belong to what does not endure.

But it can never in any way be established that enduring is based solely on what Plato thinks as ἰδέα and Aristotle thinks as το τί ην εἶναι (that which any particular thing has always been), or what metaphysics in its most varied interpretations thinks as essentia.

All essencing endures. But is enduring only permanent enduring? Does the essence of technology endure in the sense of the permanent enduring of an Idea that hovers over everything technological, thus making it seem that by technology we mean some mythological abstraction?

Martin Heidegger (GA 7) The Question Concerning Technology and Other Essays