Enframing Reality

  • Kevin Pijpers

Student thesis: Master's Thesis: Humanistic Studies


In my thesis, I will focus on the problem of technology, from an existential perspective. What this means is that my goal is to explore how we relate to technology, what kind of sentiments are part of our use of technology and how technology enframes our daily lives. In the first part I analyze Kierkegaard's thinking, as expressed in his magnus opus Either/Or. Thinking and acting in terms of either/or, which I call binary, define not only the digital world, but also the entire frame in which we exist in our modern world. Everywhere, we are called upon to choose between this or that, which seems to be part of an authentic choice, but not really. Inside the dogma of either/or, Kierkegaard says, choosing is not real choosing. In his view, we should repent for thinking that our false choices were real at any point. The only choice to make is the choice to open our eyes to the fact that our choices in terms of either this or that are always unauthentic choices. One needs religion in order to be able to recognize that one is wrong at all times. The second part of my thesis is the bridge between Kierkegaard and Heidegger using Nietzsche. Nietzsche, the final metaphysician, is important because of his extreme suspicion of reductionist and oppressive thinking within previous philosophies and religion. His suspicious philosophy enables us to understand the problem of technology better. It opens up Kierkegaard’s either/or and adds something else to it: the Dionysian, the concept of an inherent chaos, madness and ecstasy, which does not fit within the logic of either/or. Considering the problem of technology, the Dionysian seems to be the anti-technology. I then analyze Heidegger's critique on Nietzsche in the final part of my thesis. However highly Heidegger regards Nietzsche, he still concludes that Nietzsche does not really transcend the either/or question, a question which Heidegger sees as unoriginal because of its metaphysical tendencies. I continue by revealing Heidegger's own concept of technological enframing, which he discovers because of his research on truth (alètheia). Heidegger redefines truth as the aesthetic concept of craftmanship, which appears to be an alternative to technological enframing. As a conclusion, I will summarize and combine Kierkegaard's and Nietzsche's contributions to achieve a more complete understanding of the concept of enframing. I conclude with the statement that the much heralded scientific progress and development of our time is a tendency which can never truly be ground-breaking, revolutionary, or new, however much it claims to be just that. Rather, paradoxically, the ground-breaking effect can only be found in repenting for our content-based technological extremism by relating to the old, to the “prehistoric” darkness, of what Nietzsche calls the Dionysian. Naturally, this does not mean the destruction of a technological sub-culture. Yet, the Dionysian “prehistoric” darkness finally puts technology in its place: a place in the periphery of life.
Date of Award1 Jan 2011
Original languageAmerican English
SupervisorF. Suárez Müller (Supervisor) & R. G. A. Kaulingfreks (Supervisor)

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