QCT: Man’s Way of Revealing

Understanding the role of humans in Heidegger’s philosophy of how things come to presence is both a key to, but also a key difficulty to, understanding Heidegger. The quickest way to put it is that if things presence in ways that have qualities and meanings, then it is a necessary part of the universe that there are humans to receive those qualities and meanings. Or put the other way around, humans are the things in the universe that experience and understand other things. Our way of being in the world is to perceive and interpret. We cannot not do this; it is our nature, and probably our nature alone (in that other things, we think, don’t concern themselves with other things). So we come to presence by having a relation to the presencing occurring around us.

In that sense, it is important to try to hear a different kind of genitive in ‘Man’s way of revealing.’ The dominant way of understanding that phrase is: ‘the way of revealing that is particular to man.’ But it can also mean something like ‘the way of man is to be the sort of being that reveals.’

Heidegger is therefore arguing that technology, which is a particular way of doing the particular kind of revealing that it is in the nature of humans to do, is not something perverted. It is part of the human way of being in (relation to) the world. It is problematic when it becomes the only form of human relations to the world.


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