Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Heidegger's Equipment & A Diminishing Equipmental World

Heidegger as a 20th century philosopher uses a technical term that anticipates the instrumental way that we connect through a digital world. This particular instrumentality is equipment, a way of engaging yourself with the world in a way that extracts and creates meaning. Thus we have seen our equipment become more and more sophisticated as instruments of inquiry, connectedness, and creation. As our equipment evolves, it becomes less and less a material object and more and more a process of engagement

The big ideas blog provides an insightful description of Heidegger's notion of equipment:

In Being and Time was the idea of “equipment” — Das Zeug — as a picture of our relationship with the mundane world...Being and Time begins with “everydayness”, and in a way the whole book is a meditation on how we can be thinking subjects who just get on with things, without constantly having ontological crises, despite the fact that nobody understands what a subject is, or what the universe is in which the subject exists, or what existence is, or really much of anything.
The “everydayness” of the world is typified by the Greek word pragmata:
that is to say, that which one has to do with in one’s concernful dealings praxis… we shall call those entities… “equipment”.

Heidegger here decides to take seriously the instrumental aspect of our relationship with the world, the idea that we are always in it acting as agents, using stuff to get things done... we constitute a world by entering into relationships with existing networks — “the equipment”. We find things come to hand and we use them, and in doing so we determine what they are. And “what they are” is, at that point, nothing more complicated than their location in the network.
“The equipment” is a single thing; a compound thing, definitely, but not something we can easily analyse into its constituent parts, since each part has been defined, afterwards, by reference to its place in the network. ...Instead Heidegger gets excited when things break down, such as when a doorknob comes off in your hand, because that has the potential to give us an insight into what “really exists” beyond the world of equipment. (the big ideas blog, Heideggarian "Equipment")

Our equipment started as an instrument called a computer as a large room of parts which have in the past 30 years been reduced to the palm of your hand. The physical object is disappearing as process takes precedence over form. This means that the way we make and experience the arts is transforming the paradigm of who we are and how we interact.


(the big ideas blog, Heideggarian "Equipment")
Our equipment started as an instrument called a computer as a large room of parts which have in the past 30 years been reduced to the palm of your hand. The physical object is disappearing as process takes precedence over form. This means that the way we make and experience the arts is transforming the paradigm of who we are and how we interact.

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