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The Will to Technology and the Culture of Nihilism

The Will to Technology and the Culture of Nihilism: Heidegger, Marx, Nietzsche

Series: Digital Futures
Copyright Date: 2004
Pages: 238
  • Book Info
    The Will to Technology and the Culture of Nihilism
    Book Description:

    InThe Will to Technology and the Culture of Nihilism, Kroker consistently enacts an invigorating and innovative vision, bringing together critical theory, art, and politics to reveal the philosophic apparatus of technoculture.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-2093-3
    Subjects: General Science, Philosophy, Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. The Culture of Nihilism

    • 1 The Will to Technology
      (pp. 3-10)

      The inspiration for this book comes from a nomadic series of seminars on the digital future and the ethics of biotechnology, which I taught over the past several years at Cornell University, Boston College, and Concordia University. In each case, the focus was directly technological. The various readings served as probes of technoculture, sometimes technology as its rides the surface of the body in the form of digital media meant to amplify and extend the human sensorium, and, more urgently, technology as it invades the surface of the body, colonizing, coding, and manipulating the human genetic code. In that strange,...

    • 2 Streamed Capitalism, Cynical Data, and Hyper-Nihilism
      (pp. 11-27)

      Theory is sometimes read best as an art of anamorphosis: an aesthetics of distorted perspectives and obliquely mirrored angles of vision that when positioned correctly illuminates and clarifies the controlling logic of culture and society. That is why in the age of completed nihilism when the will to technology strives to achieve apogee with the final conquest of time and space, it is salutary to revert to the untimely meditations of the true prophets of technological destining: Heidegger, Nietzsche, and Marx. In the intensity of their insights as well as in their implacable demand to understand the deeper civilizational crisis...

    • 3 Codes of Technology
      (pp. 28-32)

      The will to technologyis the animating energy of twenty-first century politics and culture. Here breaking beyond the fetters of the nationstate, there dissolving the machinery of industrial production into virtual capitalism, now networking the body with the digital eye in the form of an enhanced flesh-interface, in the future transforming knowledge itself into a means of self-justification and self-interpretation for the technological enterprise, in the past preparing the way for the present reign of pure technicity, always coding, distributing, upgrading, incorporating, the will to technology is simultaneously the emblematic destiny of post-human culture and its most enduring form of...

    • 4 Hyper-Heidegger: The Question of the Post-Human
      (pp. 33-72)

      The sky is raining wireless in San Francisco.

      Dispensing with the ordinary laws of nature, this city doesn’t even wait for earthquakes to rebuild. Probably bored with the slow pace of the seismic faults, every two years it earthquakes itself: bodies, buildings, and businesses. Here, ‘punctuated chaos’ breaks out of evolutionary theory to become a strategy of life in the e-lane.

      Just landed at SFO, Palm in hand, I check my email while waiting for my bags. Everyone else is doing the same. A corporate lawyer with that Palo Alto computer-burn look is saying something about trademarks and intellectual property...

    • 5 In a Future That Is Nietzsche
      (pp. 73-116)

      Perhaps as a psychological counter-move to his fatal attraction to the stronger will of Nietzsche, Heidegger always insisted that while Nietzsche could brilliantly express the deepest logic of modernist metaphysics, he never succeeded in escaping the axiomatic of his time because of his abiding commitment to the language of value. For Heidegger, Nietzsche’s primal concepts – the will to power and eternal recurrence – were themselves simultaneously uncoverings of the modernist episteme and its deepest continuation. Consequently for Heidegger, Nietzsche’s story had about it the tragic sense of futility: a thinker who prematurely fell into silence because he had been overcome by...

    • 6 Streamed Capitalism: Marx on the New Capitalist Axiomatic
      (pp. 117-154)

      What is the significance of Marx in the age of globalization, at a time when the IMF can speak of installing ‘automatic stabililizers’ on the nervous systems of national political economies, when ‘enterprise software’ in the form of automated business-customer relations and business-to-business digital transactions has become the dominant code of streamed capitalism, when capitalism has suddenly and irreversibly speeded up beyond necessary production, beyond definite consumption, achieving for the first time in financial history that long-sought state of economic (digital) equilibrium: a zero-time circulation of value in a new economy typified by the circulation of pure capital? What is...

  5. Art and Technology

    • The Hyperbolic Sign of Art and Technology
      (pp. 157-159)

      What is the art of the digital matrix?

      A mimetic reflection of the planetary drive to technicity or a radical form of poiesis which the universal technical state always sought to suppress and in opposition to which it imposed an increasingly hegemonic language of ‘enframing’ which functions now to conceal tendencies towards technological nihilism? Are the codes of technology challenged by art or has art itself become a revelation of the technological dynamo? Or is the relationship between art and technology more ambiguous? No longer coded by the language of polarities, is it possible that today art and technology reveal...

    • 7 The Image Matrix
      (pp. 160-168)

      Today the image is so powerful that it has to be buried alive. Consider the following story:

      It will be a surreal burial.

      The Bettmann archive, the quirky cache of pictures that Otto Bettmann sneaked out of Nazi Germany in two steamer trunks in 1935 and then built into an enormous collection of historical importance, will be sunk 220 feet down in a limestone mine situated 60 miles northeast of Pittsburgh, where it will be far from the reach of historians. The archive, which is estimated to have as many as 17 million photographs, is a visual record of the...

    • 8 The Digital Eye
      (pp. 169-202)

      There are three aesthetic codes for understanding the digital eye. Well, not really three codes, but threeanti-codes, because I am not affiliating myself with the grand récits of technological discourse, with the digital eye as a master discourse, a gridded space, for the dynamic conquest of nature and human nature, but with that more shadowy region of otherness, of aesthetic supplementarity, those flickering, enduring aesthetic anti-codes that, like the beat-beat rhythm of the errant human heart or like the tearing up of the eye when it gets some digital dirt in it, just won’t go away.

      I haven’t got...

    • 9 Body and Codes
      (pp. 203-212)

      Consider the following remarks by Bill Joy, chief scientist of Sun Microsystems:

      The twenty-first century technologies – genetics, nano-technology and robotics – are so powerful because they spawn whole new classes of accidents and abuses.

      While replication in a computer or a computer network can be a nuisance, at worst it disables a machine or takes down a network service, uncontrolled self-replication in these newer technologies runs a much greater risk: a risk of substantial damage to the physical world.¹

      It’s the same with Jean Baudrillard, who inThe Vital Illusionprophesies:

      The specter that haunts genetic manipulation is the genetic ideal,...

  6. Notes
    (pp. 213-222)
  7. Index
    (pp. 223-228)
  8. Back Matter
    (pp. 229-229)