Philosophy and the Return to Self-Knowledge (1997)
The self as master is born in the realization that nature can be commanded. Real mastery requires a means. The self develops technique—the idea of work put into the hands of another agency held in bondage to the self.
Technological consciousness takes itself dead seriously; it has no sense of humor. The fool can play no role in it, for there is no other realm that is can see beyond itself to which the fool can point. Consciousness in the throes of desire cannot tolerate laughter any more than criticism of laughter can be tolerated in a moment of sexual lust.
The media is the thought-form of the technological society, and it finds nothing it does to be laughable, a sure sign that it is not human.
The promise of technology is to remove the division between culture and nature. Whatever part of nature that is left over as an independent force is covered by the technological bluff, which refers it to the agenda of the future and disguises the deficiencies of the present.
No new choices are introduced by raising the specter of disaster. These become opportunities for swearing new allegiance to technology. The solution is to discover new technologies that will correct and modify the harm either potentially or already caused by present technologies.
The Book of Job is advice on how to live in terms of the absolute power of nature. Leviathan is advice on how to live in terms of the absolute power of the state.
Contemporary philosophy illustrates Hegel’s dictum that philosophy is its own time apprehended in thought, for in our age philosophy yields to the objectifying technical impulse and loses its ancient task of pursuing the Socratic ideal of the wisdom of the examined life.