ce399 | research archive (esoterica)

The MK-ULTRA Milieu Surrounding the “Scribing” of A Course In Miracles

Posted in Uncategorized by ce399 on 26/01/2011

*Hypothesis: Something that is taken to be true for purposes of argument or investigation.
ACIM: Lie Down With Dogs, Get Up With Fleas!
The MKULTRA Milieu Surrounding the “Scribing” of A Course In Miracles
RELATED LINKS: | The Vern Grimsley Affair | Conspiracy Overview | In-Depth Timeline: “The ‘Voice’ of Strangers” | Short Timeline |

Professional publication data and other material links show the channeling of A Course in Miracles to be covered with the fingerprints of the CIA’s mind control program, MKULTRA

Helen Schucman, a Jewish,
atheist channeler of “Jesus”

It has become undeniably obvious that Helen Schucman, the woman who “channeled” or “scribed” A Course in Miracles (ACIM) was very likely unwittingly deeply immersed in the CIA’s MKULTRA activity during the years she “scribed” (“channeled”) the Course.

Most of the information in the “ACIM/MKULTRA Timeline” below can be found on http://www.pasf.org/print_bibliog.htm, a Gittinger PAS bibliography. This bibliographical information reveals that there were ongoing professional contacts between the people involved during the years surrounding the “channeling” (“scribing”) of A Course in Miracles.

J.W. Gittinger (see, http://www.druglibrary.org/schaffer/lsd/marks.htm Chapter 10) was the primary personality assessor for MKULTRA. He pioneered scientific methods to enable him to identify the most susceptible types of personalities for Dr. Gottlieb’s nefarious, amoral, and often harmful U.S. government-sponsored exploitations. Gittinger’s work there eventually surfaced as his “Personality Assessment System” (PAS), which both is studied and has been used by legitimate scientists for non-exploitative purposes.

Two years after Schucman went to work for William Thetford (who had a previous history as a spy, according to Thetford’s friend and student, Fr. Benedict Groeschel) at the Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons Psychology Department, they co-authored a paper on Gittinger’s PAS.

D. R. Saunders is also mentioned in the same chapter of John Marks’ book at the link above as having carried out personality assessment work for MKULTRA. It is possible (but I have not absolutely confirmed this) that he is the same D.R. Saunders who was the chief investigator for the Condon Report, an early UFO study which is considered by many ufologists to be essentially CIA disinformation.

Bill Thetford or 007?

Thetman and Saunders worked together on the secret MKULTRA Subproject 130 (Psychology “Personality Theory”) research (see timeline below, 1971 – 1978). Saunders — apparently something of an MKULTRA protégé of Gittinger’s — was co-authoring papers at that time with both Schucman and Thetford.

Three years after Schucman, Thetford, and Saunders jointly authored a paper with a “specific, explicit mention of [Gittinger’s] PAS”, Schucman (1965) began having strange “visions”, and shortly she was hearing an inner “voice” which identified itself as Jesus. [Schucman described it as actually being nearly sub-audible, thus it was apparently identical with the type of “contact” that forms the basis for Teaching Mission, or TeaM, “channeling”. TeaM is a fringe cult associated with The URANTIA Book].

Brainwashing Professional,
Herbert Spiegel

Although I have no evidence directly connecting him with any intelligence agency, another of Helen Schucman’s Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons Psychology Department “colleagues” around this time was Herbert Spiegel, a recognized expert in hypnotism and brainwashing, who was then teaching courses in hypnosis. He had been involved in brainwashing since the early 1950s when he studied the Chinese techniques used upon Korean War POWs for the U.S. Army. Spiegal was perfectly capable — if anyone was — of making Schucman have “visions” and to hear a “voice” claiming to be that of Jesus.

When Schucman, who was culturally Jewish and an atheist or agnostic, hesitated to accept that the voice was genuinely “Jesus”, she was talked into believing it by her boss and then close friend, Bill Thetman. Thetman also “encouraged” her to keep going during the seven years that she was “channeling” the Course.

During the time when Helen Schucman was still in the process of “channeling” ACIM, her previous co-author, Saunders, also co-authored a paper with Gittinger himself. Later, but still during the “scribing”, Thetman and Saunders together contracted to do a secret personality study for MKULTRA.

Admittedly there is nothing sinister in authoring or co-authoring papers to be published openly in scientific journals, but my GUESS is that Schucman had no idea about the MKULTRA connections of her friends and colleagues, and that had she known, and had she realized what MKULTRA was up to during those years (however that would not be exposed until a few years after Schucman’s “channeling” experience was over) NOTHING Thetman could have said to her would have made her believe that she was actually in contact with Jesus!

Schucman likely had no idea that she was lying down with dogs, but she got up with fleas, nevertheless!

[NOTE: For more information on the possible use in and on certain cults of what has come to be known as “synthetic telepathy” (the artificial induction of intra-cerebral voices to influence or control the behavior of unwitting subjects) please go to: http://www.urantiagate.com/conspiracy.html%5D


1958 — Schucman goes to work for Thetford in the Psychology Department at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.
1962 — Schucman AND Thetford (Publish paper together on “The personality theory of John Gittinger”).
1962 — Saunders AND Schucman (Sept. Paper).
1962 — Saunders AND Schucman AND Thetford (Sept. Paper).
1965 — Helen Schucman’s pre-ACIM visions and experiences.
1965 – 1968 — Helen Schucman (w/William Thetford): Scribing of “A Course In Miracles” (ACIM).
1968 — Gittinger AND Saunders (Article/Paper, apparently published as part of a compendium).
1969 – 1971 — Helen Schucman (w/William Thetford): Scribing of ACIM: “Workbook”.
1970 — Schucman AND Thetford (Article).
1971 – 1978 — Saunders AND Thetford (MKULTRA Subproject 130).
1972 — Helen Schucman (w/William Thetford): Scribing of ACIM: “Manual”.


(no longer available online)

ce399 note:

ce399cultgroups forthcoming.

This web article was of  great concern to the ACIM “conspiracy” debunker (name) for obvious reasons.

WSJ Article on Hoodoo (WSJ 28/12/10)

Posted in Uncategorized by ce399 on 25/01/2011

Tracy McClendon blesses vigil candles at retailer LuckyMojo.com.


December 28, 2010
Need a Job? Losing Your House? Who Says Hoodoo Can’t Help?
Tough Times Boost Sales of Spider Dust, Spells for Good Fortune, Mojo Powders

Justin Maxon for The Wall Street Journal
Tracy McClendon blesses vigil candles at retailer LuckyMojo.com.

Jennifer Forness, a 39-year-old in Groton, Conn., felt her life falling apart earlier this year. Her husband announced he wanted a divorce. She lost her job as a store clerk. She developed health problems from the stress.

Then one night she discovered a website selling products for hoodoo—an ancient belief system based on spells, potions, balms and curses that slaves developed long ago in the Deep South. Ms. Forness ordered several items and instructions for performing certain rituals. She also had a telephone session with a hoodoo “doctor” who specializes in employment matters.

Monkey’s feet and Run Devil Run: Miller’s Rexall, a hoodoo and homeopathic remedy shop in downtown Atlanta, has been offering alternative cures since 1965.

Since then, things have turned around. Ms. Forness found work tending bar part-time and her health has improved. “There is a reason we believe in this stuff,” she says.

For decades, hoodoo shops appeared to be dying off. But the Internet, and troubled times, have given rituals once performed only in backwoods cabins or shabby urban shops a new life. Hoodoo practitioners and retailers say sales are booming as people from across the country turn to them for help slashing debt, preventing foreclosures or finding jobs.

“Business is good,” says Richard “Doc” Miller, owner of Miller’s Rexall, a hoodoo and homeopathic remedy shop in a forlorn section of downtown Atlanta. While Mr. Miller, who is white, still gets walk-in traffic, his website makes up the bulk of his sales. His oils, soaps and bath crystals have names like “Jinx Removing” and “Dragon Blood,” and promise to drive away evil. Ex-Beatle Paul McCartney once bought a bath salt called “Run, Devil, Run” at Mr. Miller’s shop and named a 1999 album after it. Mr. Miller also sells roots and herbs like High John the Conqueror to restore power and Angels Turnip to bring good fortune. Miller’s Rexall’s Internet sales of spiritual products alone have risen to more than $1 million annually in recent years from $10,000 in 1994, he says.

‘Hoodoo’ Healing Goes Online

View Slideshow

Justin Maxon for The Wall Street
The entry to Lucky Mojo Curio Co. in Forestville, Calif.

More photos and interactive graphics
Hoodoo is thought to have evolved on southern plantations as an amalgam of African religions. Influences from European folk practices and Native American beliefs were mixed in. Black people across the South fashioned charms from everyday items, local herbs and animal parts to protect themselves or to hurt others. Many rituals revolved around increasing or restoring one’s “mojo”—energy, power and sexual prowess.

While the line between hoodoo and the better-known Voodoo often blurs in popular culture, the two belief systems have different, if similar, origins. Hoodoo arose among slaves in English-speaking American colonies. Voodoo developed among slaves in French-speaking Haiti and Louisiana as its own religion, incorporating African gods and Catholicism.

In the early 20th century, white pharmacists in black neighborhoods began marketing hoodoo items through mail order after noticing they were fielding a lot of questions from their black customers about roots, herbs and potions. Their shops fell on hard times in the 1970s, in part because many African-Americans began to view hoodoo, also known as rootwork or conjure, as backward, say scholars who study the practice. “As African-Americans came more in the mainstream and more affluent, they were embarrassed by this stuff,” says Carolyn Morrow Long, author of “Spiritual Merchants,” a book about hoodoo stores.

Today’s hoodoo revival is again being driven primarily by white retailers, and that has some blacks criticizing the commercialization of ancient rituals for a quick profit. “Hoodoo is not just oh-help-me-bring-my-baby-back, help-me-get-my-man-back stuff,” says Katrina Hazzard-Donald, a Rutgers University sociology professor who is black and was taught hoodoo as a child. She says hoodoo stores are corrupting the spiritual belief system by selling inferior, nonsacred products and focusing on alleged quick fixes to problems. “What is so pathetic about it is they don’t even know the origins of all this stuff,” Ms. Hazzard-Donald says of online hoodoo vendors.

She recently launched her own informational website that claims to be “the only site for authentic old tradition hoodoo.”

The backlash isn’t stopping retailers like LuckyMojo.com. One of the largest Internet sources of hoodoo products, booklets and online courses, the site has 23,000 customers in its database and more than 3,000 people registered on a community forum, says owner Catherine Yronwode.

Ms. Yronwode, a 63 year-old one-time hippie who stumbled upon hoodoo when it was mentioned in old Blues lyrics, says LuckyMojo has tapped into a renewed interest in “the old ways.”

“I listened to your grandmother when you didn’t,” Ms. Yronwode, who is white, says to her black customers. Her site, which she runs from her farm in northern California, offers hundreds of spells and potions, including “attraction powder” to draw a loved one, and “goofer” dust, made with dead spiders, to make an enemy sick—or worse. She sells packets of graveyard dirt. People from as far away as Sweden have graduated from her hoodoo correspondence course, she says, learning the history of the practice and how to make concoctions from roots and herbs.

Tammie, a 40-year-old white insurance agent in Florida, who asked that her last name not be used, says she found hoodoo last year when she suffered health and financial problems. She has spent about $500 so far on items from LuckyMojo, including candles to give her protection to oils for attracting money. Both her health and her financial situation have improved, she says.

“Some people think I’m crazy,” she says. “Frankly, I don’t care.”

Younger blacks are also discovering hoodoo. Angela Allen, a 30-year-old African-American in Atlanta, said none of her older relatives would ever talk to her about hoodoo because they considered it anti-Christian. But she became interested in the practice about three years ago after falling into heavy debt. “I felt desperate and I had to do something,” she says. Little by little, her financial situation improved, she says. Now she regularly buys hoodoo online.

Just around the corner from Miller’s Rexall in Atlanta is Rondo’s Temple Sales, a hoodoo shop run by another white family. Decades ago, the store thrived, along with Atlanta’s black business district. Today, business has dropped off and the recession has made things worse, says owner Darren Amato. So last month, he launched a website.

“I can’t get people to come to downtown Atlanta, but maybe I can get some new customers from Iowa,” he says.


Decade End Reading List (under construction) Updated 28/1/11

Posted in Uncategorized by ce399 on 04/01/2011

Staying Alive by Shiva

Seeds of Destruction

Blue of Noon by Bataille

The Adding Machine by William S Burroughs

Traditional Acupuncture: The Law of the Five Elements by Connelly

Paris Hollywood: Writings on Film by Peter Wollen

Alchemy: The Science of the Cosmos by Burckhardt

For a Critique of the Political Economy of the Sign by Jean Baudrillard

The Power of Movies by McGinn

Mirrors by Galleano

Surrealist Manifestos by Breton

The Brain Benders

The Battle for the Mind by Will Sergrant

Thought Reform and the Psychology of the Totalist

Rape of the Mind by Mirrileau

Death of the Liberal Class by Chris Hedges

Enochian World of Aleister Crowley

Secret Societies and Psychological Warfare by Michael A Hoffman II

Gaia Book of Organic Gardening by Patrick Holden, Ed. Soil Assoc. gaiabooks.co.uk

The Last Temptation of Christ by Nikos Kazanzakis

Worlds of Tomorrow by Forest J. Ackerman

The Web that has No Weaver by Captchuck

Orientalism by Edward Said

Mystical Vampire: Biography of Mabel Collins

Spear of Destiny

American Holocaust by Stannard

Spooks by Hougan

The Tyranny of Greece over Germany by EM Butler

The Seduction of Unreason

The Psychological Structure of Fascism by Bataille

Degenerate Art: The Fate of the Avant-Guard in Nazi Germany

Phantasmagoria by Warner

Psychiatry and the CIA: Victims of Mind Control by Weinstein

The Post Human Dada Guide

The Outlaw Bank: BCCI by Beaty and Gwywne

The Shadow Factory by James Bamford

Storming the Reality Studio

Nicaragua: A Decade of Revolution

Oryx and Crake

History of the Jews Heinrich Graetz

Situationists and the City.

The Anti-American Manual by Ted Rail

The Unquiet Grave: Mexico Unconquered by Gibler or Gisler

Design and Crime by Hal Foster

Think for Yourself! An Essay on Cutting through the Babble, the Bias, and the Hype by Stephen Hindes

The Sociopath Next Door by Martha Stout

Consumer’s Guide to a Brave New Word by Wesley J. Smith

An Atheism that is not Humanist Emerges in French Thought by Stefanos Geroulanos

Lipstick Traces

Critical Excess: Over-readings in Derrida, Deleuze, Levinas, Zizkek and Cavell by Colin Davis

Why Hasn’t Everything Already Disappeared by Jean Baudrillard

Aesthetics of Disappearance by Paul Virilio

Neoliberalism as Exception: Mutations in Citizenship and Sovereignty by Ong, Aihwa

Bright-Sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America by Barbara  Ehrenreich

The CIA Doctors: Human Rights Violations by American Psychiatrists by Colin A. Ross

Brainwashing: The True and Terrible Story of the Men Who Endured and Defied the Most Diabolical Red Torture by Edward Hunter

Taoist Astral Healing: Chi Kung Healing Practices Using Star and Planet Energies by Mantak Chia

Equinox by Fritz Leiber (1971)

Kundalini: The Evolutionary Energy in Man by Krishna Gopi

The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin

Cyborgs and Barbie Dolls: Feminism, Popular Culture and the Posthuman Body by Kim Toffoletti

The Secret Life of Puppets by Victoria Nelson

Ya Basta! Ten Years of the Zapatista Uprising by Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos, Various

Blaming the Victims: Spurious Scholarship and the Palestinian Question – (Sept. 13, 2001) by Edward W. Said

Organs without Bodies: Deleuze and Consequences by Slavoj Zizek

Darker Than You Think by Jack Williamson

Against Civilization: Readings and Reflections by John Zerzan

Running on Emptiness: The Pathology of Civilization  by John Zerzan

The Collapse of Financial Capitalism by Raoul Vangigem

Living in the End Times by Slavoj Zizek

European Graduate School by Ronell, Badiou

Ecological Enlightenment: Essays on the Politics of the Risk Society by Ulrich Beck and Mark A. Ritter

The Coming Insurrection (Semiotext(e) / Intervention) by The Invisible Committee

The Mind Masters / Mindmasters 1 by John F. Rossman

In the Absence of the Sacred: The Failure of Technology and the Survival of the Indian Nations by Jerry Mander

The Question Concerning Technology, and Other Essays by Martin Heidegger

A Cavalier History of Surrealism by Raoul Vaneigem and Donald Nicholson-Smith

A New Breed Satellite Terrorism in America by Dr. John Hall, MD

Against Nature (A Rebours) by Joris-Karl Huysmans

The Damned (La-Bas) by Joris-Karl Huysmans

The Time of the Assassins: A Study of Rimbaud by Henry Miller

Jung on Mythology by C. G. Jung and Robert A. Segal

The Cinema Effect by Sean Cubitt

Gangs and Countergangs (1960) by General Frank Kitson

Low Intensity Operations: Subversion, Insurgency and Peacekeeping (1971) by General Frank Kitson

The Story of Crass by George Berger

Sinister Resonance: The Mediumship of the Listener by David Toop

Zionism: The Enemy of the State by Alfred Rosenberg

Literature and Evil by Georges Bataille

The Liver Disorders Sourcebook by Howard J. Worman

The Eleusian Mysteries & Rites by Dudley Wright

Jung and Tarot: An Archetypal Journey by Sallie Nichols

Crack Wars: Literature, Addiction, Mania by Avital Ronell

The Global Genome: Biotechnology, Politics, and Culture (Leonardo Books) by Eugene Thacker

The Film Noir Encyclopedia by Alain Silver, Elizabeth Ward, James Ursini, and Robert Porfirio

Capitalism in Crisis: Globalization and World Politics Today by Fidel Castro

The Marquis de Sade: An Essay by Simone de Beauvoir

Baudelaire by Jean-Paul Sartre

Themis: A Study of the Social Origins of Greek Religion by Jane Ellen Harrison

Lacan at the Scene (Short Circuits) by Henry Bond

Stalking the Tricksters: Shapeshifters, Skinwalkers, Dark Adepts and 2012 by Christopher O’Brien

Nazi International: The Nazis’ Postwar Plan to Control the Worlds of Science, Finance, Space, and Conflict by Joseph P. Farrell

Reich Of The Black Sun: Nazi Secret Weapons & The Cold War Allied Legend by Joseph P. Farrell

History of Madness by Michel Foucault

Taoist Yoga: Alchemy & Immortality by Charles Luk

Practical Taoism by Thomas Cleary

The Way of Life by Lao-Tzu

Nihilist Communism by Monsieur Dupont

Species Being & Other Stories  by Frere Dupont

Meditations on the Tarot by Anonymous (Author)

Alfred Jarry: An Imagination in Revolt by Jill Fell

The Paraphysican’s Library by Ben Fisher

Ethics-Politics-Subjectivity: Essays on Derrida, Levinas & Contemporary French Thought (Radical Thinkers) by Simon Critchley

Archive Fever: A Freudian Impression (Religion and Postmodernism Series) by Jacques Derrida and Eric Prenowitz

Alfred Jarry: Absinthe, Bicycles and Merde

The Hitchcock Murders by Peter Conrad

Method to Erase Traumatic Memories on Horizon (The Baltimore Sun 22/11/10)

Posted in Uncategorized by ce399 on 04/01/2011

Soldiers haunted by scenes of war and victims scarred by violence may wish they could wipe the memories from their minds. Researchers at the Johns Hopkins University say that may someday be possible.

A commercial drug remains far off — and its use would be subject to many ethical and practical questions. But scientists have laid a foundation with their discovery that proteins can be removed from the brain’s fear center to erase memories forever.

“When a traumatic event occurs, it creates a fearful memory that can last a lifetime and have a debilitating effect on a person’s life,” says Richard L. Huganir, professor and chair of neuroscience in the Hopkins School of Medicine. He said his finding on the molecular process “raises the possibility of manipulating those mechanisms with drugs to enhance behavioral therapy for such conditions as post-traumatic stress disorder.”

The research has drawn interest from some involved in mental health care, and some concern.

Kate Farinholt, executive director of the mental health support and information group NAMI Maryland, said many people suffering from a traumatic event might benefit from erasing a memory. But there are a lot of unanswered questions, she said.

“Erasing a memory and then everything bad built on that is an amazing idea, and I can see all sorts of potential,” she said. “But completely deleting a memory, assuming it’s one memory, is a little scary. How do you remove a memory without removing a whole part of someone’s life, and is it best to do that, considering that people grow and learn from their experiences.”

Past research already had shown that a specific form of behavior therapy seemed to erase painful memories. But relapse was possible because the memory wasn’t necessarily gone.

By looking at that process, Huganir and postdoctoral fellow Roger L. Clem discovered a “window of vulnerability” when unique receptor proteins are created. The proteins mediate signals traveling within the brain as painful memories are made. Because the proteins are unstable, they can be easily removed with drugs or behavior therapy during the window, ensuring the memory is eliminated.

Researchers used mice to find the window, but believe the process would be the same in humans. They conditioned the rodents with electric shocks to fear a tone.
The sound triggered creation of the proteins, called calcium-permeable AMPARS, which formed for a day or two in the fear center, or amygdala, of the mice’s brains.

The researchers are working on ways to reopen the window down the road by recalling the painful memory, and using medication to eliminate the protein. That’s important because doctors often don’t see victims immediately after a traumatic event. PTSD, for example, can surface months later.

Huganir, whose report on erasing fear memories in rodents was published online last month by Science Express also believes that the window may exist in other centers of learning and may eventually be used to treat pain or drug addiction.

Connie Walker, a Leonardtown mother of an Iraq war veteran suffering from PTSD, said there isn’t enough attention given to the injuries of service members in general and she specifically supports research into PTSD-related therapy. But Walker, a 23-year-Navy veteran herself, said she wouldn’t want her son to take a medication to erase what he witnessed.

She said her son began functioning well after he was finally able to get therapy, which she said should be more readily available to every wounded veteran.

“My gut reaction to a drug that erases memories forever is to be frightened,” she said. “A person’s memory is very much a part of who they are. I recognize we all have some bad memories, though I doubt they can compete with what’s coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan. But how can a drug like that be controlled? What else gets eliminated accidentally?”

For now, there aren’t yet drugs to erase memories. But there are medications also targeting the amygdala and used with behavior therapy that can lessen the emotional response to painful memories in those with PTSD, such as propranolol, a beta blocker commonly used to treat hypertension.

Paul Root Wolpe, director of the Center for Ethics at Emory University in Atlanta, says permanently erasing memories in humans, if it can be done, wouldn’t be a lot different ethically than such behavior modification. Both are memory manipulation. But he said erasing memories is fraught with many more potential pitfalls.

He also said that PTSD sufferers, such as service members in Iraq and Afghanistan, frequently experience more than one traumatic event, and trying to eliminate all the memories could significantly alter a person’s personality and history. So could forgetting a whole person after a painful loss or breakup, as depicted in the 2004 movie “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.”

Wolpe said it can be called dementia when someone forgets that much of their past.

“I don’t know what it means to erase that much of a person’s life,” he said. “You’d leave a giant hole in a person’s history. I tend to doubt you’d even be able to.”

Further, he said, the safeguards necessary to protect the process from abuse would be difficult. Inmates or soldiers in danger of capture could be subjected to it, for example. Many questions should be decided before testing is pursued in humans, because its use may become “too tempting,” he said.

Wolpe could see only limited uses for erasing a memory for now, such as for those suffering after a rape or single terrifying event.

“Certainly, there may be appropriate applications,” he said. “But human identity is tied into memory. It creates our distinctive personalities. It’s a troublesome idea to begin to be able to manipulate that, even if for the best of motives.”



* Text NEWS to 70701 to get Baltimore Sun local news text alerts


Heidegger’s Critique of Modern Technology: On “The Question Concerning Technology”

Posted in Uncategorized by ce399 on 04/01/2011

“Technology” in practices of development is often understood in terms of a means-end schema toward modernization.  More, technology becomes the conceptual frame to signify progress and modernity.  Indeed, technological products — from manufactured tools, electronics, bridges to skyscrapers — become so many objects signifying change, of what is new and what is modern.  What follows is a reading of Heidegger’s essay, “The Question Concerning Technology” (1954).    Taking up his essay for consideration in our present context has the benefit of critically asking for our times the questions that informed his philosophical investigation, namely, “What is technology” and is technology always a necessary “good.”  Citations are from Basic Writings (1977, ed. D.F. Krell, trans. F.A. Capuzzi).

Heidegger understands the question concerning technology as essentially linked to the question of being and truth.  Technology, he argues, points to something essential about the constitution of our ontology, our way of being-in-the-world.  What compelled him to write on technology lies in his observation that “everywhere [in Europe], [man] remain[s] unfree and chained to technology,” (QT, 287) a situation in which the more technology advances itself the more it “threatens to slip from human control” (QT, 289).  Hence, a questioning of technology became necessary and urgent for Heidegger because modern technology brought with it a new way of ordering the world, which he saw as contaminating man’s authentic sense of being, thus signaling a certain crisis at bay in European industrial modernity.  Although Heidegger’s essay is a text of philosophy, we can say it is also a work of critique in precisely the way he calls our attention to the (ontological and social) crisis brought out by modern technology’s new, albeit distorting, ways of ordering the world and hence also the reorganization of our cognitive perception of reality.  Seeing the rise of modern technology’s dominance as tantamount to the sundering of man’s essential relation to being, Heidegger undertakes a questioning of technology in order to trace back a more primary meaning that has been lost and forgotten in technological modernity.

So let us begin with the question that Heidegger begins with, “What is technology?”  The word “technology,” teknoholiya, stems from the Greek word techné, which designates “skill,” “art,” and “craft,” a mode of doing or making.  It is in this spirit that Plato understood politics as fundamentally belonging to the domain of techné, politics as first and foremost a political skill to be learned, an art or, better yet, a kind of technology of the polis (city).  Techné in the original Greek usage referred to both the skill or power of doing/making as well as that which is performed, produced, or fabricated—in other words, techné as designating both art and artifice.[1] (In Filipino, gawa/gamit, approximates this sense of techné as both art and art-object.)  Now, crucially, techné (art/artifice) is opposed to physis (nature), most fundamentally in terms of causality.  On the one hand, the organic forms of nature are self-developing in the sense that they exhibit the principle of change within themselves (physis as the “arising out of something from itself,” a natural self-genesis).  Techné, on the other hand, implies a mediation by an external agent (Reason) to an object in order to bring about change in it, which means that the principle of change is here foreign to the object.  The opposition between physis and techné has generated the traditional divisions we have in Western philosophy of nature/culture and organic/inorganic, or that which is engendered “by nature” or that “by culture/art,” culminating in the figures of the inhuman and human. Yet physis and techné are cosubstantial insofar as, when brought in relation to one another, their relationship is one of mimesis, as in the themes of “nature as art” and “art as nature” that we find in Aristotelian teleology.  But it is a mimetic relation which does not mean “one ‘copies’ the other,” as Nancy reminds us, “but that each replays the play of the end or ends [of the other].”[2]

All of the above is at play behind our common, colloquial understanding of technology, defined minimally as the human activity of furnishing means to effect a desired end.   So, a bridge can be said to be a thing of technology because, as a product and performance of man’s dealings with physis through techné, nature by art, the bridge is the materialization or actualization of an intended, desired end: namely, the enabling of connection and transportation across discontinuous spaces.[3] “The manufacture and utilization of equipment, tools, and machines, the manufactured and used things themselves, and the [social] needs and ends that they serve, all belong to what technology is” (QT, 288).  The colloquial understanding of technology as availing means for an end, of man’s transactions with nature, is what Heidegger calls the merely instrumental and anthropological definition of technology.[4]

This definition, however, is insufficient, even dangerous, for it leads to man’s hubris and does not allow one to get at the essence of technology.  If we restrict our understanding of technology merely in the domain of techné, technology remains moored to a means-end schema of human instrumentality against nature.  This theme is elaborated, of course, in the work of the Frankfurt School – Theodor Adorno, Max Horkheimer, Herbert Marcuse, and others – who viewed the culmination of Western Enlightenment in the early 20th century as precisely technology’s domination of nature, which, as they argue, ineluctably leads to the domination of man by man.  In Adorno and Horkheimer’s words: “What human beings seek to learn from nature [physis] is how to use [techné] to dominate wholly both it and human beings.  Nothing else counts.”[5] Because Western Enlightenment has become “totalitarian,” the world becomes intelligible to man only to make its multiple forms calculable, hence, “the control of internal and external nature has been made the absolute purpose of life.  Now that self-preservation [of man] has been finally automated, reason is dismissed.”[6] But not only is reason dismissed, reason itself becomes subsumed under technical or instrumental reason.  As Marcuse writes: “Rationality is being transformed from a critical force into one of adjustment and compliance.  Autonomy of reason loses its meaning in the same measure as the thoughts, feelings and actions of men are shaped by the technical requirements….Reason has found its resting place in the system of standardized control, production, and consumption.”[7] The subsumption of reason under the technical attitude leads to “the subordination of thought to pregiven external standards,” in which thinking becomes routinized, standardized, made quantifiable and predictable. The Frankfurt School’s critique of the instrumentalization or technicalization of Reason under the sign of civilizational modernity is in line with Heidegger’s critique of technology as being fixed and exploited in a means-end schema of human instrumentality. For Heidegger, this obfuscates a more originary, essential meaning of technology, namely, technology not as mere process of making, but as a fundamental mode of revealing.

To identify technology’s essence as revealing, Heidegger expands techné to encompass poiesis and episteme, Greek words that belong to the domain of revealing (aletheia) and, hence, have something to do with engendering and truth.  In doing so, Heidegger denies the initial meaning of techné as making, whose social implications become the basis of the Frankfurt School’s critique of technology, insisting instead its fundamental imbrication with poiesis and episteme, in order to foreground what Heidegger describes as technology’s essential relation to a revealing (aletheia).  First, techné is related to poiesis because before it is a making, it is a bringing-forth.  Poiesis, the Greek word from which we get the word poetry, names that which brings-something-forth into presence, or that which renders the potentiality of the not-yet into explicit actuality.  Hence, any activity or action which is the cause of a thing in the sense of bringing-something into presence belongs to poiesis.  Second, techné-as-poiesis is linked to episteme (knowledge/science) not only because every rational design is enabled by a certain knowledge, but also because what is brought-forth, what is disclosed, is a truth.  So, to return to our example, a bridge is a kind of poiesis because it is a bringing-forth of man’s artificial fabrications of nature (physis), in which the materialization of ends embodied in the finished bridge displays the truth of man’s rational power.  Thus, stitching together techné, poesis and episteme, that is to say, linking the power of making (techné) as primarily a mode of bringing-forth (poiesis), in which what is revealed is truth (episteme), Heidegger takes us away from the conventional and instrumentalist definition of technology as “a means to an end” toward an idea of technology as an originary form of truth-revealing, a disclosing of worlds, hence, a form of worlding.  If we follow Heidegger’s reformulation of technology as a mode of revealing (aletheia), technology, in its essence, can be said to be poetic because it is a bringing-forth, whose causality, like poetry, “let[s]what is not yet present [to] arrive into presencing,” into the order of the presence or the real (QT, 293).  This is what constitutes the original, essential meaning of technology.  For if I understand Heidegger correctly, the essence of technology, then, is the poetic process of bringing something forth into presence and, as a mode of revealing, “frames” a world that is unfolded or unconcealed in the process.

Now, in its modality as revealing, the essence of technology is what Heidegger calls “enframing” [Ge-stell].  But, what is important is that the fundamental specificity of technology in Heidegger – a mode of revealing as enframing which pulls together techné, poiesis, and episteme – is nothing technological, it does not belong to the domain of the machine or the mechanical.  Rather, “enframing” names the fundamental, ontological process of “revealing.” Hence, “to enframe“ refers to the process of an “opening up“ as a “gathering together of that setting-upon that sets-up man, [that] challenges him forth, to reveal [to himself] the real” (QT, 302).  Enframing is not a tool or an apparatus, but (and this is the crucial point in Heidegger’s argument) the very condition of possibility for the truth of the real to be revealed, poetically, to man.

Modern technology, however, is not poetic.  It does not belong to the essence of technology as a bringing-forth and revealing of a world.  And this is precisely what is dangerous about it.  The poetry of techné-as-poiesis is denied for a certain positivism or scientism.  “Anything which does not conform to the standard of calculability and utility,” as Adorno and Horkheimer write, is “viewed with suspicion,” becomes relegated as mere myth or superstition.[8] Modern technology does not share the essence of technology because it is a different kind of truth-revealing:  where the original essence of technology is the poetic revealing of bringing-something-forth, in modern technology the kind of revealing is what Heidegger describes as a “challenging” [Herausforden], a challenging that “puts to nature an unreasonable demand that it supply energy, which can [then] be extracted and stored” for man’s purposes (QT, 296). While it is true that modern technology is also a kind of “enframing,” it is an enframing that enframes nature only in order to capture it, that is to say, not as the occasion for the truth of being to disclose itself, but nature disclosed merely as a valuable material resource to be extracted, expropriated, and used-up for whatever man desires or wills of it.  Under conditions of modern technology, “the earth,” as Heidegger notes, “reveals itself as [only] a coal mining district, [its] soil as a mineral deposit” (QT, 296).  Heidegger writes:

“The revealing that rules throughout modern technology has the character of a setting-upon, in the sense of a challenging-forth.  Such challenging happens in that the energy concealed in nature is unlocked, what is unlocked is transformed, what is transformed is stored up, what is stored up, in turn, distributed, and what is distributed is switched about ever anew.  Unlocking, transforming, storing, distributing, and switching about are ways of revealing [that dominate the age of technological modernity]” (QT, 297-298)

The essence of technology as enframing (an ontological mode of revealing and bringing-forth truth) is thus perverted in modern technology.  The essence of technology as enframing transmogrifies in European modernity precisely as “technological enframing,” an enframing that reduces the originary process of revealing and the organic power bringing-forth (poiesis) to mere instrumental ends.  That is to say, “technological enframing” in modern technology reveals the world only insofar as it reveals the world as an energy resource, a thing to be used, what Heidegger describes as a “standing-reserve.” In the mechanization and industrialization of everyday life, reality becomes technologically enframed as a standing-reserve, which for Heidegger denies man to “enter into a more original revealing…to experience the call of a more primal truth” (QT, 309).  (See also my post on Heidegger’s “Letter on Humanism,” for the critique of the instrumentalization of thinking qua what is proper to man). As he says, what is dangerous about modern technology is that its ways of enframing reality “conceals a former way of revealing,” it “blocks the shining-forth and holding sway of truth” (QT, 309).  Under these conditions, man, in modern technology, becomes himself merely something technological.

The Philippine nation, under state priorities of development, becomes enframed in the sense we’ve outlined above: the Philippines and Filipinos, in sum, become “standing-reserves,” in the Heidegerrian sense of reservoirs of energy-resource to be stored, used, and expropriated.  To make the Philippines more competitive in the global market, President Arroyo, for example, declared in 2007 at a gathering in the Cebu International Conventional Center that her last two years in office would be dedicated to the following main objective, and I quote, “invest, invest, and invest some more in our nation.”  Under the technological frame of infrastructure development, the Philippines and Filipinos become a precious resource, whose value can be maximized through capital investments: this is why Arroyo can say, at the same time in one phrase, “human and physical infrastructure.”   Arroyo flaunts the successes of her infrastructure plans in the following way: because foreign investments have been steady and strong, “London cited us [the Philippines] as the offshore destination of the year while International Data Corporation cited us as the top global outsourcing destination after India” (3/29/2008). Under the technological frame of modern development, the Philippines is viewed only as a mere subsidiary appendage to the global economy as a regional zone of outsourced labor and service industry.  Hence, Philippines and Filipinos become “developed” only insofar as they function this “modern” technological role in contemporary globalization.

— P.N.

[1] It should be noted that the sense of techné here as making, or poiesis (see below), is not yet praxis (action); Heidegger distinguishes the former, precisely as a technical activity, as having an aim (telos) toward producing an object from the latter, which does not. Marx, as we know, undoes this distinction in order to articulate praxis as the unity of practice.

[2] See Jean-Luc Nancy, Being Singular Plural, trans. Robert D. Richardson and Anne E. O’Byrne (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2000), p. 118.

[3] Incidentally, under Arroyo’s  P40 billion Bridge Program ($870 M), about 1,275 bridges were constructed since 2001, which were financially backed by loan agreements between the Philippine government and the Japan Bank for International Cooperation.  According to DPWH Secretary Victor Domingo, Arroyo’s government has constructed 289,944 lineal meters of bridges from 2001-2010, compared to a combined total of 272,747 lineal meters attributed to the past three presidents (1986-2000), see “Arroyo Did More Than Estrada, Ramos, Aquino, Dpwh Insists,” June 27, 2010, Sun Star Cebu, available online at http://www.sunstar.com.ph/cebu/arroyo-did-more-estrada-ramos-aquino-dpwh-insists, July 26, 2010.  Of course, there is also a symbolic value behind bridges, and this symbolicity is perhaps why there are many examples of bridges in Heidegger; but perhaps more pertinent to our political context, see Fredric Jameson’s discussion of the bridge as concept-image in Kidlat Tahimik’s 1977 internationally acclaimed Filipino film, Mababangong Bangungot (Perfumed Nightmare): “As a ‘concept’, [the bridge] has something to do with the relationship between cultural stages (Third and First Worlds); between the ‘levels’ of social life itself…which passes abruptly from technology to work, art to politics, anthropology to gentrification without smoothing over the races or making the ‘transitions’ (the bridges) any less bumpy; between the past and the future, as well, and between confinement and freedom,” Fredric Jameson, The Geopolitical Aesthetic: Cinema and Space in the World System (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1992), p. 196.

[4] One recalls here that Marx, insofar as he understood the capitalist mode of production as essentially progressive, subscribed to a positive notion of technology and technological progress.  In his writings, technology, as the sum totality of the instrumental capacities of man, is often viewed as the means by which to augment man’s material life through the development of practical activity (Entwicklung), a view not mutually exclusive from his critique of the alienating effects he saw in the mechanization of labor and life under industrialization.  This is because he saw the latter as merely the perversion of man’s recursive, metabolic relationship with the organic forms of nature. See, for instance, Marx’s anthropocentric argument about the essentially metabolic relationship between man and nature through purposive human instrumentality (techne), i.e., labor: “Man is ….an active natural being…the objects of his instincts exist outside him, as objects independent of him; yet these objects are objects that he needs – essential objects, indispensable to the manifestation and confirmation of his essential powers.  To say that man is a corporeal, living, real, sensuous, objective being full of natural vigour is to say that he has real, sensuous objects as the object of his being or of his life, or that he can only express his life in real, sensuous objects,” in Karl Marx, “Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts,” trans. Rodney Livingstone and Gregor Benton, Early Writings (London and New York: Penguin Books, 1974, 1992), p. 389.  This is why, as John Bellamy Foster notes in his discussion of the differences between “natural technology” and “human technology” in Marx’s writings, “[h]uman evolution…had to be traced through the development of tools [technology]…because tools [for Marx] represented the development of human productive organs–the evolution of the human relation to nature,” in John Bellamy Foster, Marx’s Ecology: Materialism and Nature (New York: Monthly Review Press, 2000), p. 201. Marx’s view of the metabolic relation of man to nature through labor as a purposive form of techne (human technology or instrumentality) became the premise on which he viewed colonial imperialism as having the benefit of bringing development in non-European spaces:  “The East-Indian and Chinese markets, the colonisation of America, trade with the colonies, the increase in the means of exchange and in commodities generally, gave to commerce, to navigation, to industry, an impulse never before known, and thereby, to the revolutionary element in the tottering feudal society, a rapid development” in Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, The Communist Manifesto, trans. Samuel Moore (London: Penguin, 1967, 2002), p. 220.  As we shall see, this Marxian presupposition about technology is fundamentally brought into question by Heidegger.

[5] See Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer, Dialectic of Enlightenment, trans. Edmund Jephcott (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2002), p. 2.

[6] Ibid., pp. 24-25.

[7] See Herbert Marcuse, “Some Social Implications of Modern Technology,” Technology, War and Fascism: Collected Papers of Herbert Marcuse Volume One, ed. Douglas Kellner (London and New York: Routledge, 1998, 2004), p. 49.

[8] See Adorno and Horkheimer, Dialectic of Enlightenment, p. 3.  Also, “Knowledge does not consist in mere perception, classification, and calculation but precisely in the determining negation of whatever is directly at hand.  Instead of such negation [of the immediate], mathematical formalism, whose medium, number, is the most abstract form of the immediate, arrests thought at mere immediacy.  The actual is validated, knowledge confines itself to repeating it, thought makes itself mere tautology,” p. 20.