Isn’t technology a great thing? Mechanical mastery. Skyscapes bristling with buildings of glittering glass and steel. Or hurtling above the clouds in hollow tubes, winged and thundering. Motorways heaving with vehicular corpuscles, clotted and pulsing by day and by night.
A well-stocked emergency room. The confounding array of machinery, beeping and hissing. Surgical precision.
Cif EasyLift Bathroom spray has something in the bottle called ‘lift-action technology’. The technology of active lifting. The bottle doesn’t lift itself but the substance within removes tough bathroom dirt. Dirt is ‘tough’ in bathrooms because it has to be to survive there. Cif uses ‘technology’ to lift it, gently.
Dove Men+Care Invisible Dry Anti-Perspirant provides ‘powerful stain free underarm protection’. The description drops the hyphen that should otherwise be present in the compound adjective ‘stain-free’. A real man would do the same. The product contains “a quarter of moisturising technology”. One quarter of all research and expertise currently available in the field of moisturising technology was used in the manufacture of this product. The anti-perspirant now ‘contains’ this one quarter, rendered as fluid. Three quarters of moisturising technology is lying somewhere, forgotten.
Technology can ‘care’. It is not unfeeling. The advanced moisturising complex known as DermaPure contains ‘clinically proven skin care technology’. It’s ‘Hollywood’s best kept secret’. Clinics have proven that skin feels cared for after being exposed to this technology. Thus cared for, skin can effectively live backwards, defying mortality and decay. It is ‘clinically proven to turn back the natural effects of the aging process at the cellular level’. One day, skin care technology might be a staple of funeral parlours. No one need die anymore. We can turn back time ‘at the cellular level’.
The word ‘technology’ has a sleek, hard shell and a silvery luminescence. It is scientifically proven. It is the spirit that embodies the relentlessness of the machine and the rigour of research. Beneath the shell, however, older meanings slither in the darkness. Meanings like ‘discourse or treatise on an art or the arts’. It used to entail the activities and skills of the craftsman, ‘bringing forth’ things and thoughts previously hidden. As Heidegger says, the essence of (modern) technology, its viscus, is nothing ‘technological’.
And yet, ‘technology’ is now slathered on the flesh, though it left the body of the craftsman long ago. It once inhered in the skill of hands at work, the effortful revelation of forms and their birth out of unyielding material. Technology, bringing into presence…