As WUR-engineers we work on complex problems by ‘exploring the potential of nature to improve the quality of life’. Be it as a social-, bio-, geo-, environmental-, educational-, economic-, etc. engineer.
But don’t we detach ourselves from nature evermore with every next technological development? Leaving behind and forgetting our nature and dehumanizing ourselves at the same moment? Or is technology an integral part of our nature? And is the technological drive that pervades our lives therefore an almost ‘natural’ drive for humans, because technology defines who we are?
According to the Greek myth of Prometheus and Epimetheus humans are those creatures that were forgotten when the world and all the living beings in it were created. There were no qualities left when Epimetheus, the forgetful and thoughtless brother of Prometheus, was about to bring human beings into being and so they were left naked, vulnerable and without traits for survival. To help them dealing with their situation the foresightful Prometheus went to the Olympus to steal some fire from the gods and give it to humans so as to compensate for their ‘original lack’ of properties. Since then, humans are forever destined to invent their own properties with the help of this fire: technics. With French philosopher Bernard Stiegler, we will reflect on what this view of humanity’s original technicity implies for dealing with our current age of hypertechnologization.
Speaker: Dr. Pieter Lemmens (Radboud University)