In the middle of his famous essay “The Question Concerning Technology” (1953), Martin Heidegger quotes a famous verse by the German poet Friedrich Hölderlin: “where the danger is, we find growing what protects us against it.” Put simply, the thesis of the controversial German philosopher, marked by a definite anti-humanism, is that technology is not so much—and not only—the destiny of Western man, but rather the device through which are revealed, in a radical way, those powers of nature and Being that humans contemplate, activate and manage, without ever being their masters or their makers.
This break with anthropocentrism results in an ambivalent vision of technology: on one hand, it has been reduced by the Western anthropocentric tradition to a mere instrument, in a vision that sees the world itself and human beings as mere objects, calculable and measurable, and thus passive subjects of a looming technocracy (the threat posed by technology). On the other hand, human beings can regain their freedom by becoming aware of the true essence of technology, and accepting and managing the forces that it reveals.
The book Net-attivismo by Massimo Di Felice (Edizioni Estemporanee, 228 pages, €20) provides an analysis on the impact of digital technologies within a framework of Heideggerian inspiration, colored both by an indigenous, non-Western and post-colonial point of view originating from Latin America, as well as by the advances of post-structuralist theory applied to the media and science, the best exponents of which are, respectively, Marshall McLuhan and Bruno Latour. For the author, digital technologies, just like other media, are more than just a tool to exchange messages and content. They are a whole new environment, which is redefining the ways in which human beings act and exist: these technologies are creating a whole new ecology of action.