k a r a s s o w i t s c h . c a

The Importance of the Mānasāra


The Hegemony of Technology.

Within architecture and the human built environments, we mainly use the term ‘building’ and ‘construction’ which are technology exclusively. This has as much to do with architecture as plaster and pigment in delivering colour to a surface have to do with the image that is produced. Like any media they have a definitive role, but they are distinct from any values in the image or the architecture. This counts for the methodologies and the modes of human  interaction in his environments in general. Architectural presencing needs today to be better differentiated from building and construction to allow the role of architects to fully awaken. The issue of our time is therefore spirituality and its direct role in technology’s hegemony and that architecture arises of the same original need and aspiration. In assessing its role, we discover that our horizons widen in terms of humanity’s role in Nature.

It is generally hoped that technology, science and their speculative cutting edge is going to tell us about everything. But it can not. Heidegger
7 conceives of Modern technic as an 'enframing'8 [Ge-stell] by which the world is ever more 'set-upon' [stellt] and absorbed as standing-reserve [Bestand] which excludes any other way of experiencing or knowing. The standing-reserve is the ‘world’ defined, prepared and stored as potential for human purposes. This may at first seem valid for any way of arranging the world, like storing grain for winter, but it is not. It is particular to technicism and quite different. Technology is the material expression of  'modification of Mind ramified as thought’8. It is what we think ourselves to be, as we extend our ambition to understand the world through technology and its accompanying sciences. It can not, therefore, include ‘everything’.

Technology in this role also excludes architecture in principle, while it is always setting-upon it and wresting further bits of work from it. Technology appropriates the world with structure which, for architecture, absorb and encumbers the world. Not merely by the inherent limitations of technic, but by the increasing apparent extents of the  standing-reserve9 appearing to increasingly limit a wider perspective. Architecture comprehends all of this is an ancient human condition relating to spirituality, and it continues to presence accordingly. Architects gamely and necessarily tell this story too in their work. Such architectural aspects are, however, not easy to define or name due to the very nature of ‘enframing’. But as this increasingly holds sway around the globe, people must struggle more to maintain those essential human attributes which technic must exclude. Whether consciously or not the origin is always present. Technology has become dangerous as a basis for the qualification of architectural professionals, as well as that it makes a sensible definition of architecture difficult. Technology’s role in architectural practice is ever more intensified by its superficiality, while architecture presences technology’s absence of architecture. Technology is the materialized mode of thought through which, by questioning it as it arises in the Mānasāra we may access its wisdom for an evolved architecture of the future.
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7. The paper The Question Concerning Technology
(trans. Lovitt), part of a series of lectures held by Heidegger
in 1949, is an ideal discussion for locating technology within architecture, one which bridges to yoga and the fundamental issues of our period exemplifying spirituality. It implies that the period in which these issues are active spans more than ten thousand years, so far. This will be further elaborated in the author's dissertation The
Goal in Architecture at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna to be completed in 2014.
8. This can be considered a partial definition of
spirituality. The interrelationship between (Modern) thought and its expressed form as technology is the link between cultural values and yoga as representative of spirituality. Patañjali's Yogasūtra define this point near the very beginning in Sutras 2-4 of the first section. I have complied a number of interpretations from three translating authors; Swami Prabhavananda and Christopher Isherwood, William Q. Judge and Vivekananda — in that order below.
Sutra 2. Yoga is the control of thought-waves in the mind.
Concentration, or Yoga, is the hindering of the modifications of the thinking principle.
Yoga is restraining the mind stuff (Chitta) from taking various forms (Vrittis).
Sutra 3. Then man abides in his real nature.
At the time of concentration the soul abides in the state of a spectator without a spectacle.
At that time (the time of concentration) the seer (Purusha) rests in his own (unmodified) state.
Sutra 4. At other times, when he is not in the state of yoga, man remains identified with the thought-waves in the mind.
At other times than that of concentration, the soul is in the same form as the modification of the mind.
At other times (other than the unmodified state) the seer is identified with the modifications.
9. This is an English term (Lovitt) for Heidegger's use 
of the German word 'Bestand'. "It comes to its fulfillment when, as is increasingly the case in our time, things are not even regarded as objects, because their only important quality has become their readiness for use. Today all things are being swept together into a vast network in which their only meaning lies in their being available to serve some end that will itself also be directed toward getting everything under control. Heidegger calls this fundamentally undifferentiated supply of the available the "standing-reserve" From The Question Concerning Technology. p. xxix
michael@karassowitsch.ca 2013