Technoculture and life technique

on the practice of hyperperception


  • Wolfgang Schirmacher European Graduate School
  • Daniel Theisen


ethics, phenomenology, technoculture, responsibility, Homo generator


The present article provides grounds for ethical singularity in a world of technological culture. Against a backdrop of crises in the foundations of our established order, particularly with regard to our faith in a certain approach to objectivity, our refusal to acknowledge the Nietzschean death-of-god, and our disregard for Schopenhauer's insight that the only resolution to our suffering is by way of a voluntary extinguishing of our very will-to-life, Wolfgang Schirmacher proposes a phenomenological approach to our epoch of artificial life – a time of biotechnological creation, technoculture and virtual worlds – where we carry the full responsibility that follows from having created our world. Avoiding the double pitfalls of euphoria and distrust in the face of technoculture Schirmacher suggests a set of life techniques that can work towards the kind of equality and fulfilment made possible by an anthropomorphic, rather than an anthropocentric, perception of the world. In the place of a technoculture given to domination, goal-orientation and prefabricated norms this article proposes five specific barriers to our “progress towards inhumanity”: an erasure of the self; refuse or trash art; indirectness (such as in mediated histories); silence and chaos; and a rereading of Heidegger's Fourfold (Geviert). It is in such a crux that Homo generator – the one who stands as originary to an entire life-world of technoculture – can begin a militant releasement of justice where we bear full responsibility and yet hold no privilege.

Author Biography

Wolfgang Schirmacher, European Graduate School

Wolfgang Schirmacher is Professor at the European Graduate School, Switzerland and Malta, where he founded the Philosophy Programme in 1998. He has previously taught at the New School for Social Research, and at the Polytechnic University in New York. He is President of the Internationale Schopenhauer-Vereinigung — Forum für offenes Philosophieren. Writing in the tradition of Nietzsche and Heidegger Schirmacher relies on the notion of Homo generator and specific life techniques to give an affirmative interpretation of artificial life. His main areas of philosophy is media, technology and the art of living.