"The Relationship Between Work, Technique, and Human Potential"

Lucas Charbonnier

Hatched by Lucas Charbonnier

Oct 27, 2023

3 min read


"The Relationship Between Work, Technique, and Human Potential"


Work and technique are interconnected aspects of human existence. Work, in its true essence, should empower individuals to develop their full potential. However, when technique dominates our relationship with things and beings, it can become problematic. A purely technical perspective focuses solely on achieving results without considering their value. This article explores the impact of technique on work, the dehumanizing effects of industrial society's obsession with efficiency, and the ethical, legal, and political solutions needed to address the destructive exploitation of natural resources. Additionally, we delve into the concept of objects as instruments or influences on human will, and the conditions that define an activity as work.

Part 1: The Practicality and Efficiency of Technical Objects

Technical objects enhance the effectiveness of human action and enable individuals to exert control over their surroundings. These objects serve a practical purpose, allowing individuals to accomplish tasks more efficiently and increase their productivity. They provide us with the means to achieve our goals and dominate our environment.

Part 2: The Substitution of Human Labor by Technical Objects

As technology advances, technical objects gradually replace human labor and contribute to economic wealth. Machines and automation have revolutionized various industries, leading to increased productivity and economic growth. However, this progress also raises questions about the role of humans in the workforce and their ability to find fulfillment and recognition in their work.

Part 3: The Influence of Technical Objects on Human Will

Technical objects are not merely tools but also shape the environment in which humans reside. The technosphere, as a culmination of technical objects, influences and determines human desires and aspirations. This relationship between humans and technical objects can be seen as a form of enslavement to necessity, where societies create objects that, in turn, shape their future needs.

Conditions for an Activity to Be Considered Work:

  • 1. Constraint: Work is originally perceived as a constraint, an activity that goes against immediate desires. It is often associated with pain and undesirable labor. However, it is essential to recognize that work requires effort and may not always align with immediate gratification or leisure activities.
  • 2. Need: Work arises from the vital need for survival. The technique serves as a means for individuals to create the conditions necessary for existence beyond the bare minimum provided by nature. Work is intertwined with social and cultural aspects of life, allowing individuals to transcend mere animal existence.
  • 3. Intentional Engagement: Unlike instinctive animal activities, human work is driven by conscious intentions and projects. The outcome of human work exists as an ideal in the worker's imagination before it is realized. Work is a process of self-expression and personal growth, generating desires that nature alone cannot satisfy.


The relationship between work and technique is complex and multifaceted. While technique can enhance human productivity and efficiency, it also poses challenges to the recognition and fulfillment of human potential. Industrial society's relentless pursuit of efficiency and profit has led to the exploitation and depletion of natural resources, endangering humanity's very survival. To address these issues, it is crucial to approach work and technique from ethical, legal, and political perspectives. Here are three actionable pieces of advice:

  • 1. Foster a holistic approach to work: Encourage a balance between efficiency and the recognition of human potential. Emphasize the value of work as a means of self-expression, creativity, and personal growth.
  • 2. Promote sustainable practices: Advocate for responsible and ethical use of natural resources. Prioritize long-term environmental sustainability over short-term gains, and support initiatives that prioritize the well-being of both humans and the planet.
  • 3. Engage in critical reflection: Encourage individuals and societies to critically examine the influence and impact of technical objects on human desires and aspirations. Foster a culture of conscious consumption and consider the ethical implications of technology in shaping our lives.

By understanding the relationship between work, technique, and human potential, we can strive for a future where work is not just a means to an end but a source of fulfillment, creativity, and self-actualization.

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