Actually, “technology” is a critically important word in our human language. It’s composed of three parts, and because of its age needs to be heard as well as seen: “tek” - “nai” - “logos”
First, one need understand that long before we invented written language, we employed sounds as a means of communications (as do many other animals on our planet). A baby’s primal scream, laughter, a moan of pleasure . . . all of these have become part of our language. Some of these sounds derive from other sounds occurring ‘naturally’—without human intervention . . . thunder, bird call, waterfalls. Marking one of our human ‘main events’ is the sound of two stones striking together: “tek” or “click” or “tick” or “ch.” The “Stone Age” has been so labelled because of the tremendous leap forward we took when we learned the mastery of this hard, brittle, massive material . . . and we’re talking two to three million years ago. As a teacher in those days, we needed to communicate to our engineering students that we want them to click two stones together, “Like this!” TEK! While showing them how it’s done and what the results should be. So to say, “it’s all in the wrist.” When the student’s first try fails, we hand her another pair of stones and say “Tek” again, until she gets it right. “Yum,” you might say, like “Mom, now we can skin the squirrel before we eat it!”
“Tek” is the onomatopoeic word for chipping stone. And life hasn’t been the same ever since.
“Nai” is simply the Greek affirmative . . . like, “Yes, you got it right!” When we tek until the results are correct, we have mastered the “tek-nai” or in English, “technique.” And compared to almost every other sign of life, stone tools and stone monuments stand the test of time better than drawings on papyrus or patterns in the sand. When we engineered our new ability to write—many, many years later—chipping patterns into stone—as with grave markers—became the preferred method for longevity. These patterns are known as “logos” or “characters.” Recording events this way, “logging” as we say, has proven so valuable that today we’ll say “it is written” to justify almost anything. And to mark the event, one of our first logos was the ‘letter’ “X”—denoting the pattern of our hands and arms as we strike the lower stone with the upper. This logo has become known as “man’s mark” and still appears on contracts and is recognized as a symbol of a signatory’s presence at the signing of a document.
Over time, just as with dialects, the logo X has been ‘adjusted’ into the logo “t” and the logo “k.” When the handwritten X was scribbled in charcoal by a right-handed cleric, the northeastward stroke was bold and uniform, while the southeastward-bound stroke was lighter at first and darker as it finished, creating the letter “tau” but canted to the left. Careless or casual formation of X led to the deformed logo K . . . all of which—T, K and X—are representative of the sound of striking. A clock goes “tick, tock” because its mechanism makes slightly different sounds at each end of the pendulum swing. Listening to a precision chronograph today, we hear simple “tick, tick” but those early stone-and-wood timepieces were not so carefully constructed.
Seen this way, “technology” is literally the written (recorded) technique (or process) for creating (there’’s that “K” sound again) something. In the kitchen we would call this a recipe, giving the exact measures and strokes and temperature and time that will produce the same product every time. In engineering, we would call it a “process specification.” If it’s written down (logged) and spells out a technique (teknai) for success, then it is—by definition—technology. If it is an object you carry around, like a cell phone, it is a “tool” or a “product.”