Pope Francis’ monumental encyclical Laudato Si has become an instant hit not only among the Catholic Faithful, but among all people of good will. The Holy Father has taught us how to combine our faith, science, morals and daily life as harmonious whole. Though the Laudato Si speaks mainly on environment, it also touches various aspects of our modern life such as technology and communication we are engrossed in. With his piquant wisdom tries to give us practical tips on how to order our lives. It is all geared to make our planet a healthy home to live. The Holy Father cares for our total well being.
In article 47 Pope Francis says, “When media and the digital world become omnipresent, their influence can stop people from learning how to live wisely, to think deeply and to love generously. In this context, the great sages of the past run the risk of going unheard amid the noise and distractions of an information overload. Efforts need to be made to help these media become sources of new cultural progress for humanity and not a threat to our deepest riches.
True wisdom, as the fruit of self-examination, dialogue and generous encounter between persons, is not acquired by a mere accumulation of data which eventually leads to overload and confusion, a sort of mental pollution. Real relationships with others, with all the challenges they entail, now tend to be replaced by a type of internet communication which enables us to choose or eliminate relationships at whim, thus giving rise to a new type of contrived emotion which has more to do with devices and displays than with other people and with nature. Today’s media do enable us to communicate and to share our knowledge and affections. Yet at times they also shield us from direct contact with the pain, the fears and the joys of others and the complexity of their personal experiences.
For this reason, we should be concerned that, alongside the exciting possibilities offered by these media, a deep and melancholic dissatisfaction with interpersonal relations, or a harmful sense of isolation, can also arise.”
From the Holy Father’s timely wisdom I learn that:
– Unevaluated dependence on science and technology makes us merely mechanical.
– Noisy world does not allow us to live a reflective and prayerful life.
– Science and technology should not replace our traditional wisdom comes from our cultural heritage.
– Modern amenities such as communication and scientific data should not make us narrow minded.
– Interpersonal relationships should not be affected by quick electronic communications that are merely mechanical.
– Communication gadgets should not make us self-seeking individuals who tend to become more and more lonely.
Modern world with its busy life is often based on materialism, consumerism and individualism. They are more on self-promotion that builds a world for oneself. It tends to give less and less importance to interior life, inner peace, serenity and stillness of body, mind and soul. There is very little place for solitude and silence.
Silence is the foundation of interior life and inner peace. Silence is born out of solitude. It is being happy with oneself and with what oneself has. It is happy to be oneself. But the modern world explains solitude negatively as loneliness, deprival, isolation and seclusion. However, the spiritual and thoughtful world looks at solitude as sacred. Secular and materialistic world is frightened of silence because it challenges its status quo. Noise producing gadgets and the ways of consumeristic world keep us “busy” all the time and does not allow us to enjoy the solitude that is vital for peace–peace within us and peace around us.
Modern electronic communication to a certain extent promotes individualism–that is pleasure seeking and hedonistic. In a way it also contributes to the culture of waste that Pope talks about so very often. A critical evaluation will tell us that about 80% of our communication through social network is of no serious value. Besides wasting our precious time we are merely exciting our body and mind and destroy our silence, solitude and peace.
Recently Pope Francis revealed that he has not watched television for a long time. When asked for the reason he said that it isolates himself from himself and does not do him any good. He joked about himself that he is ancient and be Those who produce or distribute content, like television stations, have the responsibility of choosing programs that strengthen values, that help people grow and prepare for life, “that build up society, that move us forward, not drag up down.”
longs to stone age. He advocates that “television stations should produce or distribute content that are healthy and have the responsibility of choosing programs that strengthen values, that help people grow and prepare for life, ‘that build up society, that move us forward, not drag up down’.”
There is a underlying connection between silence, prayer, faith, love service and peace. One leading to another. Let us not break the healthy connection between these human Christian values through our thoughtless use of modern communication trends. Let our communication help us to build better relationship within our own self, others and God.