Reading this blog means you take advantage of the rapidly-developing world of technology, but are too many of us addicted to the instant gratification that it provides?
2 presenters will address the issue during the ITMS General Meeting in Chicago. They are calling their presentation, “Technology: Thomas Merton’s Call for Caution”. Here is how they describe it:
Thomas Merton commented frequently on the impact of new technologies in cybernetics, weaponry, and tools used in every aspect of the western way of life. In this session, we explore Merton’s spirituality and monastic practices as these led him to become a prophetic critic of the role of the communication revolution in modernity, and an agent in social transformation.
Paul Dekar will focus on Merton’s growing concerns about the communication revolution and wanted people to reclaim true contact with the spiritual ground of their being through contemplative practices. He cautioned people to differentiate needs from wants and ends from means. He encouraged people to use technology to better the world.
Gary Purdy will reflect on what Merton might say had he lived to experience the explosion of new technologies in the area of communications. The paper will explore how Merton would have brought his spirituality and his monastic vocation to bear on such questions as these:
- Would Merton celebrate and use cell phones, voice mail, the internet, facebook, instant messaging, and information technologies?
- Would Merton anticipate potential but unforeseen consequences that these innovations have in education, relationships, time management, writing, and science?
- Would Merton repeat his warning that there is a danger of technology becoming an end in itself and arrogating to itself all that is best and most vital in human effort?
- Would Merton be concerned that humans might come to serve machines rather than being served by them?
Gary Purdy is University Professor Emeritus and former Dean of Engineering, McMaster University; he is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada; one of ten Canadian Foreign Associates of the U. S. National Academy of Engineering; and holds a Doctorate “Honoris Causa” from Institut Polytechnique de Grenoble (France).
Paul R. Dekar is Professor Emeritus of Evangelism/Mission, Memphis Theological Seminary, and author of Building Community on God’s Love: Thomas Merton and the New Monasticism (Eugene, 2011).
Look for more details about the other presenters to come…