REFLECTION: From digital to personal PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 29 August 2014 11:27

BY FR. ROY CIMAGALA

 

We need to be aware of the dangers of some aspects of our fast-growing digital culture. More than that, we need to be adequately equipped to handle those dangers before they come, when they come and after they have come.

Not everything in our digital technologies is good to us. The tremendous convenience and possibilities they offer us can benefit us wrongly. They can give us a false sense of joy and accomplishment. They can spoil us as when they nail us to care only of our immediate needs while sacrificing the long-term ones.

Yes, they can blind us from the more precious values in life to attend simply to the pressing ones here and now. They can stimulate our senses, emotions and intellect, but can weaken or even deaden our spiritual life. In short, our sense of priority would be thrown into disarray.

Many people are getting so hooked and addicted to digital games, social networking, for example, that they even forget to take their meals properly or to take care of their hygiene. You can just imagine what would happen in the area of their prayer life and their other spiritual duties.

If this predicament extends unabatedly and hardens to become the norm and culture of our life, we can reason to expect a significant deformation of our humanity. We would be just carnal and materialistic, and forget about our spiritual dimension.

We would be self-absorbed, instead of being mindful and thoughtful of others and especially of God, as we ought to be. And as the gospel would say, we may seem to gain the world, but then lose our soul.

Things can come to the point of us losing the capacity to think, not to mention, to speak and behave, in terms of our faith, hope and charity. We would simply be governed by the movements of the flesh, the stirrings of the hormones, the shifty trends and fashions of the world around.

In short, our sense of reality would be greatly impaired and impoverished. The organic relation between the objective and the subjective in our life would be practically broken or at least dysfunctional.

This brings us to the main point of this particular column, giving us a light of hope amid the gathering darkness of the dangers of our digital culture.

We need to see that this digital culture of ours that otherwise is a wonderful development in our life help us to become better persons, rather than deplete the substance of our being persons and converting us into objects or automatons or humanoids or androids.

To be a person means not to be just an individual, much less, individualistic, but one who knows how to relate himself to God and to all the others. The powers and faculties endowed in us, making us as a someone not a something, are meant precisely to connect us to God, our Creator and Father, and to all the others who are actually our brothers and sisters.

It should be the aim and effect of the digital technologies to enhance this identity and dignity of our being a person, and not to hinder or undermine it. When they make us self-absorbed, indifferent to others and especially to God, then they become a curse to us rather than a great help.

When they simply arouse our emotions and intellectual prowess, and desensitize us from our duty to love and care for the others, then they are used wrongly. When they litter with traces of pride, vanity, sarcasm, bitterness, discord and division, greed, envy, lust, etc., then they certainly are very harmful to us.

We need to learn how to humanize and personalize this digital culture we have today. For this, we have to make the conscious effort to remind ourselves of this need, pausing properly to be able to relate our digital work and time to God and to the others.

We should avoid plunging immediately into it without conditioning ourselves properly, since we can easily fall into the trap of the digital wonders that can insulate us from God and the others, and thereby dehumanizing and depersonalizing us.

If we have the proper mindset, what would usually happen is for us to be most delicate, refined, charitable, patient, courteous, at least in our comments and communications on FB, for example.

We would be open-minded and quite tolerant in our dialogues especially when we have to sort out things and resolve issues and differences of opinions. We would be magnanimous and quick to forgive.

We need to make the digital personal!