108. The idea of promoting a different cultural paradigm and employing technology as a mere instrument is nowadays inconceivable. The technological paradigm has become so dominant that it would be difficult to do without its resources and even more difficult to utilize them without being dominated by their internal logic. It has become countercultural to choose a lifestyle whose goals are even partly independent of technology, of its costs and its power to globalize and make us all the same. Technology tends to absorb everything into its ironclad logic, and those who are surrounded with technology “know full well that it moves forward in the final analysis neither for profit nor for the well-being of the human race”, that “in the most radical sense of the term power is its motive – a lordship over all”. As a result, “man seizes hold of the naked elements of both nature and human nature”. Our capacity to make decisions, a more genuine freedom and the space for each one’s alternative creativity are diminished.
109. The technocratic paradigm also tends to dominate economic and political life. The economy accepts every advance in technology with a view to profit, without concern for its potentially negative impact on human beings. Finance overwhelms the real economy. The lessons of the global financial crisis have not been assimilated, and we are learning all too slowly the lessons of environmental deterioration. Some circles maintain that current economics and technology will solve all environmental problems, and argue, in popular and non-technical terms, that the problems of global hunger and poverty will be resolved simply by market growth. They are less concerned with certain economic theories which today scarcely anybody dares defend, than with their actual operation in the functioning of the economy. They may not affirm such theories with words, but nonetheless support them with their deeds by showing no interest in more balanced levels of production, a better distribution of wealth, concern for the environment and the rights of future generations. Their behaviour shows that for them maximizing profits is enough. Yet by itself the market cannot guarantee integral human development and social inclusion. At the same time, we have “a sort of ‘superdevelopment’ of a wasteful and consumerist kind which forms an unacceptable contrast with the ongoing situations of dehumanizing deprivation”, while we are all too slow in developing economic institutions and social initiatives which can give the poor regular access to basic resources. We fail to see the deepest roots of our present failures, which have to do with the direction, goals, meaning and social implications of technological and economic growth.
“The idea of promoting a different cultural paradigm and employing technology as a mere instrument is nowadays inconceivable.” Do you agree with this? Last week we considered our attachment to our cars. Is it inconceivable to consider them mere instruments? Some people do – to a point. It is difficult to make genuinely free decisions about our dependence upon technologies because we are so caught up in this way of thinking.
“The technocratic paradigm also tends to dominate economic and political life.” How do we measure the well-being of a nation? The GDP? How do we measure progress? Advances in technology? Do you remember some years ago, we were told that for the sake of the economy we had to consume more? (How shopping is good for the economy, 2011) What does this tell us about our goals as a society? Have we failed to see “the deepest roots of our present failures, which have to do with the direction, goals, meaning and social implications of technological and economic growth”?
Watch the news this week and count how many times the reporter talks about “growth”. Can you see other indications of the technocratic paradigm?
Lenten Video Series
You are invited to join the Dismantling Racism committee in a series of video presentations and group discussions on “Breaking Open the Sin of Racism”. The series will take place on five Mondays in Lent from 7:00 - 8:00 pm. ET. The dates are March 6, 13, 20, 27 and April 3.
“Breaking Open the Sin of Racism” is a collaboration between the Archdiocese of Cincinnati and the University of Dayton. We will examine racism from its global roots to its history in the United States, and its effects on people and social structures. Topics such as the invisibility of privilege, whiteness, implicit bias, systemic racism, racism as sin, and a personal experience of racism are explored, particularly within the context of the Catholic Church.
To register for the series, please email Sister Sharon Wall (swall@AMSSND.org) and put Lent Dismantling Racism Series in the subject line. You will receive the Zoom link prior to each presentation.
Addressing Climate Change
We are all familiar with the three traditional Lenten practices: prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. All three of these can be applied to the environment.
Pope Francis in Laudato Si’ calls us to respond to the cries of the poor and the cries of the earth in our prayer. During Lent we may choose to incorporate environmental concerns into our prayer more intentionally.
Lenten almsgiving can take the form of donations to organizations that reach out to the human family throughout the globe or work to heal our earth so endangered by the current climate crisis.
The beginning of the season of Lent may be a good time to reflect on our food choices. The foods we choose to eat affect not only our personal well-being, but the health of the planet as well.
We invite you to examine the effect our food choices have on the health of the earth. The Gaples Institute of the Harvard School of Public Health has produced a very brief “mini-course” entitled Healthy Plate, Healthy Planet. This interactive slide program will take you about 10 to 15 minutes to complete.
It is available at https://www.gaplesinstitute.org/sustainable_diets/.
Consider adding one totally plant-based meal to your weekly menu as well as one meatless meal a week.
Want to challenge yourself and monitor your progress regarding Lenten abstinence? Take the Greener Lent challenge.
Go to https://greenerlent.org/ and sign up and see how your food choices can reduce your carbon footprint.
Ending Human Trafficking
February 22 in Canada
In Canada, February 22, is a day to raise awareness of the magnitude of modern day slavery in Canada and abroad and to take steps to combat human trafficking. Raise awareness. Talk about it to someone.