Spirituality in a Digital Age - Day Four

Some definitions before proceeding...

culture: “the dynamic and contentious process by which meaning, and with it power, is produced, circulated, and negotiated by all who reside within a particular cultural milieu. Hence, the notion of culture points simultaneously to the totality of relations and dynamics that constitute human life and to the specificity and concreteness of particular human historical configurations.” (Brown, Davaney, and Turner; 5)

medium: “a culture in which meaning is grown” (Hess)

media: “varies of cultures in which meaning emerges” (Hess)

How we understand or approach media (as "technology") often falls into the category of a techne (to do, craft or art) kind of knowing...

       or episteme (to know how, scientific knowledge)...

       as opposed to nous (understanding, thinking about thinking)....

          phronesis (practical knowing, practical wisdom)

                          or sophia (knowing love, mystical wisdom)...


In looking at what is happening in social media (and what is happening in us), something becomes illuminated--namely, something critical about who we are as human beings, and societies...as created, creating, social beings...




“If we feel intimately united with all that exists, then sobriety and care will well up spontaneously. The poverty and austerity of Saint Francis were no mere veneer of asceticism, but something much more radical: a refusal to turn reality into an object simply to be used and controlled...”

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.”

Laudate Si’  -- Pope Francis

4 principles in Evangelii Gaudium

• time is greater than space

• unity prevails over conflict

• realities are more important than ideas

• the whole is greater than the part

Parker Palmer talks about how, if we care about justice, we are daring to stand in the gap between what we know can be, and what is our current reality. In this position, it is inevitable that our hearts will break...the question then becomes, will we be broken open, and enter into new, deeper forms of relationship, or will it be broken into (hardened, razor-sharp, unusable) shards?

how social media enables
across distance

(Something else to explore, in case you're curious...)

(a Boston College seminar-based blog from 2012 that accompanied Guestbook: )

Re: policies...
which are most important to you?

Our ideas/thoughts:

- using photos: any public photos taken can be used; parents can sign non-authorization forms (better than signing authorization forms; helps raise awareness of the potential pitfalls of sharing photos)

- forming a social media committee

- increasing transparency (better than secrecy)

- addressing use / misuse of power

-Diocese of Dallas says: Children shouldn't join adult social media groups...??? (Rather, can we be present, in responsible ways?)

-Be aware that your profile is public to your boss, co-workers, etc. (And emails are public!)

-Be wary of organizations that are crossing social media privacy boundaries... don't give out your account access

-tourist photos--> we take pictures, to prove we were there! It's about our authenticity!... except, who else is in the photo?

-private/personal public persona (site) > be aware of what you make public...and what data companies are collecting on you. (Today even ordinary people, non-celebrities, can be taken out of context. Today there is no private vs. a public sphere; it's personal vs. collective. )

-social networking rather than social media -- i.e., community is the issue/key.

-Consider: How is AGENCY, AUTHENTICITY, and AGENCY are being defined in these documents... ?

engaging justice,

living into resilience

and hope

...so many resources, stories, critical videos/projects,

that circulate because they RESONATE

how will you plan your own learning in these spaces?

write a personal learning plan…

From Pang:

                 eight steps to contemplative computing
• be human

• be calm

• be mindful

• make conscious choices

• use devices in ways that extend your abilities

• seek flow

• use technologies in ways that engage you with the world

• use or abstain in ways that are restorative

Practical challenge:

Spend some time in quiet contemplation of your current prayer life, and the ways in which your participation (or lack thereof) in social media might invite consolation and/or desolation...