Globalization of Superficiality

Fr. Adolfo Nicolás, Superior General of the Society of Jesus, spoke to Belgian Jesuits in September 2010 about a “globalization of superficiality,” a result of a surfeit of information (Click here if you can’t see the video.)

I am mindful of Eliot’s lines from “Choruses from the rock”:

Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?

Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?

Nicholas Carr suggests in a provocative book that the internet is rewiring our brains and that we are losing the ability to think deeply.

The Examen is a meditative practice of not only reviewing one’s day, but also reviewing one’s knowledge: what one chooses to give over one’s attention to. It may be seen as the practice of avoiding superficiality by bringing before God that which merits our attention, our knowledge, our love. We are not human search engines churning mindless information: we are human beings capable of loving the way Christ loved, of giving our attentiveness and our intellectual powers to those places in the Kingdom where Christ calls us to work.

Stop surfing for two minutes: sit in silence and pray.

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Tim Muldoon

Contributes to Patheos at The Capstone
Tim Muldoon is the author a number of books, including The Ignatian Workout, Longing to Love, and The Ignatian Workout for Lent, as well as many essays. He edits the journal Integritas: Advancing the Mission of Catholic Higher Education, a publication of the Boston College Roundtable. He, his wife, and their children live west of Boston.

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4 Comments on Globalization of Superficiality

  1. I love the title, “the globilization of superficiality.”

    Parents of teenagers today normally get phone bills that go on for 10 to 20 pages because of all the “texting” their children do with their friends. My daughter said her son’s favorite message to send is “LOL” which means something among teens, apparently.

    Kids can’t spell anymore and with texting they don’t have to. Sadly, we are losing our ability to think.

  2. Paul O'Neill // July 14, 2011 at 2:06 am // Reply

    It is patently clear what Fr.Adolfo Nicolas S.J. says about superficiality

    on a world scale. One only has to turn on the television. The problem is we

    are poor at discerning what is real. MANY want to be entertained not educated. Thank God for men like the good father!

  3. Wuri Soedjatmiko // September 26, 2014 at 11:48 pm // Reply

    Dear DotMagis,

    I am a CLCer, preparing a paper and want to quote Fr. Adolfo Nicolas, SJ speech in the video. How could I give a credit in the citation because I did not see the date?

    Best regards,


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