Globalization of Superficiality

by Tim Muldoon

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 Culture at the Crossroads
Tim Muldoon is the author of Longing to Love, Seeds of Hope, and The Ignatian Workout, as well as many essays. He was the inaugural director of the Church in the 21st Century Center at Boston College, where he now serves in the Office of University Mission and Ministry and teaches in the Honors Program. He, his wife, and their children live west of Boston.

Latest posts by Tim Muldoon (see all)

July 11, 2011

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Bob July 13, 2011 at 10:07 am

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.

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

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!

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