Behind the Headlines

  • Would Aquinas Friend You on Facebook?

    October 24, 2011
    written by

    In response to:

    "Liberty, Technology, and the Advent of Social Networking"
    The Intercollegiate ReviewOctober 17, 2011

    “Liberty’s excellence depended on its making virtue possible.”

    Think about that sentence. Then think about how liberty is generally understood today. “Virtue”? What does that have to do with liberty?

    To answer that question, read Gladden Pappin’s brilliant reflection in the brand-new issue of ISI’s Intercollegiate Review. An excerpt:

    “The community of the Internet is now as spiritual as the communion of saints once was, so it is fitting that McLuhan thought Thomas Aquinas’s angelology was important in understanding the media. Through social networking we receive not prayers and graces but links and likes. The church triumphant appears in virtual reality, where all things are possible and everything is realized virtually in the mystical body of the web. As in the resurrection of the body, logging off from your account gives you your body back, this time not glorified but fraught with anxiety, the church suffering after triumph rather than the reverse. Signed off from your account, you are now unaccounted-for. Reality itself becomes the afterlife, the postmodern No Exit where hell is virtual people. The advent of virtual reality, not to say the beginning of modern politics itself, detaches human beings from the consolations of church, city, and family that wayfarers in this life once thought they had. A late-modern Augustine could not see technology as just another dimension of alienation from our heavenly home. We are now aliens twice removed.”

    And don’t miss the rest of the new Intercollegiate Review, available here.

    The views and opinions expressed in Behind the Headlines content do not necessarily represent those of the Intercollegiate Studies Institute.

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