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Interpreting Vatican Encyclical for our new age

Pope Francis - Vatican City

Reflections about how humanity is adapting towards changes in lifestyle, approach and culture can paint tiresome narratives from a philosophical, theological and rational standpoint.

In Laudato Si, The Encyclical by Pope Francis at Vatican stresses on a terminology called “rapidification” and “throwaway culture.” This continued acceleration of changes is grossly affecting humanity and our planet coupled with a more intensified pace of life and work blended with empty influences borrowed on hollow ideals. After a continued period of irrational confidence in human abilities, segments of society are now starting to revisit lost grounds in search of hope and sustainability.

The wind of change for a new age includes the effects of social exclusion, inequitable distribution, patterns of energy consumption, breakdown of family and culture ethos, new forms of aggression, loss of identify and also services. These are signs that growth of the last few decades or possibly centuries have not necessarily led to enhancement of integral development and quality of life. Some of these signs are also symptomatic of real social decline, the silent rupture of the bonds of integration and social cohesion.

Vatican City - Dr. Edmond Fernandes India
Saint Peter’s Basilica and square in Vatican City Rome Italy

Information overload today, leads to mental pollution where mere data gets accumulated with no basis of foundational and conventional wisdom driven by the fruit of self-examination, dialogue and inter-personal encounters among people. In the new age, internet communication has enabled a choose or eliminate kind of approach giving rise to a new type of contrived emotion which has more to do with devices and optics and less to do with nature and people in person.

While, the fruits of innovation provide us fodder for growth, in a way, it also shields us from direct contact with emotions like joys and sorrows, fears and pains. This must help us recognise that while we gadgetify our lives, we need to build conventional wisdom and prevent social isolation.

While the Vatican Encyclical in Fratelli Tutti goes on to talk about how historical consciousness has deteriorated, it highlights new forms of cultural colonization built on limitless consumption and expressions of empty individualism.

While we try to achieve or desire to achieve new ways of growth, we must begin to educate people on how to not abandon tradition and how to not allow superficial pleasing to rob our soul, suck out our spiritual identity and make us adapt a moral be damned approach. We need to work towards ensuring that the throwaway culture does not lead to a throwaway world so that under the garb of polluted progress, we leave behind misery, melancholy and abject failure as a show on earth.

Our modern world has a lot to learn from the past, even more to work hard to restore basic common sense and the ability to work harder to achieve better. The patterns of our world constantly change, but the foundation on which it is built, must remain. For the greater good of humanity and our moral universe at large.

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