The challenges of our time
I remember, for example, that at the end of the last century, in my country there were only four or five television channels, and we all stuck to that offer without any complex. In that very recent past, the telephone was just another device anchored to a place in the home where whoever wanted to make a call went, and its mobility was reduced to that space. If we did not have one of these devices installed in our home, we had to go out into the street, looking for a public one, to communicate. Not to mention the letters that were sent by traditional mail, which took at least a month to reach their destination.
All that began to change when the first personal computers arrived on the market. From that moment on, technology accelerated its pace in such a way that it could never slow down again. Then cell phones appeared, at first only to make calls and after some time, you could send text messages through it. But it was the Internet, the network of networks, that provided the ideal scenario for the unstoppable evolution of communications and for the multifunctional development of computers and cell phones. All this has caused, as we said at the beginning, that we act in this era from the exaggeration in the smallest tasks that we carry out. The number of messages sent through I don't know how many social networks is incalculable. Photos and videos no longer represent, as they used to, the most special moments in life that we want to keep for posterity. No, they are unimaginable quantities of these so-called multimedia files that circulate at incredible speed around the world and that, just as they reached our receivers, they can be deleted immediately. The same has happened with music, with jokes, with books, with news, with commerce... Television, for its part, has not lagged behind either and currently offers an endless number of channels active twenty-four hours a day that, in order to watch them all, we would need to be unoccupied for a considerable period of time.
This is the world we live in: exaggerated, ephemeral and instantaneous. We cannot commit the clumsiness of fighting against the present, assuming a nostalgic attitude towards a past that will not return, because humanity will continue its unstoppable pace and that always implies significant changes in our habits. But we can be attentive to the negative consequences that the new technologies can generate, which, in one way or another, could lead to incongruent manifestations with respect to the designs of God and the norms that govern life in society.
The immense quantity of information, for example, that transits through all the media that we handle today can induce us to trivialize it. If within the same accumulation of news that is renewed over and over again, we read that two famous artists are getting divorced, that a sporting event has been suspended, that a tsunami has devastated all the inhabitants of a town, that the UN will meet again... it is possible that a receiver, accustomed only to decode without stopping to reflect on the message, assumes with the same attitude of unconcern each of these pieces of information; that is to say, in the face of the quantity of data that he receives at every instant, the fact that the inhabitants of a town perish due to the onslaught of the sea, possesses for him the same importance as that of two artists separating.
Within this same perspective, it may happen that people addicted to social networks, devalue their environment and assume as exemplary paradigms only those famous figures that swarm through cyberspace. These characters, of course, are not intrinsically negative role models. A large contingent of them are dedicated to the study and creation of content that greatly enriches this attractive virtual world; they therefore deserve respect and admiration. But we must not forget that in our daily actions, in our physical world, there are hard-working, responsible people who also carry out extraordinary works and who, in general, are absent from the media effervescence. Our parents, our relatives, some friends, perhaps, are also examples worthy of imitation, but they go unnoticed because our attention is entirely directed towards digital communications.
Another of the pernicious consequences, as important as the previous ones, that arise from these excessive communicational relationships is the overexposure of the everyday. It seems to us reckless to exhibit through these networks, which in a matter of seconds can reach the whole world, every step we take in our daily lives. It is not convenient, in any way, that the global village finds out what we eat at this moment, how we are dressed, who we hug, who we take home, where we go out... these may be trifles without any importance, but it can happen, especially in our insecure latitudes, that we put ourselves at risk to a crime always attentive to any opportunity for their misdeeds; in addition, there are things so personal that it is in bad taste to submit them to the unhealthy curiosity of the general public.
For all these reasons, the task of the three basic institutions, the home, the school and the church, in the formation of an exemplary citizen, ethically correct, respectful and practicing the word of God, is immeasurable in the face of the challenges posed by the convulsive reality of recent times, therefore, it is essential to assume a very active role to live up to the commitment, as I believe they have done so far. Your mission continues unstoppable along the evangelizing paths of the Creator and through the paths traced by the virtuous humanism of all people who aspire to a better world.