All posts tagged: Internet

Byung-Chul Han and the Subversive Power of Contemplation

“Avita contemplativa without acting is blind, a vita activa without contemplation is empty,” writes the rising star of the German philosophical scene in his book The Scent of Time. Byung-Chul Han draws a nuanced account of “lingering with God in loving attentiveness” as a spur to action from the writings of Gregory the Great, Thomas Aquinas, and Meister Eckhart. He then defends the mystical tradition from his own spiritual master, Martin Heidegger.[1] The late Heidegger began to turn his philosophical attention to the path of contemplation, but it is at the heart of Han’s project from the start. He shows us how contemplation creates the time and space for meaningful action in a breathless, frantic, and networked modern society. Han’s next book, The Burnout Society, was a smash hit in Germany and his native South Korea that will soon be translated into 13 other languages. Unexpectedly, a meditation on the importance of contemplation, including prayerful contemplation, now animates debates about the future of the global Left,[2] the legacy of Foucault, and the direction of contemporary …

Review: “Cybertheology” by Fr. Antonio Spadaro, SJ

Much of what has been written in recent years about the intersection of theology and information and communications technology has focused on how best to use the Internet and social media to spread the Gospel. And in the context of the New Evangelization, we talk about evangelizing the culture, a far more difficult and ambitious task. If we are to succeed at either of these endeavors, then we have to know and understand today’s digital culture. This is harder than it would, at first, seem, largely because we miss the wood for the trees. Fr. Antonio Spadaro, SJ’s Cybertheology: Thinking Christianity in the Era of the Internet enables us to step back, take a deeper look, and reexamine our assumptions. It is a slim, timely book that raises more questions than it answers, one that manages to steer a middle course between enthusiastic appreciation of the Web’s capabilities on the one hand, and sharp criticism of its deficiencies on the other. This delicate balancing act is no easy feat, neither is it wholly successful, but …