Workshop on Digital Mysticism and Prophecy

Rencontre Internationale des jeunes soeurs du Cénacle

Juillet 2019

26 to 28 July Workshop on Digital Mysticism and Prophecy with Fr. Johnny Go, sj

We watch and reflected on a movie entitled “Nosedive” (an episode of the series Black Mirror on Netflix). In this video, while the story is set in the future, we have seen that many things are already present in our real lives today.  We already experience for example: the use of ‘like’ on social networks and the dependence of fragile personalities on them; the loss of attention to others because we are fixed on our smartphone; the importance of ‘image’ more than feelings and compassion.   Patrizia (Europe-Togo)

We entered into the ‘digital world’ which it is like a ‘new world’!  In fact, technology is not just a tool or instrument on social networks, it has become a culture!

In this new culture there are aspects that can be a danger for human life: for example, we no longer know what is truly real and everyone can express what they feel with brutality and without nuances. This puts moral values in danger. We do not know what is true or false!  With pluralism the temptation is to fall into fundamentalism or relativism which does not help true discernment! Eliane (Madagascar)!

This second day with Father Johnny was very rich with an interactive and dynamic pedagogy and the fundamental elements to better understand the impact of digital technology on our lives.

The Internet has an impact and unexpected consequences in five areas:

1.      Values :   "Emotivism" – means that moral judgment depends on our feelings.

2.      Thought and truth:  The mass of information diminishes our ability to concentrate and contemplate. We were invited to ask ourselves: Are we ‘hunters/gatherers’ in the digital data forest or ‘cultivators’ of knowledge?

3.     Relationships:  Communication through technology facilitates relationships when it is not possible to meet face to face, however, the relationship is primarily an interpersonal experience involving the presence and also non-verbal language.

4.     Sense of self, of my identity:  Social approval puts a lot of pressure on the generation born in the digital technology age.  Social networks have an influence on the "social self" and also on the "real self".

5.     Silence, the sacred. The silence, the solitude allows oneself to connect to the deep self. It is important to sense what rhythm and degree of "digital silence" to offer young people to help them not to be permanently connected.

All this requires discernment to better live and manage our religious life and assume our mission. Patricia A. (Europe-Togo)

Today, Fr Johnny Go led us in exploring the concept of ‘critical thinking’. He used two questionnaires to help us and both surveys were rather revealing.

The first pointed out how important it was to learn to be “factful” in terms of data. We need to be aware that we may sway towards a pessimistic and overdramatic worldview that is often influenced by the same tendency in the media regarding news reporting. We need to learn to verify the source and reliability of information we get.

The second survey gave an indication of one's beliefs in the different domains of knowledge - either as an ‘absolutist’, ‘relativist’ or an ‘evaluativist’. For me, it is important to learn that the call towards critical thinking, and towards discernment, is to learn to move beyond experience and the understanding of the experience. It is important to develop skills as an ‘evaluativist’ who sees knowledge as more than simple facts (like an ‘absolutist’) or opinions (like a ‘relativist’), and more as judgments (to ask e.g. “How reasonable is the meaning I give to my experience?') In this way, knowledge may change as judgement changes.     Xiaowei (Asia)

 “class picture” with Fr. Johnny Go, sj.