In morality we experience the world as binding desire and announcing an order to which we must be conformed. This order is not as a factual given like “we only have so much money to finish the study”, since I can desire my monetary constraints weren’t there and work to eliminate them, but part of being a moral constraint is to the need to accept it and to never work against it. The technocratic is in the service of desire while the moral is a constraint upon desire. Outside heaven, what good is a morality that only commands what everyone was already doing and wanted to do?
It’s easy enough to see why we are in love with what extends our will and fulfills it more perfectly, but the flip side of this is recognizing the aversion we have to what restricts will and put it under constraint. The first sort of fact will get praised forever for all its wonders and benefits, and how it has thrown the light on all the plain facts of the world. But all the praise we heap on it should alert us to a temptation we have to ignore, downplay, or dismiss as subjective the facts which are just as plain but which push back against desire and deny it something it wants.
…it’s obvious that the gatekeepers of the old world have been bypassed. There’s now a direct audience-to-ideologue connection. Jordan Peterson often points to this direct connection as one of the key binding agents in the Intellectual Dark Web – that people like him, Sam Harris, Ben Shapiro, Dave Rubin, have built their own vast audiences from nothing but charisma and ideas worth hearing, on the new technologies of YouTube and podcast.
Why is this happening? For answers, check out Economist Tyler Cowen in his new video titled “The New Era of Segregation,” argues that,
In our algorithm-driven world, digital servants cater to our individual preferences like never before – finding us tailored restaurants, TV shows, even our next spouse. On the individual level, this is all very good. We’re finding better matches and our daily lives are improving.
But what happens at the macro level? The picture becomes less rosy – increased segregation, exploding rents, and a less dynamic economy.
While economic concerns are important–after all, how can the Church serve the poor (much less help lift them out of poverty!) with the economic resources to do so?
But Cowen’s video raises another, pastoral question.
In an increasingly “curated” culture, what happens to the Church? What happens to the parish as a local, eucharistic community?
With Cowen, I think the technological advances of the late 20th and early 21st centuries are great. No question about this!
In a fallen world, no good thing is simply good. Sin always mixes in.
As Christians, as people of good will, and as citizens we can’t lose sight of either the blessings or risk inherent in technology. As Aristotle taught us, virtue is about finding the middle way between extremes. This is as true with our use of technology as it is in our personal lives.
Do take a moment to watch Cowen’s video.