Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Do Computers Take Away Our Humanity?

If you don’t read the technology articles in the Wall Street Journal, you should. They’re just a click away. I keep an eye out for news on tablets, smartphones, and e-book readers, myself. I’m writing a novel myself, and it’s important for me to track their development. A thought hit me this morning while I was reading, and it went a lot bigger than screen sizes and sales numbers.

This morning found me reading a piece on ultrabooks. Basically, an ultrabook is a skinny laptop. As I read about which companies were releasing them, and how they thought customers would respond, I had the big thought.

Why in the world are people paying so much scrutiny to pieces of plastic when there is so much death in this world? I’ve also been reading the Wall Street Journal for details on violent clashes in Yemen, the bloody aftermath of the Joplin tornado, and tensions on the Gaza Strip. Human suffering is everywhere. Can we forget these fancy toys and focus on the pain of real people?

That probably won’t happen any time soon. But I couldn’t let that be an answer for a question that big.

After some thought, I got it. Of course! Technology is the very thing that has been helping some of these people in their suffering. Social media has been a huge part of the Arab Spring. Food processing gives us the ability to keep food fresh, and transport it out to poor countries that need it. But what about these fancy laptops that only the rich can buy? They help us to collect and create data and information. If we use it right, we can make a better society that can share this information and enrich its citizens.

It’s our duty to follow technology, then. Not only for a hobby, but because it’s the tools that we use to make society better and better. We can keep helping these other poor countries, and when they come to our level, we can have perfection.

Well, not perfection, but as close as we can get. Doubly good reason to keep an eye on who comes to power in this Arab Spring, by the way. Thoughts?

Monday, May 23, 2011

What's the John Paul II Generation?

I’ve heard a lot of talk about the “John Paul II Generation”, and I’m not sold on it. The way some people talk, my generation is going to do everything. We’re going to topple Roe vs. Wade, make peace in the Middle East, and stop R-rated comedies from making any money. That’s hyperbole, but don’t you get the idea?

For those of you are so optimistic about my generation, ask yourself some questions. Who are we, first off? What do you mean by the “John Paul II Generation”? Are you thinking of rich white Catholic college students?

I don’t know what terms you’re using, so bear with me and let me use mine. If they are wrong, I beg you to correct me. When I hear “John Paul II generation”, I think of white Catholic college students like me. It makes sense. People call college students the future leaders of America all the time. With our degrees, learning, and youthful energy, how could we fail?

One of my professors at Benedictine College voiced a worry that will haunt me for years to come. I don’t remember the precise words, but here’s the gist of it.

“There is a strong danger of graduates from such a Catholic environment to be so brittle, that on contact with opposing viewpoints they will break instead of responding.”

Do not mistake me. My fellow youth and I are doing great things at Benedictine College. But we must be cautious. In the whirlwind of Daily Mass, Adoration, FOCUS Bible Study, and pro-life activism, it is far too easy to forget the outside world. One of the reasons I write this blog is to make contact with that outside world. An anonymous commenter criticized Confirmation a couple months ago, and set off a debate that I sorely needed.

What good is a Catholic who cannot make dialogue with the rest of the world? The word “catholic” means universal, doesn’t it? If Catholic youth want to make a difference, the kind that people are talking about, they must be able to interact anywhere in society, not just in the Campus Ministry office. That’s why I want to branch out when I go back to campus, and make friends with more diverse backgrounds and interests.

This is not merely self-improvement. This is a responsibility. Have you seen Black Hawk Down? Have you read All Quiet on the Western Front? Do you keep an eye on world news? What if my generation had to fight World War III tomorrow? How are we going to interact with China?

Think about that. Then tell me what my generation can do. Here's "Ain't No Rest For The Wicked" by Cage the Elephant, to remind me and you that we're all rotten sinners.

If you want this song for yourself, by the way, here's a link...

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Kingdom Trilogy

This is the first new post in nearly a month, and I have a good reason why. I have been hard at work, studying for my finals, and working on a special project that I am announcing publicly for the first time.

I am self-publishing a novel this fall. It’s called The Kingdom: The Quest, and it is the result of four years’ work, sacrifice, and ideas. I love it dearly, and I cannot wait to share it with the world on October 20, 2011.

Find out more on the official Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Kingdom-Trilogy/171441202912869

Follow the official Twitter page, and keep an eye out for future developments: http://twitter.com/#!/TheKingdomBooks

Follow the production blog, where I share my progress report on perfecting The Kingdom: The Quest and accidentally mention juicy details from time to time: http://thekingdomthequest.blogspot.com/

I thank you deeply for reading The Room of Shattered Glass. Really, I do. It’s been great. I love your comments, and there have been memorable things said since last fall. I’ll keep posting, but the posts won’t be as long as before. In the meantime, I invite you to explore The Kingdom: The Quest with me.