• Wartakanlah Injil kepada segala makhluk.
    Mrk 16:15

  • 你们往普天下去, 向一切受造物宣传福音
    谷 16:15

  • Everything is possible by the power of the Holy Spirit’s Grace.
    St Arnold Janssen

  • Segala sesuatu menjadi mungkin dalam kekuatan karunia Roh Kudus.
    St. Arnold Janssen

  • 我当传教士不是为主牺牲,而是上主给我的最大恩赐
    圣福若瑟神父

  • Với sức mạnh Ân Huệ của Chúa Thánh Thần, Mọi việc đều có thể được.
    St Arnoldus Janssen

  • Preach the Gospel to the whole creation./Anh em hãy đi khắp tứ phương thiên hạ, loan báo Tin Mừng cho mọi loài thọ tạo
    Mk 16:15

  • There are many different gifts, but it is always the same Spirit.
    1 Cor 12:4

  • And the Word became flesh and lived among us.
    Jn 1:14

  • Let the word of Christ, in all its richness, find a home with you.
    Col 3:16

  • To proclaim the Good News is the first and greatest act of love of neighbour.
    St Arnold Janssen

  • 传扬天国福音是第一且最大的爱近人行动
    圣杨生•爱诺德神父

  • Có nhiều đặc sủng khác nhau, nhưng chỉ có một Thần Khí/
    1 Cor. 14:4

  • 圣言成了血肉,寄居在我们中间
    若 1:14

  • Ada rupa-rupa karunia, tetapi Roh satu
    1 Kor 12:4

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Monday, 30 October 2017 11:18

The reality of cyberspace - a reflection

 

Fr Anthony Le Duc SVD 150By Fr Anthony Le Duc SVD

Modern Internet technology has created for us an entity known as cyberspace. We hear this word often but do not always understand exactly what cyberspace is. Cyberspace is the notional environment in which communication over computer networks takes place. It is a metaphorical space that exists in our minds, especially when we are chatting with friends on social networks and feel as if we are meeting them in a particular space. While cyberspace is not physical, it is not necessarily virtual (or unreal). As Pope Benedict XVI asserted, “The digital environment is not a parallel or purely virtual world, but is part of the daily experience of many people, especially the young.”

Indeed, for some, gone is the day where they speak of going online or offline as if one sets out the time to take a stroll in some sort of digital wonderland only to return to real life with all of its real world issues and responsibilities. In today’s globalised digital world, the Internet is a place where we keep in touch with family and friends, meet new people and form new relationships, do business and keep updated on local and international news, search for information on anything from how to tie a tie to how to make Thai papaya salad, and share photos, ideas, and feelings with others on social networks, blogs, or forums.

Cyberspace Anthonys reflection 450Pope John Paul II compared cyberspace to the ancient Roman public forum “where politics and business were transacted, where religious duties were fulfilled, where much of the social life of the city took place, and where the best and the worst of human nature was on display.” In Thailand, a comparable image is the large markets where people congregate to work, to socialise and gossip, even to make merit to the monks who make their morning rounds with the begging bowls. In some ways, cyberspace is symbolic of this town market with all the bustling sights, sounds, and colours fused together.

Cyberspace, thus is no longer a place out there but integrally connected to our life so that it is becoming increasingly more artificial to make distinctions between our online and offline life. One only needs to take a glance at the line of Bangkok office workers patiently cueing up at motorbike taxi stations every evening to see how prevalent the Internet is in their lives. The same scene can be observed in the Korean metro where people of all generations are as much immersed in cyberspace through the window of their smart phone as they are solidly supported by the seat on the train which they occupy.

However we may feel about cyberspace, we can no longer deny its very real existence in our lives as well as its role in shaping our thoughts and feelings, and ultimately our spiritual and theological outlook. Rather than seeing cyberspace as a bottomless pit fraught with dangers, we can see it as a space where relationships can be created and maintained without being hampered by distance or religious and cultural limitations. It can also represent in its positive interpretation, a response to a deep-seated human need to come together in ways that transcend physical and social boundaries. Cyberspace will not go away. What is important for us to consider is how we can make cyberspace truly a place that supports and reinforces relationships among ourselves instead of a place that extends, amplifies and intensifies conflict, violence and hatred that is already ubiquitous in our physical space.

Fr Anthony Le Duc is a Divine Word Missionary of the AUS Province, currently working with migrants and refugees in Bangkok, in the Thai District of the Province.