What would be an example today of how the "profound and rapid changes" Gaudium et Spes discusses recoil upon humans in their individual and collective desires and decisions, and upon the ways in...

What would be an example today of how the "profound and rapid changes" Gaudium et Spes discusses recoil upon humans in their individual and collective desires and decisions, and upon the ways in which we relate to things and people?  

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thanatassa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Perhaps the greatest change is the ubiquity and intrusiveness of the internet. Although the Council might welcome the way in which this technology offers the possibility of lifting people out of poverty and creating seamless global communications, they would probably have been very concerned about several of the effects of technology, especially mobile phones.

First, the Council would be concerned that phones can decrease authentic and loving ways of interacting with other people. When we see people sitting together but checking their mobile phones rather than being completely focused on their friends or loved ones or families eating dinner separately each isolated in a technological bubble, we see technology become an obstacle to authentic human relationships. While the Council would have viewed positively the way social media enables us to keep in touch with distant friends, they would have been concerned about the way we may substitute generic broadcasts and updates for actually meeting our friends in person and giving them our full attention.

Next, while the promise of technology was to give everyone the opportunity to have access to knowledge and the tools for creating a fulfilling life free of economic want, within wealthy countries, the effect of technology has been to increase economic inequality, causing an even greater divide between the technologically privileged and an underclass lacking access to and skill with technology. As poverty and inequality were a major concern of Vatican II, the Council would have been quite concerned about the growth of economic inequality.

Finally, while the internet promises to give us access to the entire world, and the ability to learn about and interact with people from across the globe, it often becomes a way to stay within in bubble of people of our own socioeconomic and political views, rather than a tool for the sort of global and universal sympathies recommended by the Council. 

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Gaudium et Spes

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