Laudato Si 106: The Globalization Of The Technocratic Paradigm

Earth from Apollo 8The encyclical letter Laudato Si is available here on the Vatican website. Section II of Chapter Three looks at “The Globalization Of The Technocratic Paradigm.” Pope Francis is concerned that this paradigm has brushed aside considerations of other ways.

106. The basic problem goes even deeper: it is the way that humanity has taken up technology and its development according to an undifferentiated and one-dimensional paradigm. This paradigm exalts the concept of a subject who, using logical and rational procedures, progressively approaches and gains control over an external object. This subject makes every effort to establish the scientific and experimental method, which in itself is already a technique of possession, mastery and transformation. It is as if the subject were to find itself in the presence of something formless, completely open to manipulation.

Actually, this doesn’t strike me as new. People have enslaved and dominated others. Simply because they could. Perhaps slavery is relegated to the dark peripheries of the culture today, but it still exists. Children, women, and the needy are easy prey for those who grab power simply because they can.

A previous era of harmony is cited:

Men and women have constantly intervened in nature, but for a long time this meant being in tune with and respecting the possibilities offered by the things themselves. It was a matter of receiving what nature itself allowed, as if from its own hand.

Perhaps. But ancient cultures were limited only by technology. If the ancients had been able to strip-mine, to pollute, to exterminate, they mi9ght well have succumbed to the temptation.

Now, by contrast, we are the ones to lay our hands on things, attempting to extract everything possible from them while frequently ignoring or forgetting the reality in front of us.

The scarcity of friendship has consequences:

Human beings and material objects no longer extend a friendly hand to one another; the relationship has become confrontational. This has made it easy to accept the idea of infinite or unlimited growth, which proves so attractive to economists, financiers and experts in technology. It is based on the lie that there is an infinite supply of the earth’s goods, and this leads to the planet being squeezed dry beyond every limit. It is the false notion that “an infinite quantity of energy and resources are available, that it is possible to renew them quickly, and that the negative effects of the exploitation of the natural order can be easily absorbed”.[Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, 462.]

I don’t know that the notion of infinite resources is a lie as much as it is a self-deception based on immediate gratification.


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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