Communication Losing Ground, Says Philosopher

Being «Connected» Isn’t the Same Thing, Clarifies Speaker

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MEXICO CITY, JAN. 14, 2008 ( Youth are acquiring a mental habit of living «connected» — connected, that is, to the Internet. But being «connected» is not the same as communicating, warns a Chilean philosopher.

Jaime Antúnez, director of the cultural and anthropological magazine Humanitas, was one of the speakers today at the 6th World Meeting of Families underway in Mexico City.

His address took a look at what values really are, considering on what basis we can affirm that a certain human act is good or evil, that a certain behavior is just or unjust, that a certain activity is correct or not.

Antúnez said that in the modern world there is a grave disorder in the language associated with morality. The same words are used, he noted, but in large part or even entirely, the understanding of these words has been lost, both in theory and in the practice of morality.

Before addressing the some 10,000 participants in the family meeting, Antúnez spoke with ZENIT about some of the themes relating to values and the family.

Asked if families, which should be the principal educators in values, are losing ground to the communications media in values education, Antúnez acknowledged that things have only gotten worse since John Paul II wrote his «Letter to Families» in 1994.

«Consider,» he said,» just the increasing dependence that youth live today on a whole variety of electronic media, which technology is offering every day. It’s clear that — besides the useful benefit that the good use of many of these can obviously generate — the mental habit of living ‘connected’ is spreading. This is a worrying situation because of the marked dehumanizing implication this has, which displaces the natural and personal [state of] living ‘communicated,’ a quality that characterizes a society of human persons.

«While the second quality, as the word says, is proper of interpersonal communion, the same thing does not happen with connection, increasingly impersonal, both a catalyst and a symptom of the solitude that contemporary man lives, in particular, millions of youth.»

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