It is not an uncommon sight: a couple at dinner, or a family at the park, eyes fixated not on each other's company, but on their devices.
This Lent, let us not only develop our spiritual life and meditation, but simultaneously, develop a sense of what is real in our life - whether that is recreation, time with family, the pursuit of the arts, or literature.
In fact, the inventor of the telephone, Alexander Graham Bell, considered his invention such an intrusion on his real work as a scientist, he refused to have a telephone in his study. Some 130 years later, Steve Jobs of Apple unveiled the iPhone. Within 10 years, the ubiquitous device and its competitors have turned real experiences into virtual ones. Yes, cell phones are one of the world's greatest inventions. But as convenient as they may be, they are still new to society and proper etiquette is still being established.
With this in mind, we invite you to consider seriously how you utilize these devices and technology in general during this Lent. During these we invite you to take the "Technology Detox Challenge," actions that can be taken to increase focus on what is real.
It is strongly encouraged to not only take on these suggestions personally, but to share them with your spouse, children, coworkers, and friends. By the end of Lent, a real difference will undoubtedly manifest itself in your personal life, but in those around you.
And most importantly, this temporal campaign of social self-improvement will allow you to more easily submit yourself to a deeper interior life of prayer and meditation.
Mr. Christopher Check - The Angelus Magazine, 2007
In the northwest corner of Michigan's Upper Peninsula, the Keweenaw Peninsula reaches some 70 miles out into the world's largest body of fresh water, Lake Superior. Hearing the name of one of Keweenaw's little villages, Laurium, should make the heart of any Notre Dame grad race. Laurium is the home of George Gipp–"The Gipper"–who, during his 4-year, 32-game career, scored no fewer than 83 touchdowns. Of those 32 games, the Fighting Irish lost only two. The name Laurium should fire the imaginations of Hellenophiles, as well, and also stir the souls of classicists, lovers of ancient history, and all citizens of Western civilization.
In 483 B.C., Herodotus tells us, a tribe of independent-minded folks called Athenians discovered silver in another Laurium, a small town southeast of Athens on the Aegean coast. A smart Athenian named Themistocles convinced his fellow citizens to use the Laurium silver to finance the building of a great navy. Four years later, that navy defeated the much larger Persian fleet at the battle of Salamis. Without that victory, the Greeks would have been swallowed up by the Persian Empire. Instead, freedom flowered in Attica, and all that is great and graceful in the West was born.
There is no silver in Laurium, Michigan, but it is rich in copper. A century ago, copper boomed so big in the region that two trains a day traveled over 400 miles from Chicago to Laurium's neighbor, Calumet. In 1895, when the city fathers incorporated Laurium, they honored their mining heritage by naming their village after a great town in mining history. Not long ago, even American mining plutocrats read Herodotus, maybe even in Greek, and they understood America as a legacy of Greece and Rome.
A century later, that legacy has been displaced by something more shallow and sinister. In the summer of 2005, American astronomers claimed to have discovered a tenth planet. The discoverers of this new planet, like the city fathers of Laurium 110 years before, had an opportunity to name something. They named the planet "Xena" after the immodestly clad female lead in the television series Xena: Warrior Princess.
In 1895, Michigan copper barons named their mining village after an ancient Greek mining village central to the story of the West. In 2005, NASA astronomers named a giant ball of something in outer space after a character in a television program that five years from now will be forgotten. What happened?