by: Scott Bakken
Pope Francis has taken to this digital age to share a very relevant message. Typically, the Pope only address people via the Church so to use a contemporary platform such as TED is not only exciting to see, but also completely encouraging that modern forms of communication are being used to communicate such important messages.
As I watched and listened, I was specifically touched by his second point. The Pope states,
How wonderful would it be if the growth of scientific and technological innovation would come along with more equality and social inclusion. How wonderful would it be, while we discover faraway planets, to rediscover the needs of the brothers and sisters orbiting around us. How wonderful would it be if solidarity, this beautiful and, at times, inconvenient word, were not simply reduced to social work, and became, instead, the default attitude in political, economic and scientific choices, as well as in the relationships among individuals, peoples and countries. Only by educating people to a true solidarity will we be able to overcome the "culture of waste," which doesn't concern only food and goods but, first and foremost, the people who are cast aside by our techno-economic systems which, without even realizing it, are now putting products at their core, instead of people.
This modern day is advancing so quickly. We are living in two spheres, earth and the social media stratosphere. When we are at home, out in public, or wherever we are, we are less present in these physical spaces than we are on our social spaces. We are buried in Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram, and we only come up for air for seconds before we descend into the abyss of never ending content.
The real question is why are we doing this? It could be that we are looking for human connection and validation. Notifications engage our endorphins and we are invigorated by likes and social engagement. However, the Pope reminds us in his profound message that as much as we are all looking to be found, so is everyone around us. We all have the same need; to be loved, to be heard and to matter.
The social sphere is here to stay and it is a powerful tool and an incredible way to connect. If we have learned anything from the past, it is that while nothing may be wrong with the system, we need to learn how to balance these worlds and use them to bring people together with a purpose. This will be our greatest challenge, but if we succeed it will be our greatest victory.
Pope Francis goes on to say
In order to do good, we need memory, we need courage and we need creativity. Yes, love does require a creative, concrete and ingenious attitude. Good intentions and conventional formulas, so often used to appease our conscience, are not enough. Let us help each other, all together, to remember that the other is not a statistic or a number. The other has a face. The "you" is always a real presence, a person to take care of.
May we understand the power of our creativity to tell each others' stories and to realize that everyone has a face and a name. When you come up for air from the social world, look another in the eyes, put down the phone, and truly see the 'others' around you.