WHILE WE may have our own particular niche in life that is fit to our personal condition and circumstances, we have to realize that we are not meant to be imprisoned there, but should rather have an attitude of openness to the flowing developments of the times.
That is why we have to feel the necessity to continually explore the things, adapt ourselves to the changing circumstances and make the necessary innovations along the way.
Of course, we should remember that there are things that should be held as permanent, absolute, unchanging. These are the essential things that define their nature as designed by God the Creator.
To guide us in this, we of course can use our sciences and technologies, but we should give priority to what the Church teaches, since the Church has been entrusted by Christ himself to define what is truly proper to our human nature. Because of this, the Church is dubbed as the ‘expert in humanity.’
But other than these permanent things, there are also many other things that can and should change as we cruise through life. These things are earth-and-time bound. They are expected to vary according to time and place, and other factors, like culture, age, gender, etc.
It cannot be denied that each generation, for example, has its peculiar characteristics. We have to be as sensitive as possible to these distinctions. We should not stick to our own usual ways of understanding and doing things.
It’s in these latter things that we should try to monitor as closely as possible and make the necessary adaptation and innovation. Thus, we should also do some kind of exploration so that we would know what are happening in the world as we go along.
We are told that there is actually nothing new under the sun, since God is in control of everything and things are determined by their nature. Even in our case, with our power to go against our nature, things are still in God’s control.
As the book of Ecclesiastes would put it, “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again. There is nothing new under the sun.” (1,9)
Just the same, we also know that things vary and change from time to time, producing what may appear as new things. It is in these variations and changes that we should try our best to cope, to adapt and to make some innovations as a consequence.
Nowadays, we are quite privileged since we can now avail of the new technologies that are a big help in this task of exploration and monitoring. With Google and the social media, we can easily get in touch with people in far-away places and know the happenings there.
We should have the proper attitude regarding this need, and start developing the proper skills. We have to be guarded though from the strong possibility of getting entangled in distractions and even temptations that can appear irresistible.
It is reported that many people are hooked to the social media because of “constant psychological boosts” they get from it, and these boosts are not necessarily motivated from the proper spirit of love. They appear more animated by egoism, vanity, narcissism and the like.
So it can happen that instead of having a good view and monitoring of developments around the world, one is only reinforcing what he wants to see and know. He becomes more subjective than objective. He will surely miss the target.
With this problem at the get-go of the task, the succeeding stages of adaptation and innovation would be gravely compromised. The only countermeasure for this is for one to be truly a man of God. That’s when he can become more objective, more discerning, more able to say no to distractions. Otherwise, he would just be at the mercy of his passions, biases and preferences.