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Returning to Reality

Thomas Merton's Wisdom for a Technological World
  • By Phillip M. Thompson
Synopsis: This book synthesizes the diverse reflections on technology by monk and spiritual writer Thomas Merton to develop a compelling contemplative critique of the threats and challenges of nuclear war, communication technologies, and biotechnologies that may alter what it means to be human. At the core of his critique, Merton opposes a technological mentality that favors processes of efficiency and utility at the expense of our ultimate purpose, a quest for the wisdom to guide us to the divine source of our being and reality. To counter this modern idolatry, Merton's insights offer a path of reflection, balance, and community. More specifically, Merton offers some constructive approaches and healing possibilities through a balanced approach to work, a careful and intentional managing of technology, and an accessing of the recuperative dimensions of nature. In its conclusion the book brings the insights of these chapters together for a final reflection on how to maintain our humanity and our spiritual integrity in a technological world. Endorsements: "Thompson has provided the kind of public model of Merton scholarship we need: the application of wisdom in a critique of the contemporary. What better place to start than with the insinuation of technology in every dimension of human life. . . . Thompson has helped make Merton's contemplative perspective more available for us to see with, and to see as deeply." --Gray Matthews, University of Memphis "This is an important and helpful book. Thompson has gathered Thomas Merton's scattered remarks on technology into a coherent account of critique and counsel. . . . To see Merton's often casual, sometimes mordant, and insightful critique of technology switch so easily into the lyrical evocation of sacred simplicity and serenity is an inspiring experience, and we're in Thompson's debt for having given Merton's voice this backdrop and resonance." --Albert Borgmann, University of Montana "Thompson's long engagement with the theological significance of technology bears fruit once again with this careful analysis of the mature writings of Thomas Merton, who saw with his keen, contemplative eye the dangers of a technology that masters human dignity and freedom. This work should be of intense interest to all readers who are interested in the human condition as they engage the work of Merton, one of the great spiritual masters of our time." --Lawrence S. Cunningham, University of Notre Dame "Returning to Reality is an important book for our time. It urges all of us to stop and carefully consider the unforeseen consequences of our technological age while offering the contemplative wisdom of Thomas Merton as a needed antidote." --Pauline J. Albert, St. Edward's University Author Biography: Dr. Phillip M. Thompson is the Executive Director of the Aquinas Center of Theology at Emory University. He has a PhD in the History of Culture from the University of Chicago and an LLM in Health Law from DePaul University. His publications are in the fields of religion and science and ethics. His previous book is Between Science and Religion: The Engagement of Catholic Intellectuals with Science and Technology in the Twentieth Century

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  • Additional Details
  • Additional Details
    Product Specs
    • SKU: 9781620322529
    • Manufacturer: Cascade Books
    • Language of Text: English
    • ISBN 13: 9781620322529
    • Publication Date: 11/01/2012
    • Format: Paperback
    • Author: Phillip M. Thompson
    • Page Count: 134
    • Weight: 0.45 pounds
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