Adapted from an article published in the Summer, 1991, issue of Communio, a journal of theology and culture.
As power extends its grasp into wider and wider rings of human life it becomes more hostile to everything outside of itself. As it becomes near absolute it grows increasingly negative, because by its very nature it must oppose what cannot be extinguished in men’s beings. Totalitarian power does not rest content with obedience and a passive populace. It must seek at some point to destroy the inner impulse to creativity which depends for its well-being on freedom from manipulation. It must find and erase all resistance, all spiritual autonomy, all dignity in its subjects.
The question is a volatile one and leaves plenty of room for a vast amount of commentary and interpretation. Indeed, our times seem to be rife with wildly differing interpretations of the meaning of the book of Revelation. In addressing our topic tonight, I hope to make a contribution to what should always be a sober discussion, yet is so often otherwise. Even so, I suppose that everything I am about to say on the matter this evening could be summed up in a single word: Yes.
Yes, we are living in apocalyptic times. But this needs qualification. The Church, the sacred scriptures, the saints, the approved mystical apparitions, all speak about the end times within the context I would like to lay before you.
“Curiositas” is an inordinate desire to know, to see, to experience what is not rightly within one’s legitimate needs or within the proper boundaries of one’s vocation. Which brings to mind the power of the internet’s practically infinite (and practically instantaneous) capacity to fill the appetite of curiositas. The internet is a tool made by and used by human beings, and it is one of the most powerful ever invented. Though the analogy is imperfect, we might say that it is similar to atomic power. Morally neutral, it can light up homes or make apocalyptic landscapes. So too, the net can illumine minds or it can darken them even as it bestows with extraordinary force the sensations of light. Atomic fusion(fission) must be contained, which is another way of saying it must function in its right place, in proper proportion if it is to assist creation and not unleash destruction. So, too, the net. But how?