The Importance of Wonder

In a new episode on the NetVUE podcast series, Callings: Conversations on College, Career, and a Life Well-Lived, sociologist of religion Tom Landy talks about his life’s work in helping people understand the “thickness” of religious traditions (their own and others’). Tom is director of the McFarland Center for Religion, Ethics and Culture at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts. His primary research is in global catholicism, and he founded and leads research for Catholics & Cultures, a web-based initiative to explore the religious lives and practices of lay Catholics in their particular cultural contexts around the world. He is also the founder of Collegium, a summer colloquy on faith and intellectual life for faculty from Catholic universities and colleges from around the country.

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Smartphones and vocational reflection

Do smartphones help or hinder reflection upon vocation? It depends. Medieval Christians distinguished between curiositas—a vice—and studiositas—a virtue. Curiositas is inconsistent with vocational reflection; studiositas undergirds real reflection upon calling. Although I enjoy my iPhone, I know it encourages shallow curiosity rather than contemplative wonder.

Smartphones constitute ideal technology for cultivating and satisfying curiositas. These pocket-sized gadgets provide easy access to new knowledge on demand, so that a hunger for novelty finds endless fodder, inadequate though it is for real intellectual sustenance. Smartphones also present Continue reading