By Fr. Roy Cimagala
WE have a tremendous challenge with the coming of the new digital platform called the Metaverse. It is supposed to be the internet’s next frontier focusing on virtual and augmented reality, which is really quite a development. Like any development in the world, Metaverse offers us tremendous advantages, but we should also be most wary of the huge dangers it can give us.
Are we ready for it? And by “we,” what is meant is everybody, of course, but especially the young who are easily seduced by its immediate conveniences without knowing how to make good use of these advantages and conveniences.
Do we exactly know what to do with it to help us achieve what is truly in good in us? In the first place, do we know what is truly good for us? Do we have a clear idea of what would comprise as dangers arising from its use?
Somehow this kind of wariness was expressed by Christ when he warned his apostles about the leaven of the Pharisees. (cfr. Mk 8,14-21) At first, the apostles did not get what Christ meant, something that can also happen to us due to our poor understanding of Christ’s will and words. But when they did, they knew they had to be most faithful to the teachings of Christ which is what is truly good for all of us.
We have to realize that any development, especially in the technologies, would require of us an upgrade in the virtues, especially of prudence that helps us to judge and make choices and decisions properly. We just cannot enter into a new phase of development without the proper preparation, not only in terms of skills, but also and most importantly, in terms of the virtue of prudence.
Otherwise, there is no other way but be swallowed up by the very strong pressure to fall into self-indulgence and into simply making knee-jerk reactions that can only satisfy our immediate but shallow needs while undermining our more important needs, especially our moral, spiritual and supernatural goals in life.
We need to see to it that the use of the Metaverse, as in any development in the world, should fuel our duty to be more coherent in our Christian identity and our duty to be Christian leaven, consistently radiating the Christian spirit all over.
In other words, for the Metaverse to be of real use to us, it should bring us closer to God and to everybody else. It should foster greater love which in the end should make us all a better person. If, on the other hand, it would make us more self-indulgent, self-centered, vain, arrogant, etc., then it is nothing but a sweet poison, a replication of the Tower of Babel.
We have to institute ways of educating everyone on the proper use of this new technology. I wonder what is being done in this direction. While it’s nice to hear that in many centers of education and formation, there is concern for upskilling people, we should have more concern regarding how to prepare everyone to be consistent in his Christian identity as he immerses himself in this new technology.
The Metaverse can be a tremendous means for us to be true Christian leaven in the middle of the world if we only know how to use it properly.