Saturday, March 21, 2015

Society’s ‘obsession with appearance’ tragic – Carmelite


From the Website of CBCP

Society’s ‘obsession with appearance’ tragic – Carmelite

PASAY City, March 20, 2015—A Carmelite friar has described the postmodern obsession with form over substance “tragic,” lamenting how people today tend to care only for the exterior at the expense of what’s inside them.

Form vs. platform

The “Congress on Prayer,” on March 15, Sunday, at SM Mall of Asia (MOA) Arena was just one of several activities scheduled to celebrate the 500th anniversary of St. Teresa of Avila's birth date. (Photo: Raymond Sebastian)
“All form, zero platform … All externals, no internals,” said Fr. Mariano Agruda III, prior of Our Lady of Hills Center for Spirituality during the recent  Prayer Congress hosted by Order of Discalced Carmelites (OCD) in the Philippines in celebration of the 5th centenary of St. Teresa of Ávila.

“There is nothing but appearances. Wow, the outside looks great. Everything seems fine,” the priest said.
The priest pointed out many people equate the form with the substance, assuming just because something looks good, it is good.

3 words

The priest summed this present situation in three “big words”: producing, purchasing, and consuming.
“These are the basic horizons that we navigate in … these three are the ways we look at people,” he said, noting how these modes damage how people interact with others, especially when coupled with manipulation and aggression.

Agruda shared these ways of viewing result in non-committed relationships: friendship becomes only one of the commodities among many displayed on the shelf; intimacy, happiness, and joy devolve into items to be consumed.

Consuming self

Basically, people see others as something to consume, given that “the plane of transcendence is disappearing fast,” he stressed.

According to the Carmelite, the fear of solitude causes many to crave too much television-watching, gadegets, and the internet, believing these things will satisfy their need for constant stimulation.
“We want to run away from what is interior. And it has attained epidemic proportions,” he exclaimed.


“We live in a ‘culture of hyperstimulation.’ We have to be entertained. We need to have this latest gadget. Now we are wrapped in the pop culture,” he added.

Agruda said this explains the existence of 24/7 newscasts, of cameras following “non-entities catapulted into fame,” survival contests, and sensationalized reports.

Neglected within

“There is a constant bombardment of images, sensations, stimulations just to entertain us. And because of that, we have neglected what is within,” he said.

The priest pointed out these “addictions that are happy and thriving” can lead to a bigger tragedy—the “loss of interiority”—when depth and meaning are replaced with only that which entertains. (Raymond A. Sebastián/CBCP News)

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