Cyberculture and Dreamworld: A view from Opus Dei?

The all-pervasive push to have everything online, whether it be books, files or selves, bepseaks a deeper cultural attitude towards terrestrial, embodied living. In its glorification of the body, the culture of postmodernity identifies something lacking in biolife. There is an as yet unarticulated sense within the culture that the material and the tactile world is not, as many Moderns regard it, “the real world”. Postmodernity, therefore, seeks to find real life in things that go beyond the material, terrestrial world. This would explain the proliferation within postmodernity of myriad types of spiritualities both Christian and pagan, but it would also explain the obsession with locating a whole civilisation within the digital realm.
What are we to make of this dissatisfaction with the material and the desire for higher realities within postmodernity in general and cyberculture in particular? Interestingly, the founder of Opus Dei, St. Josemaria Escriva, wrote a short passage that is not directly related to, but can have a bearing on, cyberspace’s underlying longing for reality within virtuality. The passage seems strangely sympathetic to this undercurrent within postmodernity. Though writing on the issue of suffering, Escriva interestingly spoke of this life as
…only a dream, and a short one at that. Rejoice, because your Father God loves you so much, and…after this bad dream He will give you a good awakening…
Cyberculture then, can be said to touch on a correct intuition that there is more to life than the terrestrial, contra the materialism of Modern culture. Still, as Escriva reminds us, it is God that gives us the illumination necessary to see the fullness of reality. Contrary to cyberculture’s attitude of finding reality by fleeing the terrestrial world, Escriva reminds us elsewhere that the fullness of reality is not to be found by fleeing embodied life, but by embracing it and engaging it through the lens provided by Christ. For it is in terrestrial living, Escriva reminds us, that we encounter Christ, and it is “in the most material things of the earth” where reality is to be found as “heaven and earth seem to merge…on the horizon”.

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