Computers in education cause collapse of ideas, words and thought

May 1, 1997

Dear Friends and Benefactors,

I can see why so many of you related positively to the idea put forward in this letter two months ago, of a concentration camp for young men (even if it was to be at most a one-year experiment) - there is a crying need for old-fashioned education of the kind that the Catholic Church always used to foster.

This is because the public and secret masters of the New World Order are fabricating a new human nature. Man, made in the image of God, they are making over in the image of man, especially through education. The result is that the very thought, let alone the effort, of saving one's soul becomes more and more alien to people, especially youngsters. You rightly wonder how your children and grand-children will get to Heaven.

From a friend of mine working in a prestigious academy in the USA, here is an alarming portrait of how the situation is evolving. From his knowledge of schools he works back to the influence of computers, and he concludes with an assessment of the effects upon people in general. All I have done is give an order to his quotes:

"In the last two years the whole class-room experience has changed. There is a whole new breed of student out there. They are not really students, because they have less and less interest in studying. One or two of my colleagues have taken alarm at the change but most of my colleagues are happy with it because it means they no longer have to teach. Something has happened and adults do not know what it is.

"Young people now react to nothing, they do not connect. I find it increasingly difficult to connect with them, and much of the time they make me uncomfortable, because their reactions are so twisted, so inhuman. They are horrified by nothing. Horror creates in them glee. Less and less sparks from them any human reaction. The three-letter word (s_x) has become so commonplace that only violence can still get the juices running. Violence does interest them.

"It is all very unnerving. It cannot go on. They cannot hold down jobs, so jobs become unreal, and they seek an underground existence. The urges of the human heart (which are still in them), being so misunderstood, will come out in massive mutual suicide in the streets. It's the end.

"I do not blame them. It is not their fault. Where do they see around them anything that anybody would die for? For instance, not one student I know of made one comment on last November's elections in the USA, because they know it is all empty and fraudulent.

"What in fact do they see around them? People not living, but sleep-walking. Zombies, getting into a machine to go to work, working on a machine all day long, recreating with a machine at night. That is not living, and the youngsters know it. Yet such people are consumed with pride and rear up indignantly if anyone points out to them that they are not living.

"I do not blame the machines, because machines are only machines, but I blame the adults who make life out of their machines, especially in recent times out of the computer. The adults are making reality virtual, and the mass mutual suicide in the streets will be a form of that virtual reality. If I live my life watching screens, then the eyeball becomes a screen, and whether I create a world, or zap the world, on screen or in life, it's all the same.

"Let us reflect for moment on the nature of these flashing screens. Cinema is already bad insofar as it is only half human. It manipulates minds by dead images. There is no live exchange between performer and audience, there is nothing real. Television is worse with its 100 channels of junk, after so much promise when it first appeared. But worst of all for human purposes is the computer which is just as mechanical and passive as television, only the passivity is better disguised.

"For instance, by accessing the library, television, video-store, newspaper and magazines, the computer gives me an illusion of omniscience, of knowing everything. But information passively accessed is not the same thing as knowledge actively assimilated. Children are the smartest users of computers, but they do not use them for knowledge.

"Similarly, by empowering people to buy their groceries, do their job, go to school, etc., without moving from their chair, the computer can make them feel omnipotent, all-powerful. But this mechanizing of human contacts isolates people still more from one another. The new language generated by computers seems likewise rather for quasi-ritual initiation than for human communication.

"Of course these machines can serve well if they are kept in their reasonable place. But in real life they seem to undermine that reasonableness of the users which is needed to keep them in their place. Take my colleagues for instance-

"They are losing interest in the subjects they teach, for computer toys. There is a new toy out every two months. I mistrust the computer, but even me it pulls in. You play with it. My colleagues seem chained to their computers so that if the computers go down, they can be seen staggering and wandering down the school corridors like souls in Hades. Then the computers come up again, and the E-mail pours in once more: instant sending, instant receiving, instant reacting, but no time to ponder. No stopping to think. No thinking. Images replace ideas.

"The computers can be seen acting in real life like a narcotic, an addiction, a form of slavery. And - we come back to education - the US President talks of wanting computers in every class-room! The way education is now going, it will create zombies who know nothing except how to push buttons!

"For as the screen creates the child, so the child becomes like a machine. Human beings are turning Into machines, asking to be programmed, all happy to be spouting the same nonsense! It is this willful ignorance of the human heart and of its fundamental needs which is generating the violence. The God who made that heart for Himself is not mocked.

"As for Traditional Catholics, what Faith they have in this God does give them a handle on their own hearts and their children's needs, but to the extent that they do not live wholly by their Faith, to the extent they live like everybody else by their environment of machines and computers, they are not fully living, they are in a state of schizophrenia, torn between Christ and the culture of the Anti-christ. But if they are torn, they are at least still half-alive!

"Dear people! They come to me in our Chapel with some question or other they think I can answer. I build a case to answer their question. They stare at me. Three weeks later they are back with the same question. It is as though brains cannot absorb any more. Ideas seem to have lost any power to effect how people think or live.

"The problem is profound. Something significant has happened to the way the mind works and absorbs information. The flood of images on screens naturally follows the collapse of ideas - and the collapse of words to express them - but I think it also helps to cause that collapse. It is an unparalleled catastrophe, an enormous frustration, but few can see what has happened, or sense its magnitude.

"Ideas being discredited, any integral vision becomes very difficult. We are like into a new world. The crisis is much deeper in the 1990's than in the 1970's, yet most people are unaware of it. We are into a whole new set of problems out there."

Dear friends, the Bill Gates of hell need not prevail. As Archbishop Lefebvre wisely reminded Society priests a little while before he died, the doctrine, sacraments and Church instituted and left to us by Our Lord Jesus Christ cannot go out of date, or lose their efficacy. Upon one condition: that they be the real doctrine, sacraments and Church. The breakdown of the idea started with Protestantism's breakup of the Truth.

In the home there must be the Rosary. If the family prays the Rosary, not only are family members in communion with one another as human beings, but they are also communicating together with God, which is to cater for the deepest needs of their human being. The Rosary is a sure way of accessing the God who is not mocked, but who is also not inaccessible.

A wicked world may be seeking to set up more and more obstacles between Him and ourselves, but God remains the Master. If there is the least good will on our side, nothing can stop His grace from rolling over any road-blocks, and even if there is not good will on our, side, it can still roll over them.

"8. If I ascend into heaven, thou art there: if I descend into hell thou art present. 9. If I take my wings early in the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea: 10. Even there also shall thy hand lead me: and thy right hand shall hold me. 11. And I said: Perhaps darkness shall cover me: and night shall be my light in my pleasures. 12. But darkness shall not be dark to thee, and night shall be light as the day: the darkness thereof, and the light thereof are alike to thee" (Ps.138).

With serious thanks to all of you who continue month by month to support the Seminary,

Sincerely yours in Christ,