The Ancient and Modern Challenges of Technology
June 4-9, 2023 · Lander, Wyoming

Technology is highly attractive because it draws us out of our physical limitations and broadens our horizon. But human freedom is authentic only when it responds to the fascination of technology with decisions that are the fruit of moral responsibility. Hence the pressing need for formation in an ethically responsible use of technology. Pope Benedict XVI, Caritas in Venitate, 70

Although Pope Benedict wrote those words in 2009, “the pressing need” is not at all a modern one.

In the dialogue Phaedrus, Plato’s Socrates sets forth the dangers of writing. Conrad Gessner warned of information and data overload in the sixteenth century when the latest technology was the printing press. Radios, reported the magazine Gramaphone in 1936, were a danger to children because they “developed the habit of dividing attention between the humdrum preparation of their school assignments and the compelling excitement of the loudspeaker.”

All of this is, in a sense, good news for us. It means that as we approach smart phones and smart homes, computers and virtual reality glasses, performance enhancing chip implants, self-driving cars, and biotechnological marvels, we’re not on our own as we make “decisions that are the fruit of moral responsibility.”

Led by Wyoming Catholic College faculty, the 2023 Wyoming School of Catholic Thought will gather adult learners from across the country. Reading and discussing authors such as Thomas Moore, Francis Bacon, Thomas Hardy, Martin Heidegger, and Wendell Berry, we will consider how to make wise, morally responsible decisions about technology for ourselves, our children, and, if we’re teachers, our students.

Participants will receive reading packets ahead of time to prepare for the week, and each day’s activities will include lectures, seminars, and panel discussions based on those readings. Afternoon breaks are set aside to enjoy the beauty of the nearby Wind River Mountains. Choose from hiking, fly fishing, horseback riding, or exploring the sights in Lander. Daily meals provide the opportunity for conversations to continue and deepen. After dinner, participants will enjoy relevant films or leisurely reflections on the day’s readings. A chaplain will be available during the week, offering daily Mass, spiritual direction, and confession.

The program fee is $750 per person with some scholarships available. This includes the program, materials, all meals, and activities. Accommodations at local hotels or in college dormitories is in addition to the program fee. Interested parties should submit the form below, or contact Dr. Jim Tonkowich for additional information.

WSCT Information Request