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Reflecting the Mind of the
Vatican since 1850
Critical Thinking in the Face of the Culture of Banality
Sociologists argue that we have built, and are still building, an increasingly banal society, marked by emptiness and escapism. It may have always been this way, but previously people tried to hide this behavior, which was considered negative, while today we accept banality without the slightest embarrassment.

It is a banality that affects many aspects of life and has crept into how we live. On the other hand, it probably is not as negative as we are, a priori tempted to consider it, because being banal is, all things considered, one among many options in human existence. The fact remains that, in general, there is an increase in banal activities among the new generations of Western peoples. To see this, one only has to look at how they receive information: always in excess, and yet insubstantial. They process vast amounts of information through easily assimilated media: via audio or on screen, through short messages that require almost no intellectual effort, or through social networks. The emerging generations largely ignore the written word and, in particular, long opinion articles; they are content, at best, to glance at the headlines. Fortunately, there are a few honorable exceptions.

This banality is epitomized in the “disposable,” what can be “thrown away,” so prevalent in current society. We wear disposable clothes, eat disposable food – instant and superabundant, the waste of which will end up in the trash – and even disposable partners: the old custom of couples whose relationship tended to be stable has given way to the multiplication of serial marriages, of limited duration, involving little commitment.
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