Book Review: Half Life, The Decay of Reality

By Fr. Jean-Pierre Boubée, SSPX (Angelus Press, 2018)

At long last, a balanced and easy to read booklet about the cyber world!

Many a parent is at a loss before the tsunami of screen devices which confronts them and their loved ones. These tools are designed to facilitate life, to offer information ready at our fingertips, to communicate with anyone all the time and everywhere. Yet, after the first inebriating sense of this nectar of the gods, adults realize quickly the hypnotizing effect of these powerful machines: information overload; loss of rest; loss of thoughtful time to digest things; lack of privacy and control over their children.

After 40 years spent educating the youth, Fr. Boubée starts with the way man is naturally meant to think and act. This is a healthy start before delving into the problems created by the world of screens.

“Man is wonderfully structured to attain the highest forms of understanding. His senses allow him direct contact with the world around him, and the intellect is thereby able to grasp the nature of things. Grappling with that reality, he can then assemble his ideas, compose them, and link them together. These ideas lead him to make practical and prudent judgments. The role of man’s will is then to move toward the good, which leads to proper love. The will is meant to regulate the emotions or passions in order to keep them from being as disordered as they would otherwise be. Being so structured, man aims at his own perfection, all in respecting that order willed by the Creator which is called morality; what is noblest in morality is in fact a form of love which is called charity. That is how man functions.”

From this vantage point, the author is in a position to survey the new trend. He needs only confront man’s normal action with the person who sees through a screen. Without being altogether negative, the reality imposes itself to us all. Our age is fast losing the sense of reality and the sense of personality. Teens are disengaged from properly human activity. Ours is a “click, copy and paste” age, not the age of thinking and memorizing. The social media feeds the acting and character creating at the expense of serious and lasting friendship.

There are multiple reasons—I mean excuses—for the older generation to adopt the laisser faire attitude in this regard: powerlessness, fear of being a control-freak, naiveté or discouragement. Yet, nothing is reason enough to surrender the battleground of your children’s souls to the enemy. This is why every head of family, every educator, every adult needs to read this short study of Cyberman.

—Fr. Dominique Bourmaud, SSPX