new member of the Pontifical Academy for Life (PAV)
Accompanying Life, New Responsibilities in the Technological Era was the theme of 2017 Annual Meeting of the new and reformed Pontifical Academy for Life (PAV) that was held in Rome October 5-7. The Assembly took place in the Paul VI Hall with 153 PAV scholars from 37 countries of five continents.
A creative and positive spirit moved the reflection that took into examine how best to accompany human beings at every stage of life in our era that is significantly influenced by technology, especially neuro-technology and robotics.
Most of the workshop’s speakers considered the widespread movement called Trans- and Post-Humanism. This contemporary challenge needs to be analyzed not in a reductionist context, but instead, in its natural inter-relational environment: human life “is not an assembly code, but is the attitude to live interpersonal relationships between man and woman” (Bishop Vincenzo Paglia,Oct. 5th).
Empirical science in general and neuroscience in particular advance so quickly that in many cases it is extremely difficult to stop and reflect on whether or not their applications favor the integrity of human existence.
We need a renewed capacity to understand nowadays joys and hopes, griefs and anxieties of the men and women of our age. Indeed, nothing genuinely human fails to raise an echo in their hearts (Gaudium et spes n.1).
For this reason “It is very important for us to dialogue also with persons who do not share our same ideas or approaches, that because we think that having a good interlocutor is the only opportunity to improve the possibility of a more creative and useful reflection on subjects so important as family and life. My dream is to have an Academy that can be a place of creative reflection and a place in which a positive and innovative confrontation could be guided by the furrow of the truth.” (Bishop Vincenzo Paglia, Oct. 5th)
“This historic moment of change in the Pontifical Academy” is very important to reiterate that “the right to life supports all others and must be protected so that it is not reflected negatively on the most vulnerable.” (Mrs. López Barahona of the Leadership Committee of the PontificalAcademy, Oct. 5th)
Neuro-technologies applied to human life constantly “re-open the original question of man’s identity, and what actions, languages, and ethical categories are able to protect the transcendence of man over technology” (Prof. Adriano Pessina, director of the Bioethics Center of the Catholic University of Milan, Italy). As Fides et ratio said “In both East and West, we may trace a journey which has led humanity down the centuries to meet and engage truth more and more deeply. It is a journey which has unfolded - as it must - within the horizon of personal self-consciousness: the more human beings know reality and the world, the more they know themselves in their uniqueness, with the question of the meaning of things and of their very existence becoming ever more pressing. This is why all that is the object of our knowledge becomes a part of our life.” (Fides et ratio n. 1).
Man's quest for meaning, rooted in his heart, is also the power and strength of empirical science itself. For this reason, we need to develop an empirical science in general and a neuroscience in particular able to promote and develop all and every multidimensional aspects of human persons. This perspective could be a positive enhancer for us today; it is a real antidote for the anthropological reductionism so widespread!
Neuroscience must love and promote human persons.