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Fr. Staudenmaier on the temptation of nostalgia

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May 19, 2017

John Staudenmaier, S.J. presents the concept of nostalgia as a distraction to loving this world for what it is, flaws and all. Fr. Staudenmaier gave a presentation to the Jesuit Alumni and Friends of Detroit (JAFD) group, May 17, at the Detroit Athletic Club, called, "Our 21st-century demon: Nostalgia."

In his talk, Fr. Staudenmaier discusses ways to “pray from where you are” – in the here and now – rather than to be distracted by memories of other times, good or bad. He reflects on God’s grace and the teachings of St. Ignatius to help us embrace this world:

“All of us are risking loving this world. All of us are risking loving flawed people that are beloved to us. All of us have bad days. When we feel worn down and discouraged, we are tempted to nostalgia, but God is not tired of us…We are invited by the teachings of prayer of St. Ignatius to try to ask for the grace to be at home in, and to love, the world the way it is now: that world.”

We accept the reality around us and, through reflection and prayer, let it into our hearts. We leave the past behind us and accept the present for what is it: a gift.

Fr. Staudenmaier is widely known as a scholar and professor of the history of technology, in part as editor emeritus of the journal, "Technology and Culture."  Along with many published articles and papers, he has appeared in television programs about the impact of technology on our lives, including PBS specials about Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, and Nikola Tesla.

Over his career, Fr. Staudenmaier has had visiting appointments at MIT's Science, Technology and Society Program, a fellowship at the MIT Dibner Institute for the History of Science and Technology, and the Gasson Professorship at Boston College.

In 2011, the Society for the History of Technology, an international organization dedicated to the historical study of technology and its relations with politics, economics, the environment, science and the arts, selected Fr. Staudenmaier to receive its highest recognition, the Leonardo da Vinci Medal.

For his da Vinci talk and other material from Fr. Staudenmaier, see the University Mission & Identity website.

— By Timmy Nelson and Jon Whitener. Follow Detroit Mercy on FacebookTwitter and Instagram. Have a story idea? Let us know by submitting your idea.

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