Currently viewing the tag: "Friendship and Contemplation in the Digital Age"

Anita DiGregory

Have you found that the abundance of digital technology available today has led to continual distractions and interruptions and even hindered your ability to get more accomplished throughout the day? Do you struggle trying to keep your tweens and teens from spending too much time on devices or video games? Have you found yourself thinking that the quality of life or family time has dwindled as a result of digital technology? If so, you are not alone. In fact, local resident and Mount St. Mary’s University professor Joshua Hochschild has not only taught a class on the subject, he has co-authored a book regarding this topic. In his recently released book, A Mind at Peace: Reclaiming an Ordered Soul in the Age of Distraction, Hochschild and Christopher Blum offer concrete advice and encouragement on reclaiming interior peace and order.

“Chris contacted me in Spring 2016, and we talked about how classical spiritual wisdom could address modern social challenges,” said Hochschild.  “He sensed there was an opportunity to give people a way to highlight the challenges of technology and digital media and cultivate a sense of interior peace. Together, we wanted to offer classical Christian wisdom to help people renew the order of the soul that can negotiate today’s distraction-filled environment.”

Because the writing of the book coincided with Hochschild’s Mount class “Friendship and Contemplation in the Digital Age,” he was happy to involve his students, allowing them to both read the manuscript and offer timely feedback. He noted that his students recognized the habits developing around digital media and even opted for self-imposed fasting in different forms from these digital distractions.

Released in August, A Mind at Peace offers wisdom from authors, philosophers, and great thinkers, such as Plato, Aristotle, and Saint Thomas Aquinas. However, the reader should not be intimidated, as the authors do an excellent job of making the information relatable and attainable. The “Questions for Reflection” at the end of each section are a favorite element for self-reflection. Having held the positions of “Top 5 of Catholic Self Help” books and “Number 1 New Best Seller in Catholic Self Help,” the book has proved both timely and important. The book and its authors have been featured on different radio shows and podcasts. Additionally, the book was also the focus of a Mount campus retreat.

On Sunday, November 12, 2017, Hochschild and his new release were featured in the premiere “Chat with an Author,” an innovative series, hosted by the Seton Shrine in an effort to introduce talented and inspirational authors to the community. Hosted in the Shrine’s Visitor Center Theater, the event was moderated by fellow Mount Professor John Mark Miravalle. The talk centered around key elements of the book and was followed by the opportunity for audience members to ask questions and share observations. Immediately after, Hochschild took time to meet with different attendees and sign copies of his book.

With regards to the first Chat with an Author event, which was both well attended and received by the community, Rob Judge, executive director at the Seton Shrine stated, “Josh has a compelling solution to the busy, distracted lives we’re all living, and we’re excited to have him here and help people begin to refocus their lives to return to a sense of peace.”

The Seton Shrine will be highlighting more authors in the future. On February 11, 2018, Stephanie Calis, author of Invited:  The Ultimate Catholic Wedding Planner, will be featured at the next Chat with an Author event. On April 29, 2018, local mom and author Colleen Duggan will be highlighted.


Pictured are (left) Mount Professor John Mark Miravalle and (right) author and fellow Mount Professor Joshua Hochschild.

Photo Courtesy of Hannah Smarsh, Seton Shrine