Vocation and the Common Good is a multi-year research project describing the possibilities for Christian faithfulness within nine spheres of modern work. The Vocation and the Common Good Podcast is one way of distributing the findings of the project. Through conversation with selected members of the project, we intend to highlight the role institutions, friends, family, and colleagues have played in sustaining people within their ongoing attempts to be faithful to the call of God upon their lives.
Today’s conversation is with Max Anderson, co-founder of Saturn Five, a start-up studio based in Denver and Austin, founder of the Weekend Reader, a weekly newsletter covering a wide variety of topics, and a Venture Partner at Praxis Labs.
Early in his career, Max worked in a variety of fields where he began to notice disturbing patterns of behavior around the use of technology. He noticed that people tended to adopt new technologies without putting any real thought into the implications of that new tool.
This lack of thoughtfulness continues to worry Max, who sees our collective lack of critical attention running on two levels. First, we fail to take note of how modern communication technologies train us to always give preference to the easy and immediate over the difficult and slow. This is illustrated in our conversation by contrasting the antiquated practice of letter writing with our current habit of texting, which is overrun with emojis and other shortcuts that leave no room for nuanced communication. This not only leaves us in a state of “constant partial attention” but also contributes to the epidemic of loneliness and depression advanced societies are experiencing across the world. Beyond this, Max believes we are failing to pay sufficient attention to the dramatic changes in everyday life that breakthroughs in genetics, artificial intelligence, and transportation technologies may well deliver in short order.
Despite these deep concerns, Max is no Luddite. He leverages the possibilities of entrepreneurship to form a set of creative responses to the perennial challenges our society faces. Max sees his work or creating new ventures as more than merely added convenience for society’s upper crust, but rather as an expression of care for the vulnerable and benefit for the common good. Entrepreneurship, when viewed through this lens, becomes a legitimate form of neighbor love.
Sadly, this is the final interview with participants from Vocation and the Common Good in our series. Next week, we’ll be back with a final episode that wraps up the series and looks for common themes about the nature of faithful presence in the modern world.