Final Examination of Michael P. Dante
For the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy
April 16, 2010, 12:30 p.m., Caldwell Room 125
Raymond Studzinski, O.S.B., Ph. D.
Technologies of the Ignatian Exercises: A Means of Transforming the Self Today
The hermeneutical lens this dissertation will apply for exploring Ignatius’s Spiritual Exercises will be Michel Foucault’s concept of “technologies of the self.” Foucault understands these technologies or spiritual practices as specific operations a person applies to his or her body, thoughts, soul, or spirit. The repeated practices of these technologies will transform the person’s self to a desired state of happiness or perfection.
The purpose of this dissertation is to explore three technologies operative within the Ignatian Exercises. By means of an inter-disciplinary analysis the technologies of solitude, silence, and schooling desires will be explored so as to discover how these technologies could transform the contemporary self into a self based on magnanimous apostolic service.
The methodology employed will be a constructive-relational model as outlined by William Rogers. His method is inter-disciplinary The dissertation will use four broad investigative disciplines. The first investigative approach is the anthropological. Its aim is to examine how various technologies Ignatius used contributed to his religious experiences. Likewise, the anthropological approach will explore what conditions in the human personality enable such technologies in the Exercises to create the condition for the possibility of having similar religious experiences. Second, a cultural analysis will be done throughout the dissertation. This approach will identify several factors in the contemporary world that are potential inordinate attachments that retreatants may have when starting the Exercises. Identifying and understanding these contemporary inordinate attachments will help illuminate the ways the technologies in the Exercises provide a means of liberating the retreatant from them and potentially transforming him or her. Third, a textual analysis of the Spiritual Exercises will be interwoven throughout the dissertation. It will illuminate certain exercises more fully as to how these exercises relate to a particular technology. Lastly, a Christological approach will be used. The approach will discuss the encounter and experience the retreatant has with Christ in the Exercises. Hence, by using Rogers’ constructive model, each of these investigative approaches can be appropriately employed for understanding how the technologies of solitude, silence, and schooling desire contribute to transforming the person’s sense of self.