Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Light of Advent

Entering the holiday season brings us into the traditions of honoring the ancient events that marked a sea change in human history and spiritual self-awareness. We're perhaps approaching another one of those epochal moments as we start to understand the importance of humanity's role in this global environment. Advent is the traditional preparation for the birth of Christ, considered to be Christmas day. From that point forward, we have Epiphany, the twelfth night, celebrating the visit of the three kings or wise men to the Christ Child, signifying the extension of salvation to the Gentiles.

Now shall we extend this salvation to all people, the creatures and life that inhabit our home, the planet?

When we begin to see, to understand, the vast tapestry of nature and its critical balances and complexities, it's then time to make some decisions together as a human race. For example, the study of natural sciences leads to kind of a "natural understanding" of what global realities we're dealing with, which is undergirded by the scientific method of study and rigorous analysis. A remarkable interview with Jane Goodall by Bill Moyers cuts to the heart of the issue:

Moyers: You even wrote once that it was your study of chimpanzees that crystallized your own belief in the ultimate destiny toward which humans are still evolving. What is that? What is that ultimate destiny? And how did the chimps contribute to your understanding?

Goodall: Because, when you have the thing that's more like us than any other living thing on the planet that helps you to realize the differences. You know, how are we different. And so, we have this kind of language. So, that's led to our intellectual development. That's led to refining of morals. And, you know, the questions about meaning and life and everything. So I think we've moving or should be moving towards some kind of spiritual evolution. Where we understand without having to ask why.