Saturday, December 31, 2011

2012: The End of the World, or the Evolution of Humanity?

Several years ago, while teaching Religion at a local Catholic elementary school, one of my more inquisitive 8th grade students asked me if I had heard of "2012". I told him I wasn't sure what he was referring to. He told me that the Mayan's predicted some type of catalchlysmic event, possibly the end of the world, that would take place on December 21st, 2012. I responded that many people throughout history have tried to predict the end of the world, and how can we really know? He went on to say that there are many world religions that also point to 2012 as being "the end of the world". I told him that was interesting and that I would like to read more about it.

The next time I happened to be at Barnes and Noble, I picked up a book on the subject. I read how the Mayans had indeed marked this date and time as significant, but in no way were they specific on what exactly they meant by, significant. The more I read on this topic via the web, the more curious I became as to what might be upon us, during "2012".

My "aha" moment came while viewing a video on the evolution of humanity while taking part in a seminar at a local retreat center.  I was struck specifically by a comparison of the very first pre-human forms, and how the species that survived and developed into Homo Sapiens were the ones that worked together cooperatively for their survival, rather than resorting to competition and fighting.  In this video, a strong case was made that we are on the cusp of the next stage of evolution.  I began seeing all around me, present day examples of people who are embracing the competitive model as evidenced by the likes of Sarah Palin in what Catherine Cronin-Carotta calls, "The ethic of the enemy", wherein we find a sense of community among those with whom we share a common enemy.  Yet I also see examples of  those who embrace the cooperative model, as evidenced in the communication and conflict resolution models set up by the Occupy Wall Street Movement. 

I recently sat down with three members of our local "Occupy West Palm Beach" movement because after watching an interview by Stephen Colbert with a couple of OWS members, I wanted to dialogue with them on this cooperation model I see them using.  During our discussion I witnessed "active listening" whereby members would reflect back to the person who just spoke, what they heard the speaker saying.  This practice is very effective in moving discussion along as well as dissolving any arguments based on misunderstandings.  I asked the three members I was speaking with whether they had ever given any thought to how their movement might be a catalyst for the next stage of the human evolutionary process.  They really hadn't thought of it in such a way but they were curious to understand what I meant.  I explained to them about the evolution of humanity, and how those that know how to work cooperatively and have an established grassroots network, might just be the ones people turn to in the event of a catalchlysmic event, such as a cyber-terrorist attack that shuts down our modern means of rapid communication.  (As an aside, the young man from the local OWPB Camp who handled communication for the group with the local governement and other Occupy movements, did not want to entertain ANY thoughts of losing modern technology).  All three agreed though, that the means of communication being used in the Occupy Movements, is necessary for the survival of our civilization.

My reflection on what 2012 might bring, would not be complete without some serious self-reflection.  I myself, have been guilty of "the ethic of enemy" in my posts about the mishandling of the sexual abuse cases by the Roman Catholic Hierarchy.  I find community among those on Facebook and within my local parish communities, who agree that the US Bishops have yet to take full ownership of the cover-up, nor offer a true path toward reconciliation within our Catholic Faith Community.  Reconciliation, Sacramentally, calls for Confession, Penance, Absolution, and Reconciliation.  There are many active Bishops who have yet to even admit that what they did was wrong.  Yet our collective anger at this lack of moral courage brings us no closer to healing.  So as part of my New Year's Resolution, I am going to be more prayerful and constructive in my responses to this ongoing issue, as I continue to read about the lawsuits and how the Bishops continue to spend the Lay Faithful's money in defending, the indefensible.  I will pray, before I Blog.

I invite those who find themselves on this Blog Site, to use this space as an opportunity to promote examples of where you see our humanity evolving, so that we can bring forth this evolution by embracing what we recognize to be good, true, and beautiful.

Peace to you this day, and throughout the coming year!


  1. The name of the video, I believe, is "Humanity Adcending" by Barbara Marx Hubbard. I just downloaded her book, "Emergence: The Journey From Ego to Essence". Only on the first chapter but it looks to be quite a life changer. I encourage others to share books that have profoundly impacted your own life, here as well.

  2. I have also thought that the "awakenings" that we have seen around the world in 2011 - popular, grassroots, truth-seeking, altruistic, largely non-violent - would be a nice paradigm for the apocalypse (lifting of a veil) that people are seeking so desperately.

    My personal belief is that there is nothing more significant in 2012 than other years -OTHER than the fact that injustice has become so ubiquitous; greed so rampant that in the age of instant communication, this is no longer tolerable. So for the first time, I feel / realize / hope that there are millions who think as I do.

    So this seeking a change could be reconciled with the apocalyptics and the awakening to good result. Insh'Allah!

  3. Thank you, Mary, for this blog site. It is so wonderful to see others who believe as so many of us do. You are a shining example of all that is right with our religion and I love your statement that you have not strayed from your religion - the church has - HOW TRUE!!!

    God bless you for taking time from your busy schedule to maintain this enlightening blog.