“The continued acceleration of changes affecting humanity and the planet is coupled today with a more intensified pace of life and work which might be called “rapidification.” Although change is part of the working of complex systems, the speed with which human activity has developed contrasts with the naturally slow pace of biological evolution. Moreover, the goals of this rapid and constant change are not necessarily geared to the common good or to integral and sustainable human development. Change is something desirable, yet it becomes a source of anxiety when it causes harm to the world and to the quality of life of much of humanity.”
Pope Francis, Laudato Si, Chapter 1, Paragraph 18
Adieu, December. Gone are the carols and candy. So too are the tinsel and trees. We will miss you, presents and peppermint everything. Good news, pumpkin everything is only 9 months away.
One December tradition I do enjoy is reading year-end updates from family and friends. I believe there is value in taking the time to reflect back, as so many of us do. That was the original inspiration of last week’s post, as I spent time thinking back on the most significant environmental story of 2015. For many, the answer might have been COP21 and the climate change agreement adopted by the participating countries. By many metrics, that’s probably the right answer too. For me though, the publication of Laudato Si (props to anyone who recognized Pope Francis’ words last week) stands out a bit more.
I’m going to use the next several blog posts to elaborate on why I think this encyclical is such a seminal document. For now, I want to take a closer look at the quote from last week, reproduced above.
I doubt any of you will be surprised when I say that I think the Pope is spot-on. Speed is perhaps the defining word of the modern world. Text message communication, two-hour Amazon delivery, fast food restaurants, microwaves, five-hour flights from San Francisco to Atlanta, and all of the world’s collective knowledge stored a few clicks away on that funny Internet thing. The oldest of those things? Well, the Wright brothers’ famed flight was 112 years ago. And we just celebrated Jesus Christ’s 2,015th (actually, we don’t know exactly when Christ was born, though Biblical scholars suggest it was between 6 and 4 BC).
I hope each of you were able to spend the holiday season with loved ones. If you were, and if you found the time meaningful and relaxing, I imagine it’s because you enjoyed long meals together, slept in late, and allowed the hours to drift by.
Need a New Year’s resolution? How about slowing down.