Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Teilhard de Chardin

French Philosopher, Paleontologist, Geologist, Visionary and Jesuit Priest

Author Quotes

This fundamental discovery that all bodies owe their origin to arrangements of single initial corpuscular type is the beacon that lights the history of the universe to our eyes. In its own way, matter obeyed from the beginning that great law of biology to which we shall have to recur time and time again, the law of ?complexification.?

We have the beginning of a new age. The earth 'gets a new skin.' Better still, it finds its soul.

When the signs of age begin to mark my body (and still more when they touch my mind); when the illness that is to diminish me or carry me off strikes from without or is born within me; when the painful moment comes to which I suddenly awaken to the fact that I am growing ill or growing old; and above all at the last moment when I feel I am losing hold of myself and am absolutely passive within the hands of the great unknown forces that have formed me; in all these dark moments, O God, grant that I may understand that it is you (provided only my faith is strong enough) who are painfully parting the fibers of my being in order to penetrate to the very marrow of my substance and bear me away within yourself.

This is the general form in which, by analogy and in symmetry with the past, we are led scientifically to envisage the future of mankind, without whom no terrestrial issue is open to the terrestrial demands of our action.

We have used the term mega-synthesis. Within a better understanding of the collective, it seems to me that the world should be understood without attenuation or metaphors when applied to the sum of all human beings. The universe is necessarily homogeneous in its nature and dimensions. Would it still be so if the loops of its spiral lost one jot or tittle of their degree of reality or consistence in ascending ever higher? The still unnamed Thing which the gradual combination of individuals, peoples and races will bring into existence, must needs be supra-physical, not infra-physical, if it is to be coherent with the rest. Deeper than the common act in which it expresses itself, more important than the common power of action from which it emerges by a sort of self-birth, lies reality itself, constituted by the living reunion of reflective particles.

When we consider the increasing compression of elements at the heart of a free energy which is also relentlessly increasing, how can we fail to see in this two-fold phenomenon the two perennial symptoms of a leap forward of the 'radial'--that is to say, of a new step in the genisis of mind?

Throughout my life, by means of my life, the world has little by little caught fire in my sight, until a flame all around me, it has become almost luminous from within. Such has been my experience in contact with the Earth. The diaphany of the divine at the heart of the universe on fire... a fire capable of penetrating everywhere, and gradually spreading everywhere.

We imagine the Divine as distant and inaccessible, whereas in fact we live steeped in its burning layers.

Whether we admit it or not, we have today no choice: we have all become ?evolutionists?. Through the narrow Darwinian crack opened a century ago in zoology, the feeling of Duration has now so completely and permanently colored the whole of our experience that we have to make an effort, for example, to get back to those not so distant days (about 1900) when the formation of species was still a matter for bitter argument, and we had not the vaguest suspicion that fifty years later the whole economy of mankind would be based on the birth of the Atom.

Thus a general human life is irresistibly being constituted around our own private lives. This is not a matter of a vague symbiosis' which would simply ensure, through mutual assistance, the continued existence, as individuals, of the members of the community, or even their further development. Certain 'effects' are already emerging from the association that has been formed, and these are specifically proper to collectivity. We take no notice of such effects, and yet we can see countless examples of them on all sides. Take simply the case of an aircraft, or a radio, or a Leica: and consider the physics, the chemistry and mechanics such things presuppose for their existence - the n-Lines, laboratories, factories, arms, brains, hands. By virtue of its construction (and this is undeniable) each one of these devices is, and cannot but be, only the convergent result of countless disciplines and techniques whose bewildering complexity could be mastered by no single worker in isolation. In their conception and manufacture, these familiar objects presuppose nothing less than a complex reflective organism, acting per modum unius, as a single agent. Already we see in them the work not simply of man, but of mankind.

We may say that competent observers today are in agreement about the general picture of an Evolution which may be compared, broadly speaking, to a river made up of amorphous streams (Entropy) within which countless eddies are individualized by a counter-current. ?Phenomenally? speaking, we see the World not merely as a system that is simply in movement, but as one that is in a state of genesis ? a very different matter. Across the metamorphoses of Matter something is being made (and at the same time being unmade) in accordance with a particular global orientation ? and this irreversibly and cumulatively.

You must overcome death by finding God in it.

The outcome of the world, the gates of the future, the entry into the super-human--these are not thrown open to a few of the privileged nor to one chosen people to the exclusion of all others. They will open only to an advance of all together, in a direction in which all together can join and find completion in a spiritual renovation of the earth.

Thus the whole phenomenon of consciousness, when submitted to scientific investigation, gives the impression of dissolving and melting away, like an illusion, in the uniform flood of a universal determinism: as well might one try to grasp a rainbow.

We may, perhaps, imagine that the creation was finished long ago. But that would be quite wrong. It continues still more magnificently, and at the highest levels of the world.

You who are divine energy and living irresistible might: since of the two of us it is you who are infinitely the stronger, it is you who must set me ablaze and transmute me into fire that we may be welded together and made one. Grant me, then, something even more precious than that grace for which all your faithful followers pray: to receive communion as I die is not sufficient: teach me to make a communion of death itself.

The physical reasons are structural: it is the nature of union to consolidate - so long as the unification continues. And the psychological reasons are based on logical necessity: if the biological unification of the World could be conceived as being bound sooner or later to come to a halt, the anticipation of such an ending (see below) would be sufficient to produce an us an abhorrence of super-living and so kill our evolutive effort of co-reflection. And probably (in so far as to create is to unify) every possible Universe.

To get out of bed in the morning is, inchoately and indirectly, to affirm the existence of God.

We must add one stitch, no matter how small it be, to the magnificent tapestry of life.

Your creatures can come into being only, like shoot from stem, as part of an endlessly renewed process of evolution.

The presence of the Incarnate Word penetrates like a universal element. It shines at the heart of all things.

To love is to approach each other center to center.

We must admit that if the neo-humanisms of the twentieth century de-humanize us under their uninspired skies, yet on the other hand the still-living forms of theism - starting with the Christian ? tend to under-humanize us in the rarified atmosphere of too lofty skies. These religions are still systematically closed to the wide horizons and great winds of Cosmogenesis, and can no longer truly be said to feel with the Earth - an Earth whose internal frictions they can still lubricate like a soothing oil, but whose driving energies they cannot animate as they should.

The quintessential good and beauty in life is what each has to offer to others valuing the gesture ourselves into confluence with the Word of God.

To the common sense of the 'man in the street' and even to a certain philosophy of the world to which nothing is possible save what has always been, perspectives such as these will seem highly improbable. But to a mind become familiar with the fantastic dimensions of the universe they will, on the contrary, seem quite natural, because they are simply proportionate with the astronomical immensities.

Author Picture
First Name
Last Name
Teilhard de Chardin
Birth Date
Death Date

French Philosopher, Paleontologist, Geologist, Visionary and Jesuit Priest