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Teilhard de Chardin, fully Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

(1881 - 1955)

Biography:

French Philosopher, Paleontologist, Geologist, Jesuit Priest and Author

Quotes
A breeze passes in the night. When did it spring up? Whence does it come? Whither is it going? No man knows.
A first result of the 'mass-setting' which mankind is gradually undergoing at this moment is that every one of us, taken in isolation, is becoming less and less materially self-sufficient. A series of new needs, which it would be puerile and anti-biological to regard as superfluous and artificial, is continually making itself felt in us. It is no longer possible for us to live and develop without an increasing supply of rubber, of metals, oil, electricity and energy of all sorts. No individual could henceforth manage to produce his daily bread on his own. Mankind is more and more taking the form of an organism that possesses a physiology and, in the current phrase, a common 'metabolism'. We may, if we please, say that these ties are superficial, and that we will lose them if we wish.
A more complete study of the movements of the world will oblige us, little by little, to turn it upside down; in other words, to discover that if things hold and hold together, it is only by reason of complexity, from above.
A universal love is not only psychologically possible; it is the only complete and final way in which we are able to love.
Above all I feel that you must resign yourself to taking me as I am, that is, with the congenital quality (or weakness) which ever since my childhood has caused my spiritual life to be completely dominated by a sort of profound 'feeling' for the organic realness of the World. At first it was an ill-defined feeling in my mind and heart, but as the years have gone by it has gradually become a precise, compelling sense of the Universe's general convergence upon itself; a convergence which coincides with, and culminates at its zenith in, him in quo omina constant, and whom the Society has taught me to love.
Above all, trust in the slow work of God. We are quite naturally impatient in everything to reach the end without delay. We should like to skip the intermediate stages. We are impatient of being on the way to something unknown, something new. And yet it is the law of all progress that it is made by passing through some stages of instability— and that it may take a very long time. And so I think it is with you; your ideas mature gradually—let them grow, let them shape themselves, without undue haste. Don’t try to force them on, as though you could be today what time (that is to say, grace and circumstances acting on your own good will) will make of you tomorrow. Only God could say what this new spirit gradually forming within you will be. Give Our Lord the benefit of believing that his hand is leading you, and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself in suspense and incomplete.
All the communions of a life-time are one communion. All the communions of all men now living are one communion. All the communions of all men, present, past and future, are one communion.
Already, in the social and biological field, the fact of our recognizing that, as a result of the properties of love, the universe becomes personalized as it concentrates, was enabling us to avoid both fragmentation through individualization and mechanization through collectivism. Now, in the domain of mysticism, the same light shows us the channel between two equally dangerous reefs. Ever since man, in becoming man, started on his quest for unity, he has constantly oscillated, in his visions, in his ascesis, or in his dreams, between a cult of the spirit which made him jettison matter and a cult of matter which made him deny spirit: omegalization allows us to pass between this Scylla and Charybdis of rarefaction or the quagmire. Detachment now comes not through a severance but through a traversing and a sublimation; and spiritualization not by negation of the multiple or an escape from it, but by emergence. This is the via tertia that opens up before us as soon as spirit is no longer the opposite extreme but the higher pole of matter in course of super-centration. It is not a cautious and neutral middle course, but the bold, higher road, in which the values and properties of the two other roads are combined and correct one another.
As a result of changes which, over the last century, have modified our empirically based pictures of the world and hence the moral value of many of its elements, the ' human religious ideal ' inclines to stress certain tendencies and to express itself in terms which seem, at first sight, no longer to coincide with the 'Christian religious ideal '.
As I pointed out, for one form of synthesis that brings freedom there are hundreds of others that lead only to the vilest forms of bondage. We are only too conscious of this; but how can we come together in such a way as to free ourselves? In virtue of the laws of moleculization, the problem obviously consists in finding the way of grouping ourselves together not 'tangentially', in the nexus of an extrinsic activity or function, but radially', center to center; how to associate in such a way as, by synthesis, to stimulate deep within ourselves a progress that is directly centric in nature. In other words, what we have to do is to love one another because love is equally by definition the name we give to 'inter-centric' actions. By its nature, love is the only synthesizing energy whose differentiating action can super-personalize us. But just how can one ever contrive to love a multitude? if we set the two words side by side, love and multitude, surely they enclose a contradiction?