French Philosopher, Paleontologist, Geologist, Jesuit Priest and Author
Teilhard de Chardin, fully Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
French Philosopher, Paleontologist, Geologist, Jesuit Priest and Author
The phrase ‘Sense of the Earth should be understood to mean the passionate concern for our common destiny which draws the thinking part of life ever further onward. In principle there is no feeling which has a firm foundation in nature, or greater power. But in fact there is also no feeling which awakens so belatedly, since it can become explicit only when our consciousness has expanded beyond the broadening, but still far too restricted, circles of family, country and race, and has finally discovered that the only truly natural and real human Unity is the Spirit of Earth.
To love is to approach each other center to center.
As soon as we recognize such a center, which I shall call Omega, it becomes reasonable to conclude that the grains of consciousness produced evolutively by noogenesis (once the 'human' point of reflection has been passed) fall into a new field of attraction: the pull is exercised on the basic foundation of the grains, and it now acts not only on the complexity of their structure but directly on their center, independently of the structure. From this point of view, what we have called 'moleculization' is thus seen to be a more complicated but at the same time more radical process than we thought. In a first stage (up to hominization) there is a succession of fragile units, suspended over the void that lies behind them: there is a rising centration, but no true center as yet perfected in nature. In a second stage (after hominization) there is a mixed state; there is a continued progress of external complexity and beneath this the universe, which henceforth carries grains of thought, begins to be inverted upon itself - like a cone that has reached its apex. An intangible physics of centers succeeds the tangible physics of centration. Lastly, in a third and final phase, there is the complete turning back of spirit (now collectively centerd) upon an interior pole of consistence and total unification: hyper-centration following upon centration.
Far from being swallowed up by Evolution, Man is now engaged in transforming our earlier ideas of Evolution in terms of himself, and thereafter plotting its new outline.
In a universe that is in course of centration (provided the centration be carried out in the right way) the individual and the collectivity never cease to reinforce and complete one another. The more the individual on his side associates himself in an appropriate way with other individuals, the more, as an effect of synthesis, does he enter deeper into his own being, become conscious of himself, and in consequence personalize himself. And the more the collectivity on its side concentrates itself, in an appropriate way, upon elements for whose fuller personalization it is itself responsible, the more, again, is it 'humanized' and personalized, and the more does it allow Omega point to be divined. The two terms are equally essential: they are inseparable.
Love is the only force which can make things one without destroying them… Someday, after mastering the winds, the waves, the tides and gravity, we shall harness for God the energies of love, and then, for the second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire.
Spiritual perfection (or conscious 'centerity') and material synthesis (or complexity) are but the two aspects or connected parts of one and the same phenomenon.
The reality of spirit-matter is inevitably translated into and confirmed by a structure of the spirit.
To write the true natural history of the world, we should need to be able to follow it from within. It would thus appear no longer as an interlocking succession of structural types replacing one another, but as an ascension of inner sap spreading out in a forest of consolidated instincts. Right at its base, the living world is constituted by conscious clothes in flesh and bone.
At the heart of our universe, each soul exists for God, in our Lord.
From all this we can draw only one conclusion, that the quantity of activity and consciousness contained in mankind, taken as a whole, is greater than the mere sum of individual activity and consciousness. Progress in complexity is making itself felt in a deepening of centricity. It is not simply a sum, but synthesis. And this is precisely what we were justified in expecting, if, in the domain of the social, the forward march of universal moleculization is indeed being continued (as my thesis maintained) to a point beyond our present brains.
In the beginning was Power, intelligent, loving, energizing. In the beginning was the Word, supremely capable of mastering and molding whatever might come into being in the world of matter. In the beginning there were not coldness and darkness: there was Fire.
Man only progresses by slowly elaborating from age to age the essence and the totality of a universe deposited within him.
That the personalization of the universe, having at this moment reached the human stage in ourselves, is irreversible we shall soon recognize, step by step, as the conditions of internal coherence particular to a personal universe yield to our analysis. In this way, the inalterability of the person, so rightly defended by spiritualist philosophers, will at the same time be preserved and attached to an intelligible physical theory.
The space-time continuum is a cone, and humans, via evolution and collective consciousness, are rising to its apex.
Until man, it is true enough that living branches develop primarily by stifling and eliminating one another - the law, in fact, of the jungle. By contrast, starting with man and within the human group, this is no longer true: the play of mutual destruction ceases to operate. Selection, no doubt, is still at work and can still be recognized, but it no longer holds the most important place; and the reason for this is that the appearance of thought has added a new dimension to the Universe. Through spirit's irresistible affinity for its own kind, it has created a sort of convergent milieu within which the branches, as they are formed, have to come closer together in order to be fully living. In this new order of things, the whole balance is changed, though with no diminution of the system's energy. It is simply that force, in its earlier form, expresses only man's power over the extra- or the infra-human. It has been transformed, at the heart of mankind, among men, into its spiritual equivalent - an energy not of repulsion, but of attraction.
At the root of the major troubles in which nations are today involved, I believe that I can distinguish the signs of a change of age in mankind.
From an evolutionary point of view, man has stopped moving, if he ever did move.
In the final analysis, the questions of why bad things happen to good people transmutes itself into some very different questions, no longer asking why something happened, but asking how we will respond, what we intend to do now that it happened.
Matter is spirit moving slowly enough to be seen.
The Age of Nations is past. The task before us now, if we would not perish, is to build the Earth.
The time has come to realize that an interpretation of the universe — even a positivist one — remains unsatisfying unless it covers the interior as well as the exterior of things; mind as well as matter. The true physics is that which will, one day, achieve the inclusion of man in his wholeness in a coherent picture of the world.
Bearing this in mind, the ultimate form to be assumed by mankind should not be conceived on the lines of a stem that is swollen with the sap of all the stems it killed as it grew. It will be born (for born it cannot but be) in the form of some organism in which, obeying one of the universe's most unmistakable laws, every blade and every fascicle, every individual and every nation, will find completion through union with all the others. No longer a succession of eliminations, but a confluence of energies -'synergy'. Such, if we have cars to hear, is the message of biology.
From this, as a final summary, I draw the following conclusion. To have become conscious of our condition as 'atoms patient of synthesis' is not merely to have attained a new vision of the general relationship which links matter to thought, and thought to God. It is in addition, and by that very fact, to redefine the line followed by the immutable axis of, and by that very holiness.
In the spiritual life, as in all organic processes, everyone has their optimum and it is just as harmful to go beyond it as not to attain it.