Today I was looking over an archive - as a chance read. And I felt it was something worth repeating again here, especially since de Chardin's writings are still so relevant:
Monday, September 27, 2004
A true anecdotal story:
A seeker once went to visit a well-known Teacher. After having been permitted to attend an audience with the Teacher, the aspiring seeker asked if he could be permitted to join the circle of disciples. The Teacher replied that he wasn't yet ready. "You need to do more preparation" casually remarked the modern Teacher. "What should I do?" inquired the despondent seeker.
"Read more science-fiction" came the reply. There was a little confusion on the seeker's face!
Much of what is nowadays being discussed in terms of our human evolution has appeared, in various forms, over the last century among scattered science-fiction novels; some more well-known than others. Such ideas have indeed been scattered into the consciousness of many readers through such means. A reading of many sci-fi classics will throw-up a thread of such major ideas, as have been discussed by such notables as A.C. Clarke; O. Stapledon; H.G. Wells; T. Sturgeon; R. Heinlein...amongst others.
There have also been other spheres of exposure. For example, what Teilhard de Chardin was writing about once seemed like, and to some still does seem like, science-fiction - yet it was a deep philosophy. Now such ideas are making a comeback, a resurgance. Chardin's ideas proved to be integral to such cultural theorists as Marshall McLuhan (famous for coining the phrase 'global village' back in the 60s). Again, I will leave a few poignant quotes here - all taken from de Chardin's 'Let Me Explain' (Fontana, 1974):
- 'but if on the contrary man sees a new door opening above him, a new stage for his development; if each of us can believe that he is working so that the universe may be raised, in him and through him, to a higher level-then a new spring of energy will dwell forth in the heart of earth's workers. The whole great human organism, overcoming a momentary hesitation, will draw its breath and press on with strength renewed.' (: 5)
- 'In us the world's evolution towards spirit has become conscious. Our perfection, our interest, our salvation as elements can depend therefore on nothing less than pushing this evolution forward with all our strength. We may not yet understand exactly where it is taking us, but it is absurd for us to doubt that it is leading as towards some end of supreme value.' (: 60)
- 'no longer only, as of old, for our little individuality, our little family, our little country-no longer indeed only for the whole earth-but for the salvation and success of the universe itself, how should we modern men best organise the maintenance, distribution and progress of the energy of man around us? Therein lies the whole question.' (: 61)
- 'an irresistible and irreversible technical-cultural organization... is manifestly in progress of development within human society. On the other hand, as an effect of co- reflection, the human mind is continually rising up collectively-collectively, because of the links forged by technology-to the appreciation of new dimensions' (: 72)
- 'Nevertheless there are certain precise conditions in the field of energy that must be satisfied by the event we anticipate (a more pronounced a wakening in man, as it comes closer, of the 'zest for Evolution' and the 'Will to live'); and from these we are forced to conclude that all ultra-reflection coincides with a final attainment of irreversibility. (: 73)
The beauty of Teilhard de Chardin is that he talks about the collective, unified soul of humankind as a 'conspiracy' of individuals who 'associate themselves to raise to a new stage the edifice of life. The resources we enjoy today, the powers and secrets of science we have discovered, cannot be absorbed by the narrow system of individual and national divisions which have so far served the leaders of the world.' (:67)