.. a more fulfilling relationship between two separate entities attracted by its power. Love is the force of synthesis. It is supreme sincerity, which, when you give yourself wholly to whatever you do, makes your act total in its contact with the universe. When you accomplish this, you will see the goal of every act and thought as the same for everything and everybody – as a common union, the true communion with God.
Teilhard calls love most universal, most tremendous of cosmic forces (32). It is the energy of human unity, and to limit it would be SIN, for love is the highest form of human energy, and its force should never be restrained. Everybody is aware of it, but often it is suppressed and not allowed to flourish – because love attracts and the ultimate result of attraction is unity. Love is realized in a union. Primitive love was expressed in attraction of molecular forces. This, in turn, evolved into love of procreation, finally becoming ‘humanized’ love, love towards unity, completion of several into the Whole.
Love is our true nature. All misfortunes come from failing to understand that. And from not realizing that part of each one of us exists in all the rest. The role of morality is to guide man to attaining the highest fulfillment of his personal consciousness, to awaken the individual riches of personality. Consequently, final good can be defined as, I’m quoting, what makes for the growth of the spirit on earth (105).
Everything that brings spiritual growth to the world and helps to develop the spiritual powers of the earth is good. Consequently, riches only become good to the extent that they work for the benefit of the spirit (105). Role of morality, for Teilhard, is to compel the individual to free his autonomy and personality to the uttermost. The goal of religion is to make sure the progress of life goes on, the evolution continues. The essence of Christianity, as Teilhard points out, is a belief in the unification of the world in God by the Incarnation.
This is the basic idea of the Gospels. Conventional pictures of God as a landowner/king/judge, above and outside of everything, are simply outdated. Since the progress of science, it’s becoming more and more obvious that, I’m quoting, to be alpha and omega, Christ must, without losing his precise humanity, become co-extensive with the physical expanse of time and space. In him, personality expands (or rather centers itself) till it becomes universal (91). This is the true God of mankind, this is the God for Teilhard, the God of progress, of evolution, God-unifying principle.
All conscious beings are local manifestations of a mass which contains them all (95). They are all part of the noosphere – a term Teilhard coins in The phenomenon of spirituality, which signifies conscious biosphere of the earth. Our survival as a person is guaranteed, says Teilhard. The essence of our existence is incorruptibility and personality. To quote, the ashes will not rejoin and disappear in the great stream of matter, which would be the environment in which we will finally rest – this is impossible (141).
Evolution can’t be stopped. Even glorious matter can’t be permanent, since physico-chemical elements, of which the matter is composed, are always in the process of breaking up. But the I, the person, is unaffected by death. And common soul is that end towards which our individual personalities flow. Death, in which we seem to disappear, thus reveals itself as representing a simple phase of growth (104). Which suggests that physical death is not the end of our person – it is a mere jump to a higher level of existence.
To act is to create, he says in Human Energy. Death is an act, and creation is forever (141). Therefore, death in a sense of total disappearance is cosmically impossible. So, what do we need to do to help evolution? What is the ‘plan of action’? First of all, to realize that mass consciousness has influence on the universe, and that all thought should be directed towards unity with the All, forming ‘single spirit of the earth’. Further, we should accept and cherish our differences – and love one another.
To reform religion is another thing suggested by Teilhard. We must, I’m quoting, understand that God is supremely personal God, from whom we are the more distinguishable the more we lose ourselves in him (109). God is a god of cosmic synthesis, in whom we would evolve, and in union with whom we will preserve and magnify our personalities. Evil is viewed as a by-product of evolution, of the constant change taking place within us, a resistance to the synthesis of becoming One. It can be overcome by love.
Finally, mankind should realize that there is no death of the spirit. Survival of the being, of personality is guaranteed, and what’s more – the survival in the higher spiritual state. Matter ‘dies’ – it eventually falls apart to prime-elements and energy, but we are left with consciousness – our soul, our personality, in order to evolve further. So, we are actors in the play of evolution, not knowing, though, that everything that we do, say, and even think has impact on the universe. Therefore, the ideal of humanity is to realize this, and to understand that the ultimate directive of all thought is, in Teilhard’s words, a single spirit of the earth (119). Teilhard’s essay Human energy, in particular, speaks of the false notion of science that we are separate from the universe, that it is out there, only to be explored and subdued by mankind. Considering that this essay was written in the 1930s, I can understand why he speaks so bitterly of the principles of science of his times, but from the point of view of modern science, we have progressed far beyond considering universe as separate from us, though not far enough to see that we are one with it.
In the Mysticism of science, Teilhard states that the drive for new horizons of knowledge is supported by mysticism – the mysticism of science, which is based on hope in a limitless future – the two chief premises of religion (164). New mysticism is religion in science, the union of both, and stopping the feud between the two, which has been going on forever. Love or perish – he adds to Christ’s words. Without love, there can be no evolution. And the best model for love is Christ himself. His message is wholly in the proclamation of ‘divine fatherhood’ wherein, I’m quoting, he presents himself to man as the goal of personal union (159). It is a communion beyond sacrifice, where God, being total love, can only be reached in love (159).
Christ should be viewed as one with the world, in addition to being the center of it, as opposed to Christ being not of this world. This change in belief will lead to the birth of love of the universe and of the unity of all. Truly, religion should be the soul of science (180). Only then, the new man, a Christian evolutionist, will emerge. Bibliography Harkness, Georgia.
Mysticism: Its Meaning and Message. New York: Abingdon Press, 1973. King, Thomas M., & Salmon, James F., ed. Teilhard and the Unity of Knowledge: The Georgetown University Centennial Symposium. New York: Paulist Press, 1983. Mabry, John R. Cyberspace and the Dream of Teilhard de Chardin. Creation Spirituality Magazine Summer 1994. *Teilhard de Chardin, Pierre.
Human Energy. Trans. J. M. Cohen. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1962.
THE ABOVE BOOK IS THE ONE USED TO REFERENCE THE PAPER. ALL OTHER BIBLIOGRAPHY TITLES ARE SIMPLY HELPFUL TO GAIN A FULLER INSIGHT INTO TEILHARD’S VISION. Teilhard de Chardin, Pierre. Hymn of the Universe. Trans. S.
Bartholomew. New York: Harper and Row, 1965. Teilhard de Chardin, Pierre. The Phenomenon of Man. Trans.
B. Wall. New York: Harper and Row, 1975. Terra, Helmut de. Memories of Teilhard de Chardin. Trans.
J. M. Brownjohn. New York: Harper and Row, 1964.