Many / One

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Compiled by JoAnn Kite

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The Phenomenon of Man
Pierre Teilhard deChardin

1 "The universe in its entirety must be regarded as one gigantic process, a process of becoming, of attaining new levels of existence and organisation." Julian Huxley

2 "However far science pushes its discovery of the 'essential fire' and however capable it becomes some day of remodelling and perfecting the human element, it will always find itself in the end facing the same problem – how to give to each and every element its final value by grouping them in the unity of an organised whole."

3 "At this cross-roads where we cannot stop and wait because we are pushed forward by life – and obliged to adopt an attitude if we want to go on doing anything whatsoever – what are we going freely to decide?"

4 "However tenuous it was, the first veil of organised matter spread over the earth could neither have established nor maintained itself without some network of influences and exchanges which made it a biologically COHESIVE whole. From its origin, the cellular nebula necessarily represented, despite its internal multiplicity, a sort of diffuse super-organism."

5 "All conscious energy is, like love (and because it is love), founded on hope."

6 "Each cell divides (by mitotic or amitotic division) and gives birth to another cell similar to itself. First, a single centre; then two. Everything in the subsequent development of life stems from this potent primordial phenomenon."

7 "Consciousness is a dimension to which it is inconceivable and even contradictory to ascribe a ceiling or to suppose that it can double back upon itself. There are innumerable critical points on the way, but a halt or a reversion is impossible, and for the simple reason that every increase of internal vision is essentially the germ of a further vision which includes all the others and carries still farther on."

8 "Man…was born a direct lineal descendant from a total effort of life, so that the species has an axial value and a pre-eminent dignity."

9 "All around us, as far as the eye can see, the universe holds together, and only one way of considering it is really possible, that is, to take it as a whole, in one piece."

10 "The inner face of the world is manifest deep within our human consciousness, and there reflects upon itself."

11 "Love in all its subtleties is nothing more, and nothing less, than the more or less direct trace marked on the heart of the element by the psychical convergence of the universe upon itself. This, if I am not mistaken, is the ray of light which will help us to see more clearly around us."

12 "In last analysis, somehow or other, there must be a single energy operating in the world."

13 "Evolution, by becoming conscious of itself in the depths of ourselves, only needs to look at itself in the mirror to perceive itself in all its depths and to decipher itself."

14 "Man progresses by slowly elaborating from age to age the essence and the totality of a universe deposited within him."

15 "The conditions of advance are these: global unity of mankind's noetic organisation or system of awareness, but a high degree of variety within that unity; love, with goodwill and full cooperation; personal integration and internal harmony; and increasing knowledge….We, mankind, contain the possibilities of the earth's immense future, and can realise more and more of them on condition that we increase our knowledge and our love." Julian Huxley

16 "Man is not the centre of the universe as once we thought in our simplicity, but something much more wonderful – the arrow pointing the way to the final unification of the world in terms of life….This is nothing else than the fundamental vision."

17 "The human group – all those races, those nations, those states whose entanglements defy the resourcefulness of anatomists and ethnologists alike – there are so many rays in that spectrum that we despair of analysing them. Let us try instead to perceive what this multiplicity represents when viewed as a whole. If we do this we will see that its disturbing aggregation is nothing but a multitude of sequins all sending back to each other by reflection the same light."

18 "Races, peoples and nations consolidate one another and complete one another by mutual fecundation."

19 "A truth once seen, even by a single mind, always ends up by imposing itself on the totality of human consciousness."

20 "However narrowly the 'heart' of an atom may be circumscribed, its realm is co-extensive, at least potentially, with that of every other atom."

21 "Each element of the cosmos is positively woven from all the others."

22 "To see life properly we must never lose sight of the unity of the biosphere that lies beyond the plurality and essential rivalry of individual beings."

23 "To reach the sun nothing less is required than the combined growth of the entire foliage. 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 which ALL TOGETHER can join and find completion in a spiritual renovation of the earth."

24 "Man…carries the world's fortune in himself and a limitless future stretches before him in which he cannot founder."

25 "The stuff of the universe, woven in a single piece according to one and the same system, but never repeating itself from one point to another, represents a single figure. Structurally, it forms a Whole."

This body of quotes compiled by JoAnn Kite