Many / One

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Compiled by JoAnn Kite

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The Phenomenon of Man
Pierre Teilhard deChardin

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

2 "What is the work of works for man if not to establish, in and by each one of us, an absolutely original centre in which the universe reflects itself in a unique and inimitable way? And those centres are our very selves and personalities."

3 "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."

4 "Though the proliferations of living matter are vast and manifold, they never lose their solidarity. A continuous adjustment co-adapts them from without. A profound equilibrium gives them balance within. Taken in its totality, the living substance spread over the earth – from the very first stages of its evolution – traces the lineaments of one single and gigantic organism."

5 "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

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

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 "Resonance to the All – the keynote of pure poetry and pure religion."

9 "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."

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 "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."

13 "First the molecules of carbon compounds with their thousands of atoms symmetrically grouped; next the cell which, within a very small volume, contains thousands of molecules linked in a complicated system; then the metazoa in which the cell is no more than an almost infinitesimal element; and later the manifold attempts made sporadically by the metazoa to enter into symbiosis and raise themselves to a higher biological condition. And now, as a germination of planetary dimensions, comes the thinking layer which over its full extent develops and intertwines its fibres, not to confuse and neutralise them but to reinforce them in the living unity of a single tissue."

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

15 "In any domain – whether it be the cells of a body, the members of a society or the elements of a spiritual synthesis – union differentiates. In every organised whole, the parts perfect themselves and fulfill themselves."

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

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

18 "No element could move and grow except with and by all the others with itself."

19 "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?"

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

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

22 "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."

23 "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."

24 "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."

25 "If there were no real internal propensity to unite, even at a prodigiously rudimentary level – indeed in the molecule itself – it would be physically impossible for love to appear higher up, with us, in 'hominised' form."

This body of quotes compiled by JoAnn Kite