Many / One

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Compiled by JoAnn Kite

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The Phenomenon of Man
Pierre Teilhard deChardin

1 "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."

2 "No evolutionary future awaits man except in association with all other men. The dreamers of yesterday glimpsed that. And in a sense we see the same thing."

3 "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."

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

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

6 "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."

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

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

9 "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."

10 "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."

11 "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?"

12 "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

13 "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."

14 "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."

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

16 "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."

17 "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."

18 "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."

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

20 "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."

21 "Considered in its physical, concrete reality, the stuff of the universe cannot divide itself but, as a kind of gigantic 'atom', it forms in its totality…the only real indivisible."

22 "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."

23 "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."

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

25 "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."

This body of quotes compiled by JoAnn Kite