Many / One

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Compiled by JoAnn Kite

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Writings in Time of War
Pierre Teilhard deChardin
Written at the front and in the trenches during World War I, these essays contain the core of Teilhard deChardin's thought. His central theme is the unity of all life.

1 "Through God, all bodies come together, exert influence upon one another and sustain one another in the unity of the all-embracing sphere."

2 "From time to time a great common aspiration comes to the surface from roots that lie deep down in mankind. At a given moment, the whole mass of souls thrills as it opens its eyes to a new light. Their multitude, for all its diversity, forms one whole in the unanimous and undisputed acceptance of a truth that is spontaneously taken as established; and, in one body, they set out together as though to find a new Holy Grail."

3 "Like particles immersed in one and the same spiritual fluid, souls cannot think or pray or act or move, without waves being produced, even by the most insignificant among them, which set the others in motion."

4 "In the material universe it is Spirit, and in Spirit it is the moral sphere, which are eminently the PRESENT centre in which life develops. It is into this flexible core of ourselves, accordingly, where divine grace mingles with the natural impulses of the Earth, that we have forcefully to direct the power of faith."

5 "Every being can subsist and hold together only through confluence with others."

6 "Unity is destined to become more and more fully realized."

7 "From the pantheist point of view, everything in the universe is seen to be radically One, Absolute, and Divine."

8 "I dreamed of a common centre into which all things would drive the most vital roots of their sensibility and energy; a universal Centre, living and benign, that would itself reinforce our desire to do what is right, when we are at a loss to express it, or preserve it, or realize it."

9 "In each one of the souls that is born from it, the cosmos is incessantly fulfilling its finest hopes."

10 "I believe that the world records everything good and useful that is done in it; it notes and assimilates to itself every movement and every impulse that is fitted to harmonize with its own becoming, of whose real goodness there can be no doubt."

11 "Basically, the whole of the world's psychism [psyche] gravitates towards a single centre."

12 "The condition of human progress is that men must at last cease to live in isolation; they must learn to recognize a common goal for their lives…and the fiery energies still undoubtedly smouldering in men must be fanned into flame and directed in common towards that end – not in an individual, not in a national, nor in a social, but in a HUMAN effort."

13 "To share in a hallowed unity, even for a split second, is enough to enable us to glimpse the future promised to our species, and to find the road that will lead us to it."

14 "The inter-personal contains the hopes of higher union on which evolution lives. It is the milieu of the monads' mutual attraction and confluence that sustains their final centre of coalescence."

15 "Every being…has its own particular essence crowned by a certain quality, a certain form (common to all) which makes it an integral, rightly adapted, part of the single Whole with which it shares a natural harmony."

16 "After each new crisis, mankind has to yield to the evidence that it has changed for the better and has made progress; for life, and life alone, knows what is best for its children, and, what is more, reality always follows the most favourable line of development."

17 "The more we lose all foothold in the darkness and instability of the future, the more deeply we penetrate into God."

18 "Peace is the awareness of Unity."

19 "There is in the universe only one single individuality (one single monad), that of the whole."

20 "Evolution is holy. There we have the truth that makes us free."

21 "I looked around and I saw, as though in an ecstasy, that through all nature I was immersed in God."

22 "Charity [love] safeguards the development of the universe and keeps it to the true path of its progress. Moral effort is the continuation in our souls of the same dynamic effort that gave us our bodies."

23 "Precisely because there exists in all beings a common centre, scattered and separable though they are in appearance, they meet together at a deeper level. The more they perfect themselves naturally and sanctify themselves in grace, the more they come together and fuse into one, within the single, unifying Centre to which they aspire: and we may call that Centre equally well the point upon which they converge, or the ambiance in which they float. All these reachings-out that draw beings together and unify them constitute the axis of all individual and collective life."

24 "The final purpose of providence is the influence of the transcendent Centre whose unerring action can infallibly guide chance toward its determined end."

25 "All living beings are but one being."

This body of quotes compiled by JoAnn Kite