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

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

3 "God, the personal and loving Infinite, is the Source, the motive Force and the End of the Universe."

4 "The Real incessantly reawakens us to an impassioned awareness of a wider expansion and an all-embracing unity."

5 "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."

6 "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."

7 "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."

8 "Charity [love] is the force that stops beings from shutting themselves up in a self-centered folding-in of their energies, and makes them 'unbutton', open themselves and surrender themselves to one another."

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

10 "The interplay of the monads would be unintelligible if an aura did not extend from one to another: something, that is, which is peculiar to each one of them and at the same time common to all."

11 "Souls are not a group of isolated monads…they make up one single whole with the universe."

12 "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."

13 "Each monad is to some degree the centre of the entire Cosmos, resting upon and at the same time supporting its fabric."

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

15 "If man believes with sufficient vigour in the force that is creating him, he will soon find that, for all its terrifying uncertainty, the future provides him with a solid footing as he advances."

16 "Everything that is active, that moves or breathes, every physical, astral, or animate energy, every fragment of force, every spark of life, is equally sacred; for, in the humblest atom and the most brilliant star, in the lowest insect and the finest intelligence, there is the radiant smile and thrill of the same Absolute."

17 "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."

18 "We can count upon creative energy awaiting us, ready to transform us in a way that goes beyond anything that the eye of man has seen or his ear has heard."

19 "Of one thing, at least, we may be certain: we have all the strength necessary to complete the work of Spirit upon earth. Our future is in our own hands."

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

21 "We are the countless centres of one and the same sphere."

22 "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."

23 "God has made good will the basis upon which our supernatural growth is founded. The pure heart, the right intention, are the organs of the higher life towards which all the soul's hopes are directed."

24 "Like knots spaced out along a cord, or like the folds into which a single curtain falls, or the eddies forming on one and the same surface, everything that moves and lives in the universe represents, in one particular aspect, the modifications of one and the same thing."

25 "If the Will of God is seen with sufficient intensity and realism it positively transforms the universe. It animates and softens all that we suffer; it stimulates and directs all that we initiate; it abolishes chance. It makes it possible for us to live, physically and for ever, within the divine Unity."

This body of quotes compiled by JoAnn Kite