Many / One

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The Vision of the Past
Pierre Teilhard deChardin

1 "The crisis we are passing through bears the 'positive sign.' Its characteristics are not those of a break-up but of a birth. Let us not be frightened therefore of what at first sight might look like a final and universal discord. What we are suffering is only the price, the annunciation, the preliminary phase of our unanimity."

2 "There is only one method to keep human monads bound to the task of life: to make the passion for the whole prevail in them over elementary egoism, that is to say practically to increase their consciousness of the general evolution of which they are a part."

3 "From what source will human individuals ultimately draw the desire to accept one another and draw one another towards joyful unity? There is only one conceivable source: a growing attraction to the centre of consciousness in which their fibres and their bundle must complete themselves by reuiniting."

4 "Just as drops of water lost within the vast sheets of oceans participate in all sorts of common chemical, thermal or capillary relationships; so, at a higher degree of reality, no living mass (whether it is the whole biosphere or a fraction of it) is conceivable… except as permeated and animated by certain forces of solidarity which bring the paricular forms into balance and control the unifying currents within the All."

5 "Whatever is progressive and valid in discoveries or awakenings of consciousness is communicated contagiously and profits the whole human family."

6 "Julian Huxley declared that man is the highest, the richest, the most significant object within range of our investigations, because it is in him that cosmic evolution is culminating at this moment before our eyes, having become, by our reflexion, conscious of itself."

7 "We possess a marvellous means of exploration FROM WITHIN. Let us observe ourselves; and we shall find, by intuition if not by calculation, something of all the past movements of the universe in the living creatures we are. Let us join and exalt our individual powers; and we shall glimpse the grandeur towards which the phenomenon of man is progressing."

8 "We must above all develop our perception and appreciation of the great universal realities, feed our sense of the world and our sense of humanity."

9 "Humanity seems certainly to have reached the stage of its evolution in which it cannot from any viewpoint face the problems presented to it by the growth of its inner energy without defining for itself a center of love and adoration."

10 "When each man, by virtue of a conception of the world that demands only a minimum of metaphysics, and that is supported, moreover, by the greatest number of arguments from experience, will admit that his true being is not limited to the narrow boundaries of his limbs and his historical existence but that he forms part, body and soul, of the process that drives the universe, then he will understand that, in order to remain faithful to himself he must devote himself to the task demanded of him by life as to a personal and sacred duty. Then he will regain belief in the world, in a world whose totality cannot perish, and also faith in a supreme centre of personalization, concentration and cohesion, the only point at which the salvation of the universe can be conceived to take place."

11 "Peoples are biologically equal, as 'thought phyla' destined progressively to integrate in some final unity, which will be the only true humanity."

12 "We know atoms as sums of nuclei and electrons; molecules as sums of atoms; cells as collections of molecules. Could there not be, in formation ahead of us, humanity as the sum of organized persons."

13 "No living form 'hangs in the air.' Each is attached by some part of itself to a pre-existent prototype, to a morphological antecedent – and each is connected also with its neighbouring forms."

14 "From top to bottom of the series of beings, everything is in motion, everything is raising itself, organizing itself in a single direction, which is that of the greatest consciousness."

15 "This is the supreme purpose of the present human phase of terrestrial history; that the normal crisis which has struck us shall be compensated by the renewal and growth of our beings, in the double form of a necessity and an attraction, of a divine pressure emanating from the Absolute."

16 "Is not this divine centre, required by the nature of things to justify our activity, precisely He whose influence makes itself positively felt in us by the tendency to greater cohesion, justice and brotherhood?"

17 "The world cannot continue to advance towards greater complexity and consciousness except by making an ever more explicit place for the forces of expectation and hope, that is to say for religion."

18 "Men are not only brothers by common descent…but can in a real and physical manner recognize one another as members of a single passionately desired being."

19 "Fully consciuous nations are needed for a united earth."

20 "'Conspiration'…is the aptitude of different consciousnesses, taken in a group, to unite (by language and countless other, more obscure links) so as to constitute a single All, in which, by way of reflexion, each element is conscious of its aggregation to all the rest."

21 "A breeze is blowing through the human masses; one that draws us all by a sort of living affinity towards the splendid realization of some foreseen unity. Disputed, suspect and often scorned, unitary aspirations in politics, in thought, in mysticism, arise everywhere around us; and because their subject is not what is material and plural but what is spiritual and common to all in each one of us, no force of routine or egoism seems capable of arresting them; irresistibly they infiltrate and gradually dissolve old forms and false barriers."

22 "No unit can finally find happiness except by reunion with the whole and the transcendent centre required to move that whole."

23 "In the realm of life, as in that of matter, the fundamental unity of the universe and the inexorable inter-relationship of the cosmic elements, which will only allow any new being to enter our experience in the context of all the present and past states of the world, appear to be ideas now definitely accepted by the human mind. We shall never abandon them again, but explore them, on the contrary, to increasing depth because we have been both drawn and driven to them by the full force of human thought for many centuries; and also because, once they are accepted, reality is found to grow clearer and more orderly so far as the eye can see."

24 "Thought is an actual physical energy sui generis, which has succeeded in a few hundred centuries in covering the entire face of the earth with a network of linked forces."

25 "In the persistent advance of consciousness towards always more spontaneous and finally reflective forms, we have an objective element, allowing us to follow, through and beneath all complications of detail, the continually ascending advance of a single fundamental greatness."

This body of quotes compiled by JoAnn Kite