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

2 "In everything in me that has subsistence and resonance, in everything that enlarges me from within, that arouses me, attracts me, or wounds me from without, it is you, Lord, who are at work upon me – it is you who mould and spiritualize my formless clay – you that change me into yourself."

3 "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."

4 "In the domain of morality the Divine and the Terrestrial meet and are fused into one."

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

6 "There is only ONE SINGLE CENTER in the universe…it impels the whole of creation along one and the same line, first towards the fullest development of consciousness, and later towards the highest degree of holiness."

7 "The sum of our souls is the potentiality of Some Thing, not yet made, which is to emerge from their mass. Collective aspirations accompany and assist this organic work, greater than ourselves, which is effected in each one of us. It is the function of Morality to guide our free decisions into fruitful and obedient co-operation in this task."

8 "Seek in utter darkness the dawn of God."

9 "Human monads are atoms immersed in, nourished by, and carried along by one and the same unfathomable primitive substance; they are elements that are combined and given a special character by a network of intimate interconnections, in order so to constitute a higher unity."

10 "Morality is generally regarded as a system of actions and relationships that are biologically secondary, less immediate and less physical than material or vital relationships. This is a great mistake. One has only to study, from the point of view of creative union, its role in the evolution of living beings, in order to see how profound is the morphogenic power of the Good."

11 "Each one of us is linked by all the material, organic and psychic strands of his being to all that surrounds him. Not only is he caught up in a network, he is carried along, too, by a stream. All around us, in whatever direction we look, there are both links and currents."

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

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

14 "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."

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

16 "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."

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

18 "God is at work within life. He helps it, raises it up, gives it the impulse that drives it along, the appetite that attracts it, the growth that transforms it. I can feel God, touch Him, 'live' Him in the deep biological current that runs through my soul."

19 "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."

20 "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."

21 "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."

22 "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."

23 "The deeper I descend into myself, the more I find God at the heart of my being."

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

25 "Blessings on the philosophy that shows us that the cohesion of things is destined to be completed!"

This body of quotes compiled by JoAnn Kite