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 "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."

2 "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."

3 "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."

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

5 "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."

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

7 "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."

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 "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."

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

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

12 "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."

13 "Love is the conscious mark in us of the act that creates us by melting us into one."

14 "All living beings are but one being."

15 "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."

16 "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."

17 "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."

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

19 "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."

20 "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."

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 "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."

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

24 "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."

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

This body of quotes compiled by JoAnn Kite