Saturday, June 18, 2011

Pierre Teilhard De Chardin: Love, Evolution, Higher Consciounsess, and Convergence

Pierre Teilhard De Chardin is a great example of the ultimate seeker.  Not content to let science or religion stop at their various dogmatic sticking points, he takes things further, much further.  He constantly questions how we can expand not only our minds, but the mind of humanity as a whole.  That collective consciousness we can see reflections of in other intellectuals such as Carl Jung.  But Chardin’s “consciousness” is different than Jung’s.  Whereas Jung sees archetypes in the subconscious that are inherent to everyone, Chardin sees a CONVERGENCE towards a higher human consciousness, ultimately to the point where we can find the totality of love, or in other words, divinity/God. 

I have always hesitated to use the word God in describing my own conceptual construction of a Higher Power, but I don’t believe that we need to subscribe to Chardin’s Christian philosophy to see the logic behind what he presents.  Chardin’s thought, despite all the high rhetoric, is relatively simple to understand.  He takes evolution, which he fully believes in, and broadens it.  No longer do religion and science have to be separate.  Chardin things big, he questions, he seeks, and it is there that I find common ground with his philosophy.  The idea of the soul is portrayed as energy, and physicists are starting to come to the same conclusion.  Consciousness IS energy.  So far, it is the ultimate energy as exemplified in humanity; the being that has the ability to KNOW that it KNOWS.  Reflection.  Evolution has achieved consciousness through complexity.  The being reflecting back on itself through a "crossing over" or one of those points in evolutionary history where a sudden breakthrough has occurred.  Sartre and the existentialists would refer to it as the “pre-reflective cognito”.  However, the existentialists fall short by stopping at the human which at base has nothing as a ground.  NO.  We, as humans, are simply a stage in the progression of evolution; a higher stage to be sure, and a revolutionary stage, but still one level in the process; a process that continues to complexify, unify, and center in on itself.

Everywhere around us, we can see this progression of evolution, and Chardin emphasizes that the more humanity increases, the more we will be pressed in on one another, both physically AND psychically.  Eventually we will converge into an as yet inconceivable higher consciousness, and perhaps millions of years away, we will reach the apex of that consciousness.  To think of it another way:  We as humans are individual (albeit more advanced) molecules combining to create an even more complex and unified convergence past the simply human.  We are but one stage in the process.  Your life as a “molecule” is meant for something higher. 

The patterns of the universe are there for us to see.   Starting with the most basic components of everything that is, the atom, we see the expansion and complexity, through trial and error, that creates greater convergence and intelligence.  There is a unity in this complexity, as more and more individual parts unite to create something greater.  It is the same pattern of unity that we see in all the elements of love.  Connection.  Unity with other human beings.  Acceptance of differences as contributing to the whole.  All of these elements play a key part in the direction of the universe, and where we as humanity are headed. 

The existentialists have failed, as far as Chardin (and I) are concerned in that they present no higher purpose; they present nothing at all.  Literally.  If we have no higher purpose, what is the drive to keep going?  There is not mass suicide among existentialists, so they must see a reason to go on, yes?  Chardin refers to it as the “Activation of Energy” inside of us that shows clearly the divinity/love at play.  It is what we can call the zest of life.  The existential anguish is not a realization of meaninglessness or nothingness, but a level of awareness which presents something unfamiliar, something not yet finalized in its formation.  There is still more trial and error, and most importantly THE UNKOWN to deal with.  However, believing in this higher force, the energy that moves all that is, the energy that is love, is what gives us hope, keeps us moving, knowing that we are contributing to a greater expansion of consciousness and unity. 

I have begun to accept that love IS my idea of “God”.  But I had never heard it articulated in this manner.  Evolution is love in the material world.  It is a unity that progresses into something higher.  As reflective beings, however, we carry a greater ability (and Chardin argues, responsibility) to carry this evolution higher and higher.  It IS up to us, as free-thinking beings to make the most of it.  What will we do with this unique station we’ve been given in the evolutionary process?  Destroy ourselves, or continue the progression to the ultimate convergence that is waiting for humanity?  

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