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S a Purpose to all this The reader can see that in writing such things not to mention rocks and molecules having incipient thoughts and feelings mainstream scientists dismissed him as readily as the Church didI like the fact that de Chardin did not attempt to carefully walk a tightrope between science and religion He said what he had to say and therefore went splat on the sidewalk on both sides of the rope with no apologies Agree disagree this is one of the most the sidewalk on both sides of the rope with no apologies Agree disagree this is one of the most provoking books I have read Certainly the noosphere is a concept that deserves thought Will we end up like those grade B sci fi movies shown at 300 am brains in jars connected by wires No because with wi fi we won t need wires Every month it seems we read of a new development connecting thoughts to computer devices for those controlling robotic arms for example Can it be all that long before we can choose to share our brain waves with others Teilhard de Chardin was both a Jesuit priest and a paleontologist He found that his scientific work supported his beliefs as a priest His argument is of a stunning simplicity 1 matter organizes itself towards life 2 life organizes itself towards Christ 3 earthly matter has only transformed itself into living matter once and no longer does so 4 man cannot repeat the original transformation of matter into life in a laboratoryThe implication of this is that the evolution of life on this planet is a divine process as much as it is a natural process Essential reading for anyone interested in evolution theology or philosophy in general I personally approached it interested in its spiritual concepts so I found a fair portion of the middle of the text rather slow and inaccessible due to its focus on the scientific specifics of evolution details that are probably outdated today anyway which doesn t help But there are enough interesting lines images and trains of thought throughout to make the whole read worthwhile and the last third of the book in particular gets into some really interesting if brazenly biased spiritual territoryIn my opinion Teilhard is at his best when he explores overtly the spiritual reality of mankind describing it with a sense of optimism and purpose while couching it in the evolutionary framework that he presents and to be fair that is essentially the crux of the entire book it just gets lost in the mix at times Even when he wears his Christianity on his sleeve which while definitely a flaw in his otherwise fairly comprehensive system of thought is ind of cute it is apparent that he has nothing but the best at heart for his species a sense of spiritual well being and a connection with something greater ie The Omega Point in this case a head scratcher of a notion but it almost seems like one of the reasonable albeit still arbitrary defenses for Jesus as the divine entering into the world that I ve heard Much like Kierkegaard Teilhard what s with these ard guys Anyway Constructs A Wildly Intriguing System Of Ideas Around His constructs a wildly intriguing system of ideas around his system and in doing so gets at some really important truths while completely missing out on othersI would recommend this book with the ualification that recent integral philosophers present a tenable approach to its ey points ie the within of things evolution as increasing consciousness etc and a comprehensive view of evolution in general It is a tragedy that Teilhard de Chardin was not allowed to publish or teach his ideas in his lifetime His work is so steeped in a deep understanding of paleontology and evolutionary biology that it holds up remarkably well today even if the sections of this book that deal with those particular topics seem very dated His scientific background is really just a support for this book s philosophicaltheological core and that is the other thing that makes this book so striking if you new nothing of its background you wouldn t realize you were reading the work of a Jesuit until Book 4 a few hundred pages in Regardless of what you may believe religiously or now scientifically this is deep thinking on human evolution that will challenge and inspire any reader. Ons the human future in its globe and motion then forward through the emergence of life the birth of thought and socialization and the uniue mode of human unfolding as humanity covers the whole planet in an entirely new membrane the Noosphe. This book intends to describe the past and future evolutionof life

many of the 
of the concepts expressed in thefirst half of the book have been superseded by recentdevelopmentsFor me the main interesting concept in the book is the assertion that human consciousness is an aspect of evolution Also that evolution has a goal ie the increasingcomplexity of human consciousness called noosphere whichwill culminate in the final super humanized form p 259which the author calls the Omega pointSince the author was trained as a priest it would have beenhelpful if he had given insight as to whyhow religionplays such a large part in human consciousness This was great reading in the first and third parts of the bookthough the middle almost illed me with its technicality In the early 20th century Pierre Teilhard became a forerunner in integrating evolution with a theistic worldview but the greatest import of his work was that he took a dead eye shot at predicting where naturalistic evolution was heading Advancing beyond mere rosy humanism Teilhard fervently believed in the eons long progress of hominization the coming to being of humanity He expresses god like patience by saying After all half a million years perhaps even a million were reuired for life to pass from the pre hominids to modern man should we now start wringing our hands because less than two centuries after from the pre hominids to modern man should we now start wringing our hands because less than two centuries after a higher state modern man is still at war with himself This seems to be the real crux of the book The spiraling paths of I ve nown Teilhard de Chardin s name and influence even long before I became interested in religion myself and this book was a long time in coming And a long time in finishing it just didn t woo meHis prose is stronger than his argument His science is not up to modern standards but nor in many ways his own What continuously bothered me was how often he resorts to normative statements analogies between unrelated things and such to make both scientific and theological claims Yes evolution resembles a tree if you graph it on paper but that does not make it a treeAll in all very proto New Age stuff to me Fanciful analogy I don t dislike his attempt at a synthesis or a grand scope of things only the result Although he was a priest in France he is best nown for his work in paleontology when he was a curator in the Museum of Natural History in Paris He has rendered the subject of evolution easily accessible to all and his point of view complements that of Darwin in many ways For exampleHis Chapter called The within of Things states the presence of a soul even for the non livings which sounds like a common sense to me The chapters The rise of Consciousness and The confluence of Thoughts echo what Jung had confirmed independentlyIt may sound like an intellectual read but it s not His modesty comes across all through In spite of the three star rating I do think this book is absolutely worth reading and reading again Chardin was an ordained Jesuit priest but also a trained paleontologist who worked with the team that discovered the Peking Man fossils so just from those factor Well written intellectual but wrong bookDe Chardin tried to connect the unconnected things Christianity naturalism pantheism and nietzscheanismAllegedly evolution and natural selection have led to the birth of men In turn men can become supermen and create the God by a method of mergingThe author makes extremely doubtful assumptionsFor example an initial substance supposedly has a consciousness or spirit and this has led to the emergence of life In addition de Chardin ignores many facts In particular natural selection reinforces the existing norm and doesn t lead to the perfectiondevelopment of lifeRandom mutations lead to degradation and death and not to the developmentHuman nature is depraved and puny especially in comparison with the scale and age of the UniverseTwo Stars I ll start this review by asking How prescient can one person be Completing this book in 1940 de Chardin could not have predicted the Internet but if you read about his concept of the noosphere you realize tha. A New Edition and Translation of Le phénomène humain by Sarah Appleton Weber with a Foreword by Brian Swimme The Human Phenomenon by the priest paleontologist and geologist Pierre Teilhard de Chardin is his book of the Earth a discovery Le phénomène humain

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T if he were alive today b 1881 d 1955 he would look at the Internet and say That s it I new it would be something like that If you read science books and have not yet read Teilhard you Know What You Need To what you need to Right or wrong De Chardin is one of the few scholars who have even attempted to come up with an answer to the unanswerable uestion what is the goal of evolution Few books I have read attempt to deal with such BIG thoughts And rather than attempt to summarize all his thinking I ll just try to catalog some of the things that in my opinion he predicted or prefigured in this workThe very modern idea of the Anthropocene the idea that the most modern geological era is due to human influence Most recently promoted by Erle Ellis and others around 2012 De Chardin had the scientific creds he was trained as a geologist and paleontologist and worked in China on the then newly discovered Peking Man De Chardin saw The End of Nature coming Bill McKibben 1989 We humans are in control now we are the main geologic agent and if an animal species or a forest survives it s because we allow it to do so We Are Nature frightening as that may beDe Chardin basically lays out the Gaia hypothesis James Lovelock Lynn Margulis Andrew Watson 1989 Organisms don t just evolve in response to their environment but help shape it Writ large the earth is evolving into a self regulating organism The analogy of black and white daisies regulating heat aka Daisyworld is an exampleWhen I was in grad school there was much discussion of General Systems Theory especially Von Bertalanffy s 1968 work of that name All about hierarchy and how the whole is greater than the sum of its parts In particular de Chardin notes the million fold increasing levels of hierarchical complexity from atoms to molecules from molecules to cells from cells to organs from organs to organisms from organisms to brains and from individual human brains to the emerging collective noosphere Some of his thoughts about the rise of the West parallel many of those in Jared Diamond s 1997 work Guns Germs and Steel which also parallels a lot of Ellsworth Huntington s 1945 work Mainsprings of Civilization minus the racism and heavy dose of environmental determinism of Huntington De Chardin also proposes the idea that nothing can evolve that is not incipient in its precedents An inescapable conclusion is that rocks have feelings and molecules have thoughts Naturally a lot of scientists have no use for his work More on that below He also prefigures many modern ideas such as that there can be no such thing as complete scientific objectivity Teilhard s main thesis to the extent that it can be summarized in a couple of sentences is that the divine directed goal of evolution is the creation of a sphere of interconnected human thought that he calls the noosphere Sphere is used in the same sense as atmosphere lithosphere hydrosphere The noosphere is a collective interconnected human psyche and it s a humane human psyche dependent upon interconnectedness and caring for each other Human behaviors such as suicide drugs and isolation are its antithesis So here is A CATHOLIC PRIEST A JESUIT WRITING ALL THIS STUFF Catholic priest a Jesuit writing all this stuff I do not recall a single mention of the word God or Christ in the body of the work Instead he writes of the Omega Point He does talk about how the work relates to Christian doctrine in a postscript Naturally this did not meet with the approval of the Church De Chardin was banned from publishing his work while he was alive and at times was banned from teaching and from writing at all He had an arrangement with friends to publish his work after his death 1955 so this work was published in France in 1955 and translated into English in 1959 Yet ultimately the work is deeply religious He argues at one point I m paraphrasing don t worry about things like climate change nuclear war or a stray asteroid wiping out civilization CAN T HAPPEN The Purpose of cosmogenesis is noogenesis and the Purpose of noogenesis is Christogenesis And in fact he writes you will have a lot less anxiety if you accept this idea that there Nd an epic journey to open the way out for humanity in a time of world conflict and to release the spirit of the Earth As Virgil led Dante so Teilhard guides his reader back in space–time to experience the birth of our planet as it empris.
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