Have you ever wondered what would have become of humanity if it had been free to spread indefinitely on a limitless surface? Perhaps nothing at all when we think of the extreme importance of the forces of compression that are brought about by the spherical shape of the Earth. The geometrical limitation of a planet, closed like a giant molecule upon itself. This limited surface of the Earth causes a pressure buildup as population densities increase. Under this pressure, the human elements infiltrate more and more into each other, their minds mutually stimulated by proximity. So, each person extends, little by little, the radius of his influence upon the Earth.
Mankind, forced to develop in a confined area, has now found itself subjected to an intense pressure. This pressure—combined with the nature of our thinking souls to coalesce—causes the radial energies of consciousness to concentrate toward a sort of super-consciousness. The final unification of our planet is the natural culmination of a cosmic process of organization which has never deviated since those remote ages when our Earth was young. Mankind has cosmic roots.
But how do we specifically define mankind? What are its deeper meanings? Rational man has existed on this Earth some two million years. And yet, in the course of only a few generations, all kinds of economic and cultural links have been forged around us, and now they are multiplying at a rapidly increasing rate. Today, it is the whole world which is needed to nourish each one of us. The Earth is not only becoming covered by innumerable grains of thought, but it is becoming encased in a single thinking envelope which forms a single, huge grain of thought. All of the individual particles of reflective thought grouping themselves together and reinforcing each other in a single, unanimous reflection. Mankind: a sort of collective human organism that is now forming a layer of thinking substance of planetary dimensions. A noösphere that develops and intertwines its fibers to reinforce all men in the living unity of one single tissue.
The noösphere comprises a single closed system in which each thinking element experiences for itself the same thing as all others. Mega-synthesis: the sum total of all human beings. And so we see that no restricted group of men can evolve and grow, except in cooperation with all other men. What more do we need to be convinced of the error hidden in the depths of any doctrine of isolation?
The outcome of the world, the gates to the future, the entry into the super-human: these are not thrown open to a privileged few, nor one chosen people to the exclusion of all others. Rather, they will be opened to an advance of all together in a direction in which all together can unite and find completion in a spiritual renewal of the Earth. Man can hope for no evolutionary future except in association with all other men. What is the result of human works if not to create in and through each of us a supremely original center in which the universe uniquely reflects itself? And these centers are our very selves and personalities. Resonance to the All: an expectation and awareness of a Great Presence. Are we not experiencing the preliminary symptoms of a still higher state? A deep harmony between two realities that seek each other?
Let us sum up the situation thus far. 20th century man has evolved from the stuff of the universe—as we have seen—but has not yet completed his evolutionary process. He is, therefore, moving forward to some critical new point ahead. Teilhard calls this the hyper-personal. Yet, how can a super-consciousness be associated with the collective all? The utter disproportion of the two seems to us, at first sight, almost laughable. How can the person and the All possibly be one and the same? But let us take a second look.
We have seen and admitted that spacetime is divergent as seen from the present standpoint of science. That is to say, when looked at only from the ‘without.’ However, when we take the ‘within’ into account, we see that the enormous layers of evolution must converge somewhere ahead to what Teilhard calls Omega—or, more correctly, a Point Omega. And this Omega Point fuses and consumes all these layers completely in itself.
What lies beyond the Omega Point is, then, essentially beyond time and space altogether. Omega is a distinct center, a super-consciousness radiating to and through a system of centers. It is a grouping in which the personalization of the All and the personalizations of the human elements simultaneously, and without merging, attain their maximum potential under the influence of a supremely autonomous focus of union.
Thus it is that space and time become truly humanized—or, more correctly: super-humanized. The more other they become in the process of uniting, the more they discover themselves as Self. Since they are steeped in Omega, these centers of consciousness can become whole only by super-centralizing themselves; the very seat of our consciousness. And that is the essence which Omega, to be truly Omega, must reclaim. Yet, to communicate itself, ego must exist by continually abandoning itself, or the gift will fade away.
But where has it been written that “he who loses his soul shall save it?” It is only through this apparent sacrifice that we can achieve the high peak of personality we had thought we must renounce. The convergence of a conscious universe would be inconceivable if it did not reassemble in itself all individual centers of human consciousness as well as all the consciousness throughout all nature. And at the end of the process, each individual human consciousness still remains conscious of itself. Furthermore—and it is crucial that we understand this point—each consciousness becomes even more itself (and thus more clearly distinct from others) the nearer it gets to all the others at the Omega Point.
For us to discover the key to our survival, it now becomes imperative that we identify, harness, and develop those energies of the noösphere which are of an intercentric nature—that is, center-to-center or soul-to-soul, not just mind-to-mind.
This brings us to the problem of love, which Teilhard defines as cosmic energy. Love, the affinity of being with being, is not peculiar to man. It is a universal property of all life and thus embraces all forms of organized matter. If there were no internal tendency to unite, even at a rudimentary level—as, for example, the attraction of atom to atom, molecule to molecule, or cell to cell—love could not appear at a higher level within us. Recognizing the presence of love in ourselves, we must—as we did with consciousness—presume its presence in everything that is.
The forces of love drive the fragments of the universe to seek each other so that the world may come into being. If this is so, love—in all its subtle varieties—is radial energy. Thus, Omega—by partially immersing itself into the heart of each element—draws the universe into psychical convergence to itself. Teilhard says that “love is the fundamental impulse of life,” or, to put it another way, love is the only natural medium in which the upward course of evolution can proceed.
It is through love and within love that we must search for our deepest Self, in the life-giving coming-together of humankind. Love is the free and imaginative outflowing of the spirit over all unexplored paths. It links those who love in bonds that unite but do not destroy, causing them to discover in their mutual contact an exaltation capable of stirring—in the very core of their being—all that they possess of uniqueness and of creative power. Love alone can unite living beings so as to complete and fulfill them, for it alone joins them by what is deepest in themselves. All we need is to imagine our ability to love developing until it embraces the totality of men and of the Earth.
Yet, is it not really impossible to love everything and everyone? Well, Teilhard tells us that this is not as preposterous as it first seems, for it is achievable—but only through cosmic love. Not only is a universal (or cosmic) love psychologically possible, it constitutes the only complete and final way in which we are capable of loving.
Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, and soul.
This is the greatest commandment. It comes first. But the second is like it:
Love your neighbor as yourself.
Or, to paraphrase: love each other, recognizing the same God who is being born in each one of you. These words, uttered some 2,000 years ago, now begin to unveil themselves as the indispensable structural law of what we call evolution. Hence, they enter the scientific field of cosmic energy and its essential laws.
We have seen that the rise of consciousness has been dependent on the physical Earth. Because the Omega Point transcends both time and space, evolution cannot reach fulfillment on Earth except through a point of dissociation. And yet, ahead of us we now see that there is a psychical center which is gathering together the final surge of consciousness. Thus, we are introduced to what Teilhard says is an inevitable and fantastic event now starting to take form. An event which comes closer with each passing day: the end of all life on our Earth, the death of the physical planet, the final stage of the phenomenon of man. Catastrophic end of the world. Sidereal cataclysm through cosmic mishap. Onslaughts of microbes, counter-evolution, sterility, nuclear war—or slow death in our Earthly prison; a long, drawn-out senility. Each of these represents a perfectly plausible way of coming to an end.
Teilhard further states emphatically, however, that—on the basis of all we know from evolution—we have nothing whatsoever to fear from any premature accident or failure. We have higher reasons for being certain that they will not occur.
The presence of reflection in the universe would be incomprehensible if the infinite and the infinitesimal did not conspire to nourish and sustain to the very end the consciousness that has arisen between the two. How, then, could man come to an end before his biologically appointed hour, or deteriorate, unless the world aborts itself? Thus, we conclude that man will attain the goal, however improbable it might appear to us.
Mankind has extraordinary possibilities ahead of it. Since crossing the threshold of reflection, we have entered a completely new phase of evolution. Thanks to the powerful capacity of reflective thought to gather together and combine, into one conscious effort, all the individual human particles. We are faced with a sort of collective exaltation: human vibrations resonating by the million. An entire layer of consciousness bringing pressure to bear simultaneously on the future and on the whole storehouse of a million years of thought. Have we ever attempted to realize what such magnitudes represent? When—under this increasing psychical tension on the surface of the Earth—enough elements have been grouped together, evolution will reach such intensity and such quality that the whole of mankind will be compelled to reflect upon itself at a single point. In other words, the movement will forsake its earthly foothold so as to pivot itself on its transcendent center. This will be the termination and the fulfillment of the spirit of the Earth.
The end of the world, the total internal introversion upon itself of the noösphere that has simultaneously attained the furthest limit of its complexity and consciousness in an ecstasy utterly transcending the entire length, breadth, and depth of the visible universe. The end of the world, the upset of equilibrium, releasing the mind from its material matrix so that, fulfilled at long last, it will center itself thereafter with all its weight in God: Omega.