It is undeniable, indeed, that life occupies an incredibly small volume of time and space in the field of our experience. It is undeniable, too, that it is born and develops in the very heart of the flood of entropy, precisely as an eddy—as the effect of a counter-current.
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
If we look at it far enough back in the depths of time, the disordered anthill of living beings suddenly, for an informed observer, arranges itself in long files that make their way by various paths towards greater consciousness. Seen from a sufficient distance and in a particular light, individuals (principles, in appearance, of egocentrism and permanence) are recognized as no more than staging-posts in a movement.
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
Books themselves are aperiodic crystals contained inside neat geometrical forms. These examples suggest that, where an aperiodic crystal is found “packaged” inside a very regular geometric structures, there may lurk an inner message.
Viewed from a certain angle, the internal stir of the Cosmos no longer appears disorderly: it takes a given direction following a major axis of movement at the completion of which the phenomenon of man becomes detached as the most advanced form of the largest and most characteristic of cosmic processes.
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
What I think we could aim for in the way of human civilization and culture would be a system in which we are all highly aware of our existing interconnection and unity with the whole domain of nature, and therefore do not have to go to all sorts of wild extremes to find that union.
Complete relaxation of tensions—say, sensory deprivation, but even boredom—does not lead to a beatific state of nirvana but rather to mental disturbance; in the first case, to psychosis-like states, in the second to the experience of meaninglessness, sometimes culminating in existential neurosis and suicide.
Physical processes follow the second law of thermodynamics, which prescribes that they proceed toward increasing entropy, that is, more probable states which are states of equilibrium, of uniform distribution, and disappearance of existing differentiations and order. But living systems apparently do exactly the opposite. In spite of irreversible processes continually going on, they tend to maintain an organized state of fantastic improbability; they are maintained in states of non-equilibrium; they even develop toward increasingly improbable states, increasing differentiation and order.
Agnosticism, being a refusal to make up one’s mind at all, is surely the very opposite of prejudice, which is the making-up of one’s mind before hearing the evidence.
John Burdon Sanderson Haldane
Let me in! Let me in! I love you so much I could eat you! I love you to the very core—especially the soft, juicy parts; the vitals most tender and alive. Surrender to this agony and you will be transformed into me. Dying to yourself, you will become alive as me. We shall all be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, on the morning when the last trumpet sounds. For behold, I am he that stands at the door and knocks.
One of the interesting implications of that definition—I discovered as I was playing with it—is that when I took two conscious agents and had them interact, and looked at the system of two conscious agents, that system actually satisfied the definition of being a single conscious agent. And so this continues ad infinitum: you can keep taking pairs of agents and combine them. And so this suggests a really interesting structure.
Life is going to go in every direction as far out as it can get. It’s going to experience the garden of paradisal delights and the screaming meemies.
But cannot we be embarrassed by our very natural environment of sky, earth, and water, as by the marvel of our own bodies, into making a response, into acting in a way that is commensurate with their splendor? Or must we continue to buffet them blindly with bulldozers, fancying ourselves as the independent controllers and conquerors of what is, after all, the greater and perhaps better half of ourselves?
A guru is a cooked goose. A guru is done. The difference between a cave and a city makes no difference to a guru. To a teacher it makes a hell of a lot of difference. Because a teacher is pointing the way, while a guru is the way. It’s a very different quality. What a guru does is mirror for you where you aren’t. That’s all they do.
The whole phenomenon of the automatic stratification of a cosmos in a state of cosmogenesis!
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
Today, we pump a little natural history into children along with a little “art” so that they will forget their animal and ecological nature and the aesthetics of being alive and will grow up to be good businessmen.
You do not have to be any particular kind of religion to get this experience. It can hit anyone any time, like falling in love. There are obviously a number of you in this building who’ve had it in greater or lesser degree. But it’s found all over the world. And when it hits you, you know it. Sometimes it comes after long practice of meditations and spiritual discipline, sometimes it comes for no reason that anybody can determine. We say it’s the grace of god: that there comes this overwhelming conviction that you have mistaken your identity. That, what you thought (what I thought) was just old Alan Watts (who I know very well) is just a big act and the show. But what I thought was me was only completely superficial. That I am an expression of an eternal something-or-other, X—a name that can’t be named, as the name of God was taboo among the Hebrews. I am. And that I suddenly understand exactly why everything is the way it is. It’s perfectly clear. Furthermore, I feel no longer any boundary between what I do and what happens to me. I feel that everything that’s going on is my doing, just as my breathing is. Is your breathing voluntary or involuntary? Do you do it or does it happen to you? See, you can feel it both ways. But you feel everything like breathing. And it isn’t as if you had become a puppet. There is no longer any separate “you.” There is just this great happening going on.
You don’t learn what electrons really are until you get just one of them off by itself somewhere in a magnetic field in a vacuum, and then you see what electrons are. If you have millions of electrons, then you have an electrical current. And an electrical current operates according to laws and rules and constraints completely different from an electron. And what we have done very perversely as a society is taken the laws of large numbers—how a million people act, how ten million people act—and then we have applied it back to ourselves as individuals and said: well, why am I not happy? You know, seventy percent of everybody does X, and I don’t, and I’m not happy then—you know, trying to redefine yourself as against a very large body of statistical data. All of this is dehumanizing, all of this is bad mental hygiene.
Humans and machines are not competing; they are collaborating.
In a mystical experience of the ‘Self’-state we become conscious of what we are unaware of in the ‘I’-state: of being the consciousness of the universe.
When a person says, “I’m conscious, I’m just something different; it’s different from anything else in the world,” that’s sort of pleasant and boastful, but it doesn’t give you anything to be proud of. It just says, “There’s a little gleaming jewel here, and all my virtue comes from it, and nothing I did earned it.”
We have known since 1950, at some level—through the sequencing or the defining of the structure of DNA—that we are but information, ultimately. Every single one of us, in our unique expression, could be expressed as a very long string of codons. Codons are the four-valent system by which DNA specifies the need for certain amino acids. And, in a sense, what you are is the result of a certain kind of program being run on a certain kind of hardware—the hardware of the ribosomes: the submolecular structures that move RNA through themselves, and out of an ambient chemical medium select building blocks which are then put together to create a three-dimensional object which has the quality of life.
Cooperative approaches to achieving individual or national goals often turn out to be more beneficial in the long run to all parties than competitive approaches.
One plus one can equal a new one, bigger in mass and enriched in attributes.
Technology is the real skin of our species. Man—correctly seen in the context of the last 500 years—is an extruder of a technological shell. We take in matter that has a low degree of organization, we put it through mental filters, and we extrude Lindisfarne gospels, space shuttles, all of these things. This is what we do. We’re like coral animals embedded in a technological reef of extruded psychic objects.