All quotes from Pierre Teilhard de Chardin’s

It becomes more and more necessary to us, in order to live, to understand man.

The whole phenomenon of the automatic stratification of a cosmos in a state of cosmogenesis!

Life is apparently nothing but the privileged exaggeration of a fundamental cosmic tendency (as fundamental as entropy or gravitation) which may be called the ‘Law of complexity/consciousness.’

Left long enough to itself, under the prolonged and universal play of chance, matter manifests the property of arranging itself in more and more complex groupings.

Studied in its basic connexions, the Noösphere behaves like a normal protuberance of the Biosphere.

There appears to be no doubt that in the almost indecipherable web of cultures, nations, states, etc., constantly being woven around us, we must see an organic system of perfectly ‘natural’ unities, issuing biologically from the normal play of chromosomes in an exceptionally ‘psychised’ milieu.

We see why modern ‘human unities’ now only mix and bunch ever more tightly together; to form, as a whole, a zoological system of a completely new type, to which it is simply impossible to apply any of the terms in use in vegetable or animal systems;—since these various terms have been created to describe a hierarchy among phyletic derivations, while here (in the case of H. sapiens) we are faced with an in-furling on itself of a phylum that is active as a whole.

The moment when H. sapiens, having achieved (principally by way of agriculture) stable groupings in considerable clusters, really began to establish a permanent network of thinking centres on earth.

For no exact scientific reason, but simply as a result of impression and routine, we have formed the habit of separating the psychic from the material, as if they belonged to two different worlds, the arrangement of individuals and the arrangement of cells; only the latter being regarded as organic and natural, in contrast to the former, which is relegated to the domain of the moral or artificial. Society (human society especially) is a matter for historians and jurists rather than biologists. Is not that what we too often think?

The multiple factors (ecological, physiological, psychic…) combining to assemble and firmly unite living beings in general (and human beings more especially) are merely the extension and expression on this level of the forces of complexity/consciousness, always working, as we have said, to construct (as far back as possible and everywhere possible in the universe), in opposition to entropy, corpuscular combinations of an ever higher order.

From this point of view, the rise of civilisation is nothing but the organo-psychical aspect adopted by a colossal biological operation never before attempted in nature: the independent arrangement, not only (as in the insects, for example) of a simple family group, but of a vast group of living groups: I mean, of a whole phylum (and a phylum of planetary extension).

With H. sapiens it is the axial vitalisation of matter arriving under the veil of socialisation at a new stage; not simply the reflexion of an individual on himself, but millions of reflexions seeking and reinforcing one another. The dawn of a collective reflexion. The emergence of reflexion into the collective state….

The Phyletic Compression of Sapiens and the Self-Rebounding of Evolution.

For some time, under our very eyes, a great double phenomenon has been taking shape: I mean an assumption of general contact within itself of the whole human mass, with no trace of a slowing down of evolution.

The development of humanity has operated through the appearance, multiplication and extension of a scattering of semi-independent ‘cultural patches’ on the continental surface. And up to the most recent times one can say that between these different patches there still lay some free tracts or at least loose articulations. But now, by a generalised peripheral fusion, the system has suddenly become one. Economically and spiritually speaking, the age of civilisations has ended, and that of one civilisation is beginning.

Mechanism rapidly overflowing the limits of the individual, provincial and national work, to rise to the dimensions of a planetary operation.

Progressively saved by the machine from the anxieties that bound his hands and mind to material toil, relieved of a large part of his work and compelled to an ever-increasing speed of action by the devices which his intelligence cannot help ceaselessly creating and perfecting, man is about to find himself abruptly plunged into idleness. This is the situation. From a scientific point of view, what is to be done?

It is becoming more evident every day that the transformation of human energy is not tending towards the form of rest nor the form of war, but with all its natural weight towards a third form: the form of research.

All minds in a single planetary effort.

It is only just today that, armed with all our sciences, we are beginning to grow familiar with a universe in a state of ‘cosmogenesis’—and, more remarkable still, with the idea that, at its most vital point, the future of this cosmogenesis may be in our hands.

The progress of the nervous system (individual and collective)—is it not on the point of falling under the extended beam of our inventive power?

A new form of evolution will become possible and begin for terrestrial reflexion after the era of passive evolutions: the era of self-evolution, opening in the direction of some ultra-humanity for organised matter.

A strange vision, no doubt, this vision of a universe in which each thinking planet would represent, at its term, by concentration of its Noösphere, a point of penetration and escape from the temporo-spatial envelope of things.