All quotes from Pierre Teilhard de Chardin’s

It has become very difficult, in the world’s present state of upheaval and distraction, to form any idea of the significance of what is going on except by rising above the individual level.

Geographically, since 1939, a vast expanse of the earth, the region of the Pacific, hitherto in the fringe of civilization, has for practical purposes entered irrevocably into the orbit of industrialized nations. Mechanized masses of men have invaded the southern seas, and up-to-date airfields have been permanently installed on what were until yesterday the poetically lost islands of Polynesia.

Every new war, embarked upon by the nations for the purpose of detaching themselves from one another, merely results in their being bound and mingled together in a more inextricable knot.

Confined within the geometrically restricted surface of the globe, which is steadily reduced as their own radius of activity increases, the human particles do not merely multiply in numbers at an increasing rate, but through contact with one another automatically develop around themselves an ever denser tangle of economic and social relationships.

One possible interpretation: a super-organization of the matter around us.

We need to look down from a great height and contemplate, in their widest, most general aspect, the organic relationships linking consciousness and complexity within the Universe.

We see Nature combining molecules and cells in the living body to construct separate individuals, and the same Nature, stubbornly pursuing the same course but on a higher level, combining individuals in social organisms to obtain a higher order of psychic results. The processes of chemistry and biology are continued without a break in the social sphere. This accounts for the tendency, which has been insufficiently noted, of every living phylum (insect and vertebrate) to group itself towards its latter end in socialized communities.

A collective memory in which a common inheritance of Mankind is amassed in the form of accumulated experience and passed on through education.

The development, through the increasingly rapid transmission of thought, of what is in effect a generalized nervous system, emanating from certain defined centers and covering the entire surface of the globe.

The growth, through the interaction and ever-increasing concentration of individual viewpoints, of a faculty of common vision penetrating beyond the continuous and static world of popular conception.

Man not only knows; he knows that he knows. He reflects. But this power of reflection, when restricted to the individual, is only partial and rudimentary.

What we then see is a flood of sympathetic forces, spreading from the heart of the system, which transforms the whole nature of the phenomenon: sympathy in the first place (an act of quasi-adoration) on the part of all the elements gathered together for the general impulse that carries them along; and also the sympathy (this time fraternal) of each separate element for all that is most unique and incommunicable in each of the co-elements with which it converges in the unity, not only of a single act of vision but of a single living subject.

Regardless of the country, creed or social status of the person I approach, provided the same flame of expectation burns in us both, there is a profound, definitive and total contact instantly established between us. It matters nothing that differences of education or training cause us to express our hopes in different ways. We feel that we are of the same kind, and we find that our very differences are a common armor, as though there were a dimension of life in which all striving makes for nearness, not only within a corporate body but heart to heart.

A radical process of differentiation and segregation is taking place within the human mass. And it is following precisely the course we would expect: the spontaneous individualization and separation of that which moves and rises from that which remains immobile: the irresistible multiplication and aggregation, over the whole extent of the globe, of elements activated by a (hominized) reawakening of the phyletic sense; the gradual formation and emergence, at variance with former categories, of a new noöspheric zone in which human collectivization, hitherto enforced, is at last entering its sympathetic phase under the influence of the newly manifest Sense of Evolution.

The grand phenomenon which we are now witnessing represents a new and possibly final division of Mankind, based no longer on wealth but on belief in progress.