It seems difficult in these days to deny that mankind, after having gradually covered the Earth with a loosely socialized living fabric, is now coming to knit itself together (racially, economically, and mentally) at a rapidly increasing speed.
We must realize that the world of man is being irresistibly driven to form one single bloc. It is converging upon itself.
It is because man reflected as an individual in the past that today he can no longer prevent himself from converging technico-socially upon himself. And again, it is because he is converging, irresistibly and collectively, upon himself that he is forced to reflect ever more profoundly upon himself and upon all his fellow-men at the same time.
In the near future our scientific attention must be continually more attracted, even fascinated, by this extreme evolutionary point of our ‘forward dive.’
On the one hand, we have in physics a matter which slides irresistibly, following the line of least resistance, in the direction of the most probable forms of distribution. And on the other hand, we have in biology the same matter, drifting (no less irresistibly but in this case in a sort of ‘greater effort for survival’) towards ever more improbable, because ever more complex, forms of arrangement.
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.
The phenomenon of the vitalization of large molecules, which we find so astonishing, is itself no more than the continuation of the moleculization of atoms, and ultimately of the atomization of energy—that is, of a process that affects, and defines, the universe in the totality of its substance and history.
However ‘free’ man feels (or believes) himself to be, he cannot escape the need (at once economic and mental) which forces him individually and collectively, to reflect—and therefore to reflect himself—ever more and more. Because he has once begun to think, because he thinks, it is now to some extent impossible for him to stop thinking continually more and more.
In man, while evolution becomes both self-conscious and (at least in its main axis) self-operative, at the same time it automatically develops the power to foresee its own future.
From the moment when mankind begins to appear to our experience not as a state that is reached but as a work that has to be done—one whose completion depends ultimately on the ingenuity and tenacity with which we pursue it—from that moment we must recognize that the future of man depends much more on a certain passion for hard work than on a certain wealth of material resources.
The mankind of tomorrow, though standing on mountains of iron, of coal, of uranium, of wheat, would do no more than ‘tick over,’ if, by some mischance, there should be a weakening of its zest not simply for subsisting and surviving but for super-living.
It calls for and discloses the existence of a supreme centre—not simply potential, but real—of cosmic convergence.
Reflection (or the transition, for a being, from the conscious to the self-conscious state) corresponds to a critical point separating the two species of life from one another.