Teilhard and the Future of Humanity

Teilhard and the Future of Humanity

Teilhard and the Future of Humanity

Teilhard and the Future of Humanity

Synopsis

Fifty years after his death, the thought of the French scientist and Jesuit Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881-1955) continues to inspire new ways of understanding humanity's future. Trained as a paleontologist and philosopher, Teilhard was an innovative synthesizer of science and religion, developing an idea of evolution as an unfolding of material and mental worlds into an integrated, holistic universe at what he called the Omega Point. His books, such as the bestselling The Phenomenon of Man, have influenced generations of ecologists, environmentalists, planners, and others concerned with the fate of the earth.This book brings together original essays by leading experts who reflect on Teilhard's legacy for today's globalized world. They explore such topics as: the idea of God and the person; quantum reality and Teilhard's vision; spiritual resources for the future; politics and economics; and a charter for co-evolution.

Excerpt

Fifty years after the death of the French Jesuit and scientist Teilhard de Chardin, what can be said today about his thought? At first glance, Teilhard’s optimism about the future of humanity does not match the reality and the trends of our present world. Teilhard, able to transcend political boundaries, envisioned a growing awareness of the fundamental unity of the human family. Yet, at present, it seems that our world has never been so divided, so torn apart by religious fundamentalisms. the economic and social gap between Africa and the rest of the world is widening, not shrinking. Teilhard stressed the fundamental continuity between the material and the human worlds, but the depletion of natural resources and the damage done to the environment have alienated humankind further from nature. Teilhard called for a renewal of modern man and woman, whose spiritual resources would build the future, but we have never felt so powerless in the face of the dominating forces of materialism and consumerism. It is quite tempting, then, to dismiss the work of Teilhard as idealism or wishful thinking—not only unpractical but perhaps even dangerous.

But Teilhard would call us to a deeper wisdom. While it is inevitable that we observe what is disappearing and dying out, the irreversible destruction of the past, and violent conflicts, such observations may simply touch on the mere surface. Teilhard was more interested in what is being built among the shambles of the present, and what is emerging from the incoherence of contemporary events. This optimism about the evolution of humankind was not purely an act of personal faith, but was founded also on . . .

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