Saturday, November 21, 2009


Welcome to Omega Quest, a short story conveying
the ideas of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin--i.e., his
theories of Cosmogenesis and Christogenesis.
Go to the very last post, which is the "Introduction"
and move your way forward.

(2) The Attractor

Unless we are an atheist, most of us ponder on the nature
of our existence as related to God. And if we study history,
cultural anthropology, evolutionary theory, it doesn't take
much to fall into wondering why we seem to be moving
forward--albeit, even in the midst of dreadful steps backward,
we eventually continue our march towards complexity and
greater levels of consciousness.

Can it all be just random? Mistakes, mutations? We do
definitely see mutations when it comes to our genetic code.
Perhaps this is the freedom we are allowed in order to evolve?
Gads! I hate speculation. But here I am, basking in its midst.

If somehow we come to believe that there is an Intelligence
that stands behind all this process we call Creation, indeed
what we call Life, well is it in our human nature to depersonalize
this Intelligence? Some of us do, but most of us don't.
After all, we are "persons."

So maybe it was not so outrageous that Teilhard tended to
personalize this Cosmic Plenum as the Cosmic Christ.

At this point, I felt that I stood at a crossroad. Where might
I turn in this regard? Somehow I felt empty just leaving
this Intelligence as a cold "there," if you will. Though I knew
that whatever I might choose as a personal name for "God,"
it was my choice. I had grown beyond simply culturally
inheriting a religious concept that endowed a Name upon
the Creator.

Still I harkened back to Teilhard's Cosmic Christ. I remembered
the thrill that I felt when I first saw the Pantocrator, the Christ in
Majesty, in that Byzantine-style cathedral. A mosaic of the
Lord of the Universe is just that, but it conveys the portrait of
thought conceived through long lines of generations--to reach
this point of theological discovery in their minds.

Pehaps we will never know *exactly* the nature or personality
of our Creator, but it's possible to spy a steady train of thought
operable down through the ages. Perhaps God works in our
minds, drawing us forward--ever towards more sophisticated
concepts of who this great Cosmic Plenum might be?

I suspect we will never tire trying to answer this question.

(1) The Attractor

Chapter Six. The Attractor

Somewhere along the line I picked-up a small historical
booklet that featured the world travels of Teilhard. Incredible,
but this good Jesuit seemed to go just about everywhere.
And much to my surprise, I noted that in his last years that
he even visited the Lawrence Laboratories here at Berkeley.
He was given a tour of the old Cyclotron, though nowadays
accelerators have expanded into ever new territories beyond
high-energy physics.

I have to give Teilhard credit, in that he kept in touch with
the scientific developments of his day! For a few years I
had dropped my interest in Teilhard, but this little booklet
ended my hiatus. Discovering the fact that this great
Jesuit actually stepped on the same ground where I work
seemed to fire my interest once again.

I latched onto another element of Teilhard's thought. He
believed that God or the Omega was an *Attractor.* He
spoke of this consideration in terms such as the "Ahead"
or implied that the Future beckoned us forward. Like a
magnet? Goodness, I began to realize that the cyclotron
works within a magnetic field. Curious, this coincidence,
if you will.

So this coincidence over Teilhard's visit to Berkeley started
me to wonder over his ideas in a new way. It was easy to
figure that Omega was the *magnet* drawing us forward
towards ever greater consciousness. Teilhard's "Center"
was the magnet, drawing forth all of Creation to a grand

In turn, this led me to meander into my own theological

(4) Consciousness & Complexity

Just looking around, in my own professional environment, it was
easy to figure that Teilhard was moving in the right direction when
it came to his ideas.

Today there are thousands of interlinking computer networks
representing all the domains of the planet. Not only are academic
researchers and scientists connected, but creative minds of every
stripe are connected as well by the computer. And there is a growing
expectation that the enhancement of computer sophistication and
capability points towards the eventuality of a global brain. Yet,
something more seems to be required than the linkage of computers
as we know them. Indeed, something is looming on the horizon.
Almost as if emerging out of an evolutionary destiny, there is the
advent of "Artificial Intelligence," (AI).

Through the efforts of AI researchers and cognitive theorists, we
are steadily arriving towards the conclusion that the realm of
Intelligence may indeed consist of intricate, interlaced knowledge-
processing networks whether housed in animal, human, computer,
or cosmic!

(3) Consciousness & Complexity

In the cell, Teilhard believes that "we have...the stuff of the universe
reappearing once again with all its characteristics...only this time
it has reached a higher rung of complexity," and thus has advanced
"still further in interiority, i.e., in consciousness." Teilhard labels
this vast network of living creatures the *biosphere.*

This biosphere, this advancing network of life, has thus far
resulted in the culminating development of man. With the advent
of man, Teilhard believes that cosmic evolution has finally become
conscious of least on this planet, which is woven into the
cosmic whole. Teilhard opines that the destiny of man is to culminate
into a consciousness of the species.

This consciousness of mankind will ultimately become the "thinking
layer of the Earth," which Teilhard calls the *noosphere.*

Cosmic evolution will not cease with the noosphere. Teilhard does
not consider the human species to be the epitome of the universe;
rather, he believes that Nature provides us with yet anothrer
evolutionary opening...that of a "super-soul above our souls." The
whole "gigantic psycho-biological operation" of cosmic evolution
points toward a "mega-synthesis" of all the thinking elements of the
Earth forcing an entree into the realm of the super-human.

Teilhard refers to the super-human as the "Omega Point." It is, for
him, the apex of cosmic evolution.

(2) Consciousness & Complexity

Teilhard stresses a sense of building-up, of an accumulation
of a cosmic reflective nature. He puts it thus: "Under the free
and ingenious effort of successful intelligences, *something*...
irreversibly accumlates...and is transmitted, at least collectively
by means of education, down the course of ages."

On Earth the person individually, and humanity collectively,
represent cosmic consciousness at its present stage of
development. Teilhard declares" man as a definite turning
point, an upgrading of the cosmic process towards consciousness.
But he does *not* consider man separate from Nature! "Man
emerged from a general groping of the world. He was born
a direct lineal descendent from a total effort of life, so that the
species has an axial value and a pre-eminent dignity."

Teilhard believes that man may be pivotal in this cosmogenic
outreach towards greater consciousness. Humankind
collectively, says Teilhard, is in a "state of continuous additive
growth, in numbers and inter-connections." It is becoming
more "tightly concentrated upon itself."

Teilhard calls for a push toward a new dimension of cosmic
reality. He calls for the human collectivity to erect a "sphere of
mutually reinforced consciousness, the seat, support and
instrument of super-vision and super-ideas. Mankind has to
build the noosphere!

Optimistic, Teilhard believes that the human collectivity has
already made some progress towards achieving the construction
of the noosphere. Teilhard puts it: "In every past generation
true seekers, those by vocation or profession, are to be found,
but in the past they were no more than a handful of individuals,
generally isolated, and of a type that was virtually abnormal.
But fields embracing every aspect of physical matter,
life and thought, the research workers are to be numbered in the
hundreds of thousands, and they no longer work in isolation but
in teams endowed with penetrative powers, in
process of becoming a major, indeed the principal, function of
humanity." Teilhard definitely believes that humanity is
"cerebralizing" itself, and slowly but surely building the noosphere..."

(1) Consciousness & Complexity

Chapter Five. Consciousness & Complexity

Though I was initially disappointed when I found out that
Teilhard engaged in religious speculation after he had a
special experience, I still was very much attached to his
earlier sense of Cosmogenesis. After awhile I once again
approached his idea about what he coined as the
"Cosmic Law of Complexity Consciousness."

Teilhard explains it thus: "if the universe regarded siderealy,
is in process of spatial expansion (from the infinitesimal to
the immense), in the same way and still more clearly it
presents itself to us, physico-chemically, as in process of
organic involution upon itself (from the extremely simple to
the extremely complex...and, moreover, this particular
involution of complexity is experimentally bound up with a
correlative increase in interiorization, that is to say in the
psyche or consciousness."

Whew! Teilhard's prose is heavy! Just for my own sake I
had to break down his Cosmic Law into more understandable
language. As I dipped more into Teilhard, studying what he
believed about Consciousness evolving, becoming more
complex, I stumbled across more specifically his ideas about
what he called the "Biosphere" and the "Noosphere." They
are the steps towards Complexity.