Friday, November 20, 2009

(3) Encountering Teilhard

According to Teilhard, the universe is no longer to be considered a
static order, but rather a universe in process. And it is a continuing,
upslope trajectory of evolution that Teilhard declares a "Cosmo-
genesis." The process of Teilhard's holistic cosmos is broken into
the following categories: the Without and Within of things; the
evolution of matter, life, consciousness; and the Omega Point.

The world Without consists of inorganic and organic matter. And
Teilhard specifically stresses that the Within is used to "denote
the psychic fact of that portion of the stuff of the cosmos enclosed
from the beginning of time within the narrow scope of the early
earth." The exterior world is lined with an interior one! He links
this Within with enfoldment. He notes that the very individual-
ization of the earth suggests that a "certain mass of elementary
consciousness was originally imprisoned in the matter of
the earth."

Moving from inanimate matter, the next step in Teilhard's
cosmic process is the outburst of life. The cell is the "natural
granule of life." The cell merges "qualitatively and quantitatively"
into a multitude of living and even more complex individualized
and personalized forms. 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 itself. 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 another
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. Teilhard, scientifically
speaking, can only imagine what the reality of Omega might be
like...a *pure conscious energy.*

Teilhard talks of an interdependent energy between the Within
and the Without; he believes that this energy is "psychic" in nature,
but that it is divided into two distinct components: a tangential energy
and a radial energy. Teilhard believes that tangential energy "links
an element with all others of the same order." Radial energy draws
an element towards "ever greater complexity and centricity,"