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Meditations

Teilhard de Chardin Got It Backasswards
By Martin LeFevre:
Jul 7, 2019, 5:32pm

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The "Omega Point" is a term that was used by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, the French idealist philosopher and Jesuit priest, to describe the aim towards which consciousness supposedly evolves in the universe.

Teilhard held that evolution was a process "converging toward a final unity." But at least where humankind is concerned, Teilhard got it back-asswards. As we are, humans represent Pi, which is to say, we're spiraling down, not upward as a species.

Besides "the ratio of a circles circumference to its diameter," Pi means, "to throw into disorder." But nature unfolds in a dynamic and seamless order, and humans evolved along with all other creatures on earth. So how did man become such a factor of disorder to the planet and to us?

Nearly all explanations for "the riddle of man" suffer from enslavement to the idea of progress, including Teilhard de Chardin's 'Omega Point." Even if evolution has an intrinsic drive toward 'higher consciousness,' it hits a big bump in the road with the evolution of 'higher thought.'

Is conscious thought (self-awareness in the anthropological sense of the term) both a necessary precondition for cosmic awareness, and a tremendous impediment to realization?

Clearly, the brain has to reach a certain level of mass and complexity before a meditative state is possible in a species. But why are genuine meditative states, much less illumination, so rare?

My 15-year passion as a young man was to philosophically resolve what used to be called "the riddle of man." The core insight was, and still is that without deep insight into the nature and operation of thought, the separative mechanism of 'higher thought' eventually and ineluctably fragments the Earth all to hell.

That solves one aspect of the riddle, but it highlights another. Given that awareness is the warp and woof of the universe, and there is such a thing as cosmic consciousness in potentially intelligence species such as Homo sapiens (and that there is an intrinsic drive in evolution toward it), then why is symbolic thought such an impediment to insight, compassion and realization?

It's clear that thought is both an obstacle to and a prerequisite for cosmic consciousness. When one comes into emotional contact with this mystery, one feels the compassion in the cosmos for creatures such as us.

That may be an elliptical proof that we are not alone in the universe, and that all potentially intelligent species pass through the same crisis humans are now going through. Of course presumably not all thought-bearing species are as pig-headed as humans are, and humankind may fail to make the transition to true consciousness.

At any rate, the dilemma seems to resolve (and dissolve) in the wordless understanding and compassion for it. There is a mathematical elegance to the insight that 'higher thought' is both a prerequisite and an obstacle to awakening. Of course, this implies that there will be a turning point, when the transmutation of humankind will end the rampant division, conflict and fragmentation we are presently experiencing due to the stupid use of thought.

In any case, spiritual progress is illusory, and man does not 'evolve.' Thought-bearing creatures such as our prematurely named Homo sapiens generate more and more fragmentation on their planets until they (the planet and the thought-bearing creature) can't take anymore. Then they radically change, or they perish. Since extinction, from our point of view, isn't an option, will humankind make the turn in time?

Without implying teleology (much less "intelligent design"), something is going on in human consciousness that goes far beyond the fabrication of man-made meanings. Even at this late date, humankind can align itself with nature and the universe, with her wholeness and holiness, and reverse an exponentially growing trajectory of division and fragmentation. That means the course of ecological destruction, war, gross economic disparity and mass depression would basically change.

When thought is completely quiet, the brain is like a very sensitive antenna, participating in awareness far beyond imagining. But we seem hell bent on destroying our capacity for awareness, not developing it as much as we can.

Pi is the symbol for the ratio of a circle, what's called a "transcendental number" (3.14159265...). In our evolution on this planet, humankind has come full circle. Whether we stand at the end of our development, or its true beginning, is up to us. Question and find out for yourself. There are no bystanders.

******

Martin LeFevre is a contemplative, and non-academic religious and political philosopher. He welcomes dialogue. lefevremartin77@gmail.com


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