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Phenomenon of Man, The

Product no.: 0-06-090495-X
Le Phenomene Humain, issued in France, was immediately pronounced one of the outstanding publishing events of the century.

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Publisher's Synopsis
Visionary theologian and evolutionary theorist Pierre Teilhard de Chardin applied his whole life, his tremendous intellect, and his great spiritual faith to building a philosophy that would reconcile religion with the scientific theory of evolution.

In this timeless book, which contains the quintessence of his thought, Teilhard argues that just as living organisms sprung from inorganic matter and evolved into ever more complex thinking beings, humans are evolving toward an "omega point"—defined by Teilhard as a convergence with the Divine.


"A most extraordinary book, of far-reaching significance for the understanding of man's place in the universe."    ~Heschel

"Knowledge is basic. It is knowledge which enables us to understand the world and ourselves, and to exercise some control or guidance. It sets us in a fruitful and significant relation with the enduring processes of the universe. And, by revealing the possibilities of fulfilment that are still open, it provides an over-riding incentive.

We, mankind, contain the possibilities of the earth's immense future, and can realise more and more of them on condition that we increase our knowledge and our love. That, it seems to me, is the distillation of The Phenomenon of Man."     ~Sir Julian Huxley

"All our difficulties and repulsions as regards the opposition between the All and the Person would be dissipated if only we understood that, by structure, the noosphere (and more generally the world) represent a whole that is not only closed but also centered. Because it contains and engenders consciousness, space-time is necessarily of a convergent nature. Accordingly its enormous layers, followed in the right direction, must somewhere ahead become involuted to a point which we might call Omega, which fuses and consumes them integrally in itself.

The concentration of a conscious universe would be unthinkable if it did not reassemble in itself all consciousnesses as well as all the conscious; each particular consciousness remaining conscious of itself at the end of the operation, and even (this must absolutely be understood) each particular consciousness becoming still more itself and thus more clearly distinct from others the closer it gets to them in Omega. Egoism, whether personal or racial... feels right.

Its only mistake, but a fatal one, is to confuse individuality with personality. In trying to separate itself as much as possible from others, the element individualizes itself; but in doing so it becomes retrograde and seeks to drag the world backwards toward plurality and into matter. In fact it diminishes itself and loses itself. To be fully ourselves it is in the opposite direction, in the direction of convergence with all the rest, that we must advance—towards the 'other'. The peak of ourselves, the acme of our originality, is not our individuality but our person; and according to the evolutionary structure of the world, we can only find our person by uniting together. There is no mind without synthesis… The true ego grows in inverse proportion to ‘egoism’. Like the Omega which attracts it, the element only becomes person when it universalizes itself.

As early as in St. Paul and St. John we read that to create, to fulfill and to purify the world is, for God, to unify it by uniting it organically with himself. How does he unify it? By partially immersing himself in things, by becoming ‘element’, and then, from this point of vantage in the heart of matter, assuming the control and leadership of what we now call evolution. Christ, principle of universal vitality because sprung up as man among men, put himself in the position (maintained ever since) to subdue under himself, to purify, to direct and superanimate the general ascent of consciousnesses into which he inserted himself."

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881-1955) was born in France and ordained a Jesuit priest in 1911. Trained as a paleontologist, Teilhard did research at Musee National d'Histoire Naturelle in Paris and fieldwork in China, where in 1929 he codiscovered the celebrated "Peking Man" fossils. In his writings, he sought to reconcile his spiritual and scientific beliefs, producing a vision of man as evolving toward the divine. His unorthodox theological positions were at odds with Catholic doctrine and led to a strained relationship with Jesuit leaders, who forbade him from publishing his writings. The Phenomenon of Man became a bestseller when it was posthumously published in France in 1955.

Author de Chardin, Pierre Teilhard
Book Type Trade Paperback
Page Count 320 pp.
Publisher HarperCollins 1976
Platinum Medal

Platinum Medal


Platinum Medal Essential Reading

Browse these categories as well: Mystic and Esoteric Christianity, Ancient Mystic and Modern Scientific Parallelism, Masterworks of the Western Mystery Tradition, Syncretism and the Perennial Philosophy, Eschatology and the Apocalypse, Platinum Medal Essential Reading

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