January 27, 2007

Brian Swimme on Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

What is Enlightenment? + Zaadz has an extremely interesting interview with mathematical cosmologist Brian Swimme in which he discusses the influential Jesuit mystic, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. Here's an excerpt from the article, Awakening to the Universe Story:
Teilhard also spoke in terms of “giving birth to person.” For example, your colleague Craig is there across the room. But if you go back five billion years, all of the atoms in Craig’s body were strung out over a hundred million miles. The process, as mysterious as it is, of matter itself forming into personality or personhood, is what Teilhard regarded as the essence of evolution. Evolution isn’t cold. He saw the omega point as that same process of giving birth to or actualizing this new, encompassing Divine Person—through not just all the atoms interacting with one another, but also the “persons” of all the humans and other animals. All of us together are part of this same process, so that the entire universe becomes God’s body. To really get how radical Teilhard’s view is, think about an animal and dissolve the animal back in time in your imagination, back into individual cells. There weren’t any multicellular organisms until about seven hundred million years ago. For over three billion years, there were just single-cell organisms. If you get to know an animal well, the animal really has a personality. But the personality is something that is evoked by the cells of the animal. It’s truly mysterious. The animal’s personality is real, but that personality is evoked by the cells. So in Teilhard’s view, the individual members of the universe are actually in a process of evoking a Divine Person. We are actually giving birth to a larger, more encompassing, mind-spirit-personality.


casey said...

Thanks for posting the link to this article. I'm having a synchronistic moment, as many of the views presented in the interview echo recent discussions I've had with my fiancee. It's always affirming to know that there are far greater minds than mine considering such concepts.

George said...

Hey Casey -- yeah, Swimme clearly knows his de Chardin philosophy. A very impressive article.

Ashley said...

Belated thanks for that link. It was just what I needed today...

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sachinraj said...

Brian Swimme has been a student of Teilhard's work for many years. Himself a scientist with an abiding interest in the interface of science and spirituality, Swimme's own passion and understanding have been deeply influenced by Teilhard's ideas. Who better to bring to life Teilhard's vision, we thought, than he?