The Noosphere (Part I): Teilhard de Chardin’s Vision

Really worth the read !

Teilhard de Chardin

One of the key concepts of Teilhard de Chardin’s philosophy is the noosphere, which Teilhard believes is the next phase of human evolution.  Today is the first of a three part series discussing the noosphere:

Part I:  Teilhard de Chardin’s Vision
Part II: Christian Concepts of the Noosphere
Part III: Future Evolution of the Noosphere

The term noosphere derives from the Greek νοῦς (nous “mind”) and σφαῖρα (sphaira “sphere”), and is related to the terms geosphere (inanimate matter) and biosphere (biological life).  Under Teilhard’s vision, God created the Big Bang, which created an evolutionary process starting with the energy of the Big Bang leading to increasing “complexification” to matter, to initial life forms, to human consciousness, to a collective human consciousness (the noophere).  The noosphere emerges through and is constituted by the interaction of human minds. The noosphere has grown in step with the organization of the human mass in relation to itself as…

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The Power of Will

Faith moves mountains. Positive thinking really works. The thought is father of the deed. I believe this. It has been my experience. Positive intent, creates the desired result. (Though willing is different from wishing). It almost appears as if the universe conspires with sudden co-incidences that arrange for the willed event to materialise.

Will is potent.

Indeed we should take great care with our thinking – because what is willed out of hatred or fear also comes to pass. Be careful what you wish for, not just what appears on the surface – but the undercurrents that motivate.

We should live pretentiously. That is, to pretend already to have achieved one’s aspiration – and simply let reality catch up. Someone once told me that the Lord’s Prayer is a supreme act of pretension. Our Father….

And of course, the mechanics of this are mapped out by quantum physicists as well as by those in touch with the reality behind this dream that is life – Buddha, Christ…

Observation creates reality, and that materialised reality bounds us; the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics implies that we, as observers, crystallise out one particular reality from infinite – unbounded – potential. (Quantum physics also points up an explanation, I believe of the mechanics of free will, evil and evolution.)

So of course it is our observation, our witness, our intention – our will – that materialises the world – physically. This is in addition to the attractive effect of intention, where others are pulled toward the story that your will weaves.

Will is potent.

You don’t have to be Christian to want that will to be a good one. A will that fosters love, community, connection. For me though, since Christ lights my path (though Christ is Christ by whatever name) I would call that God’s Will. Let it be done.

Momentum and Reality

Reality is bound up with the present. This, according to Zen and as re-expressed by Eckhart Tolle – the Power of Now..

The present, now, is the door to reality and focus on the past and future distracts from the intensity of experience.

But…

How does that square with Alfred North Whitehead’s theory of relativity – where reality is a process and certainly not an instant?

It seems to me that the integration of these two concepts through the interpretation of the present – Now – as momentary rather than instantaneous. By this I mean to include the immediate past and the immediate future into a lengthened and extended instant. I think (though I’m never certain when trying to understand Process and Reality) that this is what Whitehead refers to as prehension.

It seems then that consciousness requires some element of time, that which immediately surrounds the instant in which we exist. It is observation that crystallises out the particular reality which we choose. (Bohr, Born, Schrodinger – the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics). The experience of reality requires the flow of time – to allow the immediate past and future to give context to the instant that is now.

Consciousness can then be described as observation surfing on time, and the fragment of time that surrounds the instant creates the moment in which we exist. Hence – reality as momentum.

Momentum and Reality

Reality is bound up with the present. This, according to Zen and as re-expressed by Eckhart Tolle – the Power of Now..

The present, now, is the door to reality and focus on the past and future distracts from the intensity of experience.

But…

How does that square with Alfred North Whitehead’s theory of relativity – where reality is a process and certainly not an instant?

It seems to me that the integration of these two concepts through the interpretation of the present – Now – as momentary rather than instantaneous. By this I mean to include the immediate past and the immediate future into a lengthened and extended instant. I think (though I’m never certain when trying to understand Process and Reality) that this is what Whitehead refers to as prehension.

It seems then that consciousness requires some element of time, that which immediately surrounds the instant in which we exist. It is observation that crystallises out the particular reality which we choose. (Bohr, Born, Schrodinger – the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics). The experience of reality requires the flow of time – to allow the immediate past and future to give context to the instant that is now.

Consciousness can then be described as observation surfing on time, and the fragment of time that surrounds the instant creates the moment in which we exist. Hence – reality as momentum.

I and Thou

There is a brilliant introduction to Buber’s I and Thou in the English translation by Ronald Gregor Smith. I have extracted some excerpts below..

“There is, Buber shows, a radical difference between man’s attitude to other men and his attitude to things. The attitude to other men is a relation between persons, to things it is a connexion with objects. In the personal relation one subject – I – confronts andother subject – Thou; in the connexion with things the subject contemplates and experiences and object. These two attitudes represent the basic twofold situation of human life, the former constitutes the world of THOU and the latter the world of IT.

The other person, the THOU, is shown to be a reality – that is, it is given to me, but is not bounded by me: “Thou has no bounds”; the Thou cannot be appropriated, but I am brought up short against it. The characteristic situation is here one of meeting: I meet the Other. In the reality of this meeting no reduction of the I or of the Thou, to experiencing subject and experienced object, is possible.

The world of objects or things, on the other hand, presupposes a single centre of consciousness, one subject, an I which experiences, arranges, and appropriates. This is the characteristic world of modern activity…

Put in another way, this primary distinction between the two orders in which men live concerns on the one hand the meaning of community, and on the other hand the meaning of organisation.

The relation of the one observing subject to the other observing subjects within the same closed system was not seriously considered. Buber has given intellectual status to the problem of the relation between persons (..and God) and has thus called in doubt the massive monistic system within which idealist philosophy has worked.

In dogmatic theology, too, the same new tendencies are at work. Objects are in the past, but the relation of the I to the Thou is in the present.

What Buber has done is to state in classic form the nature of the claim made upon us by the “transcendent”… faith is a meeting: it is not a trust in the world of It, of creeds or other forms, which are objects, and have their life in the past; nor is it, on the other hand, a reliance on the “wholly other” God; but it is the meeting with the eternal Thou Who is both the Other and the Present One.

.. the influence of Buber is thus manifest in every fundamental sphere of human activity, it is possible to perceive both anticipatory and parallel influences at work. Already in the middle of the nineteenth century Soren Kierkegaard, in his attack on the reigning Hegelian philosophy, had shown the limits of thought along the old lines.

To the reader who finds the meaning obscure at a first reading we may only say that I and Thou is indeed a poem. Hence it must be read more than once, and its total effect allowed to work on the mind…

I and Thou, even in its English translation is a moving and nourishing work of philosophical poetry. It is a flowering of Jewish mystical thought.

Reality as Momentum

Reality is bound up with the present. This, according to Zen and as re-expressed by Eckhart Tolle – the Power of Now..

The present, now, is the door to reality and focus on the past and future distracts from the intensity of experience.

But…

How does that square with Alfred North Whitehead’s theory of relativity – where reality is a process and certainly not an instant?

It seems to me that the integration of these two concepts through the interpretation of the present – Now – as momentary rather than instantaneous. By this I mean to include the immediate past and the immediate future into a lengthened and extended instant. I think (though I’m never certain when trying to understand Process and Reality) that this is what Whitehead refers to as prehension.

It seems then that consciousness requires some element of time, that which immediately surrounds the instant in which we exist. It is observation that crystallises out the particular reality which we choose. (Bohr, Born, Schrodinger – the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics). The experience of reality requires the flow of time – to allow the immediate past and future to give context to the instant that is now.

Consciousness can then be described as observation surfing on time, and the fragment of time that surrounds the instant creates the moment in which we exist. Hence – reality as momentum.

John Bell, the Iona Community and Synchronicity

John Bell of the Iona Community in his thought for the day this morning on BBC Radio 4 referred to the mythical tree of knowledge as “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil”. It is my contention, and I think supported by quantum mechanics, that we are observers weaving existence from the stuff of potential. (Schroedinger’s cat..). The thought in the blog “evil, a problem of boundary” was only 6 hours old. It was attempting to address the theological issue of the “problem of evil”. The thought is simple. In this world we are born into boundary. Nothing can be experienced except in relation to it’s opposite or converse – thus experience is dependent on boundaries. It is we – who create both evil and good through our observations. (Niels Bohr..). Both evil and good are products of human kind and not of a creator. As a pointer toward the underlying love in the universe – Teilhard de Chardin’s underlying driver of evolution – could we get better than the example of Nelson Mandela. He integrated good and evil and spun them into something larger…

And then John Bell was on air – and put it charmingly, simply. As ever.