The human phenomenon

De Chardin’s work is scintillating – a brilliant piece of philosophical science. But, oh how difficult to access! It appears as a work of nineteenth century charismatic spirituality, language calculated to repel a positivist scientist. Yet it deals with concepts and theories that bring together quantum mechanics, relativity, geology, evolutionary biology and anthropology. One struggles to absorb the width of his landscape.
And he distils some compelling concepts.
Material evolution started at the big bang with occasional phase-shifts from plasma to atoms, from giant molecules to cellular life, from complex organisms to the birth of ideas. Evolution within the geosphere (the crystallising and polymerising worlds) leading to the biosphere and now the noosphere.
A duality of material and spiritual, which he calls the “without” and “within”. He traces the development of the “within”, an evolution of consciousness. He names man as a stage in that process associated with the phase-shift from the evolution of biology to the evolution of ideas.
He shows that everything, both material and spiritual in each phase has common properties – plurality, unity and energy.
His ideas have of course been widely adopted, but almost by stealth and by others. He was a Jesuit priest, and the church tried to gag him. He bowed to pressure, because of his vows of obedience, and much of his work came to light after his death. . De Chardin’s work gloriously and selflessly witnesses the growth of God within and between us. What an irony that the entombed treasury of his ideas was pillaged most famously by Richard Dawkins (memes? Noosphere…), who is of course the Ian Paisly of atheism.
It is meat and needs to be chewed, but it is rich meat and will repay the effort.

Passion for Unity

“The incomparable greatness of the religions of the East lies in their having been second to none in vibrating with the passion for unity. This note, which is essential to every form of mysticism, has even penetrated them so deeply that we find ourselves falling under a spell simply by uttering the names of their Gods”

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

A brilliant philosopher and scientist. He conceived of evolution cascading from physics through chemistry and biology and now crossing to ideas. As he put it – a transition from biosphere to noosphere. His work dovetails with that of psychoanalyst Wilfred Bion, who conceived of brain as machinery imperfectly grown so that pre-existing ideas can be thought.

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin – fabulous name – was also a Jesuit priest.

Lord, Lady, Sister, Brother

Beloved, whose heart is heaven
Hallowed be thy pain
Our kingdom come
As will is one
On earth as it is in heaven
Give us today a body bred
From shriven trespasses forgiven

Surprising lilacs out of dead land
Redeeming deserts of isolation
Delivering us from evil.
Thy love is the kingdom, the power and our glory
Now and for ever

Christ re-unifies Space and Time

“We shall not cease from exploration

And the end of all our exploring

Will be to arrive where we started

And know the place for the first time.

Through the unknown, remembered gate

When the last of earth left to discover

Is that which was the beginning;

At the source of the longest river

The voice of the hidden waterfall

And the children in the apple-tree

Not known, because not looked for

But heard, half-heard, in the stillness

Between two waves of the sea.

Quick now, here, now, always –

A condition of complete simplicity

(Costing not less that everything)

And all shall be well and

All manner of thing shall be well

When the tongues of flame are in-folded

Into the crowned knot of fire

And the fire and the rose are one.”

TS Eliot, Four Quartets; Little Gidding (extract)

The Word

The Cathedral in Edinburgh has come alive again; and not just post COVID, but also with a spiritual power that touched me at least. Here are the opening words of today’s service..

Christ the King. You became poor, that many might become rich. You emptied yourself of all power. That we might be empowered to choose. You show us Gods kingdom in our midst. And invite us to kneel with you. To humble ourselves, to serve those in need. And to find you here with us now.

We are here to serve, and in that way to find connection to all that is. (My words).

Boy it’s tough though to stop thinking of ourselves even for a minute of grace. At least for me

Lord, help me this night and tomorrow to serve justice and generosity and the love that animates and unites all of us.

You show me Heaven

A love letter

G and U and I my dear, I and G and thee,
He made you and I my dear, together to be we,
He and She is God my dear, one and one is three,
Who made the M and E my dear, and the timely C
Entangled N and T my dear, an angled entity,
you are all my world my dear, For God made you for me

Apparently a GUI is a General User Interface. Strikes me that’s our purpose, to be each a user interface, to reveal the rich love that is a God.

You, my sweet darlings are all, every one of you – my GodsUserInterface x

You show me Heaven

A love letter

G and U and I my dear, I and G and thee,
He made you and I my dear, together to be we,
He and She is God my dear, one and one is three,
Who made the M and E my dear, and the timely C
Entangled N and T my dear, an angled entity,
you are all my world my dear, For God made you for me

Apparently a GUI is a General User Interface. Strikes me that’s our purpose, to be each a user interface, to reveal the rich love that is a God.

You, my sweet darlings are all, every one of you – my GodsUserInterface x

Durch Schmerz?

There is a brilliant book by Netherlands author Harry Mulisch – The Discovery of Heaven. It isn’t an evangelical tract. It portrays the Universe from the perspective of the possibilities outside it. The potential that the Universe does not call into being. Quantum mechanics shows us that nothing is actual until observed. In that sense we, as witness engines (points of observation) call forth this particular Universe. We are enmeshed in the spacetime of our choosing. Here and now. Literally.

We ae imprisoned in the Universe as we together have created it. Why did we, humanity, create a history that includes (those infamous atheists) Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot?

The Cross is the symbol of Christ, redeemer. At it’s heart is the point of transformation, escape into the world beyond spacetime, as imagined by Harry Mulisch. And yes, through pain. Kraft durch Schmerz, or perhaps Freude durch Schmerz?

Joy beyond angst?

It is politically correct to assume a materialistic existence built on a series of microscopic random events unfolding in intransitive time. We live in the ship of our ego, afloat on an ocean of materialism. No wonder we are full of loneliness and fear.

Sigmund Freud observed that the more you avoid a fear, or abyss, the unhealthier you become. All of the mechanisms of dealing with unconscious pain (projection, avoidance, repression etc) simply lead at best to neurosis, at worst to psychosis.

The big fear, the monster lurking in the deeps is existential angst. The terror of nothingness inside the tiny baby inside each of us. How, then, to deal with that? It’s worth tackling, since our insecurity is rooted right there. The more secure a person is, then the more listening, creative, compassionate, generous, talented and capable of joy they are. Insecurity spawns withdrawal, narcissism, unhappiness and disconnection. So that horizons contract to world as prison.

How then does security arise?  Where do we find an ability to live in confidence? (Con Fides; with trust)? Some simply have faith. Probably they were securely attached as children. What about the rest of us?

Science is uncovering deep meaning at the most fundamental level. Experiments on matter at the most microscopic levels shows that existence is an infinite series of possibilities, potential – until observed. It is the act of observation that, in effect, crystallises out this particular existence from the cloud of possibilities. What then is this act of becoming, of creation that we are engaged upon together? . Surely there must be an “observer” to create this particular reality. Sure enough, our species are the most efficient engines of observation, whether through science or the arts. We each of us spend our life in observation (or as some would call it – witness, some knowledge). Interestingly our gathering of knowledge is escalating in a geometric progression. (Are we approaching Teilhard de Chardin’s “Omega Point”?)

It appears to me our purpose as humans is to be just this – engines of observation crystallising out existence; and we do this together. That puts the onus on us collectively. It is OUR task to work for “good effect” – rather than trying to live with our eyes tight closed against the fear that we float on a sea of random meaninglessness.

…and then comfort comes; and connection and joy. Atman replaces ego, and angst evaporates. Until we forget and have to realise it all over again.