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Teilhard de Chardin, Pierre - Phenomenon of Man - Tree of life



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin – Phenomenon of Man

 by the very rhythm of its development, each line of life follows a process of alternate contraction and expansion.  It takes on the appearance of a series of knots and bulges, strung like beads, a sequence of narrow peduncles and spreading leaves

What is granted to our experience and which subsequently constitutes the 'phenomenon' is thus not the evolutionary movement in itself; it is this movement corrected according to its alteration by the effects of distance.  How does this alteration show itself?  Quite simply through accentuation (rapidly increasing with distance) of the fan structure deriving from the phyletic radiations of life.  This happens, moreover, in two different ways; first by exaggeration of the apparent dispersion of the phyla and subsequently by the apparent suppression of the peduncles...

Only an infinitesimal number of the organisms that have grown successively on the tree of life exists for us to inspect today.  And despite the efforts of paleontology, many extinct forms will remain unknown to us forever.... Dried up branches have broken off, leaves have fallen........

Duration, which with one hand multiplies its creations ahead, works no less diligently with the other hand thinning out the ranks in the rear.  By so doing, it separates them off and isolates them more and more in our vision, while at the same time by another and more subtle process, it gives us the illusion of seeing them floating like clouds, rootless over the abyss of past ages

The source of the experience

Teilhard de Chardin, Pierre

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