Teilhard de Chardin, Pierre - Phenomenon of Man - The Great Work and the Increments
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
Pere Teilhard de Chardin – Phenomenon of Man
The world is a-building. This is the basic truth which must first be understood so thoroughly that it becomes an habitual and , as it were, natural springboard for our thinking. At first sight, beings and their destinies might seem to us to be scattered haphazard or at least in an arbitrary fashion over the face of the earth. We could very easily suppose that each of us might equally well have been born earlier or later, at this place or that, happier or more ill starred, as though the universe from the beginning to the end of its history formed in space time a sort of vast flower bed, in which the flowers could be changed about at the whim of the gardener.
But this idea is surely untenable. The more one reflects, with the help of all that science; philosophy and religion can teach us, each in its own field, the more one comes to realise that the world should be likened not to a bundle of elements artificially held together, but rather to some organic system animated by a broad movement of development which is proper to itself.
As the centuries go by it seems that a comprehensive plan is indeed being slowly carried out …...... A process is at work in the universe, an issue is at stake, which can best be compared to the process of gestation and birth; …................
No, we are not like the cut flowers that makes up a bouquet, we are like the leaves and buds of a great tree on which everything appears at its proper time and place as required and determined by the good of the whole
For the earth is, after all, something more than a sort of huge breathing body. Admittedly it rises and falls, but more important is the fact that it must have begun at a certain moment; that it is passing through a consecutive series of moving equilibrium; and that in all probability it is leading toward some final state. It has a birth, a development, and presumably a death ahead. Thus all around us, deeper than any pulsation that could be expressed in geological eras, we must suppose there to be a total process which is not of a periodic character defining the total evolution of the planet; something more complicated chemically and deeper within matter than the 'cooling' of which we hear so much; yet something both continuous and irreversible. An ever ascending curve, the points of transformation of which are never repeated; a constantly rising tide below the rhythmic tides of the ages – it is on this essential curve, it is in relation to this advancing level of waters, that the phenomenon of life, as I see things, must be situated