Saturday, August 6, 2011

The Phenomenon of Man

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Written in Rome 1948, published in Paris 1955, eng trans 1959


By Sir Julian Huxley

Cosmic Evolution as an Infolding upon Itself

Self Complexification = Convergent Integration (p15)

Linking Evolution of Mind w Concept of Energy:

2 forms of manifestation of energy

--Physicists energy – measurable

--Psychic energy – increases w the complexity of the organized units (p16)

The brain alone is not responsible for the mind, though it is a necessary organ for its manifestation. (p16)

Definition of mind – receiving, synthesizing, processing and organizing data from both within and without and using it to direct action (p17)

Referencing Teilhard:

The earth’s roundness, the sphericity of man’s environment, was bound to cause the intensification of social activity, as opposed to outward diffusion/expansion, where idea encounters idea, organized by the web, increasing tension. (p17)

The evolution of life is an anti-entropic process (p26)


All matter has pre-life within it.

Irreversibility and Indivisibility:

As the crystalline structures of the earth become indivisible from each other, so do the biospherical counterparts; they cannot exist apart from all other biospherical counterparts [next after biogenesis comes psychogenesis and eventually noogenesis]. (p74)


--Tangential growth – ‘leading shoot’/external energy

--Radial growth – expansionist/spherical/tidal/internal energy

Insects and Consciousness:

It is undeniable that certain qualities [Cephalization] are only capable of being manifested above certain quantities [organ size relative to body structure]. (p154)


Instinct is not canalized but flexible in mammals – it plays…an aura of freedom begins. The mammal is no longer a slave to its phylum. (p156)

Primates – freedom re limbs (p159)

“The orthogenesis of primates coincides w the axial orthogenesis of organized matter (urging all living things towards a higher consciousness).” (p180)

“Man came silently into the world, already speaks, lives in groups, already make fire…as we know, each time a new living form rises up before us out of the depths of history, it is always complete and already legion.” (p184)

“…the first man is, and can only be, a crowd, and his infancy made up of thousands and thousands of years.” (p184)


The Individualization of our Planet (p72)

The Noosphere is the terrestrial threshold of the planet, a transformation affecting the state of the entire planet [in the same way that biogenesis affected earth, comprehensively and simultaneously]. (p180)

The brain meets its organic limit

The Birth of Thought:

We already know that everywhere the active phyletic lines grow warm with consciousness towards the summit. But in one well-marked region, at the heart of the mammals, where the most powerful brains ever made by nature are to be found, they become red hot. And right at the heart of that glow burns a point of incandescence.

We must not lose sight of that line crimsoned by the dawn. After thousands of years rising below the horizon, a flame bursts forth at a strictly localized point.

Thought is born. (p160)


Psychic Heating ß à Material Cooling

--Boiling point/phase change

--A tiny ‘tangential’ increase causes the ‘radial’ to turn back on itself and take an infinite leap forward

--Morphologically, nothing really changes [to the human body, as it has stopped evolving physically relative to the mind] (p168)

Agriculture and Animal Husbandry:

The diminishing availability of land concentrates humans, leading to civilization/socialization. The geographic/spherical limits of the earth are what cause this concentration. (p203)

Endomorphosis (a geological term) [anthrosynthesis?]:

--the assimilation of cultures

--”mutual permeation matched w significant interfecundity of psychisms”

--blending ethnic traditions and cerebral genes

America and Evolution:

“The principle axis of anthropogenesis has passed through the West.” [in the same way that no new species were ‘born’ after man, no ‘new land’ was found after America] (p210).


“…the wealth of a nation which has almost nothing in common with their frontiers” (p212)

“The consciousness of each of us is evolution looking at itself and reflecting.” (p220)

The social phenomenon is the culmination and not the attenuation of the biological phenomenon.” (p222)

“The spirit of research and conquest is the permanent soul of evolution.” (p223)

“Indeed time and space become humanized as soon as a definite movement appears which gives them a physiognomy.” (p227)

“Mankind has stretched a single membrane over the surface of the earth without breaking it.” (p241)

“Thought artificially perfects the thinking instrument itself.” (p25)

“…the hyper organic nature of social bonds” (p252)

“The mind is essentially just the power of synthesis and organization.” (p259)

“The exaltation, not merely the conversation, of elements by convergence: what, after all, could be more simple and more thoroughly in keeping with all we know?” (p266)

The creative value of synthesis in the evolutionary sense: There is more in the molecule than the atom, more in the cell than the molecule, the individual, society… (p168)

Since man, there has been a slowing down of the passive and somatic transformations of the organism in favor of the conscious and active metamorphoses of the individual in society. We find the artificial carrying out the work of the natural; and the transmission of an oral or written culture being superimposed on genetic forms of heredity (chromosomes). (p276)

[In the Noosphere] …”we are confronted with human vibrations resounding by the millions – a whole layer of consciousness collected and hoarded produce a million years of thought. Have we ever tried to form an idea of what such magnitudes represent?” (p285)

“…to abandon the organo-planetary foothold, the end of the fulfillment of the spirit of the earth…” (p287)

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