Teilhard and Cosmic Evolution Series, 5 of 8
After man, we get mankind (p102)
“Man, who appeared as no more than a species but who, through the operation of ethnico-social unification, has gradually been raised to the position of constituting a specifically new envelope to the earth…He is nothing less than a sphere – the noosphere… (p80).”
With the noosphere, evolution advances only by contracting and concentrating itself (p82), and as a wave starting at the south pole and rising up to the North, over its whole course, during the first half (the equator) it spreads outwards, and beyond that, it contracts (p81).
The third pulsation: the Neolithic Agricultural wave: a simultaneous maturation of the species into a more sedentary and grouped way of life from a diffuse to an organized society (p84).
Civilization is not a “fully realized state of social organization” but the “process that generates the organization”. Its “zoological ‘specialization’ extended to an animal group (man) in which one particular influence (the psychic) that had hitherto been negligible from the point of view of taxonomy suddenly begins to assume a predominant part in the ramification of the phylum (p87)”.
“Psychological species” of human “collective units” produced throughout history as a result of culture and race are just as natural as ‘carnivore’, for example (p87).
“The older chromosomal heredity is now partnered by an “educational”, extra-individual …the psychic suddenly plays a more important role than the physiological and morphological (p87).”
“The formation of tribes, nations, empires, and finally of the modern state, is simply a prolongation…of the mechanism which produced animal species (p87).”
As a result of the intensification of the psychic milieu, a phenomena hitherto unknown in nature has now become possible – the confluence of branches (as opposed to the divergent branches of the tree of life) (p89).
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
Man’s Place in Nature: The Human Zoological Group
Written 1949, Harper’s 1956, English trans 1966