My life may be unknown, monotonous, commonplace, boring, hidden from all men’s eyes … but I shall carry out its duties in the consciousness that I am effectively collaborating in the absolute evolution of Being. Lowly atom though I am, I shall fulfil an imperceptible function as such with a heart as all-embracing as the universe.

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Born: May 1, 1881

Died: April 10, 1955 (Age 73)

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin was a French idealist philosopher and Jesuit priest who trained as a paleontologist and geologist. His early years were spent as a professor of geology at the Catholic Institute in Paris. After serving in the French army during World War I, de Chardin spent many years in China, India and Java studying evolution and the development of the human species, took part in the discovery of Peking Man, and became director of the National Geologic Survey of China and director of the National Research Center of France.

He conceived the vitalist idea of the Omega Point (a maximum level of complexity and consciousness towards which he believed the universe was evolving) and developed Vladimir Vernadsky's concept of the noösphere.

Although many of Teilhard's writings were censored by the Catholic Church during his lifetime because of his views on original sin, Teilhard has been posthumously praised by Pope Benedict XVI and other eminent Catholic figures, and his theological teachings were cited by Pope Francis in the 2015 encyclical, Laudato si'. The response to his writings by evolutionary biologists has been, with some exceptions, decidedly negative.

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A Great Event Foreshadowed: The Planetization of Mankind
Essay
December 25, 1945
4,744
15
555
Written in Peking in December 1945. Published in the August-September 1946 edition of Cahiers du Monde Nouveau with the title La planétisation humaine.
Cosmic Life
Essay
April 24, 1916
22,463
33
274
Cosmic Life was the first of Teilhard’s extant writings in his characteristic style. Knowing what risks he was exposed to at the warfront, he wrote it as his ‘intellectual testament,’ and it contains in embryo all that was later to be developed in his thought; the ‘fire in his vision’ which he tried to communicate. The essay was posthumously published in the 1955 book Writings in Time of War.
From the Pre-Human to the Ultra-Human: The Phases of a Living Planet
Essay
April 27, 1950
2,475
1
130
First published in Almanach des Sciences, 1951, then in The Future of Mankind.
How May We Conceive And Hope That Human Unanimization Will Be Realized On Earth?
Essay
January 6, 1950
2,125
4
78
Written in Paris and published posthumously in The Future of Man.
Life and the Planets
Essay
March 10, 1945
8,468
4
83
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin explores the concept of complexification in the universe, focusing on the ever-increasing combination of smaller elements into larger structures, and then extrapolates this behavior to humanity's current situation. What if the human species is an intermediary evolutionary stage, and what would the next rung on the ladder look like? Teilhard suggests that it will involve the merging-together of all humanity into a divine, planetized consciousness. Originally delivered as a lecture at the French Embassy in Peking (Beijing), China, later published in Études and The Future of Man.
On The Probable Existence Ahead Of Us Of An ‘Ultra-Human’
Essay
January 6, 1950
3,177
2
167
An originally unpublished essay, written in Paris, in which Teilhard talks about a vast realm of the Ultra-Human which lies ahead of us: a realm in which we shall not be able to survive, or super-live, except by developing and embracing on earth, to the utmost extent, all the powers of common vision and unanimazation that are available to us. Eventually published in The Future of Man.
Survival, Part 1: Before Life Came
Video
1961
2,036
18:41
3
324
Survival, Part 2: Life
Video
1961
1,190
10:37
2
145
Survival, Part 3: Thought
Video
1961
2,638
22:13
6
273
Survival, Part 4: Survival
Video
1961
1,971
19:34
8
153
The Atomism of Spirit
Essay
September 13, 1941
11,702
20
98
An attempt to understand the structure of the stuff of the universe, written in Peking (Beijing). Published in Activation of Energy.
The Convergence of the Universe
Essay
July 23, 1951
4,378
15
372
The End of the Species
Essay
December 9, 1952
1,926
3
88
Written in New York and published a year later in Psyché.
The Formation of the Noösphere
Essay
January 1947
9,448
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425
From the Revue des Questions Scientifiques (Louvain).
The Human Rebound of Evolution and its Consequences
Essay
September 23, 1947
5,513
20
42
This essay, published in Revue des Questions Scientifiques in 1948 and reprinted in The Future of Man, follows Teilhard's train of thought on the aftermath of a potential fusing-together of humanity.
The Phenomenon of Man
Book
1955
97,981
116
1,477
Visionary theologian and evolutionary theorist Pierre Teilhard de Chardin applied his whole life, his tremendous intellect, and his great spiritual faith to building a philosophy that would reconcile religion with the scientific theory of evolution. In this timeless book (whose original French title better translates to ‘The Human Phenomenon’), Teilhard argues that just as living organisms sprung from inorganic matter and evolved into ever more complex thinking beings, humans are evolving toward an "omega point"—defined by Teilhard as a convergence with the Divine.
The Phyletic Structure of the Human Group
Essay
January 1, 1951
11,703
23
224
The Place of Technology in a General Biology of Mankind
Essay
January 16, 1947
2,810
11
133
Teilhard argues that biology and technology are the same thing: technology is simply advanced biology which has reached a minimum threshold of self-awareness, allowing it to influence its evolutionary development through intelligent organization of matter and energy. Written after an address given in Paris at the Salle d’horticulture (National Society of Horticulture).
The Transformation and Continuation in Man of the Mechanism of Evolution
Essay
November 19, 1951
3,416
10
66

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