If a creature can answer a question about a hypothetical experiment, without actually performing that experiment, then he has demonstrated some knowledge about the world. For his answer to the question must be an encoded description of the behavior, inside the creature, of some sub-machine or model responding to an encoded description of the world situation described by the question.
Matter, Mind and Models (1965)
A nonlogical, nonstatistical, nonrandom, nonerratic process has taken hold: the living phenomenology.
We are out of control. We are, basically, severely addicted to things and cannot stop ourselves. And we know—or we should know—that there is not enough petroleum, heavy metal, so forth and so on in the planet to give all the thing-addicts all the things that we know they must have in order to be happy. We have spread this intellectual virus from pole to pole, to Turkmenistan and Borneo, to the upper Amazon and to the Tajiks. Everybody wants kids, you know? Everybody wants the pause that refreshes. What are we going to do about this?
Evolving Times (1995)
Types are abstractions. Nature presents an apparent endless variety of living things which man, from his earliest days, has observed and classified.
James Grier Miller
The Nature of Living Systems (1965)
Certainty is primitive, leads to “us versus them” tribalism, and starts wars. We should be united in our uncertainty, not divided over fabricated certainty.
There is [the possibility], then—isn’t there, at this point in history?—of civilizing technology. Let’s put it that way. You could almost say naturalizing technology.
In good times, the Burmese mountain people of the Kachin live in several separate tribes which maintain trade relations with each other, but are politically independent. In scarce periods, however, when the harvests are poor, they spontaneously form a hierarchic order in which the chieftain of one tribe rules as king over the entire Kachin people. Each of these alternating phases usually lasts for decades. Such an alternating societal system seems to have characterized the Kachin for many hundred years. It represents a more or less historyless dynamics which orients itself according to the horizontal relations and shows little vertical development.
Small groups are a fundamental unit of human social organization. Individuals cannot be understood except in the context of small groups, and large-scale societies need to be seen as a kind of multicellular organism comprising small groups.
They never experienced that dimension of freedom. It’s like having an automobile, and you drive it around and it seems to work fine, but there’s this button on the dashboard and you never investigate to find out what it does; what it is. And there is in us this switch.
Physically, human beings have been about the way we are for 100,000 years; much the way we are for half a million years. But the behaviors have changed radically. From nomadic partnership, from societies based on shamanic intoxication, orgiastic sexuality, no fixed abode, to a massive, integrated, global, electronically-based civilization. These are extraordinary modifications of behavior. It’s as though hummingbirds were to begin assembling locomotives. That’s the kind of radical transformation that we see inside our own species.
Truth has a way of leaking. It gets out.
Revolution, social, economic, can only change outer states and things, in increasing or narrowing circles, but it will always be within the limited field of thought. For total revolution the brain must forsake all its inward, secret mechanism of authority, envy, fear and so on.
Creation is not for the talented, for the gifted; they only know creativeness but never creation. Creation is beyond thought and image, beyond the word and expression. It is not to be communicated for it cannot be formulated, it cannot be wrapped up in words. It can be felt in complete awareness. It cannot be used and put on the market, to be haggled and sold.
We have noticed that, since man’s advent, there has been a certain slowing down of the passive and somatic transformations of the organism in favour of the conscious and active metamorphoses of the individual absorbed in society. We find the artificial carrying on the work of the natural; and the transmission of an oral or written culture being superimposed on genetic forms of heredity (chromosomes). Without denying the possibility or even probability of a certain prolongation in our limbs, and still more in our nervous system, of the orthogenetic processes of the past, I am inclined to think that their influence, hardly appreciable since the emergence of Homo sapiens, is destined to dwindle still further. As thought regulated by a sort of quantum law, the energies of life seem unable to spread in one region or take on a new form except at the expense of a lowering elsewhere. Since man’s arrival, the evolutionary pressure seems to have dropped in all the non-human branches of the tree of life. And now that man has become an adult and has opened up for himself the field of mental and social transformations, bodies no longer change appreciably; they no longer need to in the human branch; or if they still change, it will only be under our industrious control. It may well be that in its individual capacities and penetration our brain has reached its organic limits. But the movement does not stop there. From west to east, evolution is henceforth occupied elsewhere, in a richer and more complex domain, constructing, with all minds joined together, mind. Beyond all nations and races, the inevitable taking-as-a-whole of mankind has already begun.
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
The Phenomenon of Man (1955)
We look for this optimal point where there is a risk—there must be a risk, there must be chance, it mustn’t all be predetermined—because any game where the result is known is not worth playing.
We think we are secure in our separateness.
Man in his detachment has realized himself in a wider and deeper relationship with the universe.
The Religion of Man (1922)
Evolutionary theory has made enormous progress within the biological sciences while remaining almost entirely excluded from the many branches of the human social sciences and humanities and their practical applications.
For the last century these two ideologies, communism and free enterprise, have dominated the political affairs of world-around humanity. Each side says, “You may not like our system, but we are convinced that we have the fittest, fairest, most ingenious way of coping with the lethal inadequacy of life support operative on our planet, but because there are those who disagree diametrically on how to cope, only all-out war can resolve which system is fittest to survive.”
Richard Buckminster Fuller
Critical Path (1981)
The path toward planetary regulation should be approached with the utmost caution. After all, if you had a little dial to control your pulse rate, you would eventually find its use an onerous burden because what was once automatically regulated would demand constant attention. The same applies to global climate. Until Metaman has evolved to the point where it can create a self-regulating planetary system as robust as the one which now exists, its best interests lie in protecting the “natural” systems that have worked so well.
No one wants to be loved out of a sense of duty.
Man has given more importance to psychological security than to biological, physical security.
A sense of collectivity, arising in our minds out of the evolutionary sense, has imposed a framework of entirely new dimensions upon all our thinking; so that mankind has come to present itself to our gaze less and less as a haphazard and extrinsic association of individuals, and increasingly as a biological entity wherein, in some sort, the proceedings and the necessities of the universe in movement are furthered and achieve their culmination. We feel that the relation between Society and Social Organism is no longer a matter of symbolism but must be treated in realistic terms.
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
For no exact scientific reason, but simply as a result of impression and routine, we have formed the habit of separating the psychic from the material, as if they belonged to two different worlds, the arrangement of individuals and the arrangement of cells; only the latter being regarded as organic and natural, in contrast to the former, which is relegated to the domain of the moral or artificial. Society (human society especially) is a matter for historians and jurists rather than biologists. Is not that what we too often think?
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin