The system will be capable of uniting with other similar systems to make larger wholes.
In terms of this ultimate state of organization and interiorization, our present condition is still so immature that Mankind in its existing form (and although there is nothing more ‘adult’ in the Universe with which, thus far, we can compare it) cannot be scientifically regarded as anything more than an organism which has not yet emerged from the embryonic stage.
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
You want to change your environment? Change your head!!
This is how the thinking layer of the Earth as we know it today—the noösphere—came rapidly into being, proceeding from certain centers of reflection which apparently emerged at the threshold of the Pleistocene Age somewhere in the tropical or sub-tropical spheres of the Ancient World (i.e., in the place where, during the Upper Tertiary Period, the group of the great anthropoids was first established and subsequently spread.): a planetary neo-envelope, essentially linked with the biosphere in which it has its root, yet distinguished from it by an autonomous circulatory, nervous, and finally, cerebral system. The noösphere: a new stage of life renewed.
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
Gosh! Will you let your past go? Your hurts, the wounds that you have received, the unfulfilled desires, the anxieties—which is the past.
Animals are composites of many species living, developing, and evolving together. The discovery of symbiosis throughout the animal kingdom is fundamentally transforming the classical conception of an insular individuality into one in which interactive relationships among species blurs the boundaries of the organism and obscures the notion of essential identity.
Life is simply what it is, that it has no absolute value, but you put your values on it like you put values on the chips in poker.
You magnify your senses with a telephone (which enables you to hear for thousands of miles), with television (which enables you to see for thousands of miles), or with the telescope, or with a microscope (which enables you to see things totally invisible to the naked eye). May I ask whether these things are bad artificialities? Whether it’s really wrong to use telephones, television, microscopes, telescopes? Is that bad?
We are seeing the universe in a very early stage in its history. Most of the physical universe lies in our future, and we cannot truly understand the entire physical universe without understanding this future. But we can study this future reality, in particular the ultimate future which constitutes the end of time, only if in some way this Final State of the universe makes an imprint on the present. It is, after all, obvious that we cannot do direct experiments on the future in the present.
You have to decide whether you want to make money or make sense, because the two are mutually exclusive.
Richard Buckminster Fuller
The health of ecological habitats and any meaningful future for mankind and evolution at large can only be realized if ecology and theology are seen as aspects of each other.
You and me are sitting here, talking long distance. We’re sitting on a round planet. The damn thing is spinning all the time, and also hurtling through the space at tremendous speed. In the middle of nowhere—nobody knows where this cosmos begins, where it ends—in the middle of nowhere, a tiny little mechanism called “solar system.” In that, tiny little super-tiny place called “planet Earth.” In that, Texas is a micro-super space. In that, Austin city is a super-super-micro space. In that, you’re a big man. This is the problem. Because the moment I think “I know,” I become big in my perception. Once I become big, inevitably I’ll make a fool of myself—whether I realize this in this life or not, somebody who has eyes to see will see: this is a bloody fool!
A new form of evolution will become possible and begin for terrestrial reflexion after the era of passive evolutions: the era of self-evolution, opening in the direction of some ultra-humanity for organised matter.
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
Symbols bear the same relation to the real world that money bears to wealth. You cannot quench anybody’s thirst with the word “water” just as you cannot eat a dollar bill and derive nutrition from it. But using symbols and using conscious intelligence—scanning—has proved very useful to us. It has given us such technology as we have. But at the same time it has proved too much of a good thing. At the same time, we’ve become so fascinated with it that we confuse the world as it is with the world as it is thought about, talked about, and figured about—that is to say, with the world as it is described. And the difference between these two is vast. And when we are not aware of ourselves except in a symbolic way, we’re not related to ourselves at all. We are like people eating menus instead of dinners.
To overcome that kind of beguilement by the fantasies of thought, not thinking is an important adjunct to thought—to be able, every so often, to cease the hubbub going on inside one’s head, and to let talking to one’s self stop and come to stillness.
When you discover that everything you do is completely determined, then you suddenly have to wake up to the fact that the only real you is whatever it is that’s determining what you do.
Instead of evolving bigness of brain, we are evolving an electronic network in which our brains are very swiftly being plugged into computer systems.
The further back in time you go, the simpler things become. Or, to stand the statement on its head: beginning at the earliest moments of the universe, the universe has grown ever more complex. And this is a true statement whether we’re talking about physical systems—because the universe begins as a physical system of pure electrons. Quickly, simple atomic systems are formed: hydrogen and helium. They aggregate under the force of gravity. (Notice how things are becoming more complicated.) At the center of these gravitational aggregates pressure and temperature rises. Suddenly a new phenomenon bursts into being: fusion. It cooks out heavier elements like sulfur, iron, and carbon. And where, a cosmic moment ago, we had a very simple universe full of only unpaired electrons, suddenly we have a universe full of all kinds of atomic species distributed at various volumetric densities and so forth and so on. And then, with the advent of carbon, you get long-chain polymers; you get molecular chemistry. Before, you only had atomic chemistry. Some of these long-chain polymers begin to transcript themselves. Now you’ve got some kind of self-replicating molecular system preserving information. It quickly becomes non-nucleated life, which quickly becomes nucleated life, which then becomes multicellular life, which then becomes complex life. Sex is invented. The phyla form. You see what’s happening? As we’re approaching the present in this description, the universe is filling up with complex phenomena of many orders of magnitude: stars, galaxies, cells, organisms, ecosystems—yada, yada, yada, on and on. And then (very recently in this picture of crystallizing or condensing complexification) you get higher animals using language, inventing culture, building tools, transmitting messages through wires, enclosing the entire planet in a communication system, on and on and on.
We can go on for years arguing about the way in which the enormous organism could have come into being. As we look closer at the bewildering complexity of the mechanism, our brains begin to reel. How are we to reconcile this persistent growth with the determinism of the molecules, the blind play of the chromosomes, the apparent incapacity to transmit individual acquisitions by generation?
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
If there is no single, central, ruling Self inside the mind, what makes us feel so sure that one exists? What gives that myth its force and strength? A paradox: perhaps it’s because there are no persons in our heads to make us do the things we want—nor even ones to make us want to want—that we construct the myth that we’re inside ourselves.
Seeing the ecology of the whole Earth—you see, the atmosphere, the animals, the plants, the whole ecosphere—as a living organism. And of course, if you do that, you have to somehow make a decision in saying: what do we mean? What is a living organism?
Heinz von Förster
Because what you really are as a body, as a living organism, is not some sort of separate existence coated by a skin which divides you from the rest of the world. Shakespeare has King John saying to Hubert: “Within this wall of flesh there is a soul counts thee her creditor.” “Within this wall of flesh:” the skin considered as a barrier, when actually, from a biological point of view, the human skin and all skins are osmotic membranes. You know, when you get something by osmosis, by sort of soaking it in. So, in the same way, one’s skin is a spongy construction full of holes. Full of communicators; nerve ends. And your skin is simply a vibrating membrane through which the so-called external world flows into you and through you. So that you yourself, actually, are not so much an entity that moves around in an environment, you are much more like a whirlpool in a stream. And, as you know, the whirlpool is constant only in its doing—that is to say, in its whirling. And you could recognize individual whirligigs in a stream. But the water is flowing through them all the time. They are never the same for a second. And so it is also with us.
I keep saying: de-emphasize anxiety, reassure people. You meet people who say, “I’m really scared. I’m scared about my job, I’m scared about my relationship. I’m scared, scared, scared.” The answer is: don’t worry! You don’t know enough to worry. That’s God’s truth. Who do you think you are that you should worry, for cryin’ out loud! I mean, it’s a total waste of time. It presupposes such a knowledge of the situation that it is, in fact, a form of hubris.
Whenever one of these machines is asked the appropriate critical question, and gives a definite answer, we know that this answer must be wrong, and this gives us a certain feeling of superiority. Is this feeling illusory? It is no doubt quite genuine, but I do not think too much importance should be attached to it. We too often give wrong answers to questions ourselves to be justified in being very pleased at such evidence of fallibility on the part of the machines.