The whole of mankind put together represents an insignificant mass of the planet’s matter. Its strength is derived not from its matter, but from its brain. If man understands this, and does not use his brain and his work for self-destruction, an immense future is open before him in the geological history of the biosphere.
From the cell to man, as from the atom to the cell, a single process—a constant increase of the ‘within’—continues without interruption, and always in the same direction: forward.
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
Survival, Part 3: Thought (1961)
You and the universe which seems to constrain you are not two things.
The self-reflexive mind may now become totally emancipated and set out on its own course of evolution. It is not “we” who think, but “it” thinks in us. Mind becomes a creative factor not only in image-forming, but also in the active transformation of outer reality. This role of the self-reflexive mind blossoms fully in the human world.
The machine is not an it to be animated, worshiped, and dominated. The machine is us, our processes, an aspect of our embodiment. We can be responsible for machines; they do not dominate or threaten us. We are responsible for boundaries; we are they.
A Cyborg Manifesto (1985)
May there not really be a way, for a scientifically alert observer, of detecting around us the signs of an ultra-evolution (we might say ‘a wind of reflection’) in a whole series of psychic phenomena, still incompletely identified and yet patient of statistical study? For example, the general rise, at this very moment, in the most advanced areas of human thought, of a certain distress—or, on the contrary, of a certain excited anticipation—both specifically connected with the gradual awakening in us of the consciousness that the universe is not only in movement but is carrying us with it?
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
If one considers that the primeval earth was not much more than molten rock, one can vaguely gauge the miracle of the life-spirit and the massiveness of its ecological transmutability. Life itself is the transformer, made of mass-energy particles, extruding spirit from stone.
We have to realize that the external universe is just as much ourself as our own body.
We’re—may I say—ass-backwards: we are living for the children with nothing to give them because we do not have a real enthusiasm for our own vocation, or profession, or whatever it is in life. If you make it central—the idea of the Hindus, of your svadharma (or, in the Christian terms, vocation), and that’s the thing you really live for, not children—if you really have that with you, the children will catch it from you, and be inspired by it and join in with it.
A man may be self-centered in his self-denial and self-righteous in his self-sacrifice. His generosity may feed his ego, and his piety may feed his pride. So without love, benevolence becomes egotism, and martyrdom becomes spiritual pride.
Every baby that is born is a mutant. Every baby is the genetic code’s newest and most creative answer to the problem of adapting to the other forms of life and energy on this planet.
Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out (1966)
Most of the creative unfolding of the universe will actually occur in the last few days, hours, or minutes of its existence. This is the basis of my much-misrepresented and misunderstood enthusiasm for what some people dial in as the end of the world, or the apocalypse, or the eschaton. Because it seems to me if you try to clock these accelerating rates of change, honest examination of the situation leads to the conclusion that it is now moving so fast that, within our lifetimes, it will approach speeds that, from a human perspective, appear infinite. In other words: more change is going to take place in the next ten years than has taken place in the previous five billion years. And we’re going to be present for this.
We are creating a world that celebrates diversity, that celebrates the uniqueness of every person. The complexification of our species is a process directly dependent on the complexity that we each bring to the process. The diversity that is spreading through society is concomitant to the boundary-dissolution. And I really believe that science’s inability to make sense of human beings in the world as part of nature—to make sense of art, love, hate, aspiration, fear—the failure to make sense of this is the failure to come to terms with the transcendental aspect of reality. We are the best evidence there is that something extraordinarily unusual is happening on this planet.
Vertigo at History’s Edge (1994)
Man’s mind is a recent product of our planet’s side.
Charles Scott Sherrington
Mind and Matter (1956)
Humans might expand their mental capabilities with powerful enhancements of memory, communication, and computation and gain direct mental control over various machines as well. Given Metaman’s rapid technological advance, it is not absurd to ask whether human and machine will eventually merge.
Everyone knows that what we really need is love. That, without that, it won’t work. With that, the political, social, intellectual and technological details will probably take care of themselves. But love in the heart of a monkey—which is what we are—is an effort to image this transcendental thing at the end of time. I mean, to love is to open to the presence of the other, and that’s a very, very profound boundary dissolution.
State of the Stone (1995)
Every citizen, whether they realize it or not, is a neuron in the mind of a giant organism, and what they do and say in their lifetime contributes to who that organism is, even if only a little bit.
The Story of Us (2019)
The truth does not require your belief. The truth is real! You can beat it on the ground, you can rip it apart, you can look inside it. Nobody needs to guard the truth from inspection. Nobody needs to tell you that, you know, you can’t look behind the stage.
Human mind’s access to the mathematics of generalized scientific laws governing physical phenomena in general made possible humanity’s production of its own detached-from-self wings to outfly all birds in speed and altitude, while being able to loan one another those wings and modify them to produce even better wings.
Richard Buckminster Fuller
Critical Path (1981)
The clue that something weird is going on on this planet is ourselves. Obviously! I mean, we are like a fart at the opera. Everything else makes sense; we don’t make sense. And the speed with which the human type emerged from the protohominids is unparalleled in the evolutionary history of life. Edward O. Wilson called the doubling of the human brain size in under three million years the most rapid doubling of organ size in a major animal in the entire history of life on this planet. Us! There’s something weird about human beings.
Organisms are organized matter that has its genesis in a morphogenetic field of some sort, and that field—the nature of its existence away from the matter it organizes—is a matter for further scientific study.
We grow out of this world in exactly the same way as the apples grow on the apple tree.
The problem that we face is that the ghetto is a domestic colony that’s constantly drained without being replenished. And you are always telling us to lift ourselves by our own bootstraps, and yet we are being robbed every day. Put something back in the ghetto!
An artifact is an inclusion in some system, made by animals or man. Spider webs, bird nests, beaver dams, houses, books, machines, music, paintings, and language are artifacts. They may or may not be prostheses, inventions which carry out some critical process essential to a living system. An artificial pacemaker for a human heart is an example of an artifact which can replace a pathological process with a healthy one. Insulin and thyroxine are replacement drugs which are human artifacts. Chemical, mechanical, or electronic artifacts have been constructed which carry out some functions of all levels of living systems.
James Grier Miller
The Nature of Living Systems (1965)