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Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881 – 1955)


French Jesuit priest trained as a paleontologist and a philosopher, and was present at the discovery of Peking Man.
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
I am far from denying the destructive and disintegrating forces of passion. I will go so far as to agree that apart from the reproductive function, men have hitherto used love, on the whole, as an instrument of self-corruption and intoxication. But what do these excesses prove? Because fire consumes and electricity can kill are we to stop using them? The feminine is the most formidable of the forces of matter. True enough. "Very well, then," say the moralists, "we must avoid it." "Not at all," I reply, "we take hold of it." In every domain of the real (physical, affective, intellectual) "danger" is a sign of power. Only a mountain can create a terrifying drop. The customary education of the Christian conscience tends to make us confuse tutiorism with prudence, safety with truth. Avoiding the risk of transgression has become more important to us than carrying a difficult position for God. And it is this that is killing us. "The more dangerous a thing, the more is its conquest ordained by life": it is from that conviction that the modern world has emerged; and from that our religion, too, must be reborn.
Teilhard de Chardin quotes
There is neither spirit nor matter in the world; the stuff of the universe is spirit-matter. No other substance but this could produce the human molecule. I know very well that this idea of spirit-matter is regarded as a hybrid monster, a verbal exorcism of a duality which remains unresolved in its terms. But I remain convinced that the objections made to it arise from the mere fact that few people can make up their minds to abandon an old point of view and take the risk of a new idea. ... Biologists or philosophers cannot conceive a biosphere or noosphere because they are unwilling to abandon a certain narrow conception of individuality. Nevertheless, the step must be taken. For in fact, pure spirituality is as unconceivable as pure materiality. Just as, in a sense, there is no geometrical point, but as many structurally different points as there are methods of deriving them from different figures, so every spirit derives its reality and nature from a particular type of universal synthesis.
Teilhard de Chardin
The reality of spirit-matter is inevitably translated into and confirmed by a structure of the spirit.




Our century is probably more religious than any other. How could it fail to be, with such problems to be solved? The only trouble is that it has not yet found a God it can adore.
Teilhard de Chardin Pierre
Love alone is capable of uniting living beings in such a way as to complete and fulfill them, for it alone takes them and joins them by what is deepest in themselves. All we need is to imagine our ability to love developing until it embraces the totality of men and the earth.
Personally, I stick to my idea that we are watching the birth, more than the death, of a World. The scandal for you, is that England and France should have come to this tragedy because they have sincerely tried the road of peace. But did they not precisely make a mistake on the true meaning of "peace"? Peace cannot mean anything but a HIGHER PROCESS OF CONQUEST. The world is bound to belong to its most active elements. Just now, the Germans deserve to win because, however bad or mixed is their spirit, they have more spirit than the rest of the world. It is easy to criticize and despise the fifth column. But no spiritual aims or energy will ever succeed, or even deserve to succeed, unless it is able to spread and keep spreading a fifth column.
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
At the heart of our universe, each soul exists for God, in our Lord.
We are like soldiers who fall during the assault which leads to peace.
Teilhard de Chardin
Above all I feel that you must resign yourself to taking me as I am, that is, with the congenital quality (or weakness) which ever since my childhood has caused my spiritual life to be completely dominated by a sort of profound 'feeling' for the organic realness of the World. At first it was an ill-defined feeling in my mind and heart, but as the years have gone by it has gradually become a precise, compelling sense of the Universe's general convergence upon itself; a convergence which coincides with, and culminates at its zenith in, him in quo omina constant, and whom the Society has taught me to love.
Teilhard de Chardin Pierre
Love is the only force which can make things one without destroying them.  Some day, after mastering the winds, the waves, the tides and gravity, we shall harness for God the energies of love, and then, for the second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire.
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
The world can no more have two summits than a circumference can have two centres.




The truth is, indeed, that love is the threshold of another universe. Beyond the vibrations with which we are familiar, the rainbow-like range of its colours is still in full growth. But, for all the fascination that the lower shades have for us, it is only towards the "ultra" that the creation of light advances. It is in these invisible and, we might almost say, immaterial zones that we can look for true initiation into unity. The depths we attribute to matter are no more than the reflection of the peaks of spirit.
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
All the communions of a life-time are one communion.
All the communions of all men now living are one communion.
All the communions of all men, present, past and future, are one communion.
Teilhard de Chardin quotes
What paralyzes life is lack of faith and lack of audacity. The difficulty lies not in solving problems but identifying them.
Teilhard de Chardin Pierre
God is inexhaustibly attainable in the totality of our action.
We only have to look around us to see how complexity and psychic temperature are still rising: and rising no longer on the scale of the individual but now on that of the planet. This indication is so familiar to us that we cannot but recognize the objective, experiential, reality of a transformation of the planet as a whole.
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
Those who spread their sails in the right way to the winds of the earth will always find themselves born by a current towards the open seas.
I can truly say and this in virtue of the whole structure of my thought that I now feel more indissolubly bound to the hierarchical Church and to the Christ of the Gospel than ever before in my life. Never has Christ seemed to me more real, more personal or more immense.
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience.
Teilhard de Chardin Pierre
If there were no internal propensity to unite, even at a prodigiously rudimentary level indeed in the molecule itself it would be physically impossible for love to appear higher up, with us, in hominized form. . . . Driven by the forces of love, the fragments of the world seek each other so that the world may come into being.


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