Thursday, 3 July 2008

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, 1881 - 1955

This afternoon at Manipal Hospital, I came across this quotation that was somehow so exciting to me - it said what I felt but had never captured in words - and took it further so powerfully. I mean, look at that last sentence, how MUCH is told in those few words, how perfectly he expresses love's potential for the human race:

"Someday, after we have mastered the winds, the waves, the tides and gravity, we shall harness for God the energies of love. Then, for the second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire."

A few hours later, back home and blog-hopping, I came across another, by the same person.

You are not a human being in search of a spiritual experience. You are a spiritual being immersed in a human experience.”

- Teilhard de Chardin

I go my whole life never hearing this name before, and now I read it twice in one afternoon, both times referring to ideas that have been nudging at me lately. That's the sort of stuff I just have to google, being one of those we-are-all-connected-and-nothing-happens-by-chance types.

And what a fascinating chappie he turns out to be: a French Jesuit priest and philosopher, as well as a paleontologist and a biologist. And he was "green" long before we put the colour to use as a political adjective!

"Chardin's writings clearly reflect the sense of the Earth as having its own autonomous personality, and being the prime center and director of our future .. " (from a rather interesting article by Anodea Judith)

He went all over the world, got into some trouble with the church over his theory on evolution, and published rather a lot of books, the primary being something called The Phenomenon of Man. He was involved with the discovery of Peking Man. And he even provided the inspiration for Father Merrin in William Blatty's The Exorcist!

So very well known by everyone it seems, except me. Better late than never, though, I always say. And I like to believe that people come into my life when they're supposed to. I'm sure he would agree. Any day now, one of his books will leap out at me from a dusty book fair shelf, and he will make a second appearance on this blog's Book Fair Junkie section.

Till then, I leave you with this thought-provoking gem of his:

"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."

1 comment:

Chethana said...

One more person to not know him as of 5 min ago, now fascinated and to be Googling about him.