Pierre Teilhard de Chardin was born 15 kilometers from Valery Giscard d’Estaing in May 1881. Jeffrey Hart reported, "Theologically, the figure of Teilhard de Chardin is central, with other revisionist theologians like Karl Rahner and Hans Kung cast in supporting roles." Thomas F. Staley added, "The impact of Chardin's thought on 20th century thinking has not been nearly as dramatic as the revelations of Darwin and Huxley in the 19th century, but his vision does not dim by comparison."

In his review of Robert Speaight's book, 'Teilhard de Chardin: A Biography' (1967), Martin Jarrett-Kerr of 'The Guardian' made the comment, "To many the Church's activity in the past hundred years must seem like that of an old-fashioned trade unionist: resistance to change for fear of redundancy in the age of automation. Perhaps in the long run the prime contribution of Father Teilhard was that he saw, more clearly than any other churchman of his time, the need for retraining.

"And this was not a reluctant awareness under threat of unemployment; it was an enthusiastic welcoming of the benefits of technology. This was what the old trade unionists of the Roman Curia could never grasp; the most they could grudgingly concede was the need for a modest regrouping in order to retain power. We knew already of this conflict in Teilhard's life; but Mr Speaight's fine new biography presents it more vividly than ever.

"It is written for an Anglo-Saxon audience – the one which is most embarrassed by Teilhard's exuberance (and, curiously in view of traditional English pelagianism, his optimism). It is also written by a skilled biographer, which helps. The author has had access to fresh facts and letters, some of which, for instance, show Teilhard’s appreciation of, and respectful duel with Marxism in a quite new light.

"Mr Speaight is wise, too, in his handling of the controversy over Teilhard's use of his formidable scientific equipment, over his poetic-sounding language, and his blend of the empirical with the visionary. He is well aware of Teilhard's philosophical and theological limitations, but is still able to present him as the astonishing person he was. The full tale of the suppression of his work – extending even to the stealing of his papers for delation to Rome – gives mordant justification to more recent (late 1960s) accusations that the Church is (or was) 'corrupt'.

"Teilhard had to resign himself to silent operation – to what in 1934 he called 'The activity of a microbe.' (Even the translation into German of papers which had already appeared in 'Etudes' was forbidden to him in 1954). The serenity with which he came to accept this vocation to silence was a part of his growth in cosmic detachment - 'Once you have penetrated to the very axis of the Christian outlook, the theological, disciplinary, and ceremonial excrescences count for little more than the musical theories when you are listening to music.'

"And he would have been untroubled by the fierce posthumous debate over his work. Congratulated in 1954 over his growing influence, he replied that his mission would only be fulfilled when others had gone beyond him. They have. It is."

In 1964, 'The Future of Man' was published. Comprised of past lectures Pierre Teilhard de Chardin had delivered, librarian Mrs. Herbert Callaway recounted, "The whole thesis of his lectures is that the Universe is still developing, and that the human spirit is still in the process of growth and development. That this process is situated within the sphere of consciousness, and not only of individual consciousness, but of collective consciousness.

"In 'The Future of Man' we have a study of mankind as approached on three levels – those of science, philosophy and theology … His approach to the subject of the advancement of mankind is at once technical and visionary. With a great amount of knowledge – historical and scientific – at his call, he is able to place his arguments firmly and with admirable logic, 'The whole future of the Earth, as of religion, seems to me to depend on the awakening of our faith in the future.'

"It is not a book to scan, or even to read rapidly. It demands strict and close attention at all times ... He establishes the fact that man, unlike all other animals, curves in upon himself – being a thinking creature. Other animals know, but only mankind knows that he knows. But this very incurving – introspection, makes it necessary for him to unify – to work together. This is a book for the scholar, by an outstanding scholar, scientist and philosopher. Available at your public library."

Translated from the French by Norman Dennys, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin expressed, "With the discovery of genes it appears we shall soon be able to control the mechanism of organic heredity. I salute those who have the courage to admit that their hopes extend that far; they are at the pinnacle of mankind."

Miles A Smith reported in 1964, "Teilhard was no ordinary mortal. One of his main theses is that the modern human being is not the end product of a hapless evolution, but a still evolving creature who will, and must, follow the coherent, predestined pressures of the cosmic life force to create in the future, by his own will, a race of ultra-humans.

"On the way to that position he argues that evolution is Darwinian (selection of the fittest) only so far as Man; that with Man it becomes, in a new realm of superconsciousness, Lamarckian (inheritance of acquired characteristics). In short, that Man is, or is bound to become, the master of his own fate. His philosophy is based on an irreversibility of progress and the inevitability of a planetary order. He stands at the opposite pole from thread-end existentialism."

Librarian Ray Smith: "'The Future of Man' contains essays written across 30 years (since 1934). To many American readers, very likely, this remarkable thinker first appeared somewhat hazily as the priest who rides in at the beginning and out at the close of Romain Gary's powerful novel 'The Roots of Heaven'. Father Teilhard ranges 'From the Pre-Human to the Ultra-Human' (this is a chapter title) in charting and projecting the curve of history.

"Beyond that, he discusses life and the planets … Inconsiderable though they appear against the vastness of space and the nebulae, nevertheless 'the planets are finally nothing less than the key-points of the Universe. It is through them that the axis of Life now passes; it is upon them that the energies of an Evolution principally concerned with the building of larger molecules is now concentrated.'

"The seer with such a vision can watch patiently and confidently the uncertain current steps of mankinds childhood on the globe, avoiding 'certain morbid symptoms, such as Sartrian existentialism,' and reflecting that 'the Earth is more likely to stop turning than is Mankind, as a whole likely to stop organizing and unifying itself.' It isn't necessary to follow Teilhard de Chardin into Catholic theological assumptions to find his notion of an eventual 'super-personalization' inspiring, nor is the notion unreasonable as the sum in the long account of another million years on the planet.

"Many may find in it increasing 'sustenance and necessary reassurance for our power of will.' In a vision much larger than that of Darwin or Marx, the priest-scientist signals a fresh turn in human reflection and a decisive role for the 'will to believe' in shaping the evolutionary process itself."

In reviewing the 1980 book, 'Towards A New Mysticism Teilhard de Chardin and Eastern Religions' by Ursula King, Thelma Forshaw of 'Fairfax Media' reported, "In 1950, five years before his death, he noted in his diary: 'God is not dead – but he changes.' He refers later to the 'transformation of the God of the Gospel into the God of Evolution.' The greatest aspect of Teilhard is his integrativeness. While others tear the world asunder, he draws all things together in a unifying vision.

"One cannot help but think dryly that the Church's suppression of Teilhard's ideas during his lifetime was due to fear of such an inspiredly innovative figure perhaps eclipsing in utterance the very Pope. When he was safely dead, they could then extrapolate what they wanted from his thought without having to take account of the august presence of the seer himself.

"The world prefers its mightiest wisdoms to emanate from the unanswering grave. It is the only acceptable way of dissociating the seer from his ideas without being thought an Inquisition. Teilhard's vision of the religious convergence of East and West is one that keeps me, at least, a Christian – so long as it doesn't become a devious Jesuit ploy for Christianity to swallow the East.

"It would be preferable, if at all, the other way around; we need the de-calcifying effect of Eastern religions on some of Christianity's inhuman dogmatic rigidities. Dr Ursula King's lovingly attentive examination of Teilhard's thought is completed by copious notes, a bibliography and index, and is invaluable for anyone who finds the profound works of this visionary opaque to the understanding. As Dr King says: 'Teilhard's is an idea that is yet to have its time. It belongs to the future.'"

The 7th book by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, 'The Appearance of Man' (1966), afforded three chapters on the discovery of Peking Man. Author Lillian Smith noted, "The last section, 'The Singularities of the Human Species', the visionary, grounded firmly on scientific fact, beaming his prophetic mind across a million years into man's future. Time is of the essence of Teilhard's belief that there is purpose in humanity's presence on Earth.

"It is no accident, the birth of man: It arose from the prolonged play of forces of cosmogenesis. Human life came out of and is rooted deep in a purposeful evolutionary process – a process that gives a new dimension to all human thinking, action, and plans for the future. Without a profound grasp of the meaning of time ... Philosophers and dramatists forget that man is still a baby compared to other biological species, he has scarcely begun to talk – it required 300,000 years for him to learn how – and has only got to the ABC's of how to think.

"Man is no longer the center of the universe as he believed before Galileo's time but is rather the arrow shot toward the center of the universe in process of concentration. In every book he wrote, Chardin reminded contemporary man of a few things he must remember. For some billion of years, he tells us, the stuff of the universe has been ceaselessly weaving itself.

"Its last upthrust has been man himself; so recently evolved as a species that it is as though he appeared only a moment ago. The fact that homo sapiens (even homo erectus who used fire and made tools) has just arrived on an earth where other forms of life have been evolving for a billion years is a fact we cannot let ourselves forget. We are infants compared to the primates; hardly born compared to the ants.

"The British astrophysicist, Fred Hoyle, recently (in 1966) warned us that man's average IQ of 100 must rise to 150 if we want to stay alive on this Earth; and he gives us only a century or less to make this leap in intelligence. But we can do it. For as Teilhard reminds us, the Earth is round; and because it is round, we cannot escape each other: We are breathing down each other's necks, embracing and choking each other.

"Some of it is none too pleasant but this inevitable proximity, this increasing convergence, heats minds, raises psychic temperatures; awareness becomes more intense, reflection more complex, knowledge expands outwardly and inwardly. Man shows himself more and more dramatically as not only the one living creature who can think but as the only one who can, under pressure, make great leaps forward in the complexity of his thinking – as he has done during the last 50 years (since 1900), and we will assuredly do to a greater extent, during the next 50 years (to the end of 20th century)."

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