A Plausible Biological Interpretation
                        of Human History


                   Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

                          from the book

                        THE FUTURE OF MAN
                 New York, Harper and Row, 1969
                         (out of print)

                  This book was first published
                         under the title
                       L'Avenir de l'Homme
                        Editions du Seuil

Chapter 10

     Gradually, but by an irresistible process (since and through
the work of Auguste Comte, Cournot, Durkheim, Levy-Bruhl and many
others)  the  organic  is  tending  to  supersede  the  juridical
approach in  the concepts  and formulations  of sociologists.   A
sense  of   collectivity,  arising   in  our  minds  out  of  the
evolutionary sense,  has imposed  a  framework  of  entirely  new
dimensions upon  all our  thinking;   so that Mankind has come to
present itself  to our  gaze, less  and less  as a  haphazard and
extrinsic association  of  individuals,  and  increasingly  as  a
biological entity  wherein, in some sort, the proceedings and the
necessities of the universe in movement are furthered and achieve
their culmination.  We feel that the relation between Society and
Social organism  is no  longer a matter of symbolism, but must be
treated in  realistic terms.   But the question then arises as to
how, in  this shifting of values, this passage from the juridical
to the  organic, we  may correctly apply the analogy.  How are we
to  escape  from  metaphor  without  falling  into  the  trap  of
establishing absurd  and over-simplified  parallels  which  would
make of  the human  species no  more than  a kind  of  composite,
living animal?   This  is the  difficulty which  modern sociology

     It is  with the  idea and in the hope of advancing towards a
solution of  the problem, that I here venture, basing my argument
on the  widest possible zoological and biological grounds, to put
forward a  coherent view  of the  'thinking Earth,'  in  which  I
believe  we   may  find,   undistorted  but   yet  embodying  the
corrections required  by a  change of order, the whole process of
Life and of vitalization.

     To  the  natural  scientist,  Mankind  offers  a  profoundly
enigmatic object  of study.  Anatomically, as Linnaeus perceived,
Man differs  so little  from the  other higher  primates that, in
strict terms  of the  criteria  normally  applied  in  zoological
classification, his  group represents  no more  than a very small
offshoot, certainly  far less than an Order, within the framework
of the  category as  a whole.   But in 'biospherical' terms, if I
may be  allowed the  word, man's  place  on  earth  is  not  only
predominant but,  to a  certain extent,  exclusive  among  living
creatures.   The small  family of  hominids, the  last  shoot  to
emerge from  the main stem of Evolution, has, of itself, achieved
a degree of expansion equal to, or even greater than, that of the
greatest  vertebrate   layers  (reptile   or  mammal)  that  ever
inhabited the  earth.   Moreover, at the rate it is going, we can
already  foresee   the  day   when  it  will  have  abolished  or
domesticated all other forms of animal and even plant life.

     What does this mean?

     I  believe   that  the   paradox  will   disappear  and  the
contradictions will be reconciled (with the immediate prospect of
a vast  field of progress for the new sociology), if we adopt the
following premises:

     (a) We  must first  give their  place, in  the mechanism  of
biological evolution,  to the  special  forces  released  by  the
psychic phenomenon of hominization;

     (b) Secondly  we must  enlarge our approach to encompass the
formation, taking  place before  our eyes and arising out of this
factor of hominization, of a particular biological entity such as
has never  before existed  on earth   --  the growth, outside and
above the biosphere [2], of an added planetary layer, an envelope
of thinking  substance to  which, for the sake of convenience and
symmetry, I have given the name of Noosphere [3].

     Let us  pursue the matter by successively examining (without
at any time leaving the plane of scientific thought):

     1.   the birth  (or, what  amounts to  the same  thing,  the
          zoological structure);
     2.   the anatomy;
     3.   the physiology;
     4.   finally, the principal phases of growth

of the Noosphere.

       1. Birth and Zoological Structure of the Noosphere

     I have referred to the almost contradictory aspect which the
section 'homo'  in the  order of  primates assumes in the eyes of
natural scientists:   that  of a single family suddenly emerging,
at the  end of  the Tertiary  era, to achieve the dimensions of a
zoological layer in itself.

     If we  are to  appreciate this  strange phenomenon,  we must
look back  over the normal development of living forms before the
coming of  man.   It can be characterized in two words:  from its
first  beginnings,   it  never   ceased  to   be  'phyletic'  and
'dispersive.'   Phyletic, in  the first place:  every species (or
group of  species) formed  a sort  of shoot (or phylum) which was
obliged to evolve 'orthogenetically' [4] along certain prescribed
lines (reduction  or adaptation  of limbs, complication of teeth,
increased specialization  as carnivores  or herbivores,  runners,
burrowers, swimmers,  flyers, etc.);   and  secondly, dispersive,
since  the   different  phyla  separated  at  certain  points  of
proliferation, certain 'knots' which we may suppose to be periods
of particularly  active mutation  [5].   Until the coming of man,
the pattern  of the  Tree of  Life was  always that  of a  fan, a
spread of  morphological radiations diverging more and more, each
radiation culminating  in a new 'knot' and breaking into a fan of
its own.

     But, at  the human level, a radical change, seemingly due to
the spiritual  phenomenon of  Reflection, overtook  this  law  of
development.   It is  generally accepted that, what distinguished
man psychologically  from other  living creatures,  is the power,
acquired by  his consciousness,  of turning  in upon itself.  The
animal knows,  it has  been said;   but  only man, among animals,
knows that  he knows.   This faculty has given birth to a host of
new attributes  in men   --   freedom  of choice,  foresight, the
ability to  plan and  to construct,  and many others.  So much is
clear to  everyone.   But what  has perhaps not been sufficiently
noted is  that, still  by virtue  of this  power  of  Reflection,
living hominized  elements become  capable (indeed  are under  an
irresistible compulsion)  of drawing  close to  one  another,  of
communicating, finally of uniting.  The centers of consciousness,
acquiring autonomy  as they emerge into the sphere of reflection,
tend to  escape from  their own  phylum, which  granulates into a
line of  individuals.   Instead, they  pass tangentially  into  a
field of  attraction which  forces one  towards another, fiber to
fiber, phylum  to phylum:  with the result that the entire system
of zoological  radiations which,  in the  ordinary course,  would
have culminated  in a  knot and  a fanning  out of  new divergent
lines, now  tends to  fold in  upon itself.   In  time, with  the
reflexion  of   the  individual  upon  himself,  there  comes  an
inflection, then a clustering together of the living shoots, soon
to be  followed (because  of the  biological advantage  which the
group gains  by its greater cohesion) by the spread of the living
complex thus  constituted over  the whole  surface of  the globe.
The critical  point of  reflexion for the biological unit becomes
the critical  point of  'inflexion' for  the phyla, which in turn
becomes the  point of 'circumflexion' (if I may use the word) for
the whole  sheaf of inward-folding phyla.  Or, if you prefer, the
reflective coiling  of the  individual upon  himself leads to the
coiling of  the phyla upon each other, which in turn leads to the
coiling of  the whole  system about  the closed  convexity of the
celestial body  which carries  us.  Or, we may talk, in yet other
terms,  of   psychic  centration,   phyletic  intertwining,   and
planetary envelopment:   three genetically associated occurrences
which, taken together, give birth to the Noosphere.

     Viewed in this aspect, entirely borne out by experience, the
collective  human   organism,  which  the  economists  so  hazily
envisage, emerges  decisively from  the mists  of speculation  to
take its  place and  assume the  brilliance of  a clearly defined
star of  the first  magnitude in  the zoological sky.  Until this
point  was   reached,  Nature,   in  her  generalized  effort  of
'complexification,' to which I shall return later, had failed for
lack of  suitable material to achieve any grouping of individuals
outside the family structure (the termite nest, the ant-hill, the
hive).   With man,  thanks  to  the  extraordinary  agglutinative
property of  thought, she  has at  last  been  able  to  achieve,
throughout an entire living group, a total synthesis of which the
process is  still clearly apparent, if we trouble to look, in the
'scaled' structure  of the  modern human world.  Anthropologists,
sociologists, and  historians have long noted, without being very
well able  to account  for it,  the enveloping  and concretionary
nature of  the  innumerable  ethnic  and  cultural  layers  whose
growth, expansion,  and rhythmic  overlapping endow humanity with
its present  aspect of  extreme variety in unity.  This 'bulbary'
appearance  becomes   instantly  and   luminously  clear  if,  as
suggested above,  we regard the human group, in zoological terms,
as simply  a normal  sheaf  of  phyla  in  which,  owing  to  the
emergence of  a powerful  field of  attraction,  the  fundamental
divergent tendency  of the evolutionary radiations is overcome by
a stronger  force inducing  them to  converge.   In  present  day
mankind, within  (as I  call it)  the Noosphere,  we are  for the
first  time   able  to  contemplate,  at  the  very  top  of  the
evolutionary tree, the result that can be produced by a synthesis
not merely of individuals, but of entire zoological shoots.

     Thus,  we   find  ourselves   in  the  presence,  in  actual
possession, of  the super organism we have been seeking, of whose
existence we  were intuitively  aware.   The collective  mankind,
which the  sociologists  needed  for  the  furtherance  of  their
speculations  and   formulations,  now   appears   scientifically
defined, manifesting itself in its proper time and place, like an
object entirely  new and  yet awaited  in the  sky of  life.   It
remains for  us to observe the world by the light it sheds, which
throws into  astonishing relief  the great  ensemble of  everyday
phenomena with  which we  have always  lived, without  perceiving
their reality, their immediacy, or their vastness.

                   2. Anatomy of the Noosphere

     It may  be said,  speaking in  very general  terms, that  in
asserting the  zoological nature of the Noosphere, we confirm the
sociologists' view  of human  institutions as  organic.  Once the
exceptional but fundamentally biological nature of the collective
human complex  is accepted, nothing prevents us (provided we take
into  account  the  modifications  which  have  occurred  in  the
dimensions in  which we  are working)  from treating as authentic
organs, the diverse social organisms which have gradually evolved
in the  course of  the history  of the  human race.   As  soon as
mankind, from  the nature  of its  origin, presents itself to our
experience as a true super-body, the internal connections of this
body,  by   reason  of  homogeneity,  can  only  be  treated  and
understood as  super-organs and super-members.  Thus, for example
(due  allowance   being  made   for  the   change  of  scale  and
environment), it  becomes legitimate  to talk  in the  sphere  of
economics of  the existence and development of a circulatory or a
nutritional system applicable to Mankind as a whole.

     That we  must proceed  slowly and critically in this attempt
to construct  an 'anatomy'  of society  is evident.  Used without
discernment and a profound knowledge of biology, the procedure is
in danger  of lapsing  into puerile and sterile subtleties.  But,
progressively pursued,  and proceeding  from certain major fields
of knowledge,  the method  shows itself  to be  both fruitful and
illuminating.   This is  what I  shall seek to demonstrate in the
three  spheres   of  culture,   machinery,   and   research,   by
successively  'dissecting'   first  the   hereditary,  then   the
mechanical, and finally the cerebral apparatus of the Noosphere.

     (a)  The Apparatus of Heredity

     One of the paradoxes attaching to the human species, a cause
of some bitterness among biologists, is that every man comes into
the world  as defenseless,  and as  incapable of  finding his way
single-handed in  our civilization, as the newborn Sinanthropus a
hundred thousand  years ago.   As  Jean Rostand [6] has remarked,
during the many centuries man has strived to improve himself, the
fruits of his labors have brought about no organic change in him;
they have  not affected  his chromosomes.  So much so, the author
goes on  to imply,  that all  the advances  on which  we so pride
ourselves, remain  biologically precarious,  superficial, or even
exterior to  ourselves.   There is  much that might be said about
this.   But, let us pass over the question of whether we have not
undergone some  modification, even  in our chromosomes, since the
era of  the pre-Hominids, or even that of Cro-Magnon man.  Let us
concede, provisionally,  that we  have  developed  no  hereditary
trait, in  that period,  rendering us  more innately  capable  of
perception and  movement in the new dimensions of society, space,
and time.   How  does this affect our appreciation and evaluation
of human  progress?  I shall show that the answer is splendid and
highly encouraging   --   provided  we do  not lose  sight of the
organic reality of the Noosphere.

     'Separate the  new born  child from  human society,' you may
say, 'and  you will see how weak he is!'  But, surely it is clear
that this  act of  isolation is  precisely what must not be done,
and indeed cannot be done.  From the moment when, as I have said,
the phyletic  strands began to reach towards one another, weaving
the first  outlines of  the Noosphere, a new matrix, co-extensive
with the whole human group, was formed about the newly born human
child   --   a matrix  out of which he cannot be wrenched without
incurring mutilation  in the most physical core of his biological
being.   Traditions of  every kind,  hoarded  and  manifested  in
gesture and  language, in  schools, libraries, museums, bodies of
law and  religion, philosophy  and science   --   everything that
accumulates,  arranges   itself,  recurs,  and  adds  to  itself,
becoming the collective memory of the human race  --  all this we
may see  as no  more than  an  outer  garment,  an  epiphenomenon
precariously superimposed  upon all  the other edifices of Nature
(the only  truly organic  ones, as  it may  appear).   But, it is
precisely this  optical illusion which we have to overcome if our
realism is  to  reach  to  the  heart  of  the  matter.    It  is
undoubtedly true  that, before  Man,  hereditary  characteristics
were transmitted  principally  through  the  reproductive  cells.
But, after  the coming  of man,  another kind  of heredity  shows
itself  and   becomes  predominant;     one   which  was   indeed
foreshadowed and essayed long before man, among the highest forms
of insects  and vertebrates [7].  This is the heredity of example
and education.   In  Man, as  though by a stroke of genius on the
part of Life, and in accord with the grand phenomenon of phyletic
coiling, heredity,  hitherto primarily  chromosomic (that  is  to
say, carried  by the  genes) becomes  primarily 'Noospheric'   --
transmitted, that  is to say, by the surrounding environment.  In
this new  form, and  having lost nothing of its physical reality,
(indeed, as  much superior to its first state as the Noosphere is
superior  to  the  simple,  isolated  phylum),  it  acquires,  by
becoming exterior  to the  individual, an  incomparable substance
and capacity.   For,  let me  put this  question:  What system of
chromosomes would be as capable as our immense educational system
of indefinitely  storing and infallibly preserving the huge array
of truths  and systematized  technical knowledge  which, steadily
accumulating, represents the patrimony of mankind?

     Exteriorization, enrichment:   we  must not  lose  sight  of
these two words.  We shall come upon them again, quite unchanged,
when we turn to consider the machine.

     (b)  The Mechanical Apparatus

     The fact  was noted  long ago  [8]:   what has  enabled  man
zoologically to  emerge and  triumph upon  earth, is  that he has
avoided the  anatomical mechanization  of his body.  In all other
animals we  find a  tendency, irresistible  and clearly apparent,
for the  living creature to convert into tools its own limbs, its
teeth, and  even its face.  We see paws turned into pincers, paws
equipped with  hooves for  running, burrowing  paws and  muzzles,
winged paws, beaks, tusks, and so on  --  innumerable adaptations
giving birth  to as  many phyla, and each ending in a blind alley
of specialization.   On  this dangerous slope, leading to organic
imprisonment, Man alone has pulled up in time.  Having arrived at
the tetrapod  stage, he  contrived to  stay there without further
reducing the  versatility of his limbs.  Possessing hands as well
as intelligence,  and  being  able,  in  consequence,  to  devise
artificial instruments  and multiply  them  indefinitely  without
becoming somatically involved, he has succeeded, while increasing
and  boundlessly   extending  his   mechanical   efficiency,   in
preserving intact his freedom of choice and power of reason.

     The significance  and biological  function of  the tool,  at
last separated  from the  limb, has,  as I  way saying, long been
recognized;   and  it  has  long  been  realized  that  the  tool
separated from  Man develops  a kind  of autonomous vitality [9].
We have  passive machines  giving birth  to the  active  machine,
which in  turn is  followed by  the automatic machine.  Those are
the main  classifications;  but, within each classification, what
an immense proliferation there is of branches and offshoots, each
endowed with  a sort of evolutionary potential, irresistible both
logically and  biologically!   We  have  only  to  think  of  the
automobile and the airplane.

     All this  has been  noted and often said.  But, what has not
yet been  sufficiently taken  into account,  although it explains
everything, is  the extent to which this process of mechanization
is a  collective affair, and the way in which it finally creates,
on  the  periphery  of  the  human  race,  an  organism  that  is
collective in its nature and amplitude.

     Let us consider this.

     With and since the coming of Man, as we have seen, a new law
of Nature  has come  into force   --   that  of convergence.  The
convergence of  the phyla  both ensues  from, and of itself leads
to, the  coming together  of individuals  within  the  peculiarly
'attaching' atmosphere  created by  the phenomenon  of Reflexion.
And, out of this convergence, as I have said, there arises a very
real social  inheritance, produced  by the synthetic recording of
human experience.   But,  if we  look  for  it,  we  may  observe
precisely the  same phenomenon in the case of the machine.  Every
new tool conceived in the course of history, although it may have
been invented  in the  first place  by an individual, has rapidly
become the  instrument of all men, and not merely by being passed
from hand to hand, spreading from one man to his neighbor, but by
being adopted corporatively by all men together.  What started as
an individual  creation has  been immediately  and  automatically
transformed into  a global,  quasi-autonomous possession  of  the
entire mass  of men.   We see this from prehistoric times, and we
see it  with a  vivid clarity  in the  present era  of industrial
explosion.   Consider the  locomotive, the  dynamo, the airplane,
the cinema, the radio  --  anything.  Can there be any doubt that
these innumerable  appliances are born and grow, successively and
in unison,  from roots  established  in  an  existing  mechanical
world-state?   For a  long time  past, there  have  been  neither
isolated inventors  nor machines.  To an increasing extent, every
machine comes  into being  as a  function of every other machine;
and, again  to an  increasing extent,  all the machines on earth,
taken together, tend to form a single, vast, organized mechanism.
Necessarily following  the inflexive  tendency of  the zoological
phyla, the  mechanical phyla  in their  turn curve  inward in the
case of  man, thus  accelerating and multiplying their own growth
and forming  a single  gigantic network  girdling the earth.  And
the basis, the inventive core of this vast apparatus, what is it,
if not the thinking center of the Noosphere?

     When Homo  faber came into being, the first rudimentary tool
was born  as an appendage of the human body.  Today, the tool has
been transformed  into a  mechanized  envelope,  coherent  within
itself and  immensely varied,  appertaining to all mankind.  From
being somatic,  it has  become 'noospheric.'   And,  just as  the
individual at  the outset was enabled by the tool to preserve and
develop his first, elemental psychic potentialities, so today the
Noosphere, disgorging  the machine  from  its  innermost  organic
recesses, is capable of, and in process of, developing a brain of
its own.

     (c)  The Cerebral Apparatus

     Between   the   human   brain,   with   its   milliards   of
interconnected nerve  cells, and the apparatus of social thought,
with its  millions of individuals thinking collectively, there is
an evident  kinship which  biologists of  the stature  of  Julian
Huxley have not hesitated to examine and expand on critical lines
[10].  On the one hand, we have a single brain, formed of nervous
nuclei, and  on the  other, a  Brain of brains.  It is true that,
between these  two organic  complexes, a major difference exists.
Whereas, in  the case  of the  individual brain,  thought emerges
from a  system of non-thinking nervous fibers; in the case of the
collective brain,  each separate  unit is in itself an autonomous
center of  reflection.  If the comparison is to be a just one, we
must, at  every point  of resemblance,  take this difference into
account.   But, when all allowance is made, the fact remains that
the analogies  between the  two systems  are so  numerous, and so
compelling, that  reason forbids  us to  regard the  parallel  as
either purely  superficial, or  a mere  matter of chance.  Let us
take a  rapid glance  at the  structure and  functioning of  what
might be termed the 'cerebroid' organ of the Noosphere.

     First the  structure:   and here  I must  turn back  to  the
machine.   I have  said that,  thanks to  the  machine,  Man  has
contrived both  severally and collectively to prevent the best of
himself  from   being  absorbed   in  purely   physiological  and
functional uses,  as has  happened to  other animals.    But,  in
addition to  its protective  note, how  can we  fail to  see  the
machine as playing a constructive part in the creation of a truly
collective consciousness?   It  is not  merely a  matter  of  the
machine which liberates, relieving both individual and collective
thought of  the trammels  which hinder  its progress, but also of
the  machine   which  creates,   helping  to   assemble,  and  to
concentrate in  the form  of  an  ever  more  deeply  penetrating
organism, all the reflective elements upon earth.

     I am  thinking, of  course,  in  the  first  place,  of  the
extraordinary network  of  radio  and  television  communications
which, perhaps  anticipating the  direct syntonization  of brains
through the mysterious power of telepathy, already link us all in
a sort of 'etherized' universal consciousness.

     But, I  am also  thinking of  the insidious  growth of those
astonishing electronic computers which, pulsating with signals at
the rate  of hundreds of thousands a second, not only relieve our
brains of  tedious and  exhausting work but, because they enhance
the  essential  (and  too  little  noted)  factor  of  'speed  of
thought,' are  also paving the way for a revolution in the sphere
of research.   And, there are other forms of technical equipment,
such as  the electronic  microscope, whereby  our sensory vision,
the principal  source of  our ideas, has been enabled to leap the
optical gap  between the cell and the direct observation of large

     There is a school of philosophy which smiles disdainfully at
these and  kindred forms  of progress.  'Commercial machines,' we
hear them  say, 'machines for people in a hurry, designed to gain
time and  money.'   One is tempted to call them blind, since they
fail to perceive that all these material instruments, ineluctably
linked in  their birth  and development, are finally nothing less
than the  manifestation of  a  particular  kind  of  super-Brain,
capable of  attaining  mastery  over  some  super-sphere  in  the
universe and  in the  realm of  thought.    'Everything  for  the
individual!'   --   such was  the reaffirmation  of my  brilliant
friend, Gaylord  Simpson [11],  in a  recent  outburst  of  anti-
totalitarian fervor.   But,  let us grasp this point clearly.  No
doubt it  is true,  scientifically  speaking,  that  no  distinct
center of superhuman consciousness has yet appeared on earth, (at
least in  the living  world), for  which it  may  be  claimed  or
predicted  that,   one  day,  it  will  exercise  a  centralizing
function, in relation to associated human thought, similar to the
role of the individual 'I' in relation to the cells of the brain.
But, that  is far from saying that, influenced by the links which
unite them, our grouped minds working together are not capable of
achieving results  which no one member of the group could achieve
alone, and  from which  every individual  within  the  collective
process benefits  'integrally,' although  still not  in the total

     We have  only to  consider  any  of  the  new  concepts  and
intuitions which,  particularly during  the  past  century,  have
become or  are in  the process  of  becoming  the  indestructible
keystones and  fabric of  our thought   --  the idea of the atom,
for example,  or of  organic Time  or Evolution.   It  is  surely
obvious that  no man  on earth could alone have evolved them;  no
one man,  thinking by  himself, can encompass, master, or exhaust
them.   Yet, every  man on  earth  shares,  in  himself,  in  the
universal heightening  of consciousness promoted by the existence
in our  minds of  these new concepts of matter and new dimensions
of cosmic  reality.   It is  not a  question of simple repetitive
'summation' but of synthesis;  not, it is true (at least not yet,
here below),  synthesis pushed  to the  point where it calls into
being some  new kind  of autonomous super-center in the depths of
the synthesized;   but  a synthesis  which at  least suffices  to
erect, as  though it  were a  vault above  our heads, a sphere of
mutually  reinforced   consciousness,  the   seat,  support,  and
instrument of super-vision and super-ideas.  No doubt, everything
proceeds from  the individual and, in the first instance, depends
on the  individual;   but, it  is on  a  level  higher  than  the
individual that everything achieves its fulfillment.

     We have  touched upon  the apparatus of heredity, machinery,
and mind.  It would be rash and often absurd to attempt to pursue
further, and  in detail,  the comparison  between the organism of
the individual and that of the Noosphere.  But, the fact that the
general line  of analogy  is valid and fruitful seems to me to be
definitely proved  by the  very remarkable  fact that these three
systems, taken  in conjunction, not only form a complementary and
coherent whole, consistent within itself, but, which is even more
easy of  demonstration, that  this whole  is capable  of breaking
into motion and of working  --  that it functions, in a word.

               3. The Physiology of the Noosphere

     One  of   the  most  impressive  effects  of  the  power  of
collective vision, which is conferred upon us by the formation of
a common  brain, is  the perception of 'great slow movements,' so
vast  and  slow  that  they  are  only  observable  over  immense
stretches of  time.   The currents  that give  birth to  sidereal
systems;   the  folds  and  upthrusts  that  form  mountains  and
continents;   the ebb  and flow within the biosphere  --  in each
case, what  we had  supposed to  be the extreme of immobility and
stability  is  discovered  to  be  a  state  of  fundamental  and
irresistible movement.

     So it is with the Noosphere.

     I have  already attempted  a sort  of anatomy  of the  major
organs of  the Noosphere.   It  remains for me to show that these
separate parts,  planetary in  their dimensions, are not designed
to remain in a state of rest.  The formidable wheels turn, and in
their  combined   action,  hidden  forces  are  engendered  which
circulate throughout the gigantic system.  What goes on around us
in the  human mass is not merely a flurry of disordered movement,
as in  a gas;  something is purposefully stirring, as in a living

     Let us  try to gain some understanding of this vast internal
process, of  which we  are  all  a  part  and  to  which  we  all
contribute, almost without knowing it.

     At the  heart of the entire movement, like the mainspring of
a clock,  there reappears,  in identifiable  form, what  we  have
termed the  inflection of human stems upon themselves.  It was of
this mysteriously  compelled infolding,  as I have said, that the
human race  was born.   I  will now  add that  it is  through the
continued operations  of the same movement that the race persists
and functions.   Indeed,  we have only to open our eyes to be, as
it were,  spellbound by  the dazzling  vision, the  spectacle  of
human shoots  caught in  the combined play of irresistible forces
which, slowly  but surely,  continue to  close and coil about us.
Despite the  havoc of  war, the population on the limited surface
of  this   planet  which   bears  us,  is  increasing  in  almost
geometrical progression;   while,  at the same time, the scope of
each human  molecule, in  terms  of  movement,  information,  and
influence,  is  becoming  rapidly  co-extensive  with  the  whole
surface of  the globe.   A  state of  tightening compression,  in
short;   but, even  more, thanks  to the biological intermingling
developed  to   its  uttermost   extent  by   the  appearance  of
Reflection, a  state of  organized compenetration,  in which each
element is  linked with  every other.   No  one can  deny that  a
network (a world network) of economic and psychic affiliations is
being  woven   at  ever   increasing  speed  which  envelops  and
constantly penetrates  more deeply within each of us.  With every
day that  passes, it  becomes a  little more impossible for us to
act or think otherwise than collectively.

     What is  the significance  of this  multiform embrace,  both
external and internal, against which we struggle in vain?  Can it
mean that,  caught in the ramifications of a sightless mechanism,
we are  destined to  perish by stifling each other?  No.  For, as
the coil  grows tighter  and the  tension rises,  the  forces  of
super-compression in the vast generator find an effective outlet.

     We begin  to catch  sight of  it in  the study of an all too
familiar phenomenon,  disquieting  in  appearance,  but  in  fact
highly  revealing   and  reassuring     --    the  phenomenon  of
unemployment.   Owing to the extraordinarily rapid development of
the machine, a rapidly increasing number of workers, running into
tens of millions, are out of work.  The experts gaze in dismay at
this economic  apparatus, their  own creation,  which, instead of
absorbing all  the units  of human energy with which they furnish
it, rejects  an increasing  number, as  though the  machine  they
devised were  working to  defeat their  purpose.   Economists are
horrified by  the growing  number of idle hands.  Why do they not
look a little more to biology for guidance and enlightenment?  In
its progress  through a  million  centuries,  mounting  from  the
depths  of  the  unconscious  to  consciousness,  when  has  Life
proceeded otherwise  than by releasing psychic forces through the
medium of  the mechanisms  it has  devised?    We  have  only  to
consider the  evolution of  the  nervous  system  in  the  animal
series, proceeding by chronological stages over a great period of
time.   Or, let  the theorists consider themselves.  How are they
capable of  reasoning at  all, if not because, within them, their
visceral system  has been taught to function automatically, while
around them  society is so well organized that they have both the
strength and  the leisure to calculate and reflect?  What is true
for each  individual man  is precisely  what is happening at this
moment on the higher level of mankind.  Like a heavenly body that
heats as  it contracts,  such, and  in a  twofold respect, is the
Noosphere:   first, in intensity, the degree in which its tension
and psychic temperature are heightened by the coming together and
mutual stimulation  of thinking  centers throughout  its  extent;
and also  quantitatively, through  the growing  number of  people
able to  use their brains, because they are free from the need to
labor with  their  hands.    So  that,  to  attempt  to  suppress
unemployment by incorporating the unemployed in the machine would
be against the purpose of Nature and a biological absurdity.  The
Noosphere can  function only by releasing more and more spiritual
energy with an ever higher potential.

     To all this, you may remark as follows:  'Very well;  let us
agree that  the combined  effect  of  phyletic  intertwining  and
mechanical progress causes life to boil over.  But, in that case,
and surely  it is  the root of the matter, how are we to canalize
and use  the rising tide of liberated consciousness that is still
so crude  and unformed?'   My  answer is:   'By transforming it.'
And, at  this point,  having invited  you  to  reflect  upon  the
phenomenon of unemployment, I will draw your attention to another
and no  less universal  phenomenon, equally characteristic of the
present age  --  the phenomenon of research.

     Understanding, discovery,  invention   ....   from the first
awakening of his reflective consciousness, Man has been possessed
by the  demon of discovery;  but, until a very recent epoch, this
profound need  remained latent,  diffused, and unorganized in the
human mass.   In  every past  generation, true  seekers, those by
vocation or  profession, are to be found;  but, in the past, they
were no  more than  a handful of individuals, generally isolated,
and of a type that was virtually abnormal  --  the 'inquisitive.'
Today, without  our having  noticed it, the situation is entirely
changed.   In fields  embracing every  aspect of physical matter,
life, and thought, the research workers are to be numbered in the
hundreds of  thousands, and they no longer work in isolation, but
in teams  endowed with penetrative powers that, it seems, nothing
can withstand.   In  this respect,  too, the movement is becoming
generalized and  is accelerating  to the  point where  we must be
blind not  to see  in it  an essential  trend in  human  affairs.
Research which,  until yesterday, was a luxury pursuit, is in the
process of  becoming a  major, indeed  the principal  function of
humanity.   As to the significance of this great event, I, for my
part, can  see only  one way  to account  for it.  It is that the
enormous surplus of free energy released by the in-folding of the
Noosphere is destined, by a natural evolutionary process, to flow
into the  construction and  functioning of what I have called its
'Brain.'   As in  the case of all the organisms preceding it, but
on  an   immense  scale,   humanity  is   in   the   process   of
'cerebralizing' itself.   And  our proper  biological course,  in
making use  of what we call our leisure, is to devote it to a new
kind of work on a higher plane:  that is to say, to a general and
concerted effort  of vision.   The  Noosphere,  in  short,  is  a
stupendous thinking machine.

     It is  in this  sense alone,  as I believe, that the horizon
appears and  we  can  gain  a  clear  view  of  the  human  world
surrounding us.   In  harmony with the cosmic impulse which leads
to the constant disintegration of atoms and the attendant release
of energy, Life (though probably localized on a few rare planets)
compels us  increasingly to  view it as an underlying current, in
the flow  of which matter tends to order itself upon itself, with
the emergence  of consciousness.    On  the  one  hand,  we  have
physical radiation  bound up  with disintegration;   and,  on the
other  hand,   psychic  radiation   bound  up   with  an  ordered
aggregation of  the stuff  of the  universe.    In  the  eyes  of
nineteenth century  science, the  interiorization of  the  world,
leading to  the phenomenon of Reflection, might still pass for an
accident and  an anomaly.   We now see it to be a clearly defined
process, coextensive with the whole of reality.  Complexification
due to  the growth of consciousness, or consciousness the outcome
of complexity:   experimentally,  the two  terms are inseparable.
Like a pair of related quantities, they vary simultaneously.  And
surely, it  is within  this generalized  cosmic process  that the
Noosphere, a  particular and  extreme case, has its natural place
and takes its shape:  the maximum of complication, represented by
phyletic  in-folding,   and  in   consequence  the   maximum   of
consciousness, emerging  from the  system of  individual  brains,
coordinated and  mutually supporting.   And, this is exactly what
was to be expected.

     But, it  is assuredly  a  remarkable  coincidence  that,  in
justifying the  organic interpretation  of the Phenomenon of Man,
as we  have sought  to do, we should also be paving the way for a
reasonable forecast  as to our future destiny, and the fate which
is reserved for us at the end of Time.

            4. The Phases and Future of the Noosphere

     We have found it possible to express the social totalization
which we  are undergoing  in  terms  of  a  clearly  identifiable
biological process.   Proceeding  from this,  we may  surely look
into the  future and  predict the course of the trajectory we are
describing.   Once we  have accepted  that  the  formation  of  a
collective human  organism, a  Noosphere, conforms to the general
law  of   recurrence,  which   leads  to   the   heightening   of
Consciousness in the universe as a function of complexity, a vast
prospect opens  before us.   To  what regions  and  through  what
phases may  we suppose  that the extension of the rising curve of
hominization will carry us?

     Immediately confronting  us (indeed, already in progress) we
have what may be called a 'phase of planetization.'

     It can  truly be  said,  no  doubt,  that  the  human  group
succeeded long  ago in  covering the  face of the earth and that,
over a  long period,  its state of zoological ubiquity has tended
to be  transformed into  an organized aggregate.  But, it must be
clear that  the transformation  is only now reaching its point of
full maturity.   Let  us glance over the main stages of this long
history of  aggregation.   First, in  the depths  of the past, we
find a  thin scattering  of hunting  groups spread here and there
throughout the  Ancient World.   At  a later  stage, some fifteen
thousand years  ago, we  see a  second scattering, very much more
dense and clearly defined:  that of agricultural groups installed
in fertile valleys  --  centers of social life where man, arrived
at a state of stability, achieved the expansive powers which were
to enable him to invade the New World.  Then, only seven or eight
thousand years  ago, there  came the  first  civilizations,  each
covering a  large part  of a  continent.  These were succeeded by
the real  empires.   And so  on ...  patches of  humanity growing
steadily  larger,   overlapping,  often  absorbing  one  another,
thereafter to  break apart  and  again  reform  in  still  larger
patches.   As we  view this process -- the spreading, thickening,
and irresistible  coalescence --  can we  fail  to  perceive  its
eventual outcome?   The  last blank spaces have vanished from the
map of  mankind.   There is  contact everywhere, and how close it
has become!   Today, embedded in the economic and psychic network
which I  have described,  two great  human  blocks  alone  remain
confronting one  another.   Is it not inevitable that, in one way
or another,  these two  will eventually  coalesce?  Preceded by a
tremor, a wave of 'shared impulse' extending to the very depth of
the social  and  ethnic  masses,  in  their  need  and  claim  to
participate, without distinction of class or color, in the onward
march  of  human  affairs,  the  final  act  is  already  visibly
preparing.   Although the  form is  not yet  discernible, mankind
tomorrow will awaken to a 'pan-organized' world.

     But, and  we must  make no mistake about this, there will be
an essential  difference, a  difference  of  order,  between  the
unitary state towards which we are moving, and everything we have
hitherto known.   The  greatest empires  in  history  have  never
covered more  than fragments  of the  earth.   What will  be  the
specifically new  manifestations which we have to look for in the
transition to  totality?   Until now,  we have  never  seen  mind
manifest itself on this planet, except in separated groups and in
the static  state.   What sort of current will be generated, what
unknown territory will be opened up, when the circuit is suddenly

     I believe  that what  is now  being shaped  in the  bosom of
planetized humanity,  is essentially  a rebounding  of  evolution
upon itself.  We all know about the real or imaginary projectiles
whose thrust  is renewed  by the  firing of  a series  of  staged
rockets.   Some such  procedure, it  seems to me, is what Life is
preparing at  this moment,  to accomplish  the supreme,  ultimate
leap.  The first stage was the elaboration of lower organisms, up
to and  including Man,  by the  use and irrational combination of
elementary sources  of energy received or released by the planet.
The second  stage is the super-evolution of man, individually and
collectively,  by   the  use   of   refined   forms   of   energy
scientifically  harnessed   and  applied  in  the  bosom  of  the
Noosphere, thanks  to the  coordinated efforts of all men working
reflectively and  unanimously  upon  themselves.    Who  can  say
whither,  coiled   back  upon  our  own  organism,  our  combined
knowledge of  the atom, of hormones, of the cell, and the laws of
heredity will  take us?  Who can say what forces may be released,
what radiations,  what new  arrangements never hitherto attempted
by Nature,  what formidable  powers we  may henceforth be able to
use, for  the first  time in  the history  of the world?  This is
Life setting  out upon a second adventure from the springboard it
established when it created humankind.

     But all  this is  no more  than  the  outward  face  of  the
phenomenon.   In becoming  planetized, humanity  is acquiring new
physical powers  which will  enable it  to super-organize matter.
And, even  more important, is it not possible that, by the direct
converging of  its  members,  it  will  be  able,  as  though  by
resonance, to  release psychic  powers whose  existence is  still
unsuspected?   I have  already spoken  of the recent emergence of
certain new faculties in our minds, the sense of genetic duration
and  the  sense  of  collectivity.    Inevitably,  as  a  natural
consequence, this awakening must enhance in us, from all sides, a
generalized sense  of  the  organic,  through  which  the  entire
complex of  inter-human and  inter-cosmic relations  will  become
charged with an immediacy, an intimacy, and a realism such as has
long  been   dreamed  of   and  apprehended  by  certain  spirits
particularly endowed with the 'sense of the universal,' but which
has never yet been collectively applied.  And it is in the depths
and by  grace  of  this  new  inward  sphere,  the  attribute  of
planetized Life,  that an event seems possible which has hitherto
been incapable of realization:  I mean the pervasion of the human
mass by  the power  of sympathy.   It  may, in  part, be  passive
sympathy, a  communication of  mind and spirit that will make the
phenomenon of  telepathy,  still  sporadic  and  haphazard,  both
general and normal.  But, above all, it will be a state of active
sympathy, in  which each  separate human element, breaking out of
its insulated  state under  the  impulse  of  the  high  tensions
generated  in   the  Noosphere,  will  emerge  into  a  field  of
prodigious affinities, which we may already conjecture in theory.
For, if the power of attraction between simple atoms is so great,
what may  we not  expect if  similar bonds are contracted between
human molecules?   Humanity,  as I  have said,  is  building  its
composite brain  beneath our  eyes.  May it not be that tomorrow,
through the  logical and  biological deepening  of  the  movement
drawing it  together, it  will find  its heart, without which the
ultimate wholeness  of its  powers of  unification can  never  be
fully achieved?    To  put  it  in  other  words,  must  not  the
constructive developments  now taking place within the Noosphere,
in the  realm of  sight and reason, necessarily also penetrate to
the sphere  of feeling?   The  idea may  seem fantastic  when one
looks at  our present  world, still  dominated by  the forces  of
hatred and  repulsion.  But, is not this simply because we refuse
to heed the admonitions of science, which is daily proving to us,
in every field, that seemingly impossible changes become easy and
even inevitable, as soon as there is a change in the order of the

     To me, two things, at least, now seem certain.  The first is
that, following  the state  of collective  organization  we  have
already achieved,  the process  of planetization can only advance
ever further  in the  direction of  growing unanimity.   And, the
second is  that this  growth of  unanimity, being  of its  nature
convergent, cannot  continue indefinitely  without  reaching  the
natural limit  of its  course.   Every cone  has an apex.  In the
case of  this human  aggregation,  how  shall  we  seek,  not  to
imagine, but  to define  the supreme  point of  coalescence?   In
terms of  the strictly  phenomenal viewpoint which I have adopted
throughout this  paper, it  seems to me that the following may be

     What, at  the very  beginning, made the first man was, as we
know, the  heightening of  the individual  consciousness  to  the
point where  it acquired  the power  of  Reflection.    And,  the
measure of human progress during the centuries which followed is,
as I  have sought  to show, the increase of this reflective power
through the  interaction, or  conjugated  thought,  of  conscious
minds working  upon one  another.   Well, what will finally crown
and limit  collective humanity  at  the  ultimate  stage  of  its
evolution,  is   and  must   be,  by  reason  of  continuity  and
homogeneity, the  establishment of  a focal point at the heart of
the reflective apparatus as a whole.

     If we  concede this, the whole of human history appears as a
progress between  two critical  points:  from the lowest point of
elementary consciousness,  to the  ultimate noospherical point of
Reflection.   In biological  terms, humanity  will have completed
itself and  fully achieved  its internal equilibrium only when it
is psychically  centered upon  itself (which may yet take several
million years).

     In a  final effort  of thought,  let us  remove ourselves to
that ultimate  summit where,  in the remote future, but seen from
the present, the tide which bears us reaches its culmination.  Is
there anything  further to  be discerned  beyond that  last  peak
etched against the horizon?  Yes and no.

     In the  first place,  no, because,  at that  mysterious pole
crowning our  ascent, the  compass that  has guided us runs amok.
It was  by the  law of 'consciousness and complexity' that we set
our  course:    a  consciousness  becoming  ever  more  centered,
emerging from  the heart  of an  increasingly vast system of more
numerous and  better organized  elements.   But, now we are faced
with an  entirely new  situation:  for the first time, we have no
multiple material  under our  hands.  Unless, as seems infinitely
improbable, we  are  destined  by  contact  with  other  thinking
planets, across the abysses of space and time, some day to become
integrated within  an organized  complex composed  of a number of
Noospheres, humanity, having reached maturity, will remain alone,
face to  face with  itself.   And, at  the same  time, our law of
recurrence, based  on the  play of  interrelated syntheses,  will
have ceased to operate.

     So, in  one sense,  it all  seems to  be over;   as  though,
having reached  its final  point  of  Noospheric  Reflexion,  the
cosmic  impulse   towards  consciousness  has  become  exhausted,
condemned  to   sink  back   into  the  state  of  disintegration
implacably imposed on it by the laws of stellar physics.  But, in
another sense, nothing will be ended.  For, at this point, and at
the height  of its powers, something else comes into operation, a
primary attribute of Reflection concerning which we have hitherto
said nothing   --   the  will to  survive.   In  reflecting  upon
itself, the  individual  consciousness  acquires  the  formidable
property of  foreseeing the  future, that is to say, death.  And,
at the  same time, it knows that it is psychologically impossible
for it  to continue  to work in pursuance of the purposes of Life
unless something,  the best  of the work, is preserved from total
destruction.   In this  resides the  whole problem of action.  We
have not  yet taken  sufficient account  of the  fact  that  this
demand for  the Absolute,  not always  easily discernible  in the
isolated human  unit, is  one of  the impulses which grow and are
intensified in  the Noosphere.   Applied  to the  individual, the
idea of  total extinction  may not,  at first  sight, appall  us;
but, extended  to humanity as a whole, it revolts and sickens us.
The fact  is  that,  the  more  Humanity  becomes  aware  of  its
duration, its number, and its potentialities  --  and also of the
enormous burden  it must  bear in  order to survive  --  the more
does it  realize that,  if all  this labor  is to end in nothing,
then we  have been  cheated and  can only rebel.  In a planetized
Humanity, the  insistence upon irreversibility becomes a specific
requisite of  action;   and it can only grow and continue to grow
as Life  reveals itself  as being ever more rich, an ever heavier
load.   So that,  paradoxically, it  is at that ultimate point of
centration which  renders it  cosmically unique,  that is to say,
apparently incapable of any further synthesis, that the Noosphere
will have  become charged  to the  fullest  extent  with  psychic
energies to impel it forward in yet another advance ....

     And, what  can this  mean, except that, like those planetary
orbits which  seem to traverse our solar system without remaining
within it,  the curve  of consciousness,  pursuing its  course of
growing complexity,  will break through the material framework of
Time and  Space to  escape somewhere  towards an  ultra-center of
unification  and   consistence,  where   there  will  finally  be
assembled, and  in detail,  everything that  is irreplaceable and
incommunicable in the world.

     And, it  is  here,  an  inevitable  intrusion  in  terms  of
biology, and  in its  proper place  in terms  of science, that we
come to the problem of God.

                Conclusion:  The Rise of Freedom

     Let us  turn to  cast an  eye over  the road  that  we  have

     At the  beginning, we  seemed to see around us nothing but a
disconnected and  disordered humanity:   the  crowd, the mass, in
which, it  may be,  we saw  only brutality  and ugliness.  I have
tried,  fortified  by  the  most  generally  accepted  and  solid
conclusions of  science, to  take the  reader above this scene of
turmoil;   and, as  we have  risen higher,  so has  the  prospect
acquired a  more ordered  shape.   Like the  petals of a gigantic
lotus at  the end  of the  day, we  have  seen  human  petals  of
planetary dimensions  slowly closing in upon themselves.  And, at
the heart  of this  huge calyx,  beneath the  pressure of its in-
folding, a  center of  power has  been revealed,  where spiritual
energy, gradually released by a vast totalitarian mechanism, then
concentrated by  heredity within  a  sort  of  super-brain,  has,
little by  little, been  transformed into a common vision growing
ever more  intense.    In  this  spectacle  of  tranquillity  and
intensity, where the anomalies of detail, so disconcerting on our
individual scale,  vanish to  give place  to a  vast, serene, and
irresistible movement from the heart, everything is contained and
everything harmonized  in accord  with the  rest of the universe.
Life and  consciousness are no longer chance anomalies in Nature;
rather, we find in biology a complement to the physics of matter.
On the  one hand,  I repeat,  the stuff  of the  world dispersing
through the radiation of its elemental energy;  and, on the other
hand, the  same stuff  re-converging  through  the  radiation  of
thought.   The fantastic  at either end:  but, surely, the one is
necessary to balance the other?  Thus, harmony is achieved in the
ultimate perspective  and, furthermore, a program for the future:
for, if  this view is accepted, we see a splendid goal before us,
and a  clear line  of progress.  Coherence and fecundity, the two
criteria of truth.

     Is this all illusion, or is it reality?

     It is for the reader to decide.  But, to those who hesitate,
or who  refuse to  commit themselves,  I would  say:   'Have  you
anything else,  anything better  to suggest,  that  will  account
scientifically for  the phenomenon  of man considered as a whole,
in the light of his past development and present progress?'

     You may reply to me that this is all very well, but is there
not something lacking, an essential element, in this system which
I claim  to be  so coherent?   Within  that grandiose machine-in-
motion which  I visualize,  what becomes  of  that  pearl  beyond
price, our personal being?  What remains of our freedom of choice
and action?

     But, do  you not  see  that,  from  the  standpoint  I  have
adopted, it appears everywhere  --  and is everywhere heightened?

     I know  very well  that, by  a kind  of innate obsession, we
cannot rid  ourselves of  the idea that we become most masters of
ourselves by being as isolated as possible.  But, is not this the
reverse of the truth?  We must not forget that, in each of us, by
our very  nature, everything  is in an elemental state, including
our freedom  of action.   We   can only achieve a wider degree of
freedom by  joining and associating with others in an appropriate
way.   This is,  to be sure, a dangerous operation since, whether
it be  a case of disorderly intermingling, or of some simple form
of coordination,  like the meshing of gear wheels, our activities
tend to cancel one another out, or to become mechanical.  We find
this only too often in practice.  Yet, it is also salutary, since
the approach  of spirit  to spirit  in a common vision, or shared
passion, undoubtedly  enriches all:   in  the case of a team, for
example, or  of two  lovers.   Achieved with sympathy, union does
not restrict,  but exalts the possibilities of our being.  We see
this everywhere and every day, on a limited scale.  Why should it
not be  worth correspondingly  more on  a vast  and all embracing
scale, if the law applies to the very structure of things?  It is
simply a  question of tension within the field that polarizes and
attracts.   In the  case of  a blind aggregation, of some form of
purely mechanical  arrangement, the effect of large numbers is to
materialize our  activities.   That is  true.  But, where it is a
matter of  unanimity realized  from  within,  the  effect  is  to
personalize them  and, I  will add,  to make  them unerring.    A
single freedom, taken in isolation, is weak and uncertain and may
easily lose  itself in mere groping.  But, a totality of freedom,
freely operating, will always end by finding its road.  And this,
incidentally, is  why, throughout  this paper, without seeking to
minimize the uncertainties inherent in Man's freedom of choice in
relation to  the world,  I have  been able implicitly to maintain
that we are moving, both freely and ineluctably, in the direction
of concentration  by way of planetization.  One might put it that
determinism appears  at either  end  of  the  process  of  cosmic
evolution, but  in antithetically  opposed forms:   at  the lower
end, it is forced along the line of the most probable for lack of
freedom;   at the  upper end, it is an ascent into the improbable
through the triumph of freedom.

     We may  be reassured.  The vast industrial and social system
by which  we are enveloped does not threaten to crush us, neither
does it seek to rob us of our soul.  The energy emanating from it
is free, not only in the sense that it represents forces that can
be used;  it is moreover free because, in the whole, no less than
in the  least of  its elements, it arises in a state that is ever
more spiritualized.   A  thinker such as Cournot [12] might still
be able  to suppose  that the  socialized group  degrades  itself
biologically in terms of the individuals which comprise it.  Only
by reaching to the heart of the Noosphere (we see it more clearly
today) can  we hope,  and indeed  be sure  of finding,  all of us
together and each of us separately, the fullness of our humanity.


[1]   Note in  the Revue  des Questions  Scientifique [see below]
where   this    essay   originally    appeared:       'To   avoid
misunderstanding, it  may be  well to  point out that the general
synthesis outlined in these pages makes no claim to replace or to
exclude  the   theological  account   of  human   destiny.    The
description of  the Noosphere  and its attendant biology, as here
propounded, is  no more  opposed to  the Divine Transcendence, to
Grace, to  the Incarnation,  or to the Ultimate Parousia, than is
the science  of paleontology to the Creation, or of embryology to
the First  Cause.   The reverse  is true.   To  those prepared to
follow the  author in  his thinking,  it will  be  apparent  that
biology merges  into theology, and that the Word made Flesh is to
be regarded not as a postulate of science  --  which would be, in
the nature  of things, absurd  --  but as something, a mysterious
Alpha and  Omega, taking  its place  within the whole plan of the
universe, both human and divine.' Pierre Charles, S.J.

[2]   This term,  invented by  Suess,  is  sometimes  interpreted
(Wladimir Vernadsky)  in  the  sense  of  the  'terrestrial  zone
containing life.'   I  use it  here to  mean the  actual layer of
vitalized substance enveloping the earth.

[3]   From noos,  mind:    the  terrestrial  sphere  of  thinking

[4]   The word  'orthogenesis' is  here used in its widest sense:
'A definite  orientation offsetting  the effect  of chance in the
play of heredity.'

[5]   Dr. A. Blanc has recently given the name of 'lysis' to this
phenomenon of the releasing of morphological forces.

[6]  Pensees d'un biologiste, pp. 32-35

[7]   A small  cynocephalus (baboon),  born  in  captivity,  will
commit  all   kinds  of  blunders  when  set  free  (heredity  of
education).  But, in similar conditions, a young otter, being put
in the  water, will  at once  know  how  to  behave  (chromosomic
heredity).  Cf. Eugene N. Marais, The Soul of the White Ant.

[8]   e.g., Edouard  Le Roy, Les Origines humaines et le Probleme
de l'Intelligence.

[9]   e.g., Jacques  Lafitte, Reflexions  sur la  Science  de  la
Machine.  La Nouvelle Journee, No. 21, 1932.

[10] Lecture  delivered  in  New  York    and  published  in  the
Scientific Monthly, 1940.

[11] George  Gaylord Simpson,  The  Role  of  the  Individual  in
Evolution, Journal  of the  Washington Academy  of Sciences, vol.
31, no. 1, 1941.

[12] Cournot,  A.-A.   Considerations sur  la Marche des idees et
des Evenements  dan les Temps modernes.  (Reedition Mentre.  Vol.
II, p. 178).

Revue des Questions Scientifique, (Louvain), January, 1947.
pp. 7-35.

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Pierre Teilhard de Chardin