Monday, May 23, 2011

Chardin and Christogenesis


A radius and a tangent to a circle.
The Whirlpool Galaxy (M51). For the sake of simplicity, Teilhard visualizes the universe as a single spiral galaxy, whose nucleus isself-reflective (turned in upon itself) and plays the role of a conscious observer,quantum-mechanically orchestrating the rest of the "galaxy."
The logarithmic spiral of gravitational in-formation. The closer to the in-formational spiral's centre, the steeper the love-energy's turning in upon itself—self-reflection, consciousness, traditionally symbolized by the Ouroboros serpent. After their encounter with the Serpent, Adam and Eve became self-conscious and began to cover their genitals with fig leaves. Thus, theOuroboros (as well as a scorpion, stinging its own head) is a symbol of mankind itself.[14]
The Ouroboros is a symbol of mankind itself. (Allegoria della vita umana, by Guido Cagnacci (1601–63))
Teilhard visualizes the universe as a galaxy-like[15] gravitational flux (a flux of "love-energy"), whose spiral motion has two components—theradial and the tangential. To reflect the ascent to higher quality, Teilhard makes the evolutionary spiral funnel-shaped:
Hence forward we can and must break away from this view which lacks depth. We have no longer the crawling 'sine curve', but the spiral which springs upward as it turns.
—Chardin, Pierre Teilhard de, The Phenomenon of Man
In accordance with the minimum total potential energy principle, the "spiral galaxy" converts its particles' gravitational potential energy into theirkinetic energy and their gravitational binding energy. The product of the kinetic and binding energies is maximal at the gravitational centre of the "galaxy."
Thus, the narrow top of the funnel-shaped spiral is the point of the minimum gravitational potential energy (the point of the "Great Stability") and, simultaneously, the point of the maximum organized complexity—the seemingly paradoxical and fragile synthesis of the particles' kinetic energy (temperature, disorganized complexity) and their gravitational binding energy (organizedness):
In Omega we have in the first place the principle we needed to explain both the persistent march of things towards greater consciousness, and the paradoxical solidity of what is most fragile. Contrary to the appearances still admitted by physics, the Great Stability is not at the bottom in the infra-elementary sphere, but at the top in the ultra-synthetic sphere. It is thus entirely by its tangential envelope that the world goes on dissipating itself in a chance way into matter. By its radial nucleus it finds its shape and its natural consistency in gravitating against the tide of probability towards a divine focus of mind which draws it onward. Thus something in the cosmos escapes from entropy, and does so more and more.
—Chardin, Pierre Teilhard de, The Phenomenon of Man
Self-reflection (consciousness) is, literally, the turning in of a flux of love-energy upon itself:
reflection (Anatomy) the bending back of a structure or part upon itself.
Reflection Collins English Dictionary
From our experimental point of view, reflection is, as the word indicates, the power acquired by a consciousness to turn in upon itself, to take possession of itself as of an object endowed with its own particular consistence and value: no longer merely to know oneself; no longer merely to know, but to know that one knows. <...>
And we are happy to admit that the birth of intelligence corresponds to a turning in upon itself, not only of the nervous system, but of the whole being.
—Chardin, Pierre Teilhard de, The Phenomenon of Man
The closer to the evolutionary spiral's centre, the steeper the curve's turning in upon itself (i.e., the higher the love-energy flux's self-reflection, consciousness).
Being the centre of the cosmic spiral flux of love-energy, mankind orchestrates the universe, functioning as a collective Christ:
One might say that, by virtue of human reflection (both individual and collective), evolution, overflowing the physico-chemical organisation of bodies, turns back upon itself and thereby reinforces itself (see note following) with a new organising power vastly concentric to the first—the cognitive organisation of the universe. To think the world (as physics is beginning to realise) is not merely to register it but to confer upon it a form of unity it would otherwise (i.e. without being thought) be without.
—Chardin, Pierre Teilhard de, The Phenomenon of Man
Having reached the limit of its complexity, the collective Christ—mankind—will undergo a demographic collapse; all of mankind's universe-orchestrating power will become concentrated in the single survivor, who will be automatically promoted to the rank of Christ personal:
Are we to foresee man seeking to fulfil himself collectively upon himself, or personally on a greater than himself? Refusal or acceptance of Omega? <...> Universal love would only vivify and detach finally a fraction of the noosphere so as to consummate it—the part which decided to ‘cross the threshold’, to get outside itself into the other. <...>
The death of the materially exhausted planet; the split of the noosphere, divided on the form to be given to its unity; and simultaneously (endowing the event with all its significance and with all its value) the liberation of that percentage of the universe which, across time, space and evil, will have succeeded in laboriously synthesising itself to the very end. Not an indefinite progress, which is an hypothesis contradicted by the convergent nature of noogenesis, but an ecstasy transcending the dimensions and the framework of the visible universe. <...>
However convergent it be, evolution cannot attain to fulfilment on earth except through a point of dissociation. With this we are introduced to a fantastic and inevitable event which now begins to take shape in our perspective, the event which comes nearer with every day that passes: the end of all life on our globe, the death of the planet, the ultimate phase of the phenomenon of man. <...>
The end of the world: the wholesale internal introversion upon itself of the noosphere, which has simultaneously reached the uttermost limit of its complexity and its centrality.
The end of the world: the overthrow of equilibrium, detaching the mind, fulfilled at last, from its material matrix, so that it will henceforth rest with all its weight on God-Omega.
—Chardin, Pierre Teilhard de, The Phenomenon of Man
An orchestra with multiple conductors cannot produce anything but an incoherent cacophony. When the number of the conductors becomes reduced to a single man, the orchestra shifts from cacophony to symphony, turning into the conductor's "extended body." Analogously, when the universe is quantum-mechanically orchestrated by billions of human observers, it is incoherent (objective)—every part exists by itself, obeying the principle of localityHaving become orchestrated by a single human observer (Christ personal), the universe will shed its incoherence (objectivity) and turn into the observer's "cosmic body":
Christ has a cosmic body that extends throughout the universe.
—Chardin, Pierre Teilhard de ♦ Cosmic Life 1916
Through the incarnation, God descended into nature in order to super-animate and take it back to him.
—Chardin, Pierre Teilhard de ♦ Mysticism of Science 1939

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