Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Precocious Jesuit

In the 1930s a precocious Jesuit scholar Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, in his The Phenomenon of Man, imagined and predicted the very world I believe we are now rapidly approaching -- the point in human evolution he called "the Omega Point." Teilhard's basic premise is that evolution is all about the development and perfection of the nervous system toward maximum consciousness, as creation on earth moved from simple one-celled organisms to the stunning complexity of the human body. The Omega Point, the end-point of this evolution of consciousness, was foreshadowed in the nineteenth century by the invention of telegraph and radio -- just when our need for information exceeded our internal capacity to extend our sensory collectors. We simply had to reach out. In terms of the human nervous system and its insatiable need to collect and process exterior information, these inventions allowed us for the first time effectively to communicate through time and space -- dramatically externalizing the internal nervous system. Years before its actual appearance, Teilhard predicted television, by which images as well as sounds and writing could be shared through space and time -- what Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy intimated in the visibile parlare, "visible speech," of the bas-reliefs on the walls of Purgatory.
Link (here) to Ken Atchity at the Huffington Post

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