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The Phenomenon Of Man [Kindle Edition]

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin , Julian Huxley , Bernard Wall
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)

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Book Description

an excerpt from the: Introduction By Sir Julian Huxley The Phenomenon of Man is a very remarkable work by a very remarkable human being. Pere Teilliard de Chardin was at the same time a Jesuit Father and a distinguished palaeontologist. In The Phenomenon of Man he has effected a threefold synthesis of the material and physical world with the world of mind and spirit; of the past with the future; and of variety with unity, the many with the one. He achieves this by examining every fact and every subject of his investigation 'sub specie evolutionis', with reference to its development in time and to its evolutionary position. Conversely, he is able to envisage the whole of knowable reality not as a static mechanism but as a process. In consequence, he is driven to search for human significance in relation to the trends of that enduring and comprehensive process; the measure of his stature is that he so largely succeeded in the search. I would like to introduce The Phenomenon of Man to English readers by attenipting a summary of its general thesis, and of what appear to me to be its more important conclusions. I make no excuse for this personal approach. As I discovered when I first met Pere Teilliard in Paris in 1946, he and I were on the same quest, and had been pursuing parallel roads ever since we were young men in our twenties. Thus, to mention a few sign-posts which I independently found along my road, already in 1913 I had; envisaged human evolution and biological evolution as two phases of a single process, but separated by a critical point, after which the properties of, the evolving material underwent radical change. This thesis I developed years; later in my Uniqueness of Man, adding that man's evolution was unique in showing the dominance of convergence over divergence: in the same volume I published an essay on, Scientific Humanism (a close approximation to Pere Teilhard's Neo-Humanism), in which I independently anticipated the title of Pere Teuhard's great book by describing humanity as a phenomenon, to be studied and analysed by scientific methods. Soon after the first World War; in Essays of a Biologist, I made my first attempt at defining and evaluating evolutionary progress. In my Romanes Lecture on Evolutionary Ethics, I made an attempt (which I now see was inadequate, but was at least a step in the right direction) to relate the development of moral codes and religions to the general trends of evolution; in 1942, in my Evolution, the Modern Synthesis, I essayed the first comprehensive post-Mendelian analysis of biological evolution as a process: and just before meeting Pere Teilhard had written a pamphlet entitled Unesco: its Purpose and Philosophy, where I stressed that such a philosophy must be a global, scientific and evolutionary humanism. In this, I was searching to establish an ideological basis for man's further cultural evolution, and to define the position of the individual human personality in the process -- a search in which I was later much aided by Pere' Teilliard's writings, and by our conversations and correspondence.

Editorial Reviews


"A most extraordinary book, of far-reaching significance for the understanding of man's place in the universe." -- Abraham J. Heschel

"Marks the most significant achievement in synthetic thinking since that of Aquinas." -- Bernard Towers, Blackfriars

About the Author

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881-1955) was born in France and ordained a Jesuit priest. Trained as a paleontologist, Teilhard codiscovered the celebrated "Peking Man" fossils. The Phenomenon of Man is his best-known work.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1072 KB
  • Print Length: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Evergreen Books (June 21, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004HW7BZE
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #45,400 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
133 of 139 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Teilhard shines June 24, 2000
Simply astounding. These are about the only words that I think best describe The Phenomenon of Man. Certainly, this has to be one of the most wildly interesting books that I have ever read. Most of us know and at least vaguely understand evolution, and also theists usually respond defensively that there is no conflict between God and evolution. But rare is the person who seeks to intergrate evolution into God's large-scale, dynamic plan refusing even just to argue for some "Design" in the universe. Teilhard argues that with the onset of animals capable of internal reflection, human beings, evolution takes a turn "inward". The consciousnesss is now what evolves, evolving toward an Omega Point with Teilhard sees as Christ. Certainly in our lives we can see the appeal of this view. Shouldn't our lives be a constant growth, an evolution toward complete oneness with God?
Teilhard is a genius and the best modern example of the intellectual firepower that can come from the Catholic Church and the Jesuits in particular. Although he and the Church didn't always get along (most of his stuff was censored in some way) I think this is due to the fact that Teilhard was so far ahead of his time that the hierarchy really didn't know what to do with him. Surely, 50 or even 20 years from now Teilhard de Chardin will be regarded as one of the most prolific Catholic minds in the last few centuries.
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69 of 72 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Theory of Global Human Consciousness May 7, 2005
By Bugs
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881-1945) was a Jesuit Priest, theologian, philosopher, and paleontologist who expanded on the concept of the noosphere originated by the Russian mineralogist and geochemist, Vladimir I. Vernadsky (1863-1945) who also originated the concept of the biosphere- the "life zone" where all biological life exists between the crust of the earth to the lower atmosphere or the "life envelope" surrounding our planet.

The "noosphere" or "thinking layer", according to Chardin, comes about at that point in time when humans evolve to the realization of a global human consciousness and is totally aware of itself and then headed for the ultimate destination- the "Omega Point" or "Kingdom of God". At this point, the earth is enveloped by a collective human consciousness.

Chardin uses both science and theology to support this theory and his dissertation on this is fascinating and thought provoking. Unlike most of his religious peers, he was a proponent of directional evolution and that Darwin had hit upon the proof of God's intent, that final destination of the human conscious evolution where the Creator is realized. Darwin, of course, preferred to distance himself from theological assumptions of species evolution, especially so with us humans and his religious wife.

Chardin distinguishes humans from all other life-forms because of our abilities to contemplate our existence, hence, the uniqueness of or the "phenomenon of man". Hopefully, he concludes, that the human family will evolve to be totally conscience, intelligent and loving, cooperative, and rising far above our current chaotic existence. Amen to that lofty, but desirable goal!
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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Are Science and Religion Inimical Opposites? October 24, 2005
By Butch
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881-1955) was a Jesuit priest and a paleontologist at a time in history when our greatest minds here in the West were making quantum leaps in our understanding of the ultimate nature of reality and our place in it. Divine revelations and mystical insights were at an apex. Teilhard had several mystical experiences during his lifetime. He is considered by some to have been one of the four greatest thinkers in the Western Christian tradition. The others being St. Paul, Augustine, and Thomas Aquinas. His counterpart in the East was Sri Aurobindo. Sychronistically, or perhaps by chance, Aurobindo was given a classical education in England as a youth and then returned to India in 1893. There Aurobindo's thinking evolved from Advaita to neo-Advaita. The primary difference being the evolution in understanding from pure monism to holistic synergetics, a move from the rational to the transrational. Reality is not numerically one, it is a unitive one, whole. Both great men came to the same basic conclusion separately at about the same time. That conclusion being that the unfolding of the Universe is both a physical and a spiritual evolution. Though Teilhard thought of himself in pantheistic terms, I believe he would be better described as a "Pan'en'theist". Panentheism according to Charles Hartshorne is the belief that God is greater than the sum of God's parts. For the Pantheist Nature is God. For the Panentheist Nature is a part of God. The former is a monotheistic thus solipsistic view, the latter a manifold thus synergetic opinion. In the former God is playing Solitaire, hence the existential dread and nihilistic moroseness of Continental Philosophy. Rationality is a tool of awareness, not the be all to end all of understanding. Read more ›
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42 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Omega Point is a Bullseye March 22, 2000
Teilhard has been maligned in scientific circles for many decades and you still hear complaints about his work by people ignorant of or hostile to his message. But make no mistake about it, this book is a breathtakingly accurate and honest description of physical reality. Teilhard uses Bergsonian intuition and Catholic metaphysics to spring us from the trap set by Horgan in The End of Science. Further progress in science will proceed along the trajectories identified by Teilhard. As recent books such as Garden of Ediacara and Nonzero begin to grasp the implications of Teilhard's conclusions, it becomes increasingly clear that Teilhard set the course for both spiritual and scientific renewal. His scientific insights cannot be divorced from their spiritual and religious context. Teilhard should be praised rather than criticized for this because it shows us that the notion of 'pure science' is pure fallacy. Simon Conway Morris articulated this in his review of Nonzero: "to imagine that human destiny is entirely mundane may be one of the most peculiar errors of the moderns."
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Brilliant writing, regardless of the basic argument.
Published 1 day ago by drchocolate
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Item delivered on time, and was as described.
Published 17 days ago by Anne Stephens
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Ideas, difficult read
This book is on a topic of great interest to me, the spiritual evolution of the universe. It is however a difficult read. The translation is very cumbersome. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Mary C Fletcher
5.0 out of 5 stars great seller
The views of a scholar who lived on the bridge between science and faith is compelling, As a person who isn't religious but acknowledges spirituality and wants to get a better... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Jeremy
3.0 out of 5 stars Phenomena of Man review
If you are interested in books that attempt to synthesize the biological view of evolution with a christian perspective Pierre Teilhard De Chardin's, 'The Phenomena of Man' is a... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Trevor Neal
5.0 out of 5 stars great book
I never read Teilhard de Chardin before. It was a revelation to me. Man as a separate phenomenon of nature, much more than just a biological phenomenon. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Miguel A. Suarez
5.0 out of 5 stars Great - but not for the faint hearted.
This is to me one of the most important books covering where man came from - from a person who in fact was a notable palaeontologist. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Dennis Green
5.0 out of 5 stars Classically, logically beautiful
Elegantly logical, poetically described, Pere Chardin opens a new awareness of creation and evolution of psyche absolutely beautiful to contemplate.
Published 5 months ago by John S. McGlinn
5.0 out of 5 stars An observation by a Jesuit paleontologist on the future of mankind.
Chardin was a paleonthologist and a Jesuit. The book explores the history of life on the earth, observes that evolution is a convergent process, and that the final achievement for... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Joseph V. Patterson
5.0 out of 5 stars This book changed my life
This book changed my perception of time and of the emergence of life from chemistry. It gave me an insight into the universe that stuck with me and changed me forever. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Justin M. Graves
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