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The Future of Man Paperback – April 20, 2004

4.9 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Nearly 50 years after his death, Teilhard’s classic work on theology, philosophy and science seems remarkably fresh, even prescient. The French Jesuit priest and paleontologist was forbidden to publish this and other works during his lifetime, since its reconciliation of Catholic theology with scientific theory, particularly evolution, was considered questionable by the Church. The essays, written over a 35-year period, show how the upheavals of Teilhard’s era (including two world wars, the first of which he witnessed personally on various battlefields) did little to curtail his enthusiasm for the progress and glorious future of humankind. This edition employs Norman Denny's 1964 translation from the French, and while the language is dated, the ideas shine through. Unfortunately, there is no introduction to place Teilhard’s essays in historical context, nor does the book give any information about his fascinating life and work.
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From the Inside Flap

"The Future of Man is a magnificent introduction to the thoughts and writings of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, one of the few figures in the history of the Catholic Church to achieve renown as both a scientist and a theologian. Trained as a paleontologist and ordained as a Jesuit priest, Teilhard de Chardin devoted himself to establishing the intimate, interdependent connection between science--particularly the theory of evolution--and the basic tenets of the Christian faith. At the center of his philosophy was the belief that the human species is evolving spiritually, progressing from a simple faith to higher and higher forms of consciousness, including a consciousness of God, and culminating in the ultimate understanding of humankind's place and purpose in the universe. The Church, which would not condone his philosophical writings, refused to allow their publication during his lifetime. Written over a period of thirty years and presented here in chronological order, the essays cover the wide-ranging interests and inquiries that engaged Teilhard de Chardin throughout his life: intellectual and social evolution; the coming of ultra-humanity; the integral place of faith in God in the advancement of science; and the impact of scientific discoveries on traditional religious dogma. Less formal than "The Phenomenon of Man and "The Divine Milieu, Teilhard de Chardin's most renowned works, The Future of Man offers a complete, fully accessible look at the genesis of ideas that continue to reverberate in both the scientific and the religious communities.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Image Books (April 20, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385510721
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385510721
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #629,533 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Shalom Freedman HALL OF FAME on November 15, 2004
Format: Paperback
Teilhard de Chardin was a distinguished paleontologist and a Catholic thinker of great scope and depth. His vision of Mankind grew out of his scientific researches and his religious faith and is essentially a synthesis of both . Chardin pictures the universe evoloving toward Man, and then with the coming into being of Man evolving in a new way in what he called the Noosphere.The evolution of Consciousness which could be conscious of itself was a vast upward moving process .In his words, "One may say that until the coming of Man it was natural selection that set the course of morphogenesis and cerebration, but that after Man it is the power of invention that begins to grasp the evolutionary reins.A wholly inward change, having no direct effect on anatomy: but a change, as we now know, entailing two decisive consequences for the future. The first is an unlimited increase in the aura of influence radiating from every living being; the second ,even more radical, the prospect afforded to a growing number of individuals of being joined together and ever more closely unanimised in the inextinguishable fire of research pursued in common"pp.307-8 As de Chardin envisages Mankind's Evolution is moving toward some kind of ' single consciousness' He asks , " May we not imagine that at that moment a truly and totally human act will be effected for the first time, in a final option- the yes, or no answer to God ,pronounced individually by beings in each one of whom the sense of human freedom and responsibility will have reached its full development? " p. 321

I am not sure what this ' vision' is, and how this ' end of mankind ' in consciousness of God will manifest itself.
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Although this book is good, it was not as brilliant (for me) as his other book, the Phenomenon of Man. That book should be read by pretty much everyone. This man may have been a Jesuit priest, but he was a scientist above all. His way of exploring and discovering to my mind makes him one of the finest human beings who ever lived. I urge you to read his books, which were all published posthumously by the way as the Church forbid him from publishing them. He left them in the care of a friend with instructions to have them published after his death. This man essentially predicted the Internet in the 1940-50s. And a lot more besides. His ability to do this was not random either, it stemmed from his understanding of what humanity was and is. It really is a pivotal work.
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Format: Paperback
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881-1955) was a French theologian, Jesuit priest, and paleontologist/geologist who took part in the discovery of Peking Man, and was later unjustly accused by Stephen Jay Gould of participating in the Peking Man fraud (see Gould's book The Panda's Thumb: More Reflections in Natural History, and see Charles Blinderman's book The Piltdown Inquest for a refutation). Teilhard was forbidden to publish his writings during his lifetime, the 1950 encyclical 'Humani Generis' condemned several of his opinions, and in 1962, the Holy Office issued a 'Monitum' or warning that his books contained ambiguities' and 'serious errors,' that offended Catholic doctrine. But more recently, Pope John Paul II cited Teilhard approvingly, as has Benedict XVI. This book contains essays written by Teilhard over a period of thirty years, and (like his masterwork The Phenomenon of Man) was first published posthumously.

Here are some representative quotations from the book:

"Confronted by the phenomenon of 'socialisation' in which Mankind is irresistably involved, do we seek to know how to act that we may better conform to the secret processes of the world of which we are a part? Then of the alternatives that are offered we must choose the one which seems best able to develop and preserve in us the highest degree of consciousness. If we turn out to have been wrong in this, then the Universe has no less gone astray.
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If you are unfamiliar with Teilhard de Chardin's work, as I was, then you will be in for a treat. A French Jesuit priest and anthropologist, Father Teilhard spent the bulk of his life attempting to reconcile his faith with the burgeoning science of the 20th Century - a science he believed in and practiced.

The Future of Man is a series of Fr. Teilhard's essays from the 20's through the late 40's of the 20th Century. Looking at the implications of population growth, atomic energy, scientific discovery and his own Christian faith, Fr. Teilhard espoused that humanity was on a continuous evolutionary process to reintegration with the Christ - or the Omega Point. The ultimate fulfillment of this reintegration is the Parouisa of Revelation, and the unification of the spirit of all living things in the Noosphere. The incarnation of Jesus showed the way to unification and reintegration of the perfected spirit of humanity.

Writing as he did during a period of rapid change in the world, Fr. Teilhard predicted things like global communications, ecumenism and common welfare before their time as the natural evolutionary process from atoms to complex creatures to eventual divine perfection.

His writing is a tough read, and certainly isn't for everyone. I found myself reading and rereading segments to just try and get the message. The message itself, however, is a profound one and one of hope. A good read if you have the patience for it.
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