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.