Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Politics of the Future

7/15/2009—I had a glimpse of the politics of the future today, from a reading in Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Science and Christ, Chapter 9, The Salvation of Mankind, written in 1936:

We do not want fascist fronts, or a popular front—but a human front. We need a program, the ideal of which we dream. There are two classes of men: those who stake their souls on a future greater than themselves, and those who through inertia, selfishness, or because they have lost heart, have no wish to press on. Those who believe in what is to come and those who do not. …two camps representing the two attitudes of belief or non-belief in the spiritual future of the universe… . exalted concrete goals…a much more important investigation for the future would be the study of the currents and magnetic forces who nature is psychic: in fact, an energetics of spirit. Driven by the necessity to build up the unity of the world, we may, perhaps, come in the end to see that the great work dimly guessed at and pursued by science is simply the discovery of God. (my paraphrasing).

Now, for some, this sounds too religious. But Teilhard never left the Earth. He was writing here of consciousness. The discovery of God has to do not with supernatural beings but with the manifestations of spiritual growth in the universe.

If you want an example of what Teilhard means by the human front, look at Pope Benedicts’s recent Encyclical: Truth in Love. How come this is the most left-wing document most of us have ever seen? Why is only the Pope daring to speak of large-scale redistribution of income, supra-national governance of market institutions and the rights of workers? I don’t see anything like this out of the New Atheism. There is something important here to remind ourselves of: we cannot afford a wall of separation in thinking between religion and secularism. We must ask across all boundaries, what is really possible for humankind?

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