LOVE

Teilhard, in his works, speaks of love in many contexts.  See, for example, The Feminine. Many of his quotes on love are found on the internet.

A collection of his words on love are gathered in the book “On Love and Happiness” by Teilhard de Chardin (1984, Harper and Row)

Some quotes are featured here.

The most telling and profound way of describing the evolution of the universe would undoubtedly be to trace the evolution of love.

We are one, after all, you and I, together we suffer, together exist and forever will recreate one another.

If there were no internal propensity to unite, even at a prodigiously rudimentary level — indeed in the molecule itself — it would be physically impossible for love to appear higher up, with us, in hominized form. . . . Driven by the forces of love, the fragments of the world seek each other so that the world may come into being.

Love alone is capable of uniting living beings in such a way as to complete and fulfill them, for it alone takes them and joins them by what is deepest in themselves. All we need is to imagine our ability to love developing until it embraces the totality of men and the earth.

A universal love is not only psychologically possible; it is the only complete and final way in which we are able to love.

By the love of man and woman a thread is wound that stretches to the heart of the world.

Love is the affinity which links and draws together the elements of the world… Love, in fact, is the agent of universal synthesis.

Love is the most universal, formidable, and mysterious of cosmic energy a fundamental impulse of light; the blood stream of evolution. Its aim is the great work of union – communion.

Only love can bring individual beings to their perfect completion, as individuals, by uniting them one with another, because only love takes possession of them and unites them by what lies deepest within them.

If we do not learn to love, we will perish.  For the world to truly flourish our love must extend around the globe: to all persons, of whatever persuasion.


But the most notable discussion of love is found in The Phenomenon of Man, pp 264-267.

For the human particles to become really personalised under the creative influence of union – according to the preceding analysis – not every kind of union will do. Since it is a question of achieving a synthesis of centres, it is centre to centre that they must make contact and not otherwise. Thus, amongs the various forms of psychic inter-activity animating the noosphere, the energies we must identify, harness and develop before all others are those of an ‘intercentric ‘ nature, if we want to give effective help to the progress of evolution in ourselves. Which brings us to the problem of love.

2. LOVE AS ENERGY

We are accustomed to consider (and with what a refinement of analysis!) only the sentimental face of love, the joy and miseries it causes us. It is in its natural dynamism and its evolutionary significance that 1 shall be dealing with it here, with a view to determining the ultimate phases of the phenomenon of man.

Considered in its full biological reality, love— that is to say, the affinity of being with being-is not peculiar to man. It is a general property of all life and as such it embraces, in its varieties and degrees, all the forms successively adopted by organised matter. In the mammals, so close to ourselves, it is easily recognised in its different modalities : sexual passion, parental instinct, social solidarity, etc. Farther off, that is to say lower down on the tree of life, analogies are more obscure until they become so faint as to be imperceptible.

But this is the place to repeat what I said earlier when we were discussing the * within ot things. If there were no real internal propensity to unite, even at a prodigiously rudimentary level— indeed in the molecule itself— it would be physically impossible for love to appear higher up, with us, in ‘ hominised ‘ form. By rights, to be certain of its presence in ourselves, we should assume its presence, at least in an inchoate form, in everything that is. And in fact if we look around us at the confluent ascent of consciousnesses, we see it is not lacking anywhere. Plato felt this and has immortalised the idea in his Dialogues. Later, with thinkers like Nicolas of Cusa, mediaeval philosphy returned technically to the same notion. Driven by the forces of love, the fragments of the world seek each other so that the world may come to being. This is no metaphor ; and it is much more than poetry. Whether as a force or a curvature, the universal gravity of bodies, so striking to us, is merely the reverse or shadow of that which really moves nature. To perceive cosmic energy ‘ at the fount ‘ we must, if there is a within of things, go down into the internal or radial zone of spiritual attractions.

Love in all its subtleties is nothing more, and nothing less, than the more or less direct trace marked on the heart of the element by the psychical convergence of the universe upon itself.

This, if I am not mistaken is the ray of light which will help us to see more clearly around us.

We are distressed and pained when we see modern attempts at human collectivisation ending up, contrary to our expectations and theoretical predictions, in a lowering and an enslavement of consciousnesses. But so far how have wc gone about the business of unification? A material situation to be defended; a new industrial field to be opened up, better conditions for a social class or less favoured nations — those arc the only and very mediocre grounds on which we have so far tried to get together. There is no cause to be surprised if, in the footsteps of animal societies, we become mechanised in the very play of association.

Even in the supremely intellectual activity of science (at any rate as long as it remains purely speculative and abstract) the impact of our souls only operates obliquely and indirectly. Contact is still superficial, involving the danger of yet another servitude. Love alone is capable of uniting living beings in such a way as to complete and fulfil them, for it alone takes them and joins them by what is deepest in themselves- This is a fact of daily experience. At what moment do lovers come into the most complete possession of themselves if not when they say they are lost in each other? In truth, does not love every instant achieve all around us, in the couple or the team, the magic feat, the feat reputed to be contradictory, of ‘ ‘personaJising’ by totalising? And if that is what it can achieve daily on a small scale, why should it not repeat this one day on world-wide dimensions?

Mankind, the spirit of the earth, the synthesis of individuals and peoples, the paradoxical conciliation of the clement with the whole, and of unity with multitude— all these are called Utopian and yet they are biologically necessary. And for them to be incarnated in the world all we may well need is to imagine our power of loving developing until it embraces the total of men and of the earth.

It may be said that this is the precise point at which we are invoking the impossible. Man’s capacity, it may seem, is confined to giving his affection to one human being or to very few. Beyond that radius the heart does not carry, and there is only room for cold justice and cold reason. To love all and everyone is a contradictory and false gesture which only leads in the end to loving no-one.

To that I would answer that if, as you claim, a universal love is impossible, how can we account for that irresistible instinct in our hearts which leads us towards unity whenever and in whatever direction our passions are stirred ? A sense of the universe, a sense of the all, the nostalgia which seizes us when confronted by nature, beauty, music— these seem to be an expectation and awareness of a Great Presence. The ‘ mystics ‘ and their commentators apart, how has psychology been able so consistently to ignore this fundamental vibration whose ring can be heard by every practised car at the basis, or rather at the summit, of every great emotion ? Resonance to the All— the keynote of pure poetry and pure religion. Once again : what does this phenomenon, which is born with thought and grows with it, reveal if not a deep accord between two realities which seek each other ; the severed particle which trembles at the approach of ‘the rest’?

We are often inclined to think that we have exhausted the various natural forms of love with a man’s love for his wife, his children, his friends and to a certain extent for his country. Yet precisely the most fundamental form of passion is missing from this list, the one which, under the pressure of an involuting universe, precipitates the elements one upon the other in the Whole — cosmic affinity and hence cosmic sense. A universal love is not only psychologically possible ; it is the only complete and final way in which we are able to love.

But, with this point made, how are we to explain the appearance all around us of mounting repulsion and hatred ? If such a strong potentiality is besieging us from within and urging us to union, what is it waiting for to pass from potentiality to action ? Just this, no doubt: that we should overcome the ‘anti-personalist’ complex which paralyses us, and make up our minds to accept the possibility, indeed the reality, of some source of love and object of love at the summit of the world above our heads. So long as it absorbs or appears to absorb the person, collectivity kills the love that is trying to come to birth. As such collectivity is essentially unlovable. That is where philanthropic systems break down. Common sense is right. It is impossible to give oneself to an anonymous number. But if the universe ahead of us assumes a face and a heart, and so to speak personifies itself, 1 then in the atmosphere created by this focus the elemental attraction will immediately blossom. Then, no doubt, under the heightened pressure of an infolding world, the formidable energies of attraction, still dormant between human molecules, will burst forth.

The discoveries of the last hundred years, with their unitary perspectives, have brought a new and decisive impetus to our sense of the world, to our sense of the earth, and to our human sense. Hence the rise of modern pantheism. But this impetus will only end by plunging us back into super-matter unless it leads us towards someone.

For the failure that threatens us to be turned into success, for the concurrence of human monads to come about, it is necessary and sufficient for us that we should extend our science to its farthest limits and recognise and accept (as being necessary to close and balance space-time) not only some vague future existence, but also, as I must now stress, the radiation as a present reality of that mysterious centre of our centres which I have called Omega.