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Unformatted text preview: On Teilhard, Entropy, and Love: A Unifying Vision C. David Pruett Department of Mathematics & Statistics James Madison University Presented at Visions of Integration: Implications for Self and Society James Madison University 19-21 April 2007 The labor of seaweed as it concentrates in its tissues the substances scattered, in infinites- simal quantities, throughout the vast layers of the ocean; the industry of the bees as they make honey from the juices broadcast in so many flowersthese are but pale images of the ceaseless working-over that all the forces of the universe undergo in us in order to reach the level of the spirit. Teilhard de Chardin 1 Teilhard: His Life and Legacy These poetic and insightful words were penned by Teilhard de Chardin in his seminal work The Divine Milieu . Buried within them, I believe, is one of the secrets of our universe. Laying bare that secret, to some degree, is the subject of this paper. Not everyone is familiar with Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. Who was he, and why should we pay attention to his thought and vision? Teilhard died, as was his fervent wish, on an Easter Sunday. The year was 1955. He died in New York City, in exile from his native France, and lies buried beneath a simple headstone in the graveyard of the Jesuit Fathers at Saint Andrews- on-Hudson. His funeral was attended by just a handful of faithful friends. And yet, in 2005, 50 years following his death, conferences were convened around the world to celebrate Teilhards life and legacy. Some 500 people attended each of the four plenary sessions of Rediscovering Fire, a conference commemorating Teilhard in November 2005 at Chestnut Hill College near Philadelphia. Why such interest and why now? First and foremost, Teilhard was a scientist, a paleontologist of the first rank. During an expedition to Chinas Inner Mongolia in the early 1920s, Jesuit coworkers Emile Licent and Teilhard found the first incontrovertible evidence of paleolithic humans in that remote corner of the world. Although not the discoverer of Sinanthropus , commonly known as Peking Man and unearthed a few years later in 1929, Teilhard performed a central role in the interpretive work that dated Sinanthropus at 500,000 years and determined him to be the earliest known hominid to use fire, a 1 record that apparently still stands. As a scientist, Teilhard was prolific. In 1930 alone, he published 18 scientific papers. His collected works fill 11 volumes. The caliber and quantity of his scientific work earned him induction into both of Frances premier scientific bodies and entry into several prestigious British societies as well (King, 1996). Second, Teilhard was a Jesuit priest, so devout in his faith that he wished to die on Easter Sunday, a wish granted by a massive heart attack at 3 p.m. in the afternoon of April 10, 1955....
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This note was uploaded on 03/06/2011 for the course PSYCH 212 taught by Professor Dansullivan during the Spring '11 term at NYU.
- Spring '11