My reading lately has me wondering how in earlier years I could be immunized from absorbing the intelligence I was exposed to. A friend in college, Chuck, was deeply into the work of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881-1955), a Jesuit priest. Consequently, I know the name. Nothing more. Just the name.
I did not know, or even want to know more about the man. My college friend was, by use of reason, trying to come to grips with the problem of abortion. I wanted nothing of that, as I knew without thinking that abortion was wrong, a horrid evil.
I was Catholic at that time, and de Chardin had been censored by the church, his writings only made public posthumously. Don’t get me wrong – I am yet to read him, only of him. I may not get to him at all. And this post is not about abortion. Some apparent evils have to be endured in our lives, maybe abhorrent, but … necessary? I don’t have the answer.
Where de Chardin comes in is his idea that human beings are on the cutting edge of evolution. Two questions emerge with that thought: What is evolution, and why are we here?
I was discussing “climate change,” aka, “warming,” with a person not long ago, and was told that I was naturally wrong to suggest that it is not happening, and further, this person said, that if he had the energy, he would simply do some Internet browsing and bring to me the necessary proof that it is real. I was incensed, not that it isn’t an open question, but rather that it can be approached in such a cavalier manner – just go find an effing expert. That’s all it takes!
What is warming? What is the human role in it even if we have a role? It would be the planet responding to us and our activities. It is nature, and we are part of nature. We are then “evolving” into a warmer, more habitable place. That would be a good thing. Sit back, relax, enjoy some Canadian wine!
If that is even what is happening. I tend to think that our planet can at any time turn for or against us, as it carries us like fleas. More importantly, I find the idea of evolution, at least of one species becoming another, untenable. There is no evidence to that effect. There is only evidence of species change within themselves, as in wolves becoming our pets. Wolves do not, however, become cats. That is all that Darwin discovered.
What then is the alternative to the theory of evolution? Some will say that if not A, then B, creationism. I have another “B” in mind: We do not know. Why is it so hard not to know things? With “Darwinian evolution” given as the answer, we don’t even have the right questions in mind, and will never get to the bottom of this thing: Why are we here?
We are intelligent (yes, I have been to Wal-Mart, but set that aside). We are self-aware. We, as a species, have come a very long way just in my 68 years. Our lives are so much easier, we have so much more wealth and have made this planet into a place that supports many more of us. Is that all for nothing?
Again, the answer is not readily apparent. I am comfortable not knowing the answer. I am only suspicious that it is not for nothing, but rather for some reason, that we exist. The universe is beyond comprehension, and will not end. Time is a forward* arrow, not and not a dimension that disappears with the speed of light. Progress is a real thing, not a myth. We humans have qualities that cannot be defined by matter: love and compassion, curiosity and intelligence. We are manipulated by hidden forces to believe that we are a hateful species, randomly killing one another for no good reason. We are kept in a state of fear to prevent us from moving forward into a Golden Age. We are told by scientists that it is all for naught anyway, as the universe will crunch in the end, and that all of us everywhere will cease to exist.
But we are capable of living in a Golden Age. We are closer now than yesterday if only because a few of us, and then a few more, are coming to realize that these unseen powers can be ignored.
Yes, I am aware that if I keep going in this direction, this blog is going to get pretty damned boring. But relax, I still have an eye out for members of the Matt Damon Batch.
Postscript: Interesting comments down below, some focused on de Chardin being a Jesuit, which is a group of priests subjected to a Masonic-like oath that reads like a cult of serial killers. I cannot fathom such blind obedience, but recall Christopher Hitchens saying of Christianity (paraphrase) that he could not belong to a group of people who proudly decsribed themselves as sheep.
That is a whole ‘nuther garden for cultivation. On the outside of these oath-bound groups we can only speculate about motivation. I was a Catholic for my first 38 years of existence, and the younger brother of a priest who was probably oath-bound. When I quit the Church I was reviled within my own family. My dad was appalled, even refusing to attend my second wedding to my current wife. In his view I was to stay in a state of Catholic-bound misery married to a wench. The only support that I got, the only person who realized I was exercising free will and breaking free, was my brother the priest. He gracefully accepted my decision as that of a free human.
So please pardon my faux pas. I said that many Catholics have benefited greatly in Jesuit schools, learning with more rigor and being better educated as a result. It is not perfect, students are not taught to be free thinkers. But I refuse to condemn the whole of any Masonic undertaking of any kind as lacking in morals. I do not understand Masonic structure, but just because I do not know what they are doing does not mean that it can be brushed off as evil. It is not that simple. More about this some other day.