Moving beyond tribalism

When I encounter tribalism, my instinct is to take a hot shower and have a cup of coffee with Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881-1955), a French Roman Catholic priest in the Jesuit order. He died in relative obscurity before my fifth birthday, so my sessions with him are through his writing, much of which was published after his death. The Divine Milieu has been a favorite since seminary days.

Many consider Le Phénomène Humain (written in the 1930s) his masterpiece. It was translated into English in 1959 as The Phenomenon of Man. A later translation by Sarah Appleton-Weber was published in 2003 as The Human Phenomenon. It took me 19 years to buy it, so there’s no telling when I’ll finish reading it, but I’ll start on Saturday, when it should arrive.

Teilhard was a paleontologist with a rich understanding of the Universe. An occasional dose of his writing reminds me to move beyond tribal, parochial thinking to focus on the Big Picture.

From The Divine Milieu (p. 59):

… We shall be astonished at the extent and the intimacy of our relationship with the universe.

… the roots of our being …. plunge back and down into the unfathomable past. How great is the mystery…. How possible to decipher the welding of successive influences in which we are forever incorporated! In each one of us, through matter, the whole history of the world is in part reflected.

“From “Pierre Teilhard de Chardin: prophet of cosmic hope,” by Susan Rakoczy, openDemocracy, February 18, 2020

2 thoughts on “Moving beyond tribalism”

  1. I really enjoyed reading the article you linked at the end. I have not read any of his work, but his ideas sound excellent!


    1. The Human Phenomenon was written in the 1930s but never published. He was preparing the manuscript for publication when he died in 1955. It was published in France that same year and appeared in English in 1959. I can’t remember what prompted the interest in Teilhard, but it happened shortly after his death. Maybe it was the publication of his manuscript in 1955.


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