"In the great river of mankind, the three currents (Eastern, human, and Christian) are still at cross purposes. Nevertheless there are sure indications which make it clear that they are coming to run together. The East seems already almost to have forgotten the original passivity of its pantheism. The cult of progress is continually opening up its cosmogonies ever more widely to the forces of spirit and of emancipation. Christianity is beginning to accept man's effort. In these three branches the same spirit which made me what I am is obscurely at work. In that case, surely the solution for which modern mankind is seeking must essentially be exactly the solution which I have come upon. I believe that this is so, and it is in this vision that my hopes are fulfilled. A general convergence of religions upon a universal Christ who fundamentally satisfies them all: that seems to me the only possible conversion of the world, and the only form in which a religion of the future can be conceived."
—Teilhard The Confluence of Religions
"But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased."
An obscure Jesuit priest, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, set down the philosophical framework for planetary, Net-based consciousness 50 years ago.
—By Jennifer Cobb Kreisberg
"He has inspired Al Gore and Mario Cuomo. Cyberbard John Perry Barlow finds him richly prescient. Nobel laureate Christian de Duve claims his vision helps us find meaning in the cosmos. Even Marshall McLuhan cited his 'lyrical testimony' when formulating his emerging global—village vision. Whom is this eclectic group celebrating? An obscure Jesuit priest and paleontologist named Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, whose quirky philosophy points, oddly, right into cyberspace.
"Teilhard de Chardin finds allies among those searching for grains of spiritual truth in a secular universe. As Mario Cuomo put it, 'Teilhard made negativism a sin. He taught us how the whole universe—even pain and imperfection—is sacred.' Marshall McLuhan turned to Teilhard as a source of divine insight in The Gutenberg Galaxy, his classic analysis of Western culture's descent into a profane world. Al Gore, in his book Earth in the Balance, argues that Teilhard helps us understand the importance of faith in the future. 'Armed with such faith,' Gore writes, 'we might find it possible to resanctify the earth, identify it as God's creation, and accept our responsibility to protect and defend it.' "
"Teilhard imagined a stage of evolution characterized by a complex membrane of information enveloping the globe and fueled by human consciousness. It sounds a little off-the-wall, until you think about the Net, that vast electronic web encircling the Earth, running point to point through a nervelike constellation of wires. We live in an intertwined world of telephone lines, wireless satellite-based transmissions, and dedicated computer circuits that allow us to travel electronically from Des Moines to Delhi in the blink of an eye.
"Teilhard saw the Net coming more than half a century before it arrived. He believed this vast thinking membrane would ultimately coalesce into 'the living unity of a single tissue' containing our collective thoughts and experiences. In his magnum opus, The Phenomenon of Man, Teilhard wrote, 'Is this not like some great body which is being born—with its limbs, its nervous system, its perceptive organs, its memory—the body in fact of that great living Thing which had to come to fulfill the ambitions aroused in the reflective being by the newly acquired consciousness?' "
— Wired.com - A Globe, Clothing Itself with a Brain