In this, the seventh and final of my Teilhard series, I focus on the most central of his themes—Love
God is Love=Love is God
Love is the energy of existence
Love is the affinity of being-to-being
We have yet to understand love. The contemporary world has misled us with overly sentimentalized, romanticized versions of love or has falsely applied love’s name to self-gratification. We are closer to love’s reality at the joy of sharing experiences, thoughts and goals with another, of reaching out to give comfort, of working cooperatively toward a ‘good’ that is beyond self-interest and of saying ‘Amen’ to the wonder of creation.
Love is a ‘within’ quality—of the subjective realm—it cannot be weighed and measured, only experienced and so in the world of science it has no place and is as ill-defined as consciousness (of which it is a part).
Teilhard invites us to regard the ‘within’ as having supreme value, only it can awaken us to that new dimension to which the human is being called. We are not just another species on an equal plane with all others. We are more than bone and muscle and organs; with fully matured consciousness and the awareness of love, we are participants in the creative process. We have been charged with shepherding our earth and creating our world. What we create is dependent upon our ability to realize our interconnectedness to this singular whole web of life.
Evolution begins with attraction and union; there follows a process of development. That development (whether of species or individual) follows the law of complexity-consciousness, unfolding the pre-ordained possibilities of increased abilities and freedom. Throughout the process, movement is toward greater being.
Looking back to the earliest and simplest level we see only a mysterious attraction propelling atoms to cluster and form molecules, then molecules joining to form cells. Teilhard has stated that nothing comes to be in final form that had not pre-existed in an obscure and primordial way—there is a striving in coming to be. Here we consider that attraction and union appears to be the driving force (energy) of the evolutionary process. Teilhard states “The affinity of being with being . . . is a general property of all of life and as such it embraces . . . all forms successively adopted by organized matter . . .”; a complex concept which means ‘attraction to wholeness is everywhere in everything.’ That attraction that calls subatomic particles of protons, electrons and neutrons to join and form atoms, then atoms to join together to form molecules and molecules to cluster to form cells—that primitive attraction, over millions of years, came to be realized in ‘hominized’ form (human consciousness) as love—and continues to draw us together to realize our interconnectedness as part of our mandate to build a sustainable world. Teilhard’s understanding of evolution and his vision of its trajectory gives hope to the future.
I conclude with one of Teilhard’s best-known quotes:
“Some day after mastering the winds, the waves, the tides and gravity, we shall harness—for God—the energies of love. And then, for the second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire.”