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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index T > Pierre Teilhard de Chardin Quotes

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Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
(1 May 1881 - 10 Apr 1955)

French philosopher and paleontologist.


Science Quotes by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (27 quotes)

>> Click for Pierre Teilhard de Chardin Quotes on | Discovery | Energy | Evolution | Matter | Time | Universe | World |

And now, as a germination of planetary dimensions, comes the thinking layer which over its full extent develops and intertwines its fibres, not to confuse and neutralise them but to reinforce them in the living unity of a single tissue.
— Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
In Teilhard de Chardin and Bernard Wall (trans.), The Phenomenon of Man (1959, 2008), 244. Originally published in French as Le Phénomene Humain (1955).
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Energy is the measure of that which passes from one atom to another in the course of their transformations. A unifying power, then, but also, because the atom appears to become enriched or exhausted in the course of the exchange, the expression of structure.
— Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
In Teilhard de Chardin and Bernard Wall (trans.), The Phenomenon of Man (1959, 2008), 42. Originally published in French as Le Phénomene Humain (1955).
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Everything does not happen continuously at any one moment in the universe. Neither does everything happen everywhere in it.
— Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
In Teilhard de Chardin and Bernard Wall (trans.), The Phenomenon of Man (1959), 49. Originally published in French as Le Phénomene Humain (1955).
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From the aspect of energy, renewed by radio-active phenomena, material corpuscles may now be treated as transient reservoirs of concentrated power. Though never found in a state of purity, but always more or less granulated (even in light) energy nowadays represents for science the most primitive form of universal stuff.
— Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
In Teilhard de Chardin and Bernard Wall (trans.), The Phenomenon of Man (1959, 2008), 42. Originally published in French as Le Phénomene Humain (1955).
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Human evolution is nothing else but the natural continuation, at a collective level, of the perennial and cumulative process of “psychogenetic” arrangement of matter which we call life. … The whole history of mankind has been nothing else (and henceforth it will never be anything else) but an explosive outburst of ever-growing cerebration. … Life, if fully understood, is not a freak in the universe—nor man a freak in life. On the contrary, life physically culminates in man, just as energy physically culminates in life.
— Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
(1952). As quoted in Stephen Jay Gould, Hen's Teeth and Horse's Toes: Further Reflections in Natural History (1984, 1994), 246.
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I never really paused for a moment to question the idea that the progressive spiritualization of matter—so clearly demonstrated to me by Paleontology—could be anything other, or anything less, than an irreversible process. By its gravitational nature, the Universe, I saw, was falling—falling forwards—in the direction of spirit as upon its stable form. In other words, Matter was not ultra-materialized as I would at first have believed, but was instead metamorphosed in Psyche.
— Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
In The Heart of Matter (1978), 27.
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In the last analysis the best guarantee that a thing should happen is that it appears to us as vitally necessary.
— Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
In Teilhard de Chardin and Sara Appleton-Weber (trans.), The Human Phenomenon (1999, 2003), 163. Originally published in French as Le Phénomene Humain (1955).
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Is evolution a theory, a system or a hypothesis? It is much more: it is a general condition to which all theories, all hypotheses, all systems must bow and which they must satisfy henceforth if they are to be thinkable and true. Evolution is a light illuminating all facts, a curve that all lines must follow. ... The consciousness of each of us is evolution looking at itself and reflecting upon itself....Man is not the center of the universe as once we thought in our simplicity, but something much more wonderful—the arrow pointing the way to the final unification of the world in terms of life. Man alone constitutes the last-born, the freshest, the most complicated, the most subtle of all the successive layers of life. ... The universe has always been in motion and at this moment continues to be in motion. But will it still be in motion tomorrow? ... What makes the world in which we live specifically modern is our discovery in it and around it of evolution. ... Thus in all probability, between our modern earth and the ultimate earth, there stretches an immense period, characterized not by a slowing-down but a speeding up and by the definitive florescence of the forces of evolution along the line of the human shoot.
— Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
In The Phenomenon of Man (1975), pp 218, 220, 223, 227, 228, 277.
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Let us keep the discoveries and indisputable measurements of physics. But ... A more complete study of the movements of the world will oblige us, little by little, to turn it upside down; in other words, to discover that if things hold and hold together, it is only by reason of complexity, from above.
— Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
In Teilhard de Chardin and Bernard Wall (trans.), The Phenomenon of Man (1959, 2008), 43. Originally published in French as Le Phénomene Humain (1955).
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Life was born and propagates itself on the earth as a solitary pulsation.
— Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
In Teilhard de Chardin and Sara Appleton-Weber (trans.), The Human Phenomenon (1999, 2003), 60. Originally published in French as Le Phénomene Humain (1955).
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Psychogenesis has led to man. Now it effaces itself, relieved or absorbed by another and a higher function—the engendering and subsequent development of the mind, in one word noogenesis. When for the first time in a living creature instinct perceived itself in its own mirror, the whole world took a pace forward.
— Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
In Teilhard de Chardin and Bernard Wall (trans.), The Phenomenon of Man (1959, 2008), 181. Originally published in French as Le Phénomene Humain (1955).
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Scientists [still] refuse to consider man as an object of scientific scrutiny except through his body. The time has come to realise that an interpretation of the universe—even a positivist one—remains unsatisfying unless it covers the interior as well as the exterior of things; mind as well as matter. The true physics is that which will, one day, achieve the inclusion of man in his wholeness in a coherent picture of the world.
— Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
In Teilhard de Chardin and Bernard Wall (trans.), The Phenomenon of Man (1959, 2008), 36. Originally published in French as Le Phénomene Humain (1955).
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The day will come when, after harnessing space, the winds, the tides, and gravitation, we shall harness for God the energies of love. And on that day, for the second time in the history of the world, we shall have discovered fire.
— Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
From 'The Evolution of Chastity' (Feb 1934), as translated by René Hague in Toward the Future (1975), 86-87.
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The difficulty lies not in solving problems but expressing them.
— Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
From 'The Evolution of Chastity' (Feb 1934), as translated by René Hague in Toward the Future (1975), 86.
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The more we split and pulverise matter artificially, the more insistently it proclaims its fundamental unity.
— Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
In Teilhard de Chardin and Bernard Wall (trans.), The Phenomenon of Man (1959, 2008), 41. Originally published in French as Le Phénomene Humain (1955).
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The stars are laboratories in which the evolution of matter proceeds in the direction of large molecules.
— Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
In Teilhard de Chardin and Bernard Wall (trans.), The Phenomenon of Man (1959, 2008), 50. Originally published in French as Le Phénomene Humain (1955).
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There are no summits without abysses.
— Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
In Teilhard de Chardin and Sara Appleton-Weber (trans.), The Human Phenomenon (1999, 2003), 206. Originally published in French as Le Phénomene Humain (1955).
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This fundamental discovery that all bodies owe their origin to arrangements of single initial corpuscular type is the beacon that lights the history of the universe to our eyes. In its own way, matter obeyed from the beginning that great law of biology to which we shall have to recur time and time again, the law of “complexification.”
— Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
In Teilhard de Chardin and Bernard Wall (trans.), The Phenomenon of Man (1959, 2008), 48. Originally published in French as Le Phénomene Humain (1955).
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To write the true natural history of the world, we should need to be able to follow it from within. It would thus appear no longer as an interlocking succession of structural types replacing one another, but as an ascension of inner sap spreading out in a forest of consolidated instincts. Right at its base, the living world is constituted by conscious clothes in flesh and bone.
— Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
In Teilhard de Chardin and Bernard Wall (trans.), The Phenomenon of Man (1959, 2008), 151. Originally published in French as Le Phénomene Humain (1955).
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We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.
— Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
Quoted in Kim Lim (ed.), 1,001 Pearls of Spiritual Wisdom: Words to Enrich, Inspire, and Guide Your Life (2014), 36
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We have gone a long way towards solving a problem when we are able to formulate it.
— Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
In Le Phénomène Humain (1955) as translated by Bernard Wall in 'The Expansion of Life',The Phenomenon of Man (1959, 2008), 115.
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We may, perhaps, imagine that the creation was finished long ago. But that would be quite wrong. It continues still more magnificently, and at the highest levels of the world.
— Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
In The Divine Milieu (1927, 1968), 62.
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We only have to look around us to see how complexity ... and psychic “temperature” are still rising: and rising no longer on the scale of the individual but now on that of the planet. This indication is so familiar to us that we cannot but recognize the objective, experiential, reality of a directionally controlled transformation of the Noosphere “as a whole.”
— Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
In Teilhard de Chardin and René Hague (trans.), The Heart of Matter (1950, 1978), 38. His term Noosphere refers to the collective sphere of human consciousness.
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We see not only thought as participating in evolution as an anomaly or as an epiphenomenon; but evolution as so reducible to and identifiable with a progress towards thought that the movement of our souls expresses and measures the very stages of progress of evolution itself. Man discovers that he is nothing else than evolution become conscious of itself.
— Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
In Teilhard de Chardin and Bernard Wall (trans.), The Phenomenon of Man (1959, 2008), 221. Originally published in French as Le Phénomene Humain (1955).
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When we mention the end of the world, the idea of some kind of catastrophe always comes to mind.
— Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
In Teilhard de Chardin and Sara Appleton-Weber (trans.), The Human Phenomenon (1999, 2003), 196. Originally published in French as Le Phénomene Humain (1955).
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Without the slightest doubt there is something through which material and spiritual energy hold togehter and are complementary. In the last analysis, somehow or other, there must be a single energy operating in the world. And the first idea that occurs to us is that the 'soul' must be as it were the focal point of transformation at which, from all the points of nature, the forces of bodies converge, to become interiorised and sublimated in beauty and truth.
— Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
In Teilhard de Chardin and Bernard Wall (trans.), The Phenomenon of Man (1959, 2008), 63. Originally published in French as Le Phénomene Humain (1955).
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Your creatures can come into being only, like shoot from stem, as part of an endlessly renewed process of evolution.
— Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
In Hymn of the Universe (1969), 22.
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Quotes by others about Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1)

The greater part of it, I shall show, is nonsense, tricked out with a variety of tedious metaphysical conceits, and its author can be excused of dishonesty only on the grounds that before deceiving others he has taken great pains to deceive himself. … it is the style that creates the illusion of content, and which is a cause as well as merely a symptom of Teilhard's alarming apocalyptic seizures.
Medawar’s acerbic book review of The Phenomenon of Man by Teilhard de Chardin first appeared as 'Critical Notice' in the journal Mind (1961), 70, No. 277, 99. The book review was reprinted in The Art of the Soluble: Creativity and Originality in Science (1967), 71. Medawar thus strongly contradicted other reviewers of the book, which he said was “widely held to be of the utmost profundity and significance; it created something like a sensation upon its publication in France, and some reviewers hereabouts called it the Book of the Year—one, the Book of the Century.”
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  • 1 May - short biography, births, deaths and events on date of Teilhard de Chardin's birth.

Carl Sagan Thumbnail In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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Pierre Laplace
Humphry Davy
Thomas Edison
Lord Kelvin
Theodore Roosevelt
Carolus Linnaeus
- 60 -
Francis Galton
Linus Pauling
Immanuel Kant
Martin Fischer
Robert Boyle
Karl Popper
Paul Dirac
Avicenna
James Watson
William Shakespeare
- 50 -
Stephen Hawking
Niels Bohr
Nikola Tesla
Rachel Carson
Max Planck
Henry Adams
Richard Dawkins
Werner Heisenberg
Alfred Wegener
John Dalton
- 40 -
Pierre Fermat
Edward Wilson
Johannes Kepler
Gustave Eiffel
Giordano Bruno
JJ Thomson
Thomas Kuhn
Leonardo DaVinci
Archimedes
David Hume
- 30 -
Andreas Vesalius
Rudolf Virchow
Richard Feynman
James Hutton
Alexander Fleming
Emile Durkheim
Benjamin Franklin
Robert Oppenheimer
Robert Hooke
Charles Kettering
- 20 -
Carl Sagan
James Maxwell
Marie Curie
Rene Descartes
Francis Crick
Hippocrates
Michael Faraday
Srinivasa Ramanujan
Francis Bacon
Galileo Galilei
- 10 -
Aristotle
John Watson
Rosalind Franklin
Michio Kaku
Isaac Asimov
Charles Darwin
Sigmund Freud
Albert Einstein
Florence Nightingale
Isaac Newton



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