a new day dawns
It would be pretty hard to argue with the observation that we are living in an age of great change and social upheaval. Most of our societal institutions have either been abandoned or undergone enormous change. The established institutions of education, medicine, law and government are highly suspect and no longer provide a rock-solid foundation for everyday living. Established churches and organized religions are being abandoned. Governments around the world are being toppled. Our understanding and definition of marriage and our traditional judgements about sexual orientation are being turned upside down.
The striking "change" sweeping through our culture all seems so chaotic. It makes some people feel that we are at some sort of precipice of destruction.
Yesterday I had an online conversation with someone, and we were talking about the chaos in today's world. "I welcome the return to chaos," he said, "it is a symptom that we are entering a new era." That phrase- a return to chaos - elicited such a visceral response in me that I physically felt a burst of energy in my body, and I was struck with a new sense of hope.
I immediately thought of the creation myth/poem in the Book of Genesis-- in the beginning, the Spirit of God hovered over the chaos and creation sprung up from it.
I also thought about some of the things Jesus said when he taught that you can't put new wine into old wine skins and that the kingdom of God can't happen unless something old dies.
In my heart of hearts, I believe that all the change and upheaval of our current times is indeed a symptom of a new era. From the chaos something new is springing up. We are throwing away the old wineskins.
Back in the early 20th century, Jesuit priest and anthropologist Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, developed a theology that focused on the next phase of human evolution. He suggested that this next evolutionary phase would go beyond biology. It would be an evolution into a new emerging universal cosmic consciousness.
In Teilhard's vision, God is the pure source of energy and love from which all creation has sprung up. Each and every human being has a "spark of God" in us. This "spark of God" connects us all.
He goes on to say that God is "The Omega Point." God is like a cosmic magnet pulling us all back to the source. We are all moving to that Omega Point - the end point of evolution - a state of cosmic consciousness when all human beings become aware that we "are" one another.
I was always very attracted to Teilhard, but the church sure wasn't. His work was labelled as heresy and his books were banned. Many people didn't understand him and thought his theology sounded more like science fiction. For me, his claim that we are evolving to the "Omega Point" of cosmic consciousness powerfully expresses a deep truth about the human condition.
I think about the discoveries of the the new scientists of our own day- neuroscientists, quantum physicists, and string theorists. They sound more like poets than traditional scientists as they unveil the fact that we are indeed all connected in a dynamic flow of cosmic energy; and that the human brain is not inside the head. Rather, the brian "is" better understood as the complex series of relationships we have outside our individual selves.
I think about the new cultural popularity of eastern religions like Buddhism - religions based upon the premise that we are all one another- dynamically interconnected.
I think about the vast new changes being brought about through the internet and the use of social media. We "are" already at some new point of evolutionary emergence when people from all over the planet can talk to one another in real time on Facebook and Google+, tweet one another in real time in an ongoing planetary interaction, and be linked-in to one another in a complex world-wide connection.
I think about all these things, and I conclude that Teilhard was indeed a prophet of our own age. We are evolving toward the "Omega Point." - toward a point of cosmic consciousness.
So let the old world die that a new one may emerge. Let the old institutions fade away and the old wineskins be abandoned. Let the chaos return so that a new creation may emerge.
Someday, 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,
humankind will have discovered fire.
(Pierre Teilhard de Chardin)