Teilhard de Chardin believes that ‘the evolution of consciousness depends on three steps. And Chardin is one of the most important Christian thinkers of this century. But still he remains confined to Christianity; he cannot soar higher than Christian boundaries. These are the three steps that he talks about. Ordinarily, consciousness is simple, innocent. After that there are three steps. First he talks about complexity. He says ‘Consciousness grows through complexity.’
That is true. The original mind is absolutely simple, its taste is one, it has no duality. And because there is no duality there is no possibility of dialogue, argument. And because there is no possibility of argument and dialogue, there is no possibility of understanding. With the conflict, with friction, one evolves. So from one, man becomes dual; from unity, duplicity: from duplicity, triplicity: from triplicity, multiplicity. That’s how man goes on growing – complication.
Man’s consciousness is one in the original state, then it becomes many. Through the many… the growth; that is the Hegelian concept of growth, and Marxian too. Hegel calls it ‘the dialectical process’: thesis creates its antithesis, antithesis and thesis join into a synthesis, and the synthesis becomes a thesis and creates its antithesis. And this is how it goes on.
You cannot grow if your consciousness is unitary. It has to create a conflict in itself. With the conflict, energy is created. Conflict creates energy, friction creates energy. You strike two stones and fire is born. You strike two dry woods and fire is possible. You rub your hands and electricity is born. All energy is created through friction. So the original human consciousness has to become divided, has to become split, has to become dual. And the more evolved a mind man has, the more fragments he will have. So a thinker is almost a crowd. He is not one, he is not two, he is not three, he is many.
The second state Chardin calls ‘concentration’, because once the unity is lost and man has become many, there arises chaos and one loses one’s identity. One does not know who one is, then an identity is needed, a self is needed, an ego is needed to hold all these fragments together. Otherwise they will start falling apart and you will not be able to survive – hence the ego.
Ego is an effort to create a kind of unity inside yourself. The natural unity is lost. Now you have to create an unnatural, synthetic unity. The ego is a synthetic self, a created self, a managed self. One part of your being becomes the master and forces other parts to be slaves. A kind of government arises inside you.
Complexity creates energy. Concentration creates a possibility to use that energy; otherwise there will be no use for it. Energy will be there, and energy will kill you. It will be too much and it will be in so many directions. All those directions have to be focused in one direction, the whole energy has to be channelised into one. This is what Chardin calls ‘concentration’; unification around a centre; a self is born, ego is born, discipline is born.
And the third he calls ‘direction’. Once the ego is there, once you have a kind of self, a kind of unity – although managed, but still a unity – then the goal is possible. You can become an arrow, you can have a target in the future.
These three steps Chardin thinks are enough to explain human consciousness. They are not. They are important but not complete.
The Hindu vision of life is far more complete. Chardin’s vision is linear: unity, then complexity, then concentration, then direction. And the direction goes on and on, the arrow goes on and on and on, and there is no end to it. It is linear. The arrow goes on for infinity, it never comes back.
This is not true. This is logical, but not natural.
The Hindu vision is circular. Hindus say everything moves in a circle not in a line. Nature moves in a circle, seasons move in a circle, stars move in a circle, man’s LIFE moves in a circle. Everything natural moves in a circle. The circle is the way of nature. The linear is just a concept of the mind. The line does not exist in nature. If you are aware of non-Euclidean geometry then you will know.
Euclid believes in line; non-Euclidean geometry says there is nothing like line in existence. The line also is part of a bigger circle, that’s all. No line is straight, and no line can be straight – you cannot draw a straight line. If you draw a straight line, that simply means you are sitting on a circular earth and drawing a straight line. Go on drawing the line from both ends go on drawing it, and you will find one day that the line has become a circle around the earth. So that small straight line was just a part of a big circle.
Hindus say it is circular. To me, the Hindu concept is far more true than the Christian concept of linear progress. But still, my own suggestion is a little different to both. My suggestion is: spiral – neither linear nor circular; evolution is a spiral. In that way both are joined together. In a spiral the progress moves as if it is moving in a line, because it never comes to exactly the same point again.
Christ never becomes Adam again, because Adam was ignorant and innocent, and Christ is innocent and fully aware. He never comes back to Adam, exactly to Adam. So the Hindu concept misses something. But in another sense he becomes Adam again because the innocence is the same, just that now it is fully aware. Then it was not aware, then it was asleep, now it is alert. In a sense Christ becomes Adam again because it is the same innocence. So Hindus are right. And in a sense Christ never becomes Adam again, because it is luminous innocence. In that sense Christians are right. But they are only half-half right.
To have the vision of the full truth, I would like to call evolution a spiral. It comes back to the original point but never on the same plane – on a higher plane. It comes again and again but always on a higher plane. If you have been trekking in the mountains you know what I mean. You go on a path; the path moves around the mountain. Again you come to the same point, the same rocks, the same valley, the same trees, but a little higher. It is a spiral.
To make it a spiral, I would like to add three more steps to it. Chardin says: complexity, concentration, direction. These three more steps have to be added. The first is: awareness, meditation. Concentration is just the beginning. Concentration is not relaxed, it is tense. One cannot concentrate twenty-four hours a day; one will go mad. So concentration can never become natural, but one can meditate twenty-four hours a day. One can live in meditation. It can become natural, it can become like breathing. It can be relaxed.
Concentration is focused consciousness. Meditation is just aware consciousness. For example, if you are listening to me, you can listen in a concentrated way. That will tire you, that will exhaust you. If you are listening very, very tensely so that you don’t miss a single word, then it will be tiring. But you can listen in a meditative way. That means you are relaxed and open, vulnerable, that’s all. You will not be tired. Listening for one and a half hours, rather than being tired, you will be enriched, rejuvenated. You will feel more energy afterwards than before, and you will feel more flow in your being. So the fourth thing has to be awareness, meditativeness, openness.
Concentration is directional, meditation is non-directional. Concentration has an object, a content. Meditation has no object, no content; it is just an opening. You are listening to me, a bird starts singing – that too you listen to, a train passes by – that too you listen to. You are not listening to me. All is included. You are open from all the sides, not only open to me. This is a higher stage of evolution than concentration is: it is de-concentration.
And the fifth I call playfulness. Christianity has no idea of playfulness, and Chardin has no idea of playfulness. ‘Direction’, ‘goal’, ‘purpose’ – that is very business-like, tiring, and makes man sad and serious. Something like playfulness has to be added, because a really grown-up person is capable of play. A really grown-up person is sincere but not serious. Seriousness is a kind of illness because seriousness will create tension in you; it will never allow you to celebrate. Only playfulness can become celebration and joy.
And there seems to be no space for joy in Chardin’s chart – nothing of playfulness. Complexity, concentration, direction – good as far as they go, but they don’t go far enough. And they don’t go into creating a happy, celebrating human being . And without celebration what is the purpose? All purpose leads to a purposeless play. You work, but you work finally to relax. You work hard, just so that you are able to play. You work five days, so that at the weekend you can rest on the beach. All purpose leads to purposeless play. So the fifth I call playfulness, non-seriousness, non-purposiveness, celebration, joy.
And sixth I call egolessness. Ego is needed – because one falls into a chaos, and a synthetic self is needed. But that self is synthetic, plastic, it is not real. It has to be dropped one day. Use it, go beyond it, and throw it! One has to come to egolessness; one has to forget that one exists separately from existence. In that forgetfulness, in that dropping of the ego, one becomes Adam again in a totally new way. One becomes Christ – again unity, again simplicity, again innocence, but now luminous this time. You are twice-born.
This way one again comes back to the original simplicity, the original face. But it is higher than the first originality, hence I call it spiral. It is primal innocence, but not just primal innocence. It has immense light in it, it is not dark. It is not primitive; it is the highest point of consciousness. It is divine innocence. What Plotinus calls ’the One’ – this is the One. First the One was not aware of itself, now the One is aware of itself. God is born in you.
In Adam God was a seed; in Christ God has become a flowering. The seed has come to its full manifestation.
This is the difference between the child and the sage. Adam is the child, Christ is the sage. They both are alike and yet not alike at all. Something similar and something absolutely different: similarity in innocence, dissimilarity in awareness, luminosity. Or you can call the first state ‘nature’, and the second state ‘God’. When nature realises itself, it becomes God. When nature recognises itself, it becomes God. The beginning and the end have to be the same in some way and yet not the same in some other way. The alpha has to be the omega, and the omega has to be the alpha; and yet they have to exist on totally different planes. Adam is body, Christ is soul; Jesus is mind – a bridge just in between the two polarities.
Taken from I Say Unto You, Vol. 2, Chapter Nine
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