Teilhard de Chardin believed that the most powerful energy in our universe is love (King, 1999). He did not see the cosmos as something that was lifeless and purposeless. Teilhard and others of his generation witnessed the terrible and awesome power of two World Wars, the destruction of cities with nuclear energy, and the lack of intimacy produced by our mechanized depersonalized industry. Teilhard was not a naive optimist. He was hopeful and refused to see life as meaningless. He believed that love was visible throughout the universe in forms of attraction. From the forces that held quarks together to form protons to the ionic and covalent bonds forming compounds and molecules, to the gravity that holds planets in orbit, cells forming tissues and organisms, colonial life, parental care, altruistic behavior, and selfless care in human relationships, he saw love everywhere.
He believed that there was a delicate balance between the personal love between people and a love of something greater. Many people call that awesome thing God…”I am”, the essence of “to be” (Aquinas, 1981))…truth, beauty, and goodness on such a grand scale that humans are not able to comprehend it, “existence itself.” Therefore, we call the essence of that existence in love a Mystery. We have a choice to believe that love is present woven throughout the universe, or not. In our industrial and technological age, it can be difficult to remember that we have a deep need for spiritual intimacy, to engage with mystery, for relational being. To be spiritual is to acknowledge that there are parts of the universe and of ourselves that are immaterial, spiritual, creative, and mysterious. That Mystery is greater than any one person could ever be to us.
To Teilhard, two individuals who are committed to each other’s good, have to look to something greater than themselves. Whether it is the interconnected universe, the immaterial realm of truth, beauty, and goodness, or the Mystery of Existence, that container holds a creative energy that mere humans are not capable of handling themselves. The Mystery is too immense for any human relationship. It is the reason that many religions refer to “God” as love, love in the truest sense. A selfless, virtuous, creative, and free caring for another. This poem is not about real love. It is about emotion, creative energy, imagination, and illusion. People who have never met in person, who see the essence of the something greater in each other in a world starving for intimacy and spirituality. Our tasks as humans in the 21st century, artists, storytellers, poets, is to harness the creative energy of existence and turn it out toward the world as love. We must make it real, instead of turning it inward toward ourselves in the form of a distraction. When you can engage that powerful, creative force of attractive energy with another person with selfless care and friendship, you have broken through the illusion and ignited the power of authentic love, a participation in the life of the universe with a glimpse of eternity. The challenge is to take your gifts and harness the energy of authentic love, not the illusion of romance. That is a lifelong engagement.
“There is almost a sensual longing for communion with others who have a large vision. The immense fulfillment of the friendship between those engaged in furthering the evolution of consciousness has a quality impossible to describe.” -Teilhard de Chardin
Aquinas, T. (1981). Summa theologica. Westminster, MD: Christian Classics.
Chardin, P. T., & King, U. (1999). Pierre Teilhard de Chardin: Writings. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books.