“The conflict dates from the day when one man, flying in the face of appearance, perceived that the forces of nature are no more unalterably fixed in their orbits than the stars themselves, but that their serene arrangement around us depicts the flow of a tremendous tide—the day on which a first voice rang out, crying to mankind quietly slumbering on the raft of Earth, ‘We are moving! We are going forward!”
“It is a pleasant and dramatic spectacle, that of Mankind divided to its very depths into two irrevocably opposed camps–one looking towards the horizon and proclaiming with all its new-found faith, ‘We are moving’, and the other, without shifting its position, obstinately maintaining, ‘Nothing changes. We are not moving at all.’ These latter, the ‘immobilists’, …
forbid the earth to move. Nothing changes, they say, or can change. The raft must drift purposelessly on a shoreless sea.”
“But the other half of mankind, startled by the look-out’s cry, has left the huddle where the rest of the crew sit with their heads together telling time-honored tales. Gazing out over the dark sea they study for themselves the lapping of the waters along the hull of the craft that bears them, breathe the scents borne to them on the breeze, gaze at the shadows cast from pole to pole by a changeless eternity. And for these all things, while remaining separately the same–the ripple of the water, the scent of the air, the lights in the sky–become linked together and aquire a new sense: the fixed and random universe is seen to move.
No one who has seen this vision can be restrained from guarding and protecting it. To testify to my faith in it, and to show reasons, is my purpose here.
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, THE FUTURE OF MAN, 1959
More on Teilhard next time…If anyone wishes to add graphics, I will say thanks.