Saturday, May 27, 2006

The collective, the hyper-personal

As I said last week I find it rather confusing that when we converge and unite it is what comes from without rather than from within that could make the difference between a totalitarian regime and Omega point.

I think what Teilhard is trying to say is that our true selves are not wholly inside us and it is only when we harmonise from above that we converge and the negating influence of our own internal desires is diminished. When we converge there is a new emergent energy that is created and released.

One aspect of this external self is love. In collectivisation love is lost and anonymity removes personification. It is this aspect that has led attempts of collectivisation to fail. Think about it, when you become a number you feel less than a whole person, you maybe think less and this is why large organisations and groups go bad.

Teilhard describes this process on p.190 of ‘The human phenomenon’:

“Insofar as it absorbs or seems to absorb the person, collectivity kills the love trying to be born. Collectivity as such is fundamentally unlovable. And this is where philanthropy fails. Common sense is right. It is impossible to give oneself an anonymous number. Let the universe take on ahead of us a face and a heart, become personified so to speak, and then in the atmosphere created by this focal point, the elementary particles will unfold …

Under the forced pressure of an earth folding back on itself, the tremendous energies of attraction still dormant between human molecules will burst out.”

What I see in work is that in a large organisation responsibility is something that is lost. In a hierarchical situation the blame is placed on another level or just ‘someone else’. Errors and faults easily become the fault of the next level up or down and this creates a situation where there is no one to blame and this situation can easily escalate into the sort of serious problems that we have seen over history with the abuse of power.

In the same way when an organisation is restructured and it is not planned properly functions get left out or forgotten for reasons as trivial as the renaming of an office.

Teilhard goes on to describe the uniting force of love as something that is only capable of succeeding when it is convergent. The uniting force of love dissipates if particles are distant. It is only possible to build a structure upwards when the lines of a force close together, like building a pyramid, the strength depends on the support from the layer below. This is why Teilhard describes union as being directed from above:

“In its radial nucleus, the world finds its shape and natural consistency by gravitating against the probable, toward a divine focal point of spirit that draws it forward. . .

Something in the cosmos, therefore, escapes entropy – and does so more and more.”

And further:

“With love, as with every kind of energy, the lines of force must close together at each moment in a given existence. No ideal or virtual centre can ever be enough. For the noosphere to be actual and real, the centre must be actual and real. To be supremely attractive, Omega must be already supremely present.”

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