Martin LeFevre: Omega Point? No, Pi Point!
Omega Point? No, Pi Point!
As Wikipedia defines it, “the Omega point is a term used by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin to describe the aim towards which consciousness evolves…he held that evolution was a process converging toward a final unity.” But at least where humankind is concerned, Teilhard got it back-asswards; we represent the Pi point.
Rather amusingly, pi means, “to throw into disorder.” But since nature unfolds in a dynamic and holistic order, and humans evolved along with all other creatures on earth, how did man become such a factor of disorder to the planet and to ourselves? Nearly all explanations for “the riddle of man” suffer from enslavement to the idea of progress, including Teilhard de Chardin’s and his ‘Omega Point.”
Before going further, I must make an essential proviso. Simply put, an explanation cannot substitute for the arduous work of transformation. That is the responsibility of each person alone, without recourse to any authority, be it religious or scientific. That said, an explanation could point the way, and help allay the rampant cynicism that is leading many people to believe that humankind is hopeless.
If evolution has an intrinsic drive toward ‘higher consciousness,’ it hits a big bump in the road with the evolution of ‘higher thought.’ Conscious thought is both a necessary precondition for cosmic awareness, and a great impediment to it. Obviously, the brain has to reach a certain level of mass and complexity before the meditative state is possible. Cats may seem mystical, but no cat can ever be a mystic.
I say that with tongue firmly planted in cheek, since I don’t believe in mysticism. My philosophical intent is to demystify ‘mystical experience.’
The insight that the separative mechanism of ‘higher thought' carries with it the strong tendency to fragment things all to hell solves one aspect of the riddle, while highlighting another. Given that there is indeed such a thing as cosmic consciousness, and that there is an intrinsic drive in evolution toward it, then how did such an impediment arise?
The question is all the more perplexing when one considers that thought is both an obstacle to and a prerequisite for cosmic consciousness. When one really touches upon this mystery, one feels a whisper of compassion in the cosmos for creatures such as us. Of course, one can’t be sure that this isn’t one’s own projection, but for me at least, the feeling is there.
At any rate, the dilemma seems to resolve (and dissolve) itself in the very comprehension of it. There is a mathematical elegance to the insight that ‘higher thought’ is both a prerequisite and an obstacle to awakening. Of course, this implies that there will be a turning point, when the transformation of humankind will begin to end the rampant division, conflict, and fragmentation we are presently experiencing due to the unwise use of thought.
In this view, spiritual progress is illusory, and man does not ‘evolve.’ Thought-bearing creatures such as ourselves generate more and more fragmentation on their planets until they (the planet and the thought-bearing creature) can’t take anymore. Then they radically change, or they perish. Since extinction, from our point of view, isn’t an option, and since understanding the "riddle of man" is part of resolving it, I feel humankind will make the turn in time.
Without implying teleology (much less “intelligent design”), something is going on in human consciousness that goes far beyond man-made meanings. Can humankind really align itself with the universe, and reverse an exponentially growing trajectory of division and fragmentation? Can the source of ecological destruction, war, gross economic disparity, and mass depression really change?
When thought is completely quiet, the brain is like a very sensitive antenna, receiving and reflecting awareness far beyond our imagining. Indeed, if we don’t destroy our capacity for awareness, but develop it as much as we can, we can awaken the cosmic mind in our own brain.
Pi is also the symbol for the ratio of a circle, what’s called a “transcendental number” (3.14159265). In our evolution on this planet, humankind has come full circle. Whether we stand at the end of our spiritual development, or its true beginning, is up to us. Question and find out for yourself. There are no bystanders.
- Martin LeFevre is a contemplative, and non-academic religious and political philosopher. He has been publishing in North America, Latin America, Africa, and Europe (and now New Zealand) for 20 years. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. The author welcomes comments.