Perhaps the most
popular theory of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin was his Law of Complexification
- Consciousness, where he stated that the progressive increase of complexity
during evolution was paralleled by an increase in consciousness. This seemed
to imply that even the simplest organisms, say viruses and atoms, have
a kind of primitive, pre-biological consciousness. This led to speculations
about a kind of soul, present in each existing organism. Hence notions
as pantheism and even animism were but a little step.
Things become much
clearer, intelligible and scientifically plausible, if one considers (human)
consciousness as only the latest form in the development of an internal
organizing system, taking several concrete forms during the evolution
of the universe, from some primitive conditions at the subatomic level
to full human consciousness. Using the word consciousness to point
to those primitive forms is allowed, on condition that the definition of
consciousness is extremely generalized, as to become a mere synonym for
Internal Organization is that aspect of the organisms, developed during the evolution of the
Universe, that controls the behaviour (i.e. the structure and/or
the activities) of the organism. It develops alongside the complexity of
the organisms: more complexiity enables a more elaborated organization,
and on the other hand a more elaborate organization permits the structuration
and functioning of an even more complex organism.
1. Some may
deplore this 'mechanical' defintion, and feel that it lacks an emotional,
soul-like dimension. This is a classival problem in trhe development of
hypotheses about the functioniong of the universe, and is discussed in
a text about personalization aspects.
2. The vagueness
of notions as structure and activities as dimensions of behaviour is inevitable, and is a typical aspect of systems (see texts on General
Systems Theory). In highly evolved organisms as humans and society,
aspects as activity, organization and information can clearly be distinguished
form each other, and separate tools are provided for each of these functions.
In more primitive organisms, those functions tend to fuse with each other,
and specific tools tend to disappear.
particles of an atom experience some 'information', e.g. receive one photon,
their position (structure of the atom) and movement (behaviour of the atom)
change. Information, structure and behaviour are rather aspects of the
organism than parts of it. Phases
in the development of an Internal Organization System
One can discern three
major stages in the development of an Internal Organization System. Teilhard
labeled these stages as:
1. The lithosphere (also called geosphere or physiosphere). The possible positions, movements
and interactions of the particles are primarily outlined by the structure of the particle and the more compex organism to which it belongs. This
structure enables and elicits certain movements and positions, and prohibits
and possible movements of an electron is delimited by the nucleus, and
by the proximity of the surrounding electrons. This phase or 'sphere'
includes levels 1 to 5 of the evolution scheme: (1) superstrings, (2) quarks,
(3) particles, (4) atoms, (5) molecules. In fact, it englobes the dead
matter. Each particle interacts by the 4 fundamental forces of nature
with the others in the neighbourhood, and its movements and changes are
the resultant of these interactions. Coincidence and external events seem
to be the major players in the evolutionary process at this level.
2. The biosphere.
The structure of the organism and its possible activities are regulated
by a central code. Two kinds of code exist: the cellular code (DNA, genes, chromosomes) and the behavioural code (the reflexes
encoded in the brain). At the end of this phase (with the mammals) the
behavioural code is extended with a learning ability, enabling the
animal to add some personal reactions, based on its coincidental experiences,
to the genetically transmitted reflexes.
This phase includes
levels 6 to 8: (6) eobionts (also called organelles or protocytes), (7)
protozoa, (8) metazoa.
At this point, nature
adds some tricks to the evolutionary process, resulting in a significant
acceleration of the evolution:
progressive accumulation of experience. The DNA codes, eventually resulting
in the genetic code on the chromosomes, is nearly never changed, but rather
extended. If obsolete, some primitive functions are rather suppressed and
inactivated than removed. Life develops as a phylogenesis rather
than as an improvement by replacing the old codes. In hits personal development,
each organism restarts this phylogenesis at an accelerated speed. We are
able to retrace the evolution of species by comparing the common genetic
codes. 3. The noosphere.
At this point nature leaves the time and energy consuming progression by
structural changes, and switches to a kind of software progress: the behaviour
of the, now intelligent, organisms rather progresses by intellectual, informational
development. The same change occurred with our electronic devices, from
computers to washing machines and mobiles: improvements are rather introduced
by software updates than by hardware adaptations.
Even the structure
of the Central Nervous System consists of concentric layers, each added
to the existing nervous system, whose primitive circuits (local nerves,
spinal reflexes, cerebellar reflexes, etc.) remain in function, but are
bypassed by higher functions, slower but more elaborated.
organisms rather than correcting them. Cells divide, metazoa procreate.
At the metazoic level, nature even was unable to develop a suitable multiplication
system, and simply preferred to start each multicellular organism again
from an unicellular (spermatozoid and ovum). Such mulltiplication by re-creation
implies also death of the individual organism, to recycle the scarcely
available organic matter, and to get rid of worn out exemplars. This means
that death, once the biophase is over, becomes unnatural and rather a waste
than a evolutionary accelerator.
of experience. Very soon, long before the emergence of metazoa, nature
introduced a cross-over of genetic material just before the mitosis. Of
course, such a repeated combination of seperately accumulated enhancements,
resulted into another spectacular acceleration of evolution. This
cross-over, evolving eventually into marriage, is a beautiful analogon
for intellectual interaction and sharing experiences at the noospheric
This transition was
only possible because some developments occurred, including:
frontal cerebral lobe. Man is the only mammal with a front. Even apes
have flat sculls. This frontal lobe, probably the last addition of the
biological evolution, enables man (1) to develop creative mental activities,
by foreseeing some possibilities in his imagination, rather than having
to try it out physically; (2) to develop abstract ideas, enbling him, by
recombination, to imagine parts of reality he never observed or even could
observe (e.g. the world of subatomic particles), to image parts of reality
that not yet exist, --that's creativity. This switch from biophase
to noophase implies the ending of the biological evolution, but not of
evolution itself. The biological developmental evolution is supplanted
by (a) a software (science and psychology), and (b) a technology.
This way man progressively
develops an image of reality, i.e. a scientific knowledge, not only
of the facts, but especially of the whole abstract infrastructure of existing
and dormant reality.
2. language. This enables him (1) to transfer and concerve information (facts and, still
more important, abstract ideas), speeding up the evolution of the indiovidual
and the whole mankind; (2) to set up an internal speech, enabling him to
label many of his abstract ideas, making them more accessible for intellectual
Internet is the latest
tremendous acceleration and qualitative explosion of this communication
as the art of optimal human functioning-- is not just a science
between countless other sciences, but takes over the torch of the evolution.
of consciousness and internal organization
1. To illustrate
the above hypotheses, some schemes could be uselful. Teilhard himself produced
only a limited number of schemes, including this one on the development
of the Noosphere (Noogenesis):
This scheme is important
to illustrate the paradoxical phenomenon of a primary dispersion of the
world of metazoa, mammals and hominoids, and a split up in races and social
castes. But the extern factors of number and limited available place eventually
elicited a move towards 'in-folding', an intellectual and factual
integration, converging into the Omga Point.
Another scheme is this of Jacques Séverin
Abbatucci, living in Caen, French Normandy, where he's leading a group
of Teilhard enthusiasts. Inspired by the 4 major chapters of Teilhard's
Phenomenon of Man, he describes 4 phases, splitting up the Socialization
or Noogenesis phase into the past part and the future part, ending up into
4 phases. The 5th phase, Omega, is just the endpoint of the 4th phase.
The development of
the Internal Organization System is reduced to the Noosphere, presented
here as an increase of consciousness.
3. The scheme of
Wildiers clearly indicates the 9 known levels of the evolution and
the three major organizational phases:
Towards a schematic representation of the Internal Organization System
1. At the lithosphere level:
The behaviour is
determined by the structure.
2. At the biosphere level
genetic code: 3. At the noospheric level:
code dramatically increases
the structural en
b) with a set of
set of instincts and reflexes,
extends the behavioural
in relation with
specific stimulating conditions.
c) with a sub-human
A brain (=
connectivity and memory)
the learning abilities of the animal
enabling it by coincidence
and by trial and error
to add during its
myriads of new behavioural
The brain circuit
is closed in the frontal lobe
creating the ability
for reflection without external input
conducting to the
elaboration of a set of
abstractions about reality
effects of consciousness
The developing conscousness
and, in a lesser degree, the more primitive forms of Internal Organization
during Lithosphere and Biosphere, provoke scertain effects: (1) intelligence,
leading to (2) enhanced subjective fulfillment, and to (3) objective evolution of extern reality and universe.
A growing collection
of data about reality is stocked in memory. Due to the abstraction
ability, and the closed reflection circuit in the frontal cerebral lobe
permitting constant imagination, an increasing number of abstractions
and hypotheses about reality are elaborated by inductive thinking.
This set of suppositions,
true to a certain degree, enables the person, by deductive thinking, to
make suppositions about parts of reality he never saw and perhaps
never will or can see. But the same way thinking produces creativity,
i.e. images about a reality that could but is not yet realized.
An extending internal
image of external reality, by knowledge and supposition, may enable the
person to better get hold of his desires, dreams, abilities and the possibilities of the environment he lives in. Apart from
a better statistical chance to realize his dreams, a feeling of increasing
value, importance and happiness may be experienced. Furthermore,
the experience of growing in itself is rewarding.
An intelligent view
on reality not only helps to develop new successful interactions with this
reality, but the expanding consciousness evokes an increasing feeling of
3. objective completion
of society, world and universe
Our conscious interaction
with reality and the world we live in, may enable us to complete, at a
greater speed than just left to blind coincidence, the evolutionary trend
of the universe. As stated elsewhere, happiness,
the sense of our existence, eventually consists in taking part in this
Starting at a very
humble level, and making often the most dramatic errors, he apparently
succeeds, by the integration of the initiatives of egotistic aspirations,
to approach step by step this Omgea point. Of course, one can not be blind
for the ever existing possibility that our world belongs to the statistical
group of failures in this cosmic movement towards Omega. But it is still
possible, in spite of so many mistakes, short-sighted and agressive projects,
to keep a belief in a positive outcome (see texts on 'evil' and positive
Anyway, we can perhaps
observe a progressive transition from egotistic chaos towards integrative
In this scheme, the
x represents the progress of time, and y the level at which transitions
occur: from simple, materialistic aspects of daily life, e.g. respecting
the rules of traffic, towards high psychocultural concerns, e.g. searching
together to find the secret of happiness in a long lasting love. This graph
illustrates two tendencies:
(1) in the beginning
human co-operation and social interaction is rather absent. There is a
chaos where each person struggles for his own profits. The strongest dominate
the less strong. Progressively, thanks to many forms of social and moral
pressure, formerly imposed by kings, priests and other rulers, but nowadays
achieved by revolutions, free press, trade unions and Non Governmental
Organizations including Greenpeace and Amnesty International a kind of
law and order is imposed. And finally, education and social sensitivity
introduced enough moral responsability and long term thinking that spontaneous
co-operation and mutual respect emerge.
(2) at the same time
there is a progression from superficial, elemetary and 'material' topics
to more cultural and psychological areas. The shift from chaos towards
an imposed, and later a spontaneous order and coordination occurs first
in the more direct and material domains, and only at a much later stage
in the emotional, psychological, cultural and spiritual areas.
and education starts rather with regulations for traffic security and with
the prevention of excessive forms of sexual misbehaviour than with more
subtle questions including optimal communication, tenderness, positive
thinking, spirituality etc. It is important to consider
that these 3 stages of socialization not only depend from the structures
and personality of the dominating person or system, but also from the synergic
maturity of the members of the organized group: a cooperating group
of people is only able to function along a synergistic mode, on the condition
they are well informed and have an intense and easy communication at their
disposal, are able to make integrations with this information rather than
choices, and can act with correctness and self-discipline. More primitive
modes of social control in fact are a compensation for insufficient or
less developed synergic maturity.
The second phase
of socialization, called here imposed order, can further be subdivided
into a number of sub-stages, e.g. (1) uncontroled domination (monarchy,
dictature), (2) inspired domination (enlighted despotism, oligarchy), (3)
controled domination (parliamentary monarchy, democracy). In a separate
page we will extend this study of the socialization process.
These are the general
trends. Of course, at a particular place and time in history this progress
occurs probably less linearly, but with highs and lows.