In preparation for our upcoming webinar “Teilhard de Chardin & Carl Jung: A Convergence” with Matthew Fox we are inviting you to ponder the following questions and offer your own insights and reflections:
What questions or comments does this topic evoke for you?
How do you see “constructive convergency” working in your lives?
There is indeed a convergence of ideas between Teilhard and Jung, each of whose contributions are complementary. Teilhard was a paleontologist presenting a scientific notion of an evolving christogenesis from an “outer world” perspective (objective/physical) on reality. Jung was a psychiatrist inclined to an “inner world” view (subjective/psycho-spiritual) of reality. Along integral lines, outer and inner worlds are really one world operating out of the same energy and transformative dynamics, with each man specializing in only one of those complementary domains.
Teilhard asserted that Spirit is the highest part of matter, which over deep time evolves by converging, interiorizing, and condensing itself within the psychospiritual core of humans. That is, he envisioned evolution as moving toward a new phylum by crystallizing a center in the interior life of humans (a christogenesis). While Teilhard did not have the background and/or terminology to understand the workings of the interior life and its evolution, Jung’s ideas supplied the integral understanding (and vocabulary) of the psyche/spirit nexus to complement Teilhard’s paleontology model. To name a few (in alphabetical order):
Alchemy – describing the “secret of God” in transforming inner energies
Assimilation – the process of integrating the contents of personal and collective consciousness (interiorly)
Introversion – a concentration of energy on inner psychic processes
Individuation – a synthesis of the Self consisting of the union of contraries (interiorly), mainly conscious and unconscious
Wholeness – psychic stage in which all forces that come to bear on a soul are integrated and reconciled (interiorly)
Wise Old Man — the end of the individuation process embodying wisdom (interiorly)
Teilhard described the convergence process that plays out along visible evolutionary lines, whereas Jung described the evolutionary dynamics that play out invisibly, along transformative/alchemical lines hidden in the interior life. Both describe the death/resurrection choreography of the paschal mystery using different language, and viewed it from different angles; Teilhard, along paleontological lines over the course deep time global history; Jung along psychospiritual lines over the course of the spirit-soul’s individual history.
One man’s work describes the evolutive side of the paschal mystery, the other its involutive side — two aspects of one movement, the push-pull tension of individual (Jung) and collective (Teilhard) history, and the entire created order. Such push-forces go by the theological term hypostatic union, describing the tension that marries the spiritual/material dimensions of the created order.
As inner and outer worlds are one world, Teilhard and Jung represent unintegrated halves of that unity awaiting convergence, the ostensive challenge and task of the upcoming Fox presentation. As for Teilhard/Jung, each saw and ascribed divinity as integral to the process, but without explaining how.
Neither Teilhard or Jung named the energy that motorizes the collective (Teilhard) or personal (Jung) facets of the evolutionary/transformative processes they described, though each implied it. That energy, being One and undivided, is the very definition of God, the key to a science-spirituality synthesis, and the answer to the holy grail quest.
P.S. The union of both luminaries is a hybrid guy by the name of, what else? “Junghard.” Perhaps one day a university course will be offered in, you guessed it, in “Junghardian Metaphysics.”