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Underground Thinkers – Teilhard de Chardin

September 22, 2019

I have put together a study of the ideas of various underground thinkers in the 20th century. This is the content of my new book due for release in November. I explore what it is in the content of their ideas that forces them into the underground of thought. And why they would be motivated to pursue these ideas, knowing that they would end up being largely ostracised from the mainstream of western thought.

Certain areas of thought have become normalised to fit in line with one particular mainstream narrative, which started around the time of the formation of positivism. I outline what those doctrines are, why it came about, and discuss the weaknesses in it that are raised by various underground thinkers in the 20th century who try to resist it.

One such figure is Teilhard de Chardin. Although at one time he did have some success in the mainstream, he became more ostracised over time due to his divergence from the “accepted” position of natural selection as a random process with no direction. Teilhard de Chardin distinguished aspects of what we know about evolution from some of the neo-darwinian dogmas.

His suggestion was that we know there is a gradual process of transformation of species. We can know this from evolution. But we cannot know what the causal mechanism of these changes is. In fact he suggests that evolution is actually driven by teleological ends, rather than efficient causes. To state this is to sin against the accepted positivist doctrine, and is to make you liable to be “memory-holed”, despite of his popularity and success in his time, and despite of the good reasoning he brought to bear in defence of his views.

He proposed the alternative notion of directed evolution, heading towards certain ends or goals. It’s reasonableness is not enough to defend it from attack by positivists, as it does not fit the pattern of being empirically testable.

We need to find some way to reconcile these alternative perspectives into our view of the world. By pushing them underground, in favor of a strict official doctrine of positivism, that few actually believe, but everyone is scared to question, we create a schism in our thinking that infects all aspects of our lives over time.

We see some of the unhealthy consequences of this in our western society today, which seems to be in some sort of identity crisis. It’s split allegiance between an official position it can’t live up to, and various conflicting underground positions it needs to find release in, lead to a state where we cannot be true to ourselves, and so must engage in ever more layers of deceit and deception.

undergroundphilosophyI hope to find a way that we can reconcile these different ways of thinking about the world. And the way to do it is to argue from reasonable positions, rather than the lazy relativism on one side and dependence on arguments from authority on the other, where positivist mainstream thinking always defers its argumental position to the authority of some self proclaimed experts or scientists.

This I attempt to do in my new book with Teilhard de Chardin and a selection of other underground thinkers from the 20th century, such as Mircea Eliade, Carl Jung, Rupert Sheldrake and a few others. Here is a link to the book on Amazon for pre-order.

Amazon US  Amazon UK

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