The Teilhard de Chardin Project: Coming April 2015

The Teilhard de Chardin Project

The Teilhard de Chardin Project

I started this blog in the Spring for several reasons.  First, I had recently had a “reconversion” and wanted to more deeply explore my faith.  Second, I was frustrated in some of my interactions with both agnostics and religiously-oriented people who believed there was somehow a conflict between faith and reason. Third, I had discovered the writings of Teilhard de Chardin and thought that his message needed to get out to a wider audience. Fourth, I wanted to correct some misconceptions of Teilhard de Chardin, both from “conservatives” who thought he was an “unorthodox” Christian and from “liberals” who wanted to strip the Christianity out of Teilhard de Chardin’s vision.

Shortly after I started this endeavor I found The Teilhard de Chardin Project.  This is a large undertaking by Frank Frost Productions, in collaboration with numerous others. The highlight will be a documentary on Teilhard de Chardin’s life in 2015 but it also will include a robust web presence. I was fortunate to have a few brief communications with Mr. Frost and am very impressed with the effort and team he has built so far.  Set forth below is information on the Project from the website.  I encourage you to check out the website and to support to Teilhard de Chardin Project.

The Project

What is The Teilhard de Chardin Project?

The Teilhard de Chardin Project consists of a 2-hour television biography, The Evolution of Teilhard de Chardin, [working title] interpreting the life and philosophy of Teilhard, a contemporary of Einstein, and a powerful voice for both evolutionary science and religion in the 20th century, plus a robust interactive website.  Produced by Frank Frost Productions, LLC, the documentary will be accompanied by a multifaceted internet outreach that provides opportunities for viewers to dialogue with one another and scholars from around the world on topics introduced by Teilhard’s sweep of ideas.

The Time is Right

The time is ripe to introduce Pierre Teilhard de Chardin to a new generation – the man, the paleontologist, the visionary French Jesuit priest, whose relentless effort to reframe his beliefs in the light of evolution led to a paradigm shift in the relationship of science and religion.  He foresaw the evolutionary emergence of the internet, globalization, and today’s transhumanism movement, although he was perhaps overly optimistic in his vision.  His legacy includes a strong environmental movement, and multiple movements in cosmic spirituality.

The Story

  • A captivating human story (Indiana Jones meets Galileo) about scientific adventure (discovery of Peking Man), religious repression, and a love story, with a seemingly tragic end
  • It engages a socio-political issue that swept this country in 1925 and has never gone away – evolution v. religious belief – which today shows up in politics, science education v. Creationism or Intelligent Design, and denial of global warming, among other issues.  (Teilhard’s religious suppression in France was concurrent with the Scopes trial in U.S.)
  • Teilhard’s evolutionary vision is closely associated with the internet; he foresaw 100 years ago the emergence of instant global communications, globalization, and the transhumanism movement.
  • It has immense post-broadcast potential for interactive web pursuit of science education, the science-religion debate, environmental philosophy, revolution in religion, and transhumanism, among other thematic strands.
  • It has cross-over between the 18-35 demographic and the 35+ demographic, both through its content and its audience promotion.

Why Now?

One might ask whether, given the rapid change society has experienced since Teilhard’s death 56 years ago, his insights have been rendered obsolete.  On the contrary, they have become all the more relevant.  Science and technology have been transformative in the past 80 years since he was writing, and grow at an exponential rate, revealing incredible new wonders of the universe, from galaxies opened up to us through the Hubble Space Telescope to the detection of ever smaller particles of matter, down to the Higgs boson.  The deeper and more expansive our knowledge the more astonishing are the broad outlines of his vision and the more valuable they become in helping us navigate the present-becoming-future.

Teilhard’s riveting life story and expansive evolutionary vision invite fresh perspectives on:

  • the persistent rancorous public debate between science and religion;
  • our responsibility for preserving the planet we inhabit;
  • the role of science in the promotion of human progress.

 Project Supporters

 Reading like a “Who’s Who” in academic, theological, and scientific circles, the fledgling project has already gathered strong support from institutions and scholars.

Television Producer

The The Evolution of Teilhard de Chardin is a production of Frank Frost Productions, LLC, an award-winning company with a long history of nationally broadcast documentaries on subjects related to human and cultural values.

Visual Style

The story is told blending fresh HD footage with archival footage, evocative live action imagery, and vibrant CGI, interwoven with scholars’ commentary. Audio plays a critical role since the story is told mostly in Teilhard’s own words from his personal journals, essays, and books. Modern day imagery will be acquired in the locations Teilhard lived and worked in France, England, China, and the United States. Embedded in this rich milieu is archival footage from the considerable still and motion picture material available on Teilhard, as well as of contexts in which he lived, especially WWI where he served at the front in 67 battles over 5 years; 1920s Paris; 1930s China; and 1950s New York City.

Schedule

2013 Fundraising, pre-production, shooting, editing, web development

2014 Shooting, editing, web development, promotion

2015 Promotion and broadcast, (60th anniversary of Teilhard’s death)

About William Ockham

I am a father of two with eclectic interests in theology, philosophy and sports. I chose the pseudonym William Ockham in honor of his contributions to philosophy, specifically Occam's Razor, and its contributions to modern scientific theory. My blog (www.teilhard.com) explores Ignatian Spirituality and the intersection of faith, science and reason through the life and writings of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (pictured above).
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25 Responses to The Teilhard de Chardin Project: Coming April 2015

  1. irishsignora says:

    This sounds like a worthwhile project. Our family will contribute what little we can to its furtherance! Peace be with you – Kelly

  2. Erik Andrulis says:

    Cool news, thanks for sharing. Look forward to seeing this biography when it is complete. Peace, Ik

  3. Kelly and Erik, yes I am excited about the Project. It was an odd coincidence that I started this endeavor around that same time that Mr. Frost was working on The Teilhard Project. He obviously has a lot more resources than I do but I am supporting him how I can.

  4. Lynda says:

    William, this is very exciting but I must say that you mention “an odd coincidence” in your above comment. I believe that these things occur in God’s timing. I’m another example of this because Teilhard’s name came up in a theology course this past winter and I was so thrilled with his ideas and a while later I came across your website.

    • Lynda, great point on God directing the timing. Thank you for correcting me.

      • Lynda says:

        I apologize if I came across as though I was correcting you for that was truly not my intention. Blessings.

      • Hi Lynda, no apologies necessary. You made a fantastic point which I believe is accurate. I have fairly thick skin and I often write quickly so I welcome any corrections, amplifications, clarifications, etc. I really appreciate your overall insights as I can not tell you how wonderful it is to be able to converse with another spiritual seeker who has similar reactions to Teilhard de Chardin as I do! :-).

        Peace,
        W. Ockham

  5. Prayer and Truth says:

    I have never ever heard of this man until now and I am very fascinated reading everything about him. Thank you for posting this. I too am re-finding my faith and I am enjoying doing so more than ever 🙂

    • I have a similar experience. I was having a faith crisis and I happened to stumble across Teilhard de Chardin in a couple of books I was reading, specifically, The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything by James Martin, S.J. and Introduction to Christianity by Pope Benedict. Both books mentioned Teilhard de Chardin and I eventually read some of his works and it was like magic. His synthesis of science and theology, while certainly has its flaws, is amazing in its ability to combine both and yet make both of them even grander.

      I really enjoy your blog. You have some fantastic video clips. Thank you for sharing and stopping by.

  6. Wonderful news about this project, William! It’s a pleasure discovering your blog and the Teilhard de Chardin Project – I am an avid reader of this man’s work and whole-heartedly agree, it would be great to give his life’s work more exposure in the modern world. Particularly among contemporary Christians.

    A little background: I did a private study on Teilhard’s Phenomenon of Man and contemporary society back in undergrad at Fordham University (A Jesuit college, mind you!). I’ve since went on to receive an un-traditional degree in Consciousness Studies from Goddard College, and Teilhard has continued to influence my writing and research.

    Looking forward to following this blog, and the project! Cheers!

    -Jeremy

    • Jeremy, thank you for stopping by. I welcome your contributions as you are more familiar with Teilhard de Chardin’s work than I am (although I am trying to catch up :-).

      Your blog looks very interesting and I look forward to looking at it in more detail.

      Peace,
      W. Ockham

      • Thanks William, and from first-looks, your re-conversion into the Christian tradition appears to be very rich. So I’m very much looking forward to reading your appreciation of Teilhard from that angle. My own interest in Teilhard admittedly led me to, as Deleuze puts it, other “lines of flight” in the contemporary spiritual counter-culture.

        Thanks for checking out my blog as well! An intersection of sorts between new traditions and old.

      • Thank you for kind words. Part of the reason I like Teilhard de Chardin is that he moved into two very different worlds that often collided, something that I can relate to.

        I had the chance to explore your site some more and I commend you for creating some outstanding context, including some great podcast interviews. I look forward to reviewing it more. Your own journey looks very interesting also. The road to global consciousness will need people from different communities working together for the common purposes of humankind. Congratulations to you and your team for all of your efforts.

        Peace,
        W. Ockham

  7. Willy Crespo says:

    This is an important voice in science and religion that has been kept silent for too long. Pierre De Chardin’s writings are inspirational and illuminating; they certainly set the tone and direction for future meaningful dialogue. He was silenced once in the past but the truth he pointed to, the love he lived and the object of his devotion has become undeniable. This time we must hear him!

    Willy Crespo

    • Willy:

      Thank you for your comments. I absolutely agree with you and hope that The Teilhard Project will make an impact in spreading the ideas of Teilhard de Chardin.

      Peace,
      W. Ockham

  8. Mary Beaty says:

    Passe Muraille’s production of the De Chardin Project opens (previews) this Thursday, and runs until Dec 15. http://passemuraille.ca/archives/current-season/de-chardin-project

    “The De Chardin Project is about Jesuit priest, scientist and philosopher Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881-1955). De Chardin, suffering a cerebral hemorrhage finds himself beyond the phenomenal world in an encounter with an enigmatic guide who leads him on the ultimate adventure: the excavation of himself.

    A paleontologist, geologist, teacher, philosopher, mystic, theologian, and Jesuit priest, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin was a man of many talents and interests. Born in the Auvergne region of central France, Teilhard worked and studied in Egypt, England, and France, served as a stretcher-bearer in World War I, earned his doctorate from the Sorbonne, and became well-known for his views on the compatibility of evolution and theology. His writings on this issue challenged the historicity of Adam and Eve as well as the traditional understanding of Original Sin and were censored by the Roman Catholic Church, which exiled him to China in 1923. Condemned and exiled, Jesuit Pierre Teilhard de Chardin crossed continents searching for the missing link. His groundbreaking discoveries in human evolution transcended barriers between Faith and Science.

    Winner of the DORA MAVOR MOORE AWARD for OUTSTANDING NEW PLAY (Independent Division), this play by Adam Seybold features Stratford star Maev Beaty and award-winning actor Cyrus Lane. It is directed by Alan Dilworth, winner of the prestigious Christopher Plummer Award.

    There are more details about the piece on the theatre website: http://passemuraille.ca/archives/current-season/de-chardin-project

  9. Mary Beaty says:

    I mean to add a preface! Hope you know about this play, and if anyone is near Toronto, it runs for about 3 weeks. Cheers, Mary

  10. Barbara hans says:

    When is the two hour special on tv?

  11. Keith Sjosten says:

    When read Teilhards words on Omega point they inspire hope, today as well as 50 years ago when I first read Milieu. Now however it has become something else. A cat’s purr has of course, a natural mechanism behind its function. But once I had gotten the nuts and bolts out of the way, I was in the presence of the thing itself. A brush with the ” other”. So it is with Teilhards work. It brings hope in the darkest of nooks. KS

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