Born on this day in Sarcenat, France, Jesuit scientist Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881-1955) entered the seminary at 18. He taught for 28 years until he was banned by the Vatican for his unorthodox attempt to merge the concept of original sin with evolution.
"Love is a sacred reserve of energy," he believed, "it is like the blood of spiritual evolution."
In blending science with religion, Chardin's neo-humanism philosophy inspired the gaia hypothesis: Earth is a super-organism, its whole much greater than the sum of its parts.
"The most satisfying thing in life is to have been able to give a large part of oneself to others."
Exiled from the Church, Chardin worked as a paleontologist in China from 1926 through 1946 and helped discover the fossil remains of Sinanthropus, the Peking Man, in 1929. He wrote Phenomenon of Man (1938-40), his "little book on piety" which argued that humanity is constantly evolution towards the perfect spiritual state, oneness with God.
"The conclusion is always the same," he said. "Love is the most powerful and still most unknown energy in the world."
Happy May Day