Teilhard de Chardin Pierre - The Letters of Teilhard de Chardin and Lucile Swan


Author : Teilhard de Chardin Pierre
Title : The Letters of Teilhard de Chardin and Lucile Swan
Year : 1950

Link download : Teilhard_de_Chardin_Pierre_-_The_Letters_of_Teilhard_de_Chardin_and_Lucile_Swan.zip

FOREWORD : Memories of Teilhard. This image, engraved in my memory over fifty years ago, is as clear today as it ever was. Wh y, I cannot say. It is something I fail to understand sinoe the picture is quite an ordinary one. lt happened in Peking where I had just moved. I was living with Pierre Teilhard, a fellow Jesuit and colleague. We were alone in the new institute of geobiology and our fratemal relations were fast tuming to friendship. I was under the impression that we had no secrets from each other. One day, as I was going to the French hospital in Legations Road, I saw to my surprise a couple coming towards me-a man and a woman walking side by side in silent thought. lt was Teilhard and an American lady whom he had not mentioned to me. She was about the same age as he, a striking figure, though quiet in her bearing and dignified in the simplicity of her dress. lt is this picture that remains in my mind. I leamed later that this American was Lucile Swan and that she was living opposite us in the same street. Her European style house was graced with a garden where I was to meet her severa) times. This was in 1940. Teilhard was to be found there often also, translating sorne of his articles into English. We ali used to have tea together. She was a sculptress and had modeled a face for the "Peking Man," an old fossil skull studied by Weidenreich at the Peking Union Medical College. This successful work had won her recognition in scientific circles. The bust was christened "Nelly" by us privately. The pressure put on the Americans living in Peking by the Japanese army prompted a number of them to retum to America. In 1941, Lucile made the wise decision to join them and departed in la te August. Letters made up for the absence and the distance. The value of the resulting correspondenoe between the two friends is left to the appreciation of the reader. In fact, it brought them together again, for the beginning of their friendship face to face had been somewhat strained. Lucile saw a contradiction between the evolutionary theories of Teilhard and his practice of chastity. "You admit the necessity of working thought out and with material in order to reach ideas abstract or God-Iike, but you deny the use of material (human) in order to reach the abstract or the God-like. Y ou will say you deny only one part of human love but I think you are evading the question, for the physical is not only a very important but an essential part for the race." Lucile was not mistaken: it is qui te natural for the physical act to play its part in the manifestation of human love. ...

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