refering page



translated by René Hague


The quotations are reflecting the reader's choice (J.S. Abbatucci) and must be taken as an invitation to read the book in its entirety.


Introduction: The Burning Bush

I- The Cosmic, or the Evolutive

Preliminary Note: The Sense of Plenitude

a The Appeal of Matter

b The Appearance of the Universal

c The Discovery of Evolution

II- The Human, or the Convergent

a The Reality of the Noosphere

b The Stuff of the Noosphere

c The Evolution of the Noosphere

III The Christic, or the Centric

Preliminary Note: The Reflection or Revelation of Omega Point

a The Heart of Jesus

b The Universal Christ

c The Divine Milieu

d Towards the Discovery of God, or an Appeal to Him who Comes


Prayer to the Ever-Greater Christ

Conclusion: The Feminine, or the Unitive


i - Christ in Matter

ii -The Spiritual Power of Matter

Hymn to Matter



The Burning Bush

At the heart of Matter

A World-heart,

The Heart of a God.

In spite of certain appearances of strictly rigorous argument, the considerations that follow make no attempt to work out a designedly coherent structure - a philosophy of the real. Rather do they aim at describing a direct psychological experience - with just that amount of hard thinking behind it that will enable it to become intelligible and communicable without losing the objective, indisputable value of a document that reflects life.

What I shall try to do in the pages printed here (hoping that my own 'case' may make it possible for many other similar cases to be recognized or even to be brought into being) is quite simply this: to show how, starting from the point at which a spark was first struck, a point that was built into me congenitally, the World gradually caught fire for me, burst into flames; how this happened all during my life, and as a result of my whole life, until it formed a great luminous mass, lit from within, that surrounded me.

Within every being and every event there was a progressive expansion of a mysterious inner clarity which transfigured them. But, what was more, there was a gradual variation of intensity and colour that was related to the complex interplay of three universal components: the Cosmic, the Human and the Christic - these (at least the first and the last) asserted themselves explicitly in me from the very first moments of my existence, but it has taken me more than sixty years of ardent effort to discover that they were no more than the successive heraldings of, or approximate outlines of, one and the same fundamental reality.

Crimson gleams of Matter, gliding imperceptibly into the gold of Spirit, ultimately to become transformed into the incandescence of a Universe that is Person - and through all this there blows, animating it and spreading over it a fragrant balm, a zephyr of Union - and of the Feminine.

The Diaphany of the Divine at the heart of a glowing Universe, as I have experienced it through contact with the Earth - the Divine radiating from the depths of a blazing Matter: this it is that I shall try to disclose and communicate in what follows.

Les Moulins, 1 August 1950



Preliminary Note: The Sense of Plenitude

When I look for my starting point, for a clue to lead the reader through these pages, for an axis that will give continuity to the whole. I find that the first thing I have to do is to give a picture of, and briefly describe, a particular psychological disposition or 'polarization'; it is certainly common to all men (although not always formally recognized by them), and for want of a better name I shall call it the Sense of Plenitude. However far back I go into my childhood, nothing seems to me more characteristic of, or more familiar in, my interior economy than the appetite or irresistible demand for some 'Unique all-sufficing and necessary reality'. To be completely at home and completely happy, there must be the knowledge that 'Something, essential by nature' exists, to which everything else is no more than an accessory or perhaps an ornament. To know and endlessly to enjoy the aware- ness of this existence - I must indeed confess that if ever in past years I have been able to recognize my own self and follow my own development, it has been only by picking up this note or tint, or particular flavour, 'which it is impossible (once one has experienced it) to confuse with any other spiritual emotion, whether joy in knowledge or discovery, joy in creation or in loving: and this not so much because it is different from all those emotions, but because it belongs to a higher order and contains them all.

The Sense of Plenitude, the Sense of Consummation and of Completion: the 'Pleromic Sense'.

Throughout all that I shall call in turn and indifferently 'Sense of Consistence', 'Cosmic Sense', 'Sense of the Earth', 'Sense of Man', 'Christic Sense', everything that follows will be simply the story of a slow unfolding or evolving within me of this funda- mental and 'Protean' element which takes on ever richer and purer forms.

This is no fictitious or imaginary story; it is a real process at work, biologically guided and guaranteed for me as such by the identity my consciousness can clearly apprehend beneath all the metamorphoses and extensions of the operative psychological substratum.

And, let me add, it is a singularly significant operation in as much as, while destined to culminate upon what is highest in the direction of Spirit, it started in the first place (as I know by evidence and direct proofs) from what is most tangible and most concrete in the Stuff of Things, later to make its way into and conquer everything.2

a. The Appeal of Matter

I was certainly not more than six or seven years old when I began to feel myself drawn by Matter - or, more correctly, by something which 'shone' at the heart of Matter. At the age when other children, I imagine, experience their first 'feeling' for a person, or for art, or for religion, I was affectionate, good, and even pious: by that I mean that under the influence of my mother, I was devoted to the Child Jesus. I shall return later, in Part III, to the essential part that this element played later in my life.

In reality, however, my real 'me' was elsewhere.

And to see that 'me' properly, you would have had to watch me as - always in secrecy and silence - without even any idea that there could be anything to say about it to anyone - I withdrew into the contemplation, the possession, into the so relished existence, of my 'Iron God'. Iron, mark you. I can still see, with remarkable sharpness, the succession of my 'idols'. In the country there was the lock-pin of a plough which I used to hide carefully in a corner of the yard. In town, there was the hexagonal head of a metal bolt which protruded above the level of the nursery floor, and. which I had made my own private possession. Later, there were shell-splinters lovingly collected on a neighbouring firing- range... I cannot help smiling, today, when these childish fancies come back to my mind; and yet I cannot but recognize that this instinctive act which made me worship, in a real sense of the word, a fragment of metal contained and concentrated an intensity of resonance and a whole stream of demands of which my entire spiritual life has been no more than the development.

The real point, however, is: Why Iron? and why, in particular, one special piece of iron? (It had to be as thick and massive as possible.) It can only have been because, so far as my childish experience went, nothing in the world was harder, heavier, tougher, more durable than this marvellous substance appre- hended in its fullest possible form ... Consistence: that has un- doubtedly been for me the fundamental attribute of Being. When this initial apprehension of the Absolute in the form of the Tangible is arrested prematurely in its growth, so that it becomes barren, you get dwarfism, and it is this that produces the miser or collector. Providentially, in my case the seed was destined to grow. But until this very day (and so, I feel, it will be until the end) this primacy of the incorruptible, that is to say of the Irreversible, has never ceased, and never will cease, indelibly to characterize my predilection for the Necessary, the General, the 'Natural' - as opposed to the Contingent, the Particular and the

Artificial: and, as we shall be seeing, this disposition for a long time obscured for me the supreme values of the Personal and the Human.

Already this was the Sense of Plenitude, sharply individualized and already seeking for satisfaction in grasping a definite Object in which the Essence of Things could be found concentrated.

It was precisely what, after many years of experience and thought, I was to begin to discern in an evolutive Pole to the World!

It is a long way, however, from a piece of iron to Omega Point... And I was gradually to find, to my cost, to what a degree the Consistence of which I then dreamed is an effect not of 'substance' but of 'convergence'. I so well remember the pathetic despair of the child who one day realizes that Iron can become scratched and pitted - and can rust. 'Quo tinea non corrunipit'.

And then, to comfort myself, I looked for things that would take its place. Sometimes it would be a blue flame (at once so material, so impossible to grasp and so pure) flickering over the logs on the hearth; more often some more transparent or more finely coloured stone: quartz or amethyst crystals and, best of all, glittering fragments of chalcedony such as I could pick up in the countryside. On those occasions it was essential, of course, that the cherished substance should be resistant, impervious to attack and hard!

There was an imperceptible transition, but one which was later to have an immense importance for my spiritual evolution: for it was precisely through the gateway that the substitution of Quartz for Iron opened for my groping mind into the vast structures of the Planet and of Nature, that I began, without realizing it, truly to make my way into the World - until nothing could satisfy me that was not on the scale of the Universal.

This is how it happened.

b. The Appearance of the Universal

At the very beginning of my conscious life, let me repeat, in my efforts to attain and grasp the 'solidity' to which my innate demand for Plenitude impelled me, I tried above all to capture the essence of Matter by looking for it in its most closely-defined and concentrated, and heaviest, forms; in this attempt I clung, of course, to what then seemed to me to be the queen of substances (in that case, Iron) - but in so doing I was greatly concerned to grasp this precious being in forms as sharply demarcated and compact as possible.

Then it was that my newly born attraction to the world of 'Rocks' began to produce the beginning of what was to be a per- manent broadening of the foundations of my interior life.

Metal (such metal as I could find at the age of ten) tended to keep me attached to objects that were manufactured and so mere pieces. Mineral, on the other hand, set me on the road towards the 'planetary'. I woke up to the notion of 'the Stuff of Things'. And that famous Consistence, which I had hitherto looked for in the Hard and the Dense, began in a subtle way to emerge in the direction of an Elemental permeating all things - whose very ubiquity would produce incorruptibility.

Later, when I was studying geology, it might well have appeared that all I was doing was seriously and successfully to consider the chances of a career in science. In reality, however, during the whole of my life there was but one thing which would irresistibly bring me back (even at the expense of palaeontology) to the study of the great eruptive masses and continental shelves: that was an insatiable desire to maintain contact (a contact of communion) with a sort of universal root or matrix of beings.

The truth is that even at the peak of my spiritual trajectory I was never to feel at home unless immersed in an Ocean of Matter...

So it was that the Sense of Consistence led to the awakening and expansion of a dominant and triumphant Sense of the Whole.

Over about twenty years of my life (from my leaving home for boarding-school until I began my theology at Hastings in Sussex) I can distinctly recognize in my memories the unbroken trail that marks this profound transformation. During this time, as I shall have to explain, the material object of my secret joy may well have varied with my age; moreover, there was an important break in my life: my entry into the Society of Jesus. But I now see that these different events were no more than minor superficial ripples on the fundamental current constituted by my awakening to the Cosmic Sense and the Cosmic Life. This was a powerful interior process, in the course of which I found that I was gradually being invaded, impregnated and completely re- cast as the result of a sort of psychic metamorphosis into which, it would seem, there passed the brightest of the energies released by my arrival at puberty.

It would be difficult for me to work out again, or at least to explain in some detail, the complicated story in which, at that time of my life, the various threads were formed and began to be woven together into what was one day to become for me the fabric of the Stuff of the Universe.

Nevertheless, at this point in my analysis I must enumerate the more important strata whose successive individualization or accretion helped at that time to provide my Sense of the Whole with its chief components.

First of all, of course, and forming the solid permanent core of the system, was my taste for geology: the primacy of material matter, 'Matter-Matter', expressed in Mineral and Rock. I shall not re-analyse here, what I have mentioned earlier, this primordial modality of my Sense of Plenitude; but I could not explain, or follow myself, the vicissitudes of my psychic evolution if I did not emphasize once again the central position invariably occupied by my passionate study of the science 'of Stones', throughout the whole of my spiritual embryo-genesis.

Thus, between the ages of ten and thirty, at the heart of my absorbing interests and of my secret delights lay a continued and increased contact with the Cosmic 'in the solid state'. Already, however, in a semi-subordinate way, there was the newly emerged attraction towards vegetal and animal Nature; and, deep below, there came one day, at the end of that period, my initiation into the less tangible - but how stimulating! - magni- tudes disclosed by the investigations of Physics. On either side of Matter stood Life and Energy: the three columns that supported my interior visions and felicity.

Because of its apparent fragility (a point I shall have to return to when I speak of Man) the living World greatly worried and disconcerted me as a child. On the one hand, when I thought of Plants and Animals, to the knowledge of which I was being initiated by my country life and my father's taste for natural history, I felt quite certainly drawn towards them by my con- stantly watchful 'Sense of Plenitude'. On the other hand, I had to justify to myself the interest aroused in me by objects so shockingly lacking in consistence and so perishable as a flower or an insect,; and so I created for myself (or did I discover in myself?) certain mysterious equivalent values whose psychological connection is not perhaps immediately obvious but which gave me just the same feeling of intense satisfaction. For the Solid and In- corruptible, I substituted the New and the Rare. So far was this carried that for years, as I now smile to remember, the pursuit in zoology and palaeontology of 'the new species' became one of the most important pivots around which my interior life revolved. It was a dangerous tendency, I must confess, for there could have been a risk of being dragged into the morass of collections and collecting for their own sake - had it not been for two safe- guards: in the first place I retained my dominant Sense of the Universal, and even as I felt the glow of satisfaction as I put my hand upon a really treasured specimen, that sense enabled me to experience fundamentally only a delight in a more intimate contact (or a contact I imagined to be such) with what would later become for me 'the Biosphere'. Secondly, there was the decisive effect made upon my mind, at the right moment, by my introduction to physics and physicists.

It was only for three years, in jersey - and then for another three years, in Cairo (1906-8) that I studied (so far as I could) and taught (so far as my incompetence allowed me) a pretty elementary physics: the pre-quanta, pre-Relativity, pre-atomic- structure physics. This means that in this field I am, so far as technical knowledge goes, no more than an amateur - a layman. And yet I find it difficult to express how much I feel at home in precisely this world of electrons, nuclei, waves, and what a sense of plenitude and comfort it gives me. The Consistent, the Total, the Unique, the Essential of my childhood dreams - the vast cosmic realities (Mass, Permeability, Radiation, Curvatures, and so on) through which the Stuff of Things is disclosed to our experience in a form which is patient at the same time of being indefinitely reduced to elements and indefinitely expressed in geometrical terms - that mysterious Gravity (whose secret I ingenuously promised myself, at the age of twenty-two, that I would one day dedicate myself to unlocking): it was surely there that I met those very 'archetypes' which, as we shall be seeing, I still use, even when I come to the Christic itself, when I try to express for my own satisfaction precisely what I mean.

Linking the Animal World and the Energy-World lies the common underlying foundation of the Rock-World. From above this firmly cemented whole there flooded over me a first wave of the exotic, which sometimes affected me like a rich tapestry and sometimes seemed to bring me an invigorating draught of a new atmosphere. This was the East. I caught glimpses of it, and drank it in avidly, with no concern for its peoples and their history (which had not yet begun to interest me) but under the attraction of its light, its vegetation, its fauna and its deserts. Such, when I was about twenty-eight years of age, was the some- what muddled spiritual complex within which my passionate love of the Universe was smouldering without as yet the power to burst into open flame.

The truth is that, without realizing it, I had at that time come to a standstill in my awakening to Cosmic Life, and I could not start again without the intervention of a new force or a new illumination. A dead end: or perhaps I should say a subtly hidden tendency to drift towards a lower form (the commonplace, facile form) of the pantheist Spirit, the pantheism of effusion and dissolution. For, if the initial call that I had heard was in fact coming from Matter, then (someone kept whispering within me) why should I not look for the essence of Matter, for its 'heart', precisely in that direction in which all things are 'ultra-material- ized': that is to say, look for it just where I had found the incredibly simple and inclusive realities to the discovery of which I had ultimately been led by the Physics of Energy and the Ether (for we still retained that term in those days) ? In other words, if I was to escape from the ruthless fragility of the Multiple, why should I not take my stance at an even deeper level and burrow, so to speak, below it?

It was thus that there tended insidiously to become rooted in me the concern and preference (completely eastern, beneath their scientific garb) for a common substratum of the Tangible - Element of all elements - Support of all substances - which, by a process of relaxation and diffusion, might be directly grasped, beyond every determination and every form.

This meant possession of the World by self-surrender, by passivity, by disappearing within a Formless that knows no boundaries - a movement that could be seen as 'centrifugal communion', inspired by the instinct for self-extension and self- distension, operating below all particulate plurality and delimita- tion, on the scale of, and homogeneous with, the total Sphere...

If I was to be All, I must be fused with all.

Such was the mystical act to which, following so many Hindu poets and mystics, I would logically have been driven by an innate, ungovernable need to attain self-fulfilment by accession not, indeed, to others, but to become the Other - had it not been that just at the appropriate moment the idea of Evolution ger- minated in me, like a seed: whence it came I cannot say.

c. The Discovery of Evolution

It was during the years when I was studying theology at Hastings (that is to say, immediately after I had experienced such sense of wonder in Egypt) that there gradually grew in me, as a presence much more than as an abstract notion, the consciousness of a deep-running, ontological, total Current which embraced the whole Universe in which I moved; and this consciousness con- tinued to grow until it filled the whole horizon of my inner being.

What were the influences or what was the sudden jerk that caused this feeling to appear and drive its roots so deeply into me; how did the process develop and what were its stages? Those are questions that I would find very difficult to answer. I can remem- ber very clearly the avidity with which, at that time, I read Bergson's Creative Evolution. But apart from my failure in those days correctly to understand what he meant by Duration,5 I can now see quite clearly that the only effect that brilliant book had upon me was to provide fuel at just the right moment, and very briefly, for a fire that was already consuming my heart and mind. And that fire had been kindled, I imagine, simply by the co- incidence in me, under 'monist' high tension, of the three in- flammable elements that had slowly piled up in the depths of my soul over a period of thirty years. These were the cult of Matter, the cult of Life, and the cult of Energy. All three found a potential outlet and synthesis in a World which had suddenly acquired a new dimension and had thereby moved from the fragmented state of static Cosmos to the organic state and dignity of a Cosniogenesis.

At first, naturally enough, I was far from understanding and clearly appreciating the importance of the change I was under- going. All that I can remember of those days (apart from that magic word 'evolution', which haunted my thoughts like a tune: which was to me like an unsatisfied hunger, like a promise held out to me, like a summons to be answered) - all that I can remember is the extraordinary solidity and intensity I found then in the English countryside, particularly at sunset, when the Sussex woods were charged with all that 'fossil' Life which I was then hunting for, from cliff to quarry, in the Wealden clay. There were moments, indeed, when it seemed to me that a sort of universal being was about to take shape suddenly in Nature before my very eyes. Already, however, I was no longer trying, as I had tried earlier, to apprehend and pin down the Ineffable Ambience by looking towards some 'ultra-material'. I was already turning my eyes towards some 'ultra-living'. I had experienced a complete reversal of my Sense of Plenitude, and since those days I have constantly searched and progressed in that new direction.

Let me draw attention a little more closely to this discovery and to the way in which I retraced my steps.

Until that time my education and my religion had always led me obediently to accept - without much reflection, it is true - a fundamental heterogeneity between Matter and Spirit, between Body and Soul, between Unconscious and Conscious. These were to me two 'substances' that differed in nature, two 'species' of Being that were, in some incomprehensible way, associated in the living Compound; and it was important, I was told, to maintain at all costs that the first of those two (my divine Matter!) was no more than the humble servant of the second, if not, indeed, its enemy. Thus the second of the two (Spirit) was by that very fact henceforth reduced for me to being no more than a Shadow. In principle, it is true, I was compelled to venerate this shadow but, emotionally and intellectually speaking, I did not in fact have any live interest in it. You can well imagine, accordingly, how strong was my inner feeling of release and expansion when I took my first still hesitant steps into an 'evolutive' Universe, and saw that the dualism in which I had hitherto been enclosed was disappearing like the mist before the rising sun. Matter and Spirit: these were no longer two things, but two states or two aspects of one and the same cosmic Stuff, according to whether it was looked at or carried further in the direction in which (as Bergson would have put it) it is becoming itself or in the direction in which it is disintegrating.

Those phrases, 'to become itself' or 'to disintegrate', were still, of course, terribly vague, and it would be several decades before they acquired a precise meaning in my mind; but in their own way they sufficed to confirm me permanently in an attitude or choice which was to govern the whole of my interior develop- ment and whose chief characteristics may be defined in these simple words: the primacy of Spirit or, which comes to the same thing, the primacy of the Future.

Strictly speaking, no doubt, the mere fact of having seen the disappearance of the alleged barrier that separates the Within of things from the Without - or even of having realized that once we have knocked down that wall we find that an experientially and tangibly recognizable current runs from what is least conscious in Nature to what is most conscious - that mere fact, I must admit, would not by itself suffice to establish beyond question an absolute superiority of the Animate over the Inani- mate - of Psyche over Soma. Is there any reason, in fact, why the Cosmos should not swing at will first to one pole and then to the other? Or, after a certain number of oscillations, why should it not finally and unalterably settle down in the Matter position? . . . Surely these could be two of any number of evolutionary formulas?

These various problems were inevitably to present themselves to me later on, and I can see that I solved them at least for my own personal needs. What I fmd remarkable is that they did not occur to me at the very beginning. It may have been the impact of the clarity of my own instinct (for it seemed so obvious that I could not be mistaken in attributing to the cosmic movement that I had just discovered the highest degree of creative value and permanence); or it may have been an ill-defined anticipation of Evolution's psychic conditions or demands (which I was to learn later from the study of Human Energy): in any case, I never really paused for a moment to question the idea that the progressive Spiritualization of Matter - so clearly demonstrated to me by Palaeontology - could be anything other, or anything less, than an irreversible process. By its gravitational nature, the Universe, I saw, was falling - falling forwards - in the direction of Spirit as upon its stable form. In other words, Matter was not ultra- materialized as I would at first have believed, but was instead metamorphosed into Psyche. Looked at not metaphysically, but genetically, Spirit was by no means the enemy or the opposite pole of the Tangibility which I was seeking to attain: rather was it its very heart.

It was to take me a whole lifetime to appreciate (and even then, alas, by no means completely) the unendingly constructive and at the same time revolutionary effect this transposition of value (this change in the very notion of Spirit) produced upon my understanding, upon my prayer and action.

Meanwhile, my interior position was as follows. By the direct leap I had taken from the old static dualism, which I found para- lysing, to emerge into a Universe which was in a state not merely of evolution but of directed evolution (that is, of Genesis) I was obliged to make a complete about-turn in my fundamental pur- suit of Consistence. Until that time, as I said earlier, my guiding Sense of Plenitude tended to point and settle down in the direction of the 'extremely simple' (in other words, of what cannot be broken down into physical components). In future, since the unique and precious essence of the Universe had assumed for me the form of an 'Evolutive' in which Matter was transformed into Thought as an extended consequence of Noogenesis. I found myself inevitably, and paradoxically, obliged to identify the extreme Solidity of things with an extreme organic complexity. Yet how could what was most corruptible become, as a result of synthesis, the supremely Indestructible? Because I had not yet perceived 'the biological laws of Union' and recognized the amazing attributes of a universal Curvature, I was still uncertain of the solution to that problem; but I no longer doubted but that the supreme happiness I had formerly looked for in 'Iron' was to be found only in Spirit.

Already, in fact, reassurance was at hand: two immense living Unities were beginning to rise over my inner horizon - unities of planetary dimensions in which I could distinguish, precisely as an effect of an excess of combination and organicity, the emergence within the Stuff of the cosmos of an extraordinary capacity for 'consolidation by complexification'.

In one of these my many varied experiences as a biologist in the field and in the laboratory were gradually coming together to form a naturally harmonious pattern. This was the Earth's living envelope - the Biosphere.

And the other was totalized Mankind - the Noosphere. But the price I would have to pay for this, if I was to bring it finally and sharply into focus, was no less than the spiritual shock of the War.



Today Man (or, to speak more correctly, the Human) forms the pivot upon which the whole structure of my interior Universe rests, around which its links are formed and it coheres and moves. Yet the Human was far from occupying this cardinal position in my picture of the world immediately and without resistance.

As a result of the awakening in me of the notion of Evolution, Spirit (as I have just related) had, in my view, supplanted the Mineral and the Atomic in their dignity as the immutable and all-embracing essence of the Universe. But this Spirit, vaguely conceived as some sort of opposite pole to the physicist's Energy, was still, in my mind (and was so to remain for a long time) without any precise structure: two innate and obstinate prejudices prevented me from facing and coming to terms with the fact (obvious though it was) that if the World does indeed represent an organo-dynamic system which is in process of psychic interiorization, then it is through the Flesh, by process of Hominization, that Noogenesis operates.

On the one hand there was the reaction I mentioned earlier when I was speaking of my first relationship with Nature: the physico-chemical instability of organic substances in general, and of the human body in particular, continued, in spite of all the intellectual evidence to the contrary, to obscure emotionally my need for consistence.

On the other hand there was a new obstacle: the more the primacy of the Cosmic asserted itself in my mind, and the more I felt its appeal, the more, by contrast, did the Human confuse and disturb me by the preponderance assumed at its level by 'the individual', 'the accidental', 'the artificial' . . . In Man, did not the Plural inevitably, and disastrously, break through and tear apart the Universal and the Total? ... It was not merely that the trees prevented me from seeing the wood - the wood hardly even seemed to subsist behind them.

Putting it in rather cut and dried terms, I can, I think, reduce to three the stages I had to go through in turn, between the ages of thirty and fifty years, before I could overcome these two forms of inner reluctance and so at last become fully conscious of the extraordinary cosmic wealth concentrated in the Phenomenon of Man:

The first stage introduced me to the notion of human Planetarity (the existence of a Noosphere and the disposition of its contours).

The second disclosed to me more explicitly the critical trans- formation undergone by the Stuff of the cosmos at the level of Reflection.

And the third led me to the recognition of the Noosphere's accelerated drift towards ultra-human states, under the influence of psycho-physical convergence (or Planetization).

a. The Reality of the Noosphere

It was only, if I am not mistaken, in an article on Man, written about 1927 (that is, after my first visit to China), that I first allowed myself- on the model of Suess's Biosphere - to use the term Noosphere for the Earth's thinking envelope. But although the word appeared in my writings at that comparatively late date, it was ten years earlier that the vision itself had germinated in my mind through prolonged contact with the huge masses of man- kind that were then facing one another in the trenches of France, from the Yser to Verdun.

The atmosphere of 'the Front': it was, I am quite sure, from having plunged into that atmosphere - from having been soaked in it for months and months on end - and precisely where it was at its most dense and heavily charged, that I ceased to notice any break (if not any difference) between 'physical' and 'moral', between 'natural' and 'artificial'. The 'Human-million', with its psychic temperature and its internal energy, became for me a magnitude as evolutively, and therefore as biologically, real as a giant molecule of protein. 1 was later to be astonished on many occasions to find in my own circle that those who could not agree with me suffered from a complete inability to understand that precisely because the individual human being represents a corpuscular magnitude he must be subject to the same development as every other species of corpuscles in the World: that means that he must coalesce into physical relationships and groupings that belong to a higher order than his. It is, of course, quite impossible for him to apprehend these groupings directly as such (because they are of the order of n+1), but there are many indications that enable him to recognize perfectly well their existence and the influences they exercise. This gift or faculty of perceiving, without actually seeing, the reality and organicity of collective magnitudes is still comparatively rare:" but I have no doubt at all (as I said earlier) that it was the experience of the War that brought me this awareness and developed it in me as a sixth sense.

Once I had acquired this complementary sense, what emerged into my field of perception was literally a new Universe. By the side of (or above) the Universe of large Masses, I saw (what I shall speak of later) the Universe of large Complexes. Looking at the Earth, my first instinct would originally have been to give particular consideration to what was most central and heaviest (the Barysphere, we might say). As things were, my attention and my interest (still guided by the same fundamental need for Solidity and Incorruptibility) were gradually and almost im- perceptibly climbing up from the extremely simple central core of the Planet to its ridiculously thin, but dauntingly active and complex, peripheral layers. It was not merely that I found no difficulty in apprehending, more or less intuitively, the organic unity of the living membrane which is stretched like a film over the lustrous surface of the star which holds us. There was something more: around this sentient protoplasmic layer, an ultimate envelope was beginning to become apparent to me, taking on its own individuality and gradually detaching itself like a luminous aura. This envelope was not only conscious but thinking, and from the time when I first became aware of it, it was always there that I found concentrated, in an ever more dazzling and consistent form, the essence or rather the very Soul of the Earth.

b. The Stuff of the Noosphere

During a first phase of my apprehension, the feature in the No- osphere which most attracted my attention was what I would call, if I may, 'its surface tension'. This is a most exceptional - indeed, a unique - example in the field of our observation of a living magnitude, planetary in dimensions, which is strictly and exclusively self-totalizing. At the bottom we see (as we do in every 'sphere') ubiquity and solidarity; but above there is some- thing more, there is organic unity of operation.

The oneness, or Unicity, of man stretched like a veil over the confused multitude of living beings: this astounding singleness in cohesion was in itself sufficient to catch and fascinate my passion for the Cosmic-apprehended-in-its-extreme-forms. Nevertheless it was only a first approximation in the story of my discovery of the Human - or (which may seem a better way of expressing it) it was a first break-through which illuminated in three stages the very nature of the Stuff of the Noosphere con- sidered from the point of view of its underlying structure.

Deep down, there is in the substance of the cosmos a primordial disposition, sui generis, for self-arrangement and self-involution.

As we proceed, we find that a certain degree of vitalized Matter's physico-chemical arrangement brings a critical point 'of Reflec- tion', which releases the whole train of the specific properties of the Human.

Finally, as a result of Reflection, we find a demand for, and a germinating principle of, complete and final incorruptibility, which permeates the very marrow of the Noosphere.

I mentioned earlier the curiously seductive power that the phenomena of gravity exerted on my mind while I was still very young. Was it by mere chance that the place of this mysterious energy, whose study was technically beyond my powers, was taken by another entity, as wide in its embrace and as powerful in its attraction, which gradually became apparent to me in a field that was both easier for me to work in and closer to the very axis of Cosmogenesis? This was no longer universal 'attraction' gradually drawing around itself the cosmic Mass - but that as yet undiscovered and unnamed power which forces Matter (as it concentrates under pressure) to arrange itself in ever larger molecules, differentiated and organic in structure. Beyond and above the concentration-curve I began to distinguish the arrange- ment-curve ... not the gentle drift towards equilibrium and rest, but the irresistible 'Vortex' which, spins into itself, always in the same direction, the whole Stuff of things, from the most simple to the most complex: spinning it into ever more comprehensive and more astronomically complicated nuclei. And the result of this structural torsion is an increase (under the influence of interiorization) of consciousness, or a rise in psychic temperature, in the core of the corpuscles that are successively produced.

The fantastic whirl of electrons, nuclei, atoms, extends into, ramifies and intensifies, unseen, in the deepest recesses of cells and cellular structure.

In that fundamental maelstrom I have for thirty years always seen but one thing: the deceptive superficial tranquillity of vitalized Matter simplifying, developing its essence, becoming transfigured.

Vitalized Matter: the fragile thing, whose apparent insignificance had always until that time disturbed and disappointed my yearning to worship.

Vitalized Matter: the delicate foam that floats precariously on the surface of the planetary crucible...

...And then suddenly I saw in you the very consistency of the world; it was welling up in you like sap, through every fibre, it was leaping up like a flame.

And as that happened, everything was bathed in light; my eyes had acquired a new sensitivity and I saw in things an ordered pattern which fitted the dual scale of values and of Time.

For in the first place, if Life is no longer what it might have appeared to be before this change, an anomaly, an accident, an exception - if, instead, it is simply the manifestation, reaching its peak in one particular spot, of a fundamental tide inherent in Matter - then, the minuteness of the quantity of organic substance at present scattered throughout space ceases in any way to detract from its quality. The rarity, in fact, of living beings is of no import- ance, if that rarity is only the effect and the visible expression of the difficulties which the play of chance presents to the emergence ofa complexiuication-force which is under pressure everywhere in the Universe.

But there is a further point: as soon as I had recognized and accepted the great bio-physical principle of 'maximum arrange- ment' in Matter - which does not contradict, but rather com- plements or even dominates the mechanical principle of 'least effort' - as soon as I had done that, I could see quite clearly that once life has established a foothold somewhere in the World we might expect to see it not only expand but (as a result of ultra- complexifIcation) reach the highest degree of intensity upon our vitalized planet. It was this that explained the persistent and irreversible rise of Cerebration and Consciousness over the surface of the Earth that runs through the geological eras. It was this, again, that showed me the full significance of the hominizing phenomenon of Reflection: Reflection, the 'cosmic' critical point which at a given moment is inevitably met and traversed by all Matter as soon as it exceeds a certain degree of psychic temperature and organization. Reflection: the transition (which is like a second birth) from simple Life to 'Life squared'. Reflection: the necessary and sufficient property that explains the marked dis- continuity - the 'take-off' we might almost say - that we can observe experientially between Biosphere and Noosphere.

Matter is the matrix of Spirit. Spirit is the higher state of Matter.

These two propositions became the real axis of my inner vision and progress, and in them the word spirit was henceforth to bear a precise and concrete meaning. Spirit had become the clearly defined term of a defined operation.

Nowadays I might well come up against Freud's Unconscious or any one of the philosophical, artistic or literary theories of intuition that have become so fashionable since the First World War. At that time my position was firmly and permanently established: I had seen, once and for all, that when the World is left to itself it does not fall in the direction of obscurity; with all its vastness and all its weight it falls forward in equilibrium, towards the light. And in future nothing can make me swerve from this irrevocable conviction that it is in the form, I do not say of Concepts, but of Thought that the Stuff of things gradually concentrates in the pure state, in a cosmic peak: and this it does in its most stable form, which means in the form that has become the most completely irreversible.

However, if this is to be correctly understood, it calls for some elaboration; and for this I must now turn not to some bygone period of my life but rather to the most advanced stage of my inner exploration in search of the Heart of things.

c. The Evolution of the Noosphere

There is, fortunately, an ever increasing number of persons who can overcome certain ingrained intellectual habits and certain anatomical illusions and are beginning to distinguish a Noosphere which is like a halo around the Biosphere; but even among these, agreement is far from being reached as yet on the question of determining whether this 'corona' of reflective pen-terrestrial substance has, or has not, finished its planetary evolution.

Now, it is precisely on this crucial question of a standstill in anthropogenesis that, in the course of these last years, I have come to take up a decisive attitude: driven to it by the full force of the evidence I find within myself.

It is already a long time (cf., for example, How I Believe) since I noted how clearly Mankind (as we can see from the vestiges of its non-organization) discloses the possibility, and so the imminence of, some state of higher unification. Apriori (judging, that is, from its potentiality for ultra-arrangement) we could say that hominization is still going on.

Very well: since 1939, it is the reality of this organo-psychic current that has constantly been apparent to me, in the light of the facts, with growing clarity. And this has had the result of giving a definitive form to, and a definitive goal for, my innate yearning for Plenitude and Consistence.

If we were to believe those who preach a certain sort of 'common sense', we would say that the process of cosmic involution from which the human zoological type emerged towards the end of the Tertiary came to a complete standstill some thousands of years ago. Could Mankind, they are continually asking us, produce anything superior to Beethoven or Plato? On the contrary, is my answer: how can we fail to see that the process of convergence from which we emerged, body and soul, is continuing to envelop us more closely than ever, to grip us, in the form of- under the folds of; we might say - a gigantic planetary contraction?

The irresistible 'setting' or cementing together of a thinking mass (Mankind) which is continually more compressed upon itself by the simultaneous multiplication and expansion of its individual elements: there is not one of us, surely, who is not almost agonizingly aware of this, in the very fibre of his being. This is one of the things that no one today would even try to deny: we can all see the fantastic anatomical structure of a vast phylum whose branches, instead of diverging as they normally do, are ceaselessly folding in upon one another ever more closely, like some monstrous inflorescence - like, indeed, an enormous flower folding-in upon itself; the literally global physiology of an organism in which production, nutrition, the machine, research, and the legacy of heredity are, beyond any doubt, building up to planetary dimensions; the increasing impossibility of the individual's attaining economic and intellectual self-sufficiency - although we recognize all this, why is it that we are still, for the most part, obstinately blind to the cosmogenic (or, more correctly, 'noogenic') significance of the phenomenon? Why, in other words, do we not recognize in the accelerating totaiization against which we are struggling, sometimes so desperately, simply the normal continuation at a level above ourselves of that process which generates Thought on Earth? Why do we not see that it is a continuing process of Cerebration?

Technology and Socialization combined have forced us to recognize that man's vision is being enlarged in certain fields (particularly in that of pure Science); but we are still refusing to accept the possibility of continuing improvement, passed on from one generation to another, in the actual organ of this vision. It was from this obstinate prejudice, from this persistent illusion, that I one day found I had completely shaken myself free. That, thirty or forty thousand years ago, the individual power to feel and think reached its peak - at least for the time being - that is a possibility. But that Hominization in its essence (that is, the concentration upon itself of global terrestrial Psychism) should now have come to a final halt: to my mind, that is formally contradicted by the fantastic spectacle, staring us in the face, of a rapidly rising collective Reflection, moving in step with an increasingly unitary organization.

We have only to look around us to see how complexity (under compression) and psychic 'Temperature' are still rising: and rising no longer on the scale of the individual but now on that of the planet. This indication is so familiar to us that we cannot but recognize the objective, experiential, reality of a directionally controlled transformation of the Noosphere 'as a whole'.

Zoologically and psychologically speaking, Man can at last be seen in the cosmic integrity of his trajectory, on which, however, he is still at only an embryonic stage - we look ahead we can already see the outlines of a wide fringe of ULTRA-HUMAN.

Writing in the year 1950, I can say that the evolution of my inner vision culminates in the acceptance of this evident fact, that there is a 'creative' tide which (as a strict statistic consequence of their increasing powers of self-determination) is carrying the human 'mega-molecules' towards an almost unbelievable quasi 'mono-molecular' state; and in that state, as the biological laws of Union' demand, each ego is destined to be forced convulsively beyond itself into some mysterious super-ego.

For a long time now (in fact, ever since the moment when I saw the balance of the World reversed from what lies behind to what lies ahead) I have always had a feeling that at the head of Cosmogenesis there stands a Pole, not simply of attraction, but of consolidation - and that means a Pole which imparts the quality of irreversibility.

And so finally this mysterious focal point - which is made possible or even demanded by a maturing of man that cannot biodynamically reach its final critical point of Ultra-Reflection unless it is fostered and carried along by a growing hope of immortality - this mysterious focal point of Noogenesis became experientially real for me. In one single and irresistible movement, as the result of convergence, the Incorruptible of which I had always dreamed was simultaneously becoming universalized and personalized.

The 'piece of iron' of my first days has long been forgotten. In its place it is the Consistence of the Universe, in the form of Omega Point, that I now hold, concentrated (whether above me or, rather, in the depths of my being, I cannot say) into one single indestructible centre, WHICH I CAN LOVE.



Preliminary Note: the Reflection or Revelation of Omega Point

The discovery of Omega brings to a close what I might call the natural branch of the inner trajectory I followed. in my search for the ultimate consistence of the Universe. As we have just seen, it was not simply in the vague direction of 'Spirit' but in the form of a well-defined supra-personal focal point that a Heart of total Matter was disclosed. to my experiential quest. Had I been an unbeliever and left entirely to the promptings of my Sense of Plenitude, I think that my inner exploration would. have led me to the same spiritual peak; and it is even possible that a close rational study of the cosmic properties of Omega ('the complex unit in which the organic sum of the reflective elements of the World becomes irreversible within a transcendent Super-ego') would belatedly have led. me, in a fmal stage, to recognize in an incarnate God. the true Reflection, on our Noosphere, of the ultimate nucleus of totalization and consolidation that is bio-psychologically demanded. by the evolution of a reflective living Mass.

To be completely Man, it may well be that I would. have been obliged to become Christian.

But all this is gratuitous assumption.

The fact is, fortunately for me, I was born right 1l1to the Catholic 'phylum'; and that means into the very centre of the privileged zone in which the ascending cosmic force of 'Complexity-Consciousness' joins the descending (and so drawing up to itself) flood of personal and personalizing attraction which is introduced between Heaven and Earth by the influence of Hominization.

The result of this was that in step with the spontaneous evolution in me of the innate (or' chromosomic') cosmic sense analysed above (Sections I and 2), another process (inaugurated in this instance by upbringing) has never ceased to operate in my mind and heart: by this I mean the awakening of a certain Christie Sense. In recording, as I now must, the phases of this process I shall have once again to return to my childhood memories.

The cosmic sense and the christic sense: these two axes were born in me quite independently of one another, it would seem, and it was only after a long time and a great deal of hard work that I finally came to understand how, through and beyond the Human, the two were linked together, converged upon one another, and were in fact one and the same

a. The Heart oJJesus

For all its unitive and 'communicant' power, and for all the emotional charge that from the very beginning resulted from that power, my contact with, and consciousness of the Universe was bound, if left on its own, never to go beyond a certain comparatively low degree of intimacy and warmth. Moving along the cosmic and biological road, Omega Point always lay just outside my grasp; this was because of a logical reconstruction which presented me with a 'deduced and conjectural' Entity rather than one entered into and experienced. A meeting of Centre with Centre, of Heart with Heart, these were anticipated rather than realized. On my part, no doubt, there was an effort of passionate intensity - but as yet there was no real love. In consequence there was a whole world between the two con-cerned.

It called for a spark to fall upon me, if the glow was to burst into flame.

That spark, through which 'my Universe', as yet but half personalized, was to attain centricity by being amorized, that spark undoubtedly came to me through my mother: it was through her that it reached me from the current of Christian mysticism and both illuminated and inflamed my childish soul.

Later, I was often to be astonished at seeing the extreme diffi-culty that many well disposed minds (many hungry minds, even) found in conceiving the mere possibility of a super-hominized love.

This was far from being the case with me.

Was this simply the effect of my earliest upbringing? Or was it, perhaps, the result of a certain 'psychic mutation' which gradually makes the Noosphere sensitive to the influences of Omega in the vicinity of the Christian axis? Or was it both at the same time?

Those are questions I cannot answer.

All I know is, that thanks to a sort of habit which has always been ingrained in me, I have never, at any moment of my life, experienced the least difficulty in addressing myself to God as to a supreme SOMEONE. So true is this that I now understand that a certain 'love of the Invisible' has always been active in me, parallel to the 'congenital' cosmic sense which, as we have seen, is the 'backbone' of my inner life.

This appetite was a gift to me from Heaven, and after it had first, working undetected, nourished my innate appetite for the Earth it ultimately came out into the open and effected a confluence with it. And this it did through a process of universalization, whose first two phases may be described, as I remember them, as a 'materialization', soon to be followed by an 'energizing', of the notion of divine Love.

To take the 'materialization' of Divine Love first.

Biologically speaking, how could it have been otherwise in my case?

Sucked in with my mother's milk, a 'supernatural' Sense of the Divine had flowed into me side by side with the 'natural' Sense of Plenitude. Each of these two appetites strove to be exclusive, but neither could wipe out the other. The only conceivable result of their conflict, therefore, was an assimilation of the supernatural (the less primitive and, genetically speaking, the more external) by the natural. And the only way in which the assimilation could be effected was by an interior adjustment of the Divine to the Evolutive: that is to say, an adjustment to the psychological law, proper to my nature, of being unable to worship anything except from a starting-point in the Tangible and Resistant.

My progress in this direction was made easier by the fact that 'my mother's God' was primarily, for me as much as for her, the incarnate Word. This sufficed for the establishment of a first contact, through the Humanity of Jesus, between the two halves of my fundamental being, the 'Christian' and the 'pagan'. It was precisely in that contact, however, that there reappeared the difficulty I have already mentioned of perceiving 'the Con-sistence of the Human'.

How strange and ingenuous are the reactions that take place in the brain of a child I I can remember so well (see below, note 8) witnessing for the fIrst time the distressing sight of a lock of hair being burnt up in the fIre, and how my disappointment with the Organic instantaneously reacted on the very person of Christ. . . If I was to be able fully to worship Christ, it was essential that as a first step I should be able to give him 'solidity'.

And it was at this point in the story of my spiritual life that there emerged (and now I must beg my reader to suppress his smile) the central, seminal, part played by the 'devotion' with which my mother constantly sustained me: devotion to the Heart of Jesus, little though she suspected the transformations that were to be effected in it by my insatiable yearning for cosmic Organicity.

Everybody knows the historical background of the cult of the Sacred Heart (or of the Love of Christ): how it was always latent in the Church and then in the France of Louis XIV assumed an astonishingly vigorous form, which was at the same time oddly limited both in the object to which it was directed ('Reparation') and in its symbol (tle heart of our Saviour, depicted with curjously anatomical realism !).

The remains of this narrow view can still, unfortunately, be seen today, both in a form of worship which is always obsessed by the idea of sin and in an iconography which we must needs deplore without too much vexation. For my own part, however, I can say that at no time has its influence held the least attraction for my piety.

For the pious person of the seventeenth century the 'Sacred Heart' was, in effect, 'a part' (both material and formal) of Jesus a selected, detached, part of the Redeemer: as happens when we isolate and enlarge some detail of a picture in order to be able to admire it more conveniently. My own experience was quite different. The moment I saw a mysterious patch of crimson and gold delineated in the very centre of the Saviour's breast, I found what I was looking for a way of finally escaping from everything that so distressed me in the complicated, fragile and

individual organization of the Body of Jesus. It was an astounding release! Not by a mere adjustment of the aperture (as in a camera), but as an effect of convergence and concentration, the whole

physical and spiritual reality of Christ was visibly condensed for me into a well-defmed, compact object from which all accidental and restrictive particularity disappeared: the fIrst approach of a Christie beyond Christ, disclosing a remarkable homology between this new 'milieu' and the Metallic or Mineral which, at

that very same time, were dominant in me on the other side of the walJ that still ran across my soul.

It would be difficult for me to convey how deeply and force-fully, and with what continuity (long before the notion of the 'Universal-Christ' became explicitly coherent in me) my religious life in the pre-war years developed under the sign of the Heart of Jesus, understood in this way, and with the sense of wonder it aroused in me. At that time, the more I tried to pray, the more deeply did God 'materialize' for me in a reality that was at once spiritual and tangible; in that reality, though as yet I hardly guessed it, the great synthesis was beginning to be effected in which my life's whole effort was to be summed up: the synthesis of the Above with the Ahead.

It was the immersion of the Divine in the Corporeal: and an inevitable reaction brought the transfiguration (or transmutation) of the Corporeal into an incredible Energy of Radiation.

In a first stage, my mother's Christ was in some way' de-individualized' for me into a form that was 'substantially' hardly representational. But then came a second stage when this humano-divine 'solid' (like my earlier piece of iron, and under the same psychic pressure) lit up and exploded from within. There was no longer a patch of crimson in the centre of Jesus, but a glowing core of fire, whose splendour embraced every contour first those of the God-Man and then those of all things that lay within his ambience.

I was still not yet 'in theology' when, through and under the symbol of the 'Sacred Heart', the Divine had already taken on for me the form, the consistence and the properties of an ENERGY, of a FIRE: by that I mean that it had become able to insinuate itself everywhere, to be metamorphosed into no matter what; and so, in as much as it was patient of being universalized, it could in future force its way into, and so amorize, the cosmic Milieu in which at exactly the same moment I was (through another half of myself) engaged in making my home.

b. The Universal Christ

On one side - in my 'pagan' ego - a Universe which was becoming personalized through convergence.

And on the other side - in my Christian ego - a Person (the Person of Christ) who was becoming universalized through Radiation.

By each of these two roads, that is to say, the Divine was joining itself, through all Matter, to all the Human, in the direction of the infinity of the ages lying ahead…

It is in this confluence, through complementary channels, of Heaven and the World, that the advances (and, I must not forget to add, the conflicts) of my interior life have continually been realized: always, moreover, as the years go by, with ever greater clarity and passion.

Let us try, then, to understand both the advances and the conflicts.

 1. The Conflicts

Speaking in general terms we may say that until quite recent times, and in the West, mysticism (even Christian mysticism) has never doubted but that God must be looked for only 'in heaven', that is to say in more or less direct and profound dis-continuity with 'here below'.

To be spiritualized = to be de-materialized.

Such was (and such, in a static Cosmos, had to be) the basic equation that expresses Holiness.

Yet all the time (as we have seen) the natural movement of my thought had been carrying me not, indeed, in the opposite direction to, but athwart this traditional orientation. For me, Matter was the matrix of Consciousness ; and, wherever we looked, Consciousness, born of Matter, was always advancing towards some Ultra-Human. In other words, a second species of Spirit was emerging and this species was no longer directly above our heads it lay transversely, appearing, we might say, on the horizon. . . In the inmost depths of my soulls a struggle, between the God of the Above and a sort of new God of the Ahead was, through structural necessity, being produced by the definitive co-existence and the irresistible meeting in my heart of the cosmic Sense and the Christie Sense.

I can look back and distinguish the first traces of this opposition in my years at school, when I remember my pathetic attempts to reconcile the evangelism (over-narrow, we must admit) of the Imitation, on which I drew for my morning prayers, with the attraction I found in Nature. Later, as a 'junior' in Jersey, I seriously considered the possibility of completely giving up the 'Science of Rocks', which I then found so exciting, in order to devote myself entirely to so-called 'supernatural' activities. And if I did not at that time 'run off the rails', it is to the robust common sense of Pere T. (the novice-master) that I owe it. In the event, Pere T. confined himself to assuring me that what the God of the Cross was looking for in me was the 'natural' expansion of my being as well as its sanctification - without explaining how or why. What he said, however, was enough to leave me with a firm grasp of both ends of the line. And so I emerged from that trial unscathed. Gradually, through the synthesis which is effected. by experience, detachment and attachment, renunciation and development, automatically came together as one within me: and this was realized in a deliberate change of direction to the transverse. I explained the theory of this, about 1927, in the first chapter of Le Milieu Divin. Nevertheless, theory is still a long way from practice. Even today I am still learning by experience the dangers to which - by an inner law and necessity - he is exposed who finds himself led away from the well-beaten but now under-humanized path of a certain traditional ascesis, as he seeks in the direction of Heaven for a road (a road which is not a mean but a synthesis) where the whole dynamism of Matter and Flesh is directed into the genesis of Spirit.

Supposing a man, in all sincerity of heart, has one day made up his mind to do what every man who seeks for holiness will increasingly find himself obliged to do: that is, to allow the ascensional Faith in God and the forward-driving Faith in the Ultra-human to react freely upon one another in the depths of his being - then such a man will at times be unable to shake off a feeling of terror. He will not be able to hold back, but he will be frightened by the novelty, the boldness and at the same time the paradoxical potentialities of attitudes that he finds himself, intellectually and emotionally, obliged to adopt if he is to be faithful to his fundamental aim: which is to attain Heaven by bringing Earth to its fulfilment.

To Christify Matter: that sums up the whole venture of my innermost being. . . a grand and glorious venture; (and I still tremble often, even as I pursue it) - but I found it impossible not to hazard myself in it, so powerful was the force with which the levels of the Universal and the Personal came together and gradually closed up, over my head, to form one single vault.

 2. Conflict becomes Progress

Christ. His Heart. A Fire: a fire with the power to penetrate all things - and which was now gradually spreading unchecked.

At the root of this invasion and envelopment I can distinguish, I believe, the rapidly increasing importance that was being assumed in my spiritual life by the Sense of 'the Will of God' : fidelity to the divine Will, by which I mean fidelity to a directed and realized omnipresence, which can be apprehended both actively and passively in every element of the W orId and in all its events. Although at first I did not precisely realize the bridge by which this eminently Christian attitude connected my love of Christ and my love of Things, nevertheless I have always, ever since the first years of my religious life, gladly surrendered myself to this active feeling of communion with God through the Universe. It was a decisive emergence of this 'pan-Christic' mysticism, finally matured in the two great atmospheres of Asia and the War, that was reflected in 1924 and 1927 by The Mass on the World and Le Milieu Divin.

A decisive emergence, let me repeat - and one that I could at that time regard as complete. In fact, however, it still lacked something that was needed for its full release.

Let me explain what this was.

Today, when I re-read the so undisguisedly fervent pages of Le Milieu Divin, I am astonished to find how fully all the essential features of my Christo-cosmic vision were already determined at the time I wrote the book. On the other hand, I note with some surprise the vagueness and fluidity of the picture of the Universe that I still had in those days.

It is true that as a basis for the pan-communion by which I was then obsessed and intoxicated, I already possessed a World made up of organically woven elements and organically linked layers. But this enveloping organicity, the specific foundation of the Christie Diaphany, still existed for me, both spiritually and sensibly, in a form that I can only describe as diffuse. At that time, about 1930, the Convergence of the cosmos, with its whole train of consequent ideas (the Law of Complexity-Consciousness, the Confluence of human branches, the existence of an Omega Point at the head of Noogenesis) - none of that had as yet become distinctly clear to me. My then 'Weltanschauung' did not go far beyond a vast Plurality, whose nebula was illuminated by, but not yet concentrated in, the rays of the divine Star.

It was to be the task and the never-ending delight of the next twenty years to see, as I looked around me, how - step by step, and in step with one another - the two Densities came to reinforce one another: the Christie Density, and the cosmic Density of a World whose 'communicant power' I could see constantly rising as its 'convergent power' also rose.

At first, if! was to 'mould and experience' Christ in all things, all that I had at hand for this purpose was only the detail of events and beings. Gradually, as my mind came to understand the reality of the one vast psychogenic involution of the whole of Matter upon itself, so each new circle that I traced out in this fantastic spiral was to give solidity to the divine Ascendancy and to make me more tangibly conscious of its grasp.

Not in a metaphysical but in a physical sense, the Energy of Incarnation was to flow into, and so illuminate and give warmth to, ever wider and more tightly encircling forms of embrace.

And this led up to the moment when the upper term of that movement was reached, and it became possible to discern a wonderful confluence: no longer merely in a vague way between Christ and Matter, but between a Christ who was distinctly seen as 'evolver' and a cosmic Centre which was positively attributed to Evolution.

Thus I reached the Heart of the universalized Christ coinciding with the heart of amorized Matter.

c. The Divine Milieu

As a result of the particular structure of a mind polarized simultaneously in the plane of Heaven and in that of Earth, there was a danger, as we have seen, that two tendencies might cause the progress of my evolution to deviate as it advanced. If I followed the eastern and pagan line, I might allow my being to relax and dissolve into the universal Sphere. Or I might do the exact opposite and try to escape from that Sphere by tearing myself away or making a sharp cleavage. These were my Scylla and Charybdis, retrogressive materialization or dehumanizing spiritualization; and if, by the grace of God, I managed to avoid them both, it was because the day came when I saw that a W orId which had already been recognized as essentially convergent offered a third road towards Unity: and the right road, too. This consisted in reaching, at the heart of the cosmic Sphere, the mysterious double point where the Multiple, now completely ordered in its own organic structure, is reflected upon itself and so emerges from within into a Transcendent.

Here we move into what is indeed a remarkable, an astonishing, region where the Cosmic, the Human and the Christie meet and so open up a new domain, the Centric; and there the manifold oppositions which constitute the unhappiness and anxieties of our life begin to disappear.

Under the irresistible pressure of a planet that is contracting upon itself, we constantly feel, in ourselves and all around ourselves, a heightening of the antagonism between the 'tangential' forces that make us dependent upon one another, and the 'radial' aspirations that urge us towards attaining the incommunicable core of our own person. We recoil from the prospect of an inevitable totalization which threatens to imprison us in a sort of 'secondary Matter' made up of a mass of accumulated determinisms. We are terrified, too, when we see that mechanization may bring an end that is as much to be dreaded as a death through disintegration and return to 'Prime Matter'.

It is like a dream; we feel that we are caught up in the gyrations of some infernal circle.

And yet, it is from this very nightmare, in fact, that we are awoken by the first rays of a universal Centre of convergence and attraction, in which the bonds that make us one whole reach the upper limit of their complexity and then tend to merge into the magnetic force that pulls our ego ever more rapidly into what lies ahead. This is the miraculous effect that is specific to the Centric, which docs not dissolve nor subordinate the elements it brings together, but personalizes them. And this because its way of absorbing them is constantly to 'centrify' them more and more. We may, indeed, say that at these high latitudes of the Universe Totalization reduces the Multiple to the One by synthesis, and so acts as a liberating agent. In other words, Matter becomes Spirit at just the same pace as love begins to spread universally.

From the first moment, of course, when, to my inner eye, 'the Gold of Spirit' replaced 'the Crimson of Matter' and started to swing towards 'the Incandescence of Some One', the WorId had begun, at least as a logical consequence, to affect me emotionally as a blaze of fire. By the mere appearance at the peak of Evolution of the Personal, the Universe was potentially becoming for me something that loved and could be loved. Even so, it called for nothing short of the coincidence of Christ with Omega Point for my eyes to be opened, in an explosion of dazzling flashes, to the astonishing phenomenon of a general global conflagration - the effect of total amorization.

Love. . . since all time, this strange force has puzzled and fascinated the masters of human thought by its ubiquity, its fiery vigour and the infinitely variegated spectrum of the forms it assumes; but I now see that it is only in the Christo-centric area of a noogenetic Universe that it is released in the pure state and so displays its astonishing power to transform everything and replace everything.

From the point of view of the convergent Evolution to which sixty years of varied experience and of thought has introduced me and in which I am now at home, the whole cosmic Event may be reduced in its essence to one single vast process of arrangement, whose mechanism (that is, the use of the effects of Large Numbers and the play of Chance) is governed by statistical necessity: so that at every moment it releases a given quantity of events that cause distress (failures, disintegrations, death. . . ) There are two sides to this operation, the constructive and the destructive; and when Christ is installed at Omega Point it is both these two sides that are covered and permeated by a flood of unitive force. In one great surge, Cosmogenesis becomes personalized, both in the things it adds, which centrify us for Christ, and in the things it subtracts, which draw us out of our own centres onto him; thus it suddenly takes on, even in its most inexorable and most veiled determinisms, the form of a contact at innumerable points with a supreme Pole of attraction and completion. A current of love is all at once released, to spread over the whole breadth and depth of the W orId: and this it does not as though it were some super-added warmth of fragrance, but as a fundamental essence which will metamorphose all things, assimilate and take the place of all . . .

For a long time Science has made us familiar with the idea that all physical energy, if traced back evolutively 'to the bottom', tends to dissipate into heat within a WorId that has lost tension and vitality. Is it not most remarkable that an integral Energetics of the Universe should lead us in the end to a concept that exactly matches and complements our former idea? If it is taken to its limit in the direction of a cosmic pole of unification, everything we experience and even everything we see displays a singular 'bias' for transforming itself into love. This means that while love seemed initially to be no more than the charm, the allure, and then, later, the operative essence of all spiritual activity, it tends gradually, as experienced by us, to become the chief part of that activity - and finally its only, and supreme, form.

Sola caritas . . .

When all is said and done, I can see this: I managed to climb up to the point where the Universe became apparent to me as a great rising surge, in which all the work that goes into serious enquiry, all the will to create, all the acceptance of suffering, converge ahead into a single dazzling spear-head - now, at the end of my life, I can stand on the peak I have scaled and continue to look ever more closely into the future, and there, with ever more assurance, see the ascent of God.

d. Towards the Discovery of God, or an Appeal to Him who Comes

For a long time, absorbed in the delight of seeing how every single thing around me was simultaneously centred, consolidated and amorized, I confined my attention to one thing only in the vast phenomenon of Classification which the coincidence of the World and God disclosed to me; and that was the rise within my own self of the forces of Communion. Everything was directed towards the intensification of the Stuff of the cosmos, so that in that Stuff the Presence of God might be intensified for me. I can see quite clearly how the inspiration behind 'The Mass on the W orId' and Le Milieu Divin and their writing belong to that somewhat self-centred and self-enclosed period of my interior life.

The reason for this was that by one of those odd effects of inhibition that so often prevent us from recognizing what is staring us in the face, I failed to understand that as God 'meta-morphized' the W orId from the depths of matter to the peaks of Spirit, so in addition the World must inevitably and to the same degree 'endomorphize' God. As a direct consequence of the unitive process by which God is revealed to us, he in some way 'transforms himself' as he incorporates us. So, it is no longer a matter of simply seeing Him and allowing oneself to be enveloped and penetrated by Him - we have to do more: we have pari passu (if not first of all) to disclose Him (or even, in one sense of the word, 'complete' Him) ever more fully. Such, today, seems to me the essential step to be taken by hominized Evolution, and such its essential concern.

All around us, and within our own selves, God is in process of 'changing', as a result of the coincidence of his magnetic power and our own Thought. As the 'Quantity of cosmic Union' rises, so his brilliance increases and the glow of his colouring grows richer. There at last we recognize, and can express in words, the Great Event, the Great Tidings.

Ever since my childhood an enigmatic force had been impelling me, apparently in conflict with the 'Supernatural', towards some Ultra-human; and in trying to pin it down I had become accustomed to regard it as emanating not from God but from some rival Star. All I had to do, then, was to bring that Star into conjunction with God and dependence upon Him.

The time had now come when I could see one thing: that, from the depths of the cosmic future as well as from the heights of Heaven, it was still God, it was always the same God, who was calling me. It was a God of the Ahead who had suddenly appeared athwart the traditional God of the Above, so that henceforth we can no longer worship fully unless we superimpose those two images so that they form one.

A new Faith in which the ascensional Faith that rises up towards a Transcendent, and the propulsive Faith that drives towards an Immanent, form a single compound - a new Charity in which all the Earth's dynamic passions combine as they are divinized: it is this, I now see with a vision that will never leave me, that the World is desperately in need of at this very moment, if it is not to collapse.

Classical metaphysics had accustomed us to seeing in the World - which it regarded as an object of 'Creation' - a sort of extrinsic product which had issued from God's supreme efficient power as the fruit of his overflowing benevolence. I find myself now irresistibly led - and this precisely because it enables me both to act and to love in the fullest degree - to a view that harmonizes with the spirit of St Paul: I see in the World a mysterious product of completion and fulfilment for the Absolute Being himself. It is no longer participated Being of extraposition and divergence, but participated Being of pleromization and convergence. It is the effect, no longer of creative Causality, but of creative Union.

At the same time, too, I see that it is Christ who first makes himself 'cosmic' and then in some way makes himself 'absolute'.

There is an objection that we more and more often hear raised by Gentiles against Christians: that, by the very fact of the interposition of Jesus between Man and God, our notion of God is arrested and, we might say, atrophied in its developments. As a result, they say, Christianity no longer stimulates the need to worship, for the modern mind, but rather paralyses it. How often have I myself come close to believing this - and how often, quite apart from that, have I not heard it said!

It is as though we believed in a Christ who diminished the stature of God. . .

How quickly, however, and how permanently, that fatal suspicion vanishes the very moment we become sensitive to the mysticism of today and so perceive that precisely because of those characteristics that would at first appear to confine him too strictly to the particular, an historically incarnate God is on the contrary the only God who can satisfy not only the inflexible laws of a Universe in which nothing is produced or appears except by way of birth, but also the irrepressible aspirations of our own mind.

For the basic truth is:

If we say 'God of the Above' + 'God of the Ahead', what does this new equation, fundamental to all Religion in the future, give us if not an ultimate whose dimensions are 'theocosmic', that is christic?

In a system of Creative Union, it is not only the Universe but God himself who is necessarily 'Christified' in Omega, at the upper limits of Cosmogenesis. In other words, 'evolved' Monotheism, around which all that is best in the Earth's religious energies undoubtedly seems to be concentrating, is moving to its logical and biological fulfilment in the direction of some Pan-Christism.

With no limit to his capacity for being extended and adapted to theW orId's new dimension and, in addition, with an inexhaustible charge of evolutive energy for our hearts - so there is growing in our firmament, to the scale of and at the demand of the Ultra-human, a true Super-Christ, in all the radiance of Super-Charity.

Prayer to the Ever-Greater Christ

Because, Lord, by every innate impulse and through all the hazards of my life I have been driven ceaselessly to search for you and to set you in the heart of the universe of matter, I shall have the joy, when death comes, of closing my eyes amidst the splendour of a universal transparency aglow with fire. . .

It is as if the fact of bringing together and connecting the two poles, tangible and intangible, external and internal, of the world which bears us onwards had caused everything to burst into flames and set everything free.

In the guise of a tiny babe in its mother's arms, obeying the great law of birth, you came, Lord Jesus, to swell in my infant soul; and then, as you re-enacted in me - and in so doing extended the range of - your growth through the Church, that same humanity which once was born and dwelt in Palestine began now to spread out gradually everywhere like an iridescence of un-numbered hues through which, without destroying anything, your presence penetrated - and endued with supervitality - every other presence about me.

 And all this took place because, in a universe which was disclosing itself to me as structurally convergent, you, by right of your resurrection, had assumed the dominating position of all-inclusive Centre in which everything is gathered together.

A fantastic molecular swarm which - either falling like snow from the inmost recesses of the Infinitely Diffuse - or on the other hand surging up like smoke from the explosion of some Infinitely Simple - an awe-inspiring multitude, indeed, which whirls us around in its tornado! . . . It is in this terrifying granular Energy that you, Lord - so that I may be able the better to touch you, or rather, who knows? to be more closely embraced by you - have clothed yourself for me: nay, it is of this that you have formed your very Body. And for many years I saw in it no more than a wonderful contact with an already completed Perfection. . .

Until that day, and it was only yesterday, when you made me realize that when you espoused Matter it was not merely its Immensity and its Organicity that you had taken on: what you did was to absorb, concentrate, and make entirely your own, its unfathomable reserves of spiritual energies.

So true is this that ever since that time you have become for my mind and heart much more than He who was and who is; you have become He who shall be.

For some of your servants, Lord, the World, our New World - the world of nuclei, of atoms and genes - has become a source of constant anxiety: because it seems to us now so mobile, so irresistible, and so big! The increasing probability (to which we conspire to close our eyes) of other thinking planets in the firmament. . . the unmistakable rebound of an evolution that has become capable, through planetary effort, of governing its own direction and speed. . . the rising over our horizon, as an effect of ultra-reflection, of an Ultra-human. . . all this seems frightening to a man who, as he still shrinks from flinging himself into the great ocean of Matter, is afraid that he may see his God burst asunder in the acquisition of a new dimension. . .

Yet can anything, Lord, in fact do more for my understanding and my soul to make you an object of love, the only object of love, than to see that you - the Centre ever opened into your own deepest core - continue to grow in intensity, that there is an added glow to your lustre, at the same pace as you pleromize yourself by gathering together the Universe and subjecting it ever more fully at the heart of your being ('until the time for returning, You and the World in You, to the bosom of Him from whom You came') ?

The more the years go by, Lord, the more I believe that I can see that in myself and in the world around me the most important though unvoiced concern of modern Man is much less a struggle for the possession of the W orId than a search for a way of escaping from it. The agony of feeling that one is imprisoned in the cosmic Bubble, not so much spatially as ontologically! The fretful hunt for a way out for Evolution - or, more exactly, for its point of focus! In the modern world, that is the sorrow, the price to be paid for a growing planetary Reflection, that lies heavy, but as yet hardly recognized, on the soul of both Christian and Gentile.

As mankind emerges into consciousness of the movement that carries it along, it has a continually more urgent need of a Direction and a Solution ahead and above, to which it will at last be able to consecrate itself.

Who, then is this God, no longer the God of the old Cosmos but the God of the new Cosmogenesis - so constituted precisely because the effect of a mystical operation that has been going on for two thousand years has been to disclose in you, beneath the Child of Bethlehem and the Crucified, the moving Principle and the all-embracing Nucleus of the World itself? Who is this God for whom our generation looks so eagerly? Who but you, Jesus, who represent him and bring him to us?

Lord of consistence and union, you whose distinguishing mark and essence is the power indefinitely to grow greater, without distortion or loss of continuity, to the measure of the mysterious Matter whose Heart you fill and all whose movements you ultimately control - Lord of my childhood and Lord of my last days - God, complete in relation to yourself and yet, for us, continually being born - God, who, because you offer yourself to our worship as 'evolver' and' evolving', are henceforth the only being that can satisfy us - sweep away at last the clouds that still hide you - the clouds of hostile prejudice and those, too, of false creeds.

Let your universal Presence spring forth in a blaze that is at once Diaphany and Fire.

O ever-greater Christ!



The Feminine, or the Unitive

The living heart of the Tangible is the Flesh. And for Man the Flesh means Woman.

Ever since my childhood I had been engaged in the search for the Heart of Matter, and so it was inevitable that sooner or later I should come up against the Feminine. The only curious thing is that in the event it was not until my thirtieth year that this happened: so powerful was the fascination that the Impersonal and the Generalized held for me.

It was, therefore, a strange time-lag.

On the other hand, it was rewarding, because the new energy entered into my soul at the very moment, on the eve of the war, when my Sense of the Cosmos and Sense of Man were emerging from their childhood; thus there was no longer any danger that it might divert or dissipate my forces. Instead, it was super-imposed, at just the right moment, on a world of spiritual aspirations whose vastness, still a little lacking in warmth, needed only that energy in order to ferment and become com-pletely organized.

As I tell the story in these pages of my inner vision, I would b leaving out an essential element, or atmosphere, if I did not add in conclusion that from the critical moment when I rejected many of the old moulds in which my family life and my religion had formed me and began to wake up and express myself ir terms that were really my own, I have experienced no form of self-development without some feminine eye turned on me some feminine influence at work.

When I say this, you will understand, of course, that I mean simply that general, half-worshipping, homage which sprang from the depths of my being and was paid to those women whose warmth and charm have been absorbed, drop by drop, into the life-blood of my most cherished ideas.

In such a matter it is impossible for me to use exact language or to draw an exact picture, - on the other hand, what I can speak about with certainty is a double conviction that progressively asserted itself in me from my contact with facts; let me, now that I can write with all the serenity and impartiality that come with years, tell you about this.

In the first place, it seems to be indisputable (both logically and factually) that there can be for man - even if he be devoted to the service of a Cause or of a God, and however great that devotion -no road to spiritual maturity or plenitude except through some 'emotional' influence, whose function is to sensitize his under. standing and stimulate, at least initially, his capacity for love Every day supplies more irrefutable evidence that no man at al can dispense with the Feminine, any more than he can dispense with light, or oxygen, or vitamins.

Secondly, however primordial in human psychism the plenifying encounter of the sexes may be, and however essential to its structure, there is nothing to prove (indeed, the opposite is much more true) that we yet have an exact idea of the functioning of this fundamental complementarity or of the best forms in which i1 can be effected. We have a marriage that is always polarized, socially, towards reproduction, and a religious perfection that is always represented, theologically, in terms of separation: and there can be no doubt but that we lack a third road between the two. I do not mean a middle road, but a higher, a road that is demanded by the revolutionary transformation that has recently been effected in our thought by the transposition of the notion of 'spirit'. For the spirit that comes from dematerialization, we have seen, we have substituted the spirit that comes from synthesis. Materia matrix. It is no longer a matter of retreating (by abstin-ence) from the unfathomable spiritual powers that still lie dor-mant under the mutual attraction of the sexes, but of conquering them by sublimation. Such, I am ever more convinced, is the hidden essence of Chastity, and such the magnificent task that awaits it.

Both those assertions fall into place and are justified if we look at them from the following point of view:

In my interpretation of Noogenesis, I have so far emphasized the phenomenon of individual super-centration, which causes the consciousness of the corpuscular to fold back upon itself and thence rebound in the form of Thought. But now an essential complement to this great cosmic event of Reflection becomes apparent to the informed eye, and it takes the form of what we might call 'the Break-through into Amorization'. Even after the flash of illumination in which the individual is suddenly revealed to himself, elementary Man would remain but half complete if he did not come into contact with the other sex and so, under the centric attraction of person-to-person, explode into flame.

First, we have the appearance of a reflective monad, and then, to complete it, the formation of an affective dyad.

And, after that, and only after that (that is, starting from this first spark) all that we have described follows in sequence - the gradual and majestic development of a Neo-cosmic, of an Ultra-human, and of a Pan-Christie. . .

All three not only illuminated in their very roots by Intelli-gence, but also impregnated throughout their entire mass,

as though bonded by a unifying cement,

by the Universal Feminine.

Paris, 30 October 1950




'Blessed be you, harsh matter, barren soil, stubborn rock: you who yield only to violence, you who force us to work if we would eat.

'Blessed be you, perilous matter, violent sea, untameable passion: you who unless we fetter you will devour us.

'Blessed be you, mighty matter, irresistible march of evolution, reality ever new-born; you who, by constantly shattering our mental categories, force us to go ever further and further in our pursuit of the truth.

'Blessed be you, universal matter, immeasurable time, boundless ether, triple abyss of stars and atoms and generations: you who by overflowing and dissolving our narrow standards or measure-ment reveal to us the dimensions of God.

'Blessed be you, impenetrable matter: you who, interposed between our minds and the world of essences, cause us to languish with the desire to pierce through the seamless veil of phenomena.

'Blessed be you, mortal matter: you who one day will undergo the process of dissolution within us and will thereby take us forcibly into the very heart of that which exists.

'Without you, without your onslaughts, without your up-rootings of us, we should remain all our lives inert, stagnant, puerile, ignorant both of ourselves and of God. You who batter us and then dress our wounds, you who resist us and yield to us, you who wreck and build, you who shackle and liberate, the sap of our souls, the hand of God, the flesh of Christ: it is you, matter, that 1 bless.

'I bless you, matter, and you 1 acclaim: not as the pontiffs of science or the moralizing preachers depict you, debased, dis-figured - a mass of brute forces and base appetites - but as you reveal yourself to me today, in your totality and your true nature.'You 1 acclaim as the inexhaustible potentiality for existence and transformation wherein the predestined substance germinates and grows.

'I acclaim you as the universal power which brings together and unites, through which the multitudinous monads are bound together and in which they all converge on the way of the Spirit. 'I acclaim you as the melodious fountain25 of water whence spring the souls of men and as the limpid crystal whereof is fashioned the new Jerusalem.

'I acclaim you as the divine milieu, charged with creative power, as the ocean stirred by the Spirit, as the clay moulded and infused with life by the incarnate Word.

'Sometimes, thinking they are responding to your irresistible appeal, men will hurl themselves for love of you into the exterior abyss of selfish pleasure-seeking: they are deceived by a reflection or by an echo.

'This 1 now understand.

'If we are ever to reach you, matter, we must, having first established contact with the totality of all that lives and moves here below, come little by little to feel that the individual shapes of all we have laid hold on are melting away in our hands, until finally we are at grips with the single essence of all consistencies and all unions.

'If we are ever to possess you, having taken you rapturously in our arms, we must then go on to sublimate you through sorrow. 'Your realm comprises those serene heights where saints think to avoid you - but where your flesh is so transparent and so agile as to be no longer distinguishable from spirit.

'Raise me up then, matter, to those heights, through struggle and separation and death; raise me up until, at long last, it becomes possible for me in perfect chastity to embrace the universe.

Down below on the desert sands, now tranquil again, someone was weeping and calling out: 'My Father, my Father! What wild wind can this be that has borne him away?'

And on the ground there lay a cloak.