History has made a name in philosophy, basically for choosing to remain a very hard nut to be cracked by philosophers. Each age tries to wrap its head about the movement of history, where it began and where it is heading to, though each philosopher shovels out his own thoughts on the movement of history, still they have not actually been a general consensus as regards the tos and fro’s of history.
In the west, it was Augustine who first worked out the first elaborate philosophy of history in his book “the city of God” wherein he identified two forces that paddles the boat of history; self-love and the love of God. For him, world history therefore is the outcome of the interplay of these forces, which move world history irreversibly to a definite end.
Thus for him history began at creation and its definite end is the judgment day, when those motivated by the force of self love would be separated by those motivated by the force of love of God, which he symbolized as two cities, the city of God and the city of the world. Therefore for Augustine world history is lineal. In the renaissance era, Giambattista Vico opined that the movement of history is cyclic; Kant sees it as a rational movement in accordance with the plans of nature, moving towards a specific end; Hegel sees it as a course of the development of the idea of freedom which is itself the development of the absolute spirit.
The process is dialectical, thus contradictions, where thesis is negated by an anti-thesis, and this negation births a synthesis which in turn births a new thesis; are the forces that leads the absolute spirit which is the goal of history to a full self realization. Karl Marx also was a faithful student of Hegel in terms of his postulations on the dialectical movement of history.
It is line with the above that Teilhard De Chardin a French catholic priest, a Jesuit, a biologist and a paleontologist,in developing his own philosophy of history in his book the “the phenomenon of man, the future of man” and other researches, opined that history has a direction and a definite goal .
This goal of history is what he termed the “Omega Point”. Thus every movement in history iws headed towaeds this point. However the progress in world history according to him is not propelled by contradiction and conflict as seen in the thesis-antithesis-synthesis wheel of the Hegelian and Marxian movement, rather the progress is rather occasioned by what he tagged the principle of “complexity Consciousness”
This is the force that propels history to the omega point which is the goal of history. For Chardin, consciousness is a cosmic property, in other words it is something possessed by everything within the space of earth, and however this consciousness varies according to the degree of complexity of the physical structure of a particular thing. Thus the level of consciousness a being possesses is directly proportional or corresponds to the degree of complexity of its physical structure.
The more complex a being physical structure is the higher is its degree of consciousness. it is this principle according to Chardin that enables one to see that the world is moving in a direction of evr greater consciousness, moving the inorganic beings, the lower animals, then the anthropoids, and now the human beings. It is the arrival of man that made evolution reach a critical point, a point of reflective consciousness.
This placed man at the forefront, in chatting the course of history, because evolution is no longer cosmic rather it goes on in and through man, thus cosmic evolution is now transposed into human history. It is in line with this that Chardin divides human history into two broad phases, the divergent phase and the convergent phase. These two phases therefore forms the fulcrum of this essay.
THE DIVERGENT PHASE
This is the phase whereby men dispersed to different parts of the globe that is moved far away from each other. In this phase there was limited and crude means of communication, there was limited interaction, due to the fact that men lived very much afar from each other. But according to Chardin and as daily experiences prove, we are no longer in this phase. We are now in the convergent phase
THE CONVERGENT PHASE
This phase where men who previously moved far apart start to come together to form a whole. Thus becoming more united. With the advent of new ways of communication and transportation, the world seems to be coming closer and becoming more unified, thus it is called a global village. Here efforts are unified, thoughts shared and there is greater interaction and interpersonal relationships at all levels. This obviously is the age we are in now. Man therefore has to continue in this direction of socialization and unification, for no future awaits man except in association with all other men.
Therefore, human consciousness will continue to develop since evolution now continues through man, until it is transformed into super-consciousness where mans mode of being would be eventually transformed along with his consciousness, this will take place at the omega point which is the final goal of world history, where equally cosmic evolution will come to an end. What implication then do these two phases of human history has for the modern man.
IMPLICATIONS OF THE DIVERGENT AND THE CONVERGENT PHASES OF HUMAN HISTORY
Everyday experiences bare to our full glare that geographically, the world has long past the divergent phase, where in people lived wide apart and were so much disconnected from each other. The convergent phase is evidently breathing presently in our clime as modern technologies have gone a great way in bringing the world very much closer and making people thousands of miles away to be at our beck and call. Unfortunately there seem to be retrogression, as rather unconsciously we tend to be gradually moving back to the divergent phase.
Our consciousnesses that ought to have increased in direct proportion to the evolution of the convergent phase seem to have become more unconscious. Modern means of communication which ought to make us converge make us diverge so much that we are very much unconscious of our neighbour. Chardin made it clear that the future is but an illusion if we don’t move in association with our fellow men.
Thus the divergent and the convergent world imply that even in the difference that make us to diverge and mark territories, that there are equally things odd enough to be interesting of the other, and these interesting things should actually draw us closer and not push us back into the hollows of our cocoon.
The social implication of the divergent and the convergent phase is that our divergent views, thoughts and way of life should be the force that pulls us back together, thus a point of convergence, emphasis shouldn’t be much laid on the divergence of these thoughts or ways of life but in places where the converge. Our consciousness should actually develop and deepen more so as we converge we may grow more conscious of the humanity of others who differ from us.
Cosmic evolution has gone through certain landmarks at which it enetered into new sheres, it went through the biosphere (the sphere of life), and after a very long time it came to the Noosphere(the sphere of mind) with the arrival of man on earth. At the omega point mans consciousness and mode of being will be transformed when man enters a new sphere of life, namely, the Theosphere (the divine sphere). At this point man will enter into a higher mode of existence, a higher mode of being and will become “super-personalized”. This is the goal of human history, but this goal can only be reached when mankind make conscious effort to socialize and unify more at the convergent phase of human history.