If there has ever being a time in history that it could be said that the world has so much advanced in all rounds, the honor must be done to the 21st century. For the 21st century, man has so much evolved not so much in terms of knowledge but scientifically, technologically and otherwise.
Such that people far and wide are being pulled and knitted together to make a beautiful tapestry of human relationships. Such that the world is now said to be a global village. Distance is no longer a limiting factor to communication, as people could connect even from millions of miles away, transactions are no longer laborious as it could be done from the comfort of one’s room.
This signals to us the fact that we are already neck-deep into Teilhard de Chardin’s second phase of human history which he calls the convergent phases and has long left the divergent phase. The problem is, therefore, that the convergent phase, regardless of its shiny side seems to be robbing us of our humanity. For a clearer understanding, it would be pertinent to throw more light on Chardin’s concepts of the convergent and the divergent phases of human history.
TEILHARD CHARDIN AND THE CONCEPTS OF THE DIVERGENT AND THE DIVERGENT PHASE.
For Chardin, cosmic evolution has taken the form of human history, for the process now goes on through human history. Chardin divides human history into two broad phases, namely, the divergent phase and the convergent phase.
THE DIVERGENT PHASE: this was the phase at which men dispersed to different parts of the globe, moving away from one another. This period is akin to the early dawns of history, when people lived so far way from each other and communication was very difficult. When people had to travel miles to visit friends and families, when the different groups of individual were totally cut off from each other, such that none even knows the other exist or is totally ignorant of the other person’s life.
It was in aperiod like this when people were still in the dark, that many stereotypes and many barbaric believes were brewed, basically because they lacked information about the other group, so most often they work on assumptions even when they are unfounded.
THE CONVERGENT PHASE: Mankind says Chardin has recently entered the second phase of history, the convergent phase. This explains the era we found ourselves in. With the tremendous evolution in the world, it is obvious that men are coming together and becoming more and more united. The world with the large mass of information that deluges our streets is increasingly becoming a global village with convergence and interaction at all levels.
This has been made possible and facilitated by the invention of modern means of communication and transportation. There is now an increase in interpersonal relationships or communication, sharing of one another’s thoughts, the unification of efforts and interpersonal exchange among men. With the advent of the internet, people travel the world and connect with people from different parts of the world while in the comforts of their homes. Information about almost anything already becomes very handy.
With the advent of social networks like facebook, whatsapp, twitter, instagram etc. meeting people and connecting with them remains at the fling of a finger. This obviously is era obviously is a convergent phase in history, where people build a network of a beautiful relationships.
THE PROBLEM WITH THE CONVERGENT PHASE
One on seeing the convergent face would no doubt say that man is at his highest point in history, since it has made many things so simple and has supposedly brought the world together, making it a global village. But there is a problem.
This problem is that it seems the more we evolve from the divergent phase of human history, we seem to be caught up in the whirlwind of the convergent phase of human history. There is a sort of double baggage the convergent phase seem to come with, one is that it poses to bring man together, while at the same time, seem to make the modern man lose touch with reality.
Advance in technology ought to have been a major cause of unification among people but it seems to be the disintegrating factor. Pertinent questions need to be asked, like why is it that, it is at this point in history that suicide attempts and actual suicides seem to be at its climax? Why is it that at this time that people more than ever should be close enough that many slide down into the bottomless pit of depression? But the level of the web of connection at this point in history ought to have eschewed any of such occurrences.
These are serious questions to ponder on, how the convergence phase that ought to unite now separate, how we are so bodily present yet absent-minded, how we share the same space with people yet very much detached from them.
We are losing our humanity gradually because things that would have mattered in the divergent phase, makes no much meaning in the convergence. Something like going to visit a friend or family and talk with them,; accident scene no longer hit us with a tinge of pain for the loss on our common humanity, rather at accident scenes people take unnecessary pictures, instead of first reaching out to help, they reach for their phones to snap. Two roommates are in a room, they do not talk to each other, still they are talking with people outside and they simply lose touch of reality.
It must be noted that nothing is wrong with the convergent phase of history; rather it is the abuse of the leverages it offers that robs us of our humanity. For it seems we hold tenaciously to these leverages, using them as ends rather than means.
And when they become ends rather than means we lose touch with reality, for man is subjugated and used as means rather than ends, thus value is placed on things and not on man. It is saddening that the convergent phase with the leverages it offers which ought to have unified men have actually polarized them and their relations. Thus even as the convergent phase ships us into a global village it is gradually clipping off the last vestiges of our humanity.
We must, therefore, take heed of Teilhard Chardin’s words that-mankind has no choice but to continue in this direction of increasing socialization and unification in order to survive For no future awaits man except in association with all other men. So even as the convergent phase of human history makes the world a global village, we should not equally forget how to be human