The End of Planet Earth

“We survey the past, and see that its history is of blood and tears, of helpless blundering, of wild revolt, of stupid acquiescence, of empty aspirations. We sound the future, and learn that after a period, long compared with individual life, but short indeed, compared with the divisions of time open to our investigation, the energies of our system will decay, the glory of the sun will be dimmed, and the earth, tideless and inert, will no longer tolerate the race which has for a moment disturbed its solitude. Man will go down into the pit, and all his thoughts will perish”:

Arthur Balfour, Foundations of Belief (1894)

Humanity’s Insignificance – Arthur Balfour

Humans “very existence is an accident, their story a brief and transitory episode in the life of one of the meanest of planets [comment Brian Cox?]… famine, disease, and mutual slaughter, fit nurses of the future lords of creation, have gradually evolved, after infinite travail, a race with conscience enough to feel that it is vile and intelligence enough to know that it is insignificant”:

Arthur J Balfour, Foundations of Belief (1895)

The Future, Good or Evil? Chardin

One possibility: “Disease and hunger will be conquered by science…Hatred and internecine struggles will have disappeared in the ever-warming radiance of Omega… The final convergence will take place in peace”.

Another possibility: “Obeying a law from which nothing in the past has ever been exempt, evil may go on growing alongside good… There are no summits without abysses”:

The Phenomenon of Man [1959]

The Death of Planet Earth

Teilhard de Chardin was well aware of the cataclysmic possibilities lying in wait for Planet Earth: “With age and increasing complication, we are ever more threatened by internal dangers at the core of both the biosphere and the noosphere. Onslaughts of microbes, organic counter-evolutions, sterility, war, revolution – there are so many ways of coming to an end”. But he was no pessimist: “However possible [these cataclysms] may be in theory, we have higher reasons for being sureĀ that they will not happen“: See next blog….

The Phenomenon of Man (1959)