Omega Point and Teilhard de Chardin


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Oxford English Dictionary’s word for Monday 17th September is: Omega point, n.

  • Omega point, n.
    [‘Theology. With reference to the writings of P. Teilhard de Chardin: a hypothesized end to evolutionary development in which all sentient life will converge into a supreme consciousness; God or Christ as this final end. Also more widely: a final purpose, an end. Cf. omega n. 1b.’]
    Pronunciation: Brit. /ˈəʊmᵻɡə ˌpɔɪnt/, U.S. /oʊˈmeɪɡə ˌpɔɪnt/, /oʊˈmɛɡə ˌpɔɪnt/
    Forms: also with lower-case initial.
    Origin: Formed within English, by compounding; modelled on a French lexical item. Etymons: omega n., point n.1
    Etymology: < omega n. + point n.1, after French point Oméga (P. Teilhard de Chardin Le Phénomène Humain (1955) 288).

1. Theology. With reference to the writings of P. Teilhard de Chardin: a hypothesized end to evolutionary development in which all sentient life will converge into a supreme consciousness; God or Christ as this final end. Also more widely: a final purpose, an end. Cf. omega n.

  • 1b.The translated text of the first edition of Teilhard de Chardin’s book uses Omega, not Omega point.
    • [1959 B. Wall tr. T. de Chardin Phenomenon of Man iv. ii. 259 Its enormous layers..must somewhere ahead become involuted to a point which we might call Omega, which fuses and consumes them integrally in itself.]
    • 1959 B. Wall in B. Wall tr. T. de Chardin Phenomenon of Man ii. 57 When I come to unveil (with all due reservations and corrections) the perspective of the ‘Omega point’.
    • 1965 Listener 3 June 817/2 The idea has something in common with Teilhard de Chardin’s concept of the ‘Omega Point’.
    • 1977 Time 28 Feb. 45/1 Teilhard believed man would eventually transcend his individualism and converge at the ‘Omega Point’ with the Omega—God.
    • 1983 Amer. Lit. 55 461 Emerson’s hope for an ‘apocalypse’..sounds more like Pierre Teilhard de Chardin’s ‘noösphere’, which at an ‘omega point’ in cosmic history will become a planetary hypersonal consciousness.
    • 1995 Sci. Amer. July 84/3 Tipler claims that theology is simply a sub-branch of physics and that God is what he defines as the Omega Point: the end point to our universe.

2. In extended use: a culminating point, an acme; a turning point. Also ironic.1981 MLN 96 931 The holocaust remains undecipherable… Yet..it does re-present a kind of omega-point of horror and desire.

  • 1984 Contemp. Sociol. 13 693/1 Let us..[imagine] that self-care, lay-care, and movement-centered health liberation were to reach an omega point.
  • 1997 Harper’s Mag. May 49/1 Eventually there’ll be some sort of dramatic Omega Point at which everything changes.
  • 2000 Time Internat.(Electronic ed.) 9 Oct. The sporting fraternity concedes that there is a so-called Omega point beyond which the human frame cannot go.

We highlighted Teilhard de Chardin’s chart here.

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