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Globalization and the Soul—According to Teilhard, Friedman, and Others

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Thomas L. Friedman's recent book on globalization, The Lexus and the Olive Tree, sees a religious value in globalization: “globalization emerges from below … from people's very souls and from their deepest aspirations” (1999, 338). Pierre Teilhard de Chardin made similar claims in 1920, calling globalization the “deep-rooted religious movement of our age” (Teilhard 1979, 211). He came to this awareness through his experience in World War I. There he began connecting globalization to its roots in evolution and to the mystics’ desire for the “All,” a desire he saw animating the work of believing and unbelieving scientists. He found confirmation of his ideas in the letters of Saint Paul, who told of God eventually filling all things. Teilhard used the vocabulary of mysticism to describe global developments in technology, industry, politics, and the environment, and the ardor of his texts has led to their being widely used for secular gatherings on global subjects.

Keywords: Al Gore; Ignatius of Loyola; Kenneth Boulding; Marshall McLuhan; Michel Camdessus; Pierre Teilhard de Chardin; Saint Paul; Thomas L. Friedman; United Nations; World War I; contemplation; globalization; mystics

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Georgetown University, USA

Publication date: March 1, 2002

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