Every Day Above Ground (mallorys_camera) wrote,
Every Day Above Ground

My Visit With Teilhard de Chardin

Met BB for lunch in the more-or-less recently refurbished Apple Pie Café at the Culinary Institute.

We had quite the jolly time. Though I would have to say the food, particularly the desserts, are not quite as good as they were before the refurbishment.

This dessert, for example, was described as “apple lasagna.”

It was kind of a strudel astride a shortbread. Almost impossible to eat without surgical implements.

Never mind—the food was still really good—French fries with truffle salt!—and the company excellent. We spoke of cabbages, kings and sealing wax, and distant friends, and even Ben—

“Well, you know, I felt really odd after I got back from Trumansburg,” I told BB. “Ben had done these ostensibly nice things for me—taken me to see Pink Martini, refurbished a computer for me—but every word out of his mouth was a putdown. A sneer. A subtle insult. I thought to myself, Maybe you’re exaggerating—so, I started counting. And I was right. He seemed to be going out of his way to make me feel bad. The nice things he did only confused the issue. Mixed message, you know?

“So anyway, as soon as I got home, I blocked him on Facebook, and I blocked his phone number. I don’t need him in my life.”

“Whoa! Dramatic!” BB said.

“We don’t have that much in common,” I said. “Except for Robin. Which, of course, is a huge bond. But Robin and I are getting along very well these days, so I don’t need a back channel. Until Robin moves out, I will need a place to crash when I visit him in Trumansburg. So I’m not going to be actively unpleasant or anything.”

BB laughed. “Do you want to be?”

“No, not really. When I think of Ben, I don’t feel anything overtly negative. I wish him well in a general sort of way. I just don’t want to have anything to do with him.”

“What about that mind meld thing?” BB teased.

“Ah! Well, that was an interesting phenomenon. He definitely has a talent for that. I’ve never known anyone who could crawl into your thoughts the way that Ben could, become a voice speaking to you inside your own mind in your own words. It’s uncanny. It’s intoxicating. Definitely a supernatural power! But, no. Not even an echo left. I think he’s doing that with the new girlfriend now. I suspect that’s why she’s always feeling sick.”


I’m still using Ben as the prototype for my Henry Miller character in If You Find This. (They even look alike!) So, you know. It’s not as though I can disappear him entirely from my psychic life.


After lunch, BB and I set out to explore. What is now Roth Hall was once a Jesuit monastery. The student cafeteria is actually in the old chancel! They never took down the old stained glass windows:

I guess transubstantiation was eats, too. Right?

We spied on the bakers in the Night Kitchen. Although by that point, it was relatively late in the afternoon:

The Jesuits retain one part of the campus: the old cemetery.

And in this cemetery, strangely enough, the French philosopher Teilhard de Chardin is buried.

Teilhard was a Jesuit who was educated as a archeologist and a paleontologist. He spent a lot of time in China where he participated in the Peking Man excavations. His dual fascinations with God and evolution led him to postulate the existence of what he termed the Omega Point. Vastly oversimplified, the Omega Point is that maximum level of networked consciousness whose complexity is the manifestation of the divine.

I first read Teilhard during the period when I was doing lots and lots and lots of LSD! And he was a profound discovery because I have believed in something like the Omega Point since the time I was a very young child. Being neither French nor educated by Jesuits, naturally I could not articulate it as eloquently as Teilhard articulated it. But it’s just logical that God is really the sum of all iterations of consciousness.

The Catholic Church does not like Teilhard! The Vatican has issued multiple warnings against him!

But here he is in this sweet little Jesuit graveyard:

The Catholic Church would have preferred Teilhard’s white stone to be just another interchangeable white stone in a sea of white stones, but the fans planted what might even be laurels around it.

I hadn’t been planning to visit Teilhard when I suggested the Apple Pie for lunch, but BB and I talked a lot about acid trips during lunch, so it was a natural segue.

It was only when I was standing in the graveyard that I thought, Aha! November 1! Día de Muertos!

How appropriate.

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Tags: ben, food, friends, religion, teilhard de chardin
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