Teleology comes from the Greek word, Teleos, meaning end or purpose. Teleology presumes that history is oriented to outcome, although not all existence will attain the actualization that is present in its potential. What oftentimes calls forth being to its full purpose is alignment between Teleos and Opportunity (sometimes referred to as "Serendipity"). Teilhard de Chardin has applied teleology to history and society and outlined a course of social development.
The convergence of the “Pax Romana” and the spread of Christianity exemplifiy this alignment between Teleos and Opportunity. How could a ragtag assemblage of men and women, making preposterous claims about a crucified leader and his kingdom of the poor and outcast, grow into one of the greatest historical religions? The “Pax Romana”, which lasted from 27 B.C. to 180 A.D., was a time of relative peace in the Roman Empire. The infrastructure established by Rome offered advances of transportation and commerce and relative freedom of travel and communication, as in few eras did before or after. (Sadly for the Christians, once the Romans got wind of what they perceived as a political threat from this now newly established movement, persecution soon followed. But, by this time, the word had gotten out!)
It is my conviction that humanity has as its fullest expression global conviviality. The opportunity struggles to present itself as society groans to cast off burdens left over from the industrial age, has seen through the greed of commercialism and an economics that favors only the few, and is reaching the edge of tolerance with the horrors of war and genocide. Against the doomsday predictions of some, indeed opportunities for change may present themselves as society tends towards its natural outcome.
James Collins presents BHAG's (“Big Hairy Audacious Goals”) as what truly motivates men and women. Truly, Global cross-influence and interdependence is becoming a growing phenomenon in our human experience. Globalism can be a movement towards the good or the bad, depending on what use we make of its opportunities. When seen as a gateway for ever expanding corporate greed, or as a means of extending homogeneity across the globe to create a stable base of consumerism, globalism indeed exploits rather than serves humanity. The other side of globalism is the opportunity, greater than ever before, to change hearts and minds to open the world's abundance to all and to embrace nonviolence, compassion, and neighborliness. I believe in my heart these are the highest and dearest aspirations of all people. It is only when we can no longer reach out to embrace a future of hope, that this "BHAG" is beyond human possibility.
Conviviality does not reach its goal without it being lived out universally. Martin Luther King, Jr., said, “Injustice anywhere threatens justice everywhere.” One community enjoys abundance while another, somteimes only a few feet away geographically, suffers scarcity. One community lives in security as another experience the daily fear of imminent destruction. The conviviality attained by the few is incomplete and ephemeral unless conviviality can be enjoyed everywhere.
“With a Global Compact, the world could solve the problem of poverty.” World Economic Forum, PBS, CSPAN, 1/26/08
Thich Nhat Hanh:
The next Buddha will not take the form of an individual. The next Buddha will take the form of a community; a community practicing understanding and loving kindness, a community practicing mindful living. This may be the most important thing we can do for the survival of the Earth.