Beyond the Book: Background information when reading Point Omega

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Point Omega

A Novel

by Don DeLillo

Point Omega by Don DeLillo X
Point Omega by Don DeLillo
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Feb 2010, 128 pages
    Paperback:
    Dec 2010, 128 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Amy Reading

Buy This Book

About this Book

Beyond the Book

Print Review

The Omega Point
What does Don DeLillo share with Marilyn Manson and Dilbert?

Answer: An interest in the omega point, a theory developed by the French Jesuit Pierre Teilhard de Chardin in his book The Phenomenon of Man, which was written in 1938 but was so contested by the Catholic church that it wasn't published until just after his death in 1955.

Teilhard was both a Jesuit priest and a paleontologist, so right there you can begin to sense the tensions within his work. He applied the theory of evolution to a larger understanding of the forward momentum, the perfectability of the cosmos, and The Phenomenon of Man sought to account for the central role of human consciousness in the accomplishment of spiritual transcendence.

Drawing from his awe at the vastness in time and space from which human consciousness has arisen, Teilhard projected a future point toward which we are aimed. This he named the omega point, the point at which the stunning complexity and self-referentiality of human knowledge will become unified. If evolution is, as he writes, "an ascent towards consciousness," then

"must not that consciousness, if it is to be supreme, contain in the highest degree what is the perfection of our consciousness - the illuminating involution of the being upon itself? It would manifestly be an error to extend the curve of hominsation in the direction of a state of diffusion. It is only by hyper-reflection - that is to say hyper-personalisation - that thought can extrapolate itself."

Teilhard did not insist on identifying this omega point, this "mysterious centre of our centres," as God, but his theory is meant to be fully compatible with Catholic teachings.

Richard Elster, the protagonist of Point Omega, has his own take on the omega point, and it has nothing to do with God. He starts off familiarly enough: "Consciousness accumulates. It begins to reflect upon itself. Something about this feels almost mathematical to me. There's almost some law of mathematics or physics that we haven't quite hit upon, where the mind transcends all direction inward. The omega point." But then his theory takes a turn toward the peculiar: "Because now comes the introversion. Father Teilhard knew this, the omega point. A leap out of biology. Ask yourself this question. Do we have to be human forever? Consciousness is exhausted. Back now to inorganic matter. This is what we want. We want to be stones in a field."

This article was originally published in February 2010, and has been updated for the December 2010 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.

This article is available to non-members for a limited time. You can also read these articles for free. For full access become a member today.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Last Ballad
    The Last Ballad
    by Wiley Cash
    Ella May WigginsA hundred years ago or so, farming land west of Charlotte, North Carolina was given over to giant ...
  • Book Jacket: Future Home of the Living God
    Future Home of the Living God
    by Louise Erdrich
    Louise Erdrich began Future Home of the Living God in 2002, set it aside, and picked it up again in ...
  • Book Jacket: The Last Mrs. Parrish
    The Last Mrs. Parrish
    by Liv Constantine
    Amber has lived in poverty all her life, and she has had enough. Of course, wishing to have money ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Second Mrs. Hockaday by Susan Rivers

At once a love story, a history lesson and a beautifully written tale of forgiveness.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Strangers in Budapest
    by Jessica Keener

    Strong characters and a riveting plot combine in this psychological thriller set in Budapest.
    Reader Reviews

Who Said...

Happiness makes up in height for what it lacks in length.

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

Solve this clue:

E Dog H I D

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.