Childhood's End

Childhood's End (1953) is a science fiction novel by Sir Arthur C. Clarke, dealing with the role of Mind in the cosmos and the plausible implications of that role for the evolution of the human race.

Childhood's End explores humanity's transformation and integration with an interstellar Overmind. It also touches upon such matters as cruelty to animals, man's inability to live in a utopian society, and the apocalyptic concept of The Last Man on Earth. The humans' arms race is brought to a halt by the sudden appearance of mysterious spaceships above all the Earth's great cities. After a week of silence and increasing tension, the aliens, who become known as the Overlords, announce by world-wide broadcast that they have benign intentions and desire to help humanity. As enforcers of peace, they bring salvation and life. They also bring the death of some dreams, as humanity is no longer completely independent and may not pursue certain scientific goals, such as space exploration. Some sixty years after the Overlords revealed themselves to humanity, human children begin displaying telepathic and telekinetic abilities and as a result, become estranged from their parents.

The Overloards then reveal the true purpose of why they came to Earth. They are in service to the Overmind, a cosmic mind amalgamated from ancient galactic civilizations, freed from the limitations of ordinary matter. The Overlords are not themselves capable of joining the Overmind, but the Overmind has charged them with the duty of fostering humanity's transition to a higher plane of existence and merger with the Overmind. The Overloards expresses an envy of humanity; thier race is trapped as they are. They are not now capable of joining the Overmind, though he hopes they will eventually learn how to do so.

The Overloards announce that the children with psychic powers will be segregated from the rest of humanity on a continent of their own, and only these children will merge with the Overmind. No more children are born; the narration subtly hints that most of the parents commit suicide, while their children evolve towards merging with the Overmind. Some Overlords remain on Earth, studying the evolved children. It also is revealed here that the Overlords have met and conditioned other races for the Overmind, and that humanity is the fifth race whose apotheosis they have witnessed.

When the evolved children have grown strong enough to mentally alter the Moon's rotation and effect other planetary adjustments, it becomes too dangerous to remain and the Overlords prepare to leave. They offer Rodricks the opportunity of leaving with them, but he chooses to remain as witness to Earth's dissolution. Mankind's offspring have evolved to a higher existence, requiring neither a body nor a place, and thus ends mankind's childhood. Rodricks reports, via radio, a great burning column of energy/matter ascending from Earth bearing indescribable colours and patterns. As he watches the Earth's gravity begins to decrease, the atmosphere starts escaping to space and material objects seem to dissolve around him. He reports no fear but a sense of accomplishment and completion, and then a blinding flash of light as the Earth evaporates.

from Wikipedia

For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity. 
1 Corinthians 13:9-13

Babies scream in rage if you take away a knife or a scissors, even though they may well harm themselves if you do not. The speed-up has placed you in the same position.
— A Course in Miracles - Original Edition

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