Age of Anxiety

“Fear is the mind killer” is one of the memorable memes from Frank Herbert’s Dune series — (that and “the spice must flow”) — and this is certainly our time of fear, and anxiety, and paranoia, which can be extremely destructive forces.

With that in mind, I’ld like to return to one of the major themes in Jean Gebser’s The Ever-Present Origin and in his other writings: Angst or anxiety. Gebser was concerned enough about existential Angst during this age of transition that he wrote a separate book about it, still in German, entitled Keine Angst vor der Angst. A rough English translation of that would be “nothing to fear but fear itself”. Much of human thought and action today seems, indeed, to be driven by fear and anxiety.

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Retraining Our Sensibilities

2021 has been a quite disastrous and traumatic year for many, hasn’t it? If the events of 2021 haveb’t yet taught us that we need to retrain our sensibilities, I don’t know what will — perhaps not even Jean Gebser’s “global catastrophe”.

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The Archaic Consciousness “Structure”

Those of you who are acquainted with the work of Jean Gebser (especially his book The Ever-Present Origin) are, by now, familiar with his four civilisational types as “consciousness structures”. Those he identifies as the archaic, the magical, the mythical, and the mental-rational structures, and his prospective fifth — the integral structure characterised chiefly by “diaphaneity” (or “the transparency of the world”), by “time-freedom”, and by verition, or “being-in-truth”. The latter might be considered as somewhat equivalent to “being-in-love”.

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