Archive | October 2011

Observations on Gebser’s Essay “The Integral Consciousness”, IV

Jean Gebser’s essay on “The Integral Consciousness”, posted previously, is a summary of his views expressed in the lengthier book The Ever-Present Origin. The essay relies for its fuller meaning and interpretation on the material presented in the book. Yet it is possible to provide a context for this fuller meaning of the essay, and of Gebser’s sense of urgency in writing it, by reference to just a couple of passages from the opening pages of his book.

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Observations on Gebser’s “The Integral Consciousness”, III

Continuing with the series examining Jean Gebser’s posthumously published essay “The Integral Consciousness” (which is a brief summary of his much lengthier book The Ever-Present Origin), I find the following to be the most significant and important statement from the essay,

“Our conception of what we call reality depends upon our mode of consciousness.”

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Observations on Gebser’s “The Integral Consciousness”, II

Although there are many events presently that practically cry out to be recognised and commented upon, I want to stick with Gebser’s essay on “The Integral Consciousness” posted a couple of sessions back. Hopefully you printed it off, read it carefully, and are prepared to follow along with the commentary.

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Observations on Gebser’s Essay “The Integral Consciousness”, I

I don’t know whether to be disappointed to encouraged by the lack of reader response to Gebser’s posthumous essay on the Integral Consciousness in the last post. Either it is so transparent and self-evident that it requires no further comment, or it is so perplexing that one doesn’t know what questions to put or what, if anything, to say about it. Yet, it has depths to it that are as unexplored as the Marianas Trench. Read More…

Jean Gebser: The Integral Consciousness

I’m not sure if I’m within my rights to re-publish this article by Jean Gebser. I’ll do it anyway until someone tells me otherwise. I recommend that you print it off before that happens, though. I will have something more to say about it later.

The article is from a long defunct magazine called Main Currents in Modern Thought and appeared in the January-February 1974 issue. Since Gebser died in late 1973, if this is not his last statement about the “irruption” of the Integral consciousness in our time, it is certainly very close to being so. Read More…

Anti-Politics, or the Disease of “Politics”

Two attitudes, two completely divergent positions, are possible for man, and he finds the face of everything different accordingly as he chooses the one or the other. He can if he will put himself in the presence of God and the mystery of being. Then he has a clean conscience and a clean heart, revelation and intuition are vouchsafed to him,  the true primordial creative spirit appears, he reaches to the very source of all.

On the other hand, man can if he will put himself only in the presence of other men and with society. Then his conscience and his heart cannot be pure, revealed truth is changed, religion is reduced to a social fact, the light of intuition goes out and the glow of creation is cooled, and falsehood comes into its own, it is recognised as socially useful and even indispensable; man, whether conservative or revolutionary, is valued only in relation to the daily social routine and he can no longer attain to the ultimate source; even the voice of God can be heard only as an echo from the reality of society.  (Nicolas Berdyaev, The End of our Time, tr. Donald Attwater)
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The Conservative Turn

I’ve read quite a bit of nonsense in the press lately about the conservative turn and how it is supposed to exemplify a growing “maturity” of the public discourse and society… (not just an aging of the population). This alleged “maturity” in anything but simple biological and physiological terms is pure self-serving bunk. More likely, this skewed perception of  “maturity” (by which they intend us to understand “wisdom”) approximates more closely to senility and debility. Read More…