Gebser: The Concretion of the Spiritual

If “New Age” has any meaning, its meaning is also connected with what is presently being called the “post-metaphysical”. Post-metaphysics has also two contradictory meanings, which ambiguity is also related to the strange “double-movement” of the times noted by Jean Gebser — a road down and a road up. On the one hand, “post-metaphysics” may be used to refer to the presumption of the definitive triumph of the Mechanical Philosophy, of materialism and of purely sensate consciousness over all competitors and over “spirituality”, or as “the end of history” and the final victory of the Kali Yuga. On the other hand, “post-metaphysics” may mean the exact opposite, or what Jean Gebser has called “the concretion of the spiritual” in which the spiritual nature of reality becomes self-evident truth, immediately and directly perceptible reality no longer beholden for its truth to the testimony of the physical senses or to justification by reason or the speculations and conjectures of an abstracting deductive logic.

Our interest in The Chrysalis is obviously with post-metaphysics understood in the latter sense as the “concretion of the spiritual” as the correlate to the “irruption” of a new consciousness structure or mode of perception. Gebser calls this new consciousness structure the “integral consciousness” (or the “aperspectival“); or, what William Blake also called “the New Jerusalem”. So, we need to make clear what “concretion of the spiritual” actually means as the more authentic interpretation of the meaning of “post-metaphysical”.

This ambiguity in the meaning of the post-metaphysical really does attest to the “double-movement” of the times observed by Gebser, and does indicate that the human form is at something of a crossroads moment in terms of the evolution of consciousness. The interpretation of the post-metaphysical by sensate consciousness (or “the mental-rational consciousness structure”) as the victory of materialism is what William Blake calls “Opacity” (and is the spiritual state called “Babylon”), while the other interpretation is the understanding of the emergent integral consciousness characterised by “Translucence” (and is the spiritual state Blake calls “New Jerusalem”). Thus the terms “Opacity” and “Translucency” are the two contending interpretations for the meaning of “post-metaphysics”. In one, spiritual reality is effectively denied, and in the other it is effective reality.

For the sensate consciousness (the “body-mind” or ego-nature) reality is opaque, in that perceived objects apparently throw up resistance to perception or insight. They do not yield up their meaning, so to speak. To the more integral consciousness, reality is transparent or “translucent”, and so the difference between the opaque and the translucent lies in the distinction between sight and insight. This latter is what Blake calls “Vision” proper, and informs his statement that he sees “not with the eye, but thro’ the eye”. The “concretion of the spiritual” is the immediate translucency of the world, and this is the affair of insight in which all things yield up their meaning without the obstruction of opacity. In that sense, opacity and translucence correspond to the meanings of reason and revelation.

“A fool sees not the same tree that a wise man sees.” is Blake’s attestation to the difference between insight (or translucency) and mere sightedness (or opacity). That in us which perceives by insight is called, by Blake, “the Poetic Genius” in Man, which is the Seer, and is equivalent to what Jean Gebser calls “the Itself”. Taking these issues into consideration with Iain McGilchrist’s investigations of the modes of attention of the divided brain (in The Master and his Emissary) we then know that the “wise man” is the mode of attention of the right-hemisphere of the brain, while the “fool” is the mode of attention of the left-hemisphere of the brain, (or what I’ve referred to as the first and the second attentions respectively, or the primary and the secondary, or the supernal and the infernal). Therefore, “Opacity” (or Babylon) is the condition of the second attention, while translucence is the condition of the first attention.

Put another way, that in us which perceives immediately is the first attention, and that in us which perceives mediately is the second attention, concerned as it is with the attributes or secondary qualities (or “the details”). However, the second attention misconstrues these secondary qualities or attributes as being the primary.

The semantic contest for the meaning of “post-metaphysical” itself attests to a struggle going on within the human form itself, which Blake earlier depicted as the struggle between the Zoa named Los (the Imagination or “Eternal Prophet”) and the Zoa of “fallen Reason” named Urizen. The Zoas Los and Urizen, two of the four aspects of divided man, are very likely symbols for McGilchrist’s right and left hemisphere modes of attention of the divided brain (along with the other two Zoas Tharmas and Luvah) for Blake has Los say of the Zoas,

“Tho in the Brain of Man we live, & in his circling Nerves.
Tho’ this bright world of all our joy is in the Human Brain.

Let’s dwell for a moment on the “apocalyptic” character of Blake’s art and poetry and Jean Gebser’s philosophy, and by “apocalyptic” we mean the suddenness of revelation. In that sense, it is not an “evolutionary” but a “revolutionary” development. Gebser’s “irruption” is an insurrection, which is cataclysmic — in the association of apocalypse with destruction is the meaning of “shattering truth”. What Gebser calls “global catastrophe” as also being coincident with this revelation or the “irruption” of a new consciousness structure is drawn out in some detail in Blake’s horrific poetry of “the Last Judgment” during which the petty tyrant, Urizen and the world of his making called “Ulro”, is overthrown. Iain McGilchrist’s “Emissary” (the left-hemisphere’s mode of attention or “mental-rational consciousness structure” in Gebser’s terms) who has usurped the throne of the “Master” (the right-hemisphere’s mode of attention) is quite evidently Blake’s fallen Zoa “Urizen”. Urizenic Man is the consciousness that has completely closed itself up within the Ulro, which is the realm of Opacity. So the end of Urizen’s tyranny also brings about the destruction of the Ulro or “Babylon” (also called “Vala” by Blake, or otherwise the Veil of Maya or the Cloud of Unknowing).  So, in those terms, it is indeed “cataclysmic”. It corresponds to Shiva’s dance of creative destruction, but is called by Blake Albion’s “dance of Eternal Death”. Albion’s “dance of Eternal Death” is exactly Shiva’s Dance of the Apocalypse. They are the same dance. The four arms of Shiva correspond to the four Zoas of Blake’s reintegrated Albion.

Shiva Dancing the Apocalypse

Shiva Dancing the Apocalypse


Glad Day -- Albion's "dance of eternal death"

Glad Day — Albion’s “dance of eternal death”

Blake subtitled his painting of Albion’s resurrection: “Albion rose from where he labourd at the Mill with Slaves / Giving himself for the Nations he danc’d the dance of Eternal Death”

In those terms, the “concretion of the spiritual” that attends the “irruption” of a new consciousness structure isn’t at all a stroll through the park. It’s insurrectionary and, in those terms, cataclysmic. In Blake’s prophetic books, it entails the “annihilation of the Selfhood” (fallen Urizen) and the corresponding destruction of the world it made — the Ulro or Babylon. But it is translucency or transparency (true inherent insight) itself that shatters the opaque world, and this corresponds to Seth’s remarks about the emergence of unconscious knowledge in our time. What I previously referred to as “chaotic emotion” or “affective disorder” is part of that irruption, however badly misunderstood it is by those who experience it in the absence of an “enlightened ego consciousness”.

The “concretion of the spiritual” does not come with a user’s guide, except for the pattern provided by (to my mind) Blake, Gebser, Rosenstock-Huessy, Rumi and many others in the Wisdom Tradition. Blake provides us with a rather important example in The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, in one of his “Memorable Fancies” on his confrontation with “Leviathan”. Leviathan attacks Blake “with all the fury of a spiritual existence”, but which Blake finally subdues through his superior insight. This is a very important message in Blake, for the “concretion of the spiritual” can also be Hell itself without that insight (as is relevant, too, in Rumi’s poem “Green Ears”). It’s worthwhile becoming familiar with both Blake’s “Memorable Fancy” and Rumi’s “Green Ears” for what they say about Gebser’s “concretion of the spiritual’ too.

Just a word of warning about that.



21 responses to “Gebser: The Concretion of the Spiritual”

  1. davidm58 says :

    I’ve been contemplating some of Gebser’s “last words” and it seems appropriate to share here. Perhaps “Decline” can be associated with the 2nd mode of attention, and “Participation” (“the simple is in us”) with the first. Very interesting how he talks very much like Blake in terms of “cage-like” thinking. I sure wish someone would translate this book in its entirety into English. This comes from Hans Heimer:

    …on the 26th April 1973, Gebser was this time really on his death bed. He had completed a book entitled ‘Decline and Participation, Concerning Polarity, Duality, Identity and Origin’. This was a collection made by Gebser of some of his lectures on his masterpiece, EPO. Before he smilingly and fearlessly departed from this world on the 14th May 1973, he dictated a foreword to this book, to his wife Jo Gebser. This foreword is his last piece of writing, his spiritual testament as it were. …from the Complete Edition, 7 volume, Novalis Verlag 1986, translated by [Hans Heimer]. The brackets contain the volume number ‘v’ and the page number ‘p’.

    Foreword to Gebser’s ‘Decline and Participation’ (V5/2 P11–12)

    In the end, everything is simple.

    Of course to say this, appears foolish. Because we sit in a self–constructed cage and because events appear very complicated to us who are imprisoned and cut off; we sacrifice our limited powers to illusory things from which in the end there is no way out. At any rate, that is the present situation.
    Only indirectly does this book concern itself with the simple. but it concludes with it (The last chapters deal with fearlessness, timelessness and the origin). Not that it goes towards it. There is no path to the ever–present. Sometimes it is deduced that origin and the present are simply and irrefutably neither duality nor sequence, but equal, but the whole.

    All this appears to be endangered. And it is. Endangered by our own complicated cage– thinking, by our cage–security, in which we believe, gigantic events are occurring and being portrayed; on top of which; what grand life forms we are we believe they have been created, exclusively created by us. We have lost our inner security, we have gained cage–security.
    The majority think this way. That is the decline. Even if one believes there is continuous advancement. Such discrepancies are part of the more complete, true picture.

    The simple is in us. It is participation. Participation in what is to us unknown but evident. A tiny seed in us, containing all transparency, the transparent world, the most irradiated and most sober happiness. A so completely encompassing whole which cannot be even imagined by our sensible, over–clever cage–thinking, nor our complained of/complaining and poor/strong longing; what poverty is revealed by these and in spite of these, it is in us.

    We have become conscious of it, because it is sufficiently near to us, illuminated we can as illusion move aside the bars of the cage. Nothing other than the power of inertia prevents the removal of the bars of the compulsive images. The tiny seed of participation empowers us to overcome.

    However, because the simple is the nearest to us, it is also the most external. That’s why we begin in the following pages with the two–three–and fourfold (the book starts with modern physics). They are already no longer recognised as such. That is why there is an increasing confusion in the cage. Let us make it transparent, then, because of the illuminated participation, the simple will become reality. It is the ever–present. The unreachable is the very near. And it is always present. In order to see it, the pictures and imaginations of the cage have to be moved aside, all the heaped up rubbish that with its highpoints chaotically threatens to asphyxiate humanity; in other words, the peaks of psychotic and mental– rational processes. Rightfully those who lack knowledge revolt against this, but with the wrong means, terror, anarchism, force—outgrowths which still carry the characteristics of the cage–life, from which they want to free themselves. However for this they must know the purpose, the aim and the reason.

    Perhaps these pages can clarify something for those with keen hearing. Because of this, the emphasis in the first sections is placed on discrimination.
    The long suppressed memory of the tiny seed to awaken participation; it might be worth trying (to read) a few pages. If only the remotest presentiment of this encompassing reality and always already present future could sprout in us because of these, then the two hours spent on these pages would be the gain of participation.

    From the chapter entitled ‘The Invisible Origin’, v5/2 p113–114:

    “The realisation/awaring of the origin is only possible if, when we look backwards and into ourselves, neither the darkness of the magical, the twilight of the mythical or the current daylight of the mental–rational are obstacles (cage bars). Compared to the structure of simultaneity (the ever presence of the past and future in the present), darkness, twilight and daylight are impenetrable and non–transparent walls; where however the three grades of darkness and light of the consciousness structures have become transparent, there also the walls become illusory; a more powerful consciousness, the integral, which life and spirit supporting, transcends and is not overwhelmed by all previous consciousness structures, makes it possible to become aware of the origin, through darkness, twilight and perhaps dazzle, to see the original consciousness, or to use Sri Aurobindo’s term, the universal consciousness. Where this happens, due to its partaking of the origin, our consciousness changes into the integral consciousness and gives up its bar–like compulsive images.”

    We can compare this with Gebser’s mysterious opening statement made 24 years earlier in 1949 in the Preface to Part One of EPO, and see how much clearer he was able to express himself later in his life: “Origin is ever present. It is not a beginning, since all beginning is bound to time, and the present is not the mere ‘now’, today, or the moment. It is not a time division, rather an achievement of wholeness, and this always original. Whoever is able to bring to effectiveness and reality, the wholeness of origin and the present, to make it concrete (as opposed to it remaining abstract), he overcomes beginning and end and the mere current time”. ( Hans Heimer translation, English EPO p xxvii)

    • Scott Preston says :

      That’s excellent. I hadn’t read Gebser’s Decline and Participation yet, so that is new to me. Gebser’s “caged mind” is the same as Blake’s “cavern” or “cavern’d” mind or “mind-forg’d manacles.” That’s where we need to begin — with the deconstruction of the mental cage. Even to become conscious of the cage or cavern is to gain some degree of emancipation from it (or what I’ve also referred to as “the foreign installation” — a borrowing from Castaneda).

      The “cage” is, finally, that voice in our heads that is constantly telling us who we are and what our world is like, over and over again. That voice has to be silenced.

  2. Scott Preston says :

    There is, by the way, a chapter in Gebser’s “Ever-Present Origin” called “The Concretion of the Spiritual”, and it is available online along with a number of other chapters from EPO. “The Concretion of the Spiritual” (which is quite a surprisingly short chapter) is available at

    A few more chapters from EPO are available online at

    • davidm58 says :

      Another important late/last writing from Gebser, and covering some of the same themes as above is the article you (Scott) posted here: at on The Integral Consciousness. He clarifies what he means by “participation” as a “shared world”:
      “A person who has such an Integral consciousness is no longer dependent on his ego: His ego, with all its passions, no longer dominates him; rather, he governs his ego. Then the world as a correlate of ego—a world which confronts us with all its conditions of time and space—becomes a shared world, a world of participation in that which, like the divine or the spiritual, is not linked to time and space because it is, by its very nature, timeless and spaceless.”

  3. dadaharm says :


    I have no objections to a worldwide concretion of the spiritual. But as it is described it remains a rather abstract idea. Moreover, it is unclear how such a change of consciousness can happen. A planet-wide nervous breakdown could have some nasty side effects.

    So let me guess some of the pre-conditions needed for a so-called concretion of the spiritual. I think at least two things are necessary. First a willingness to accept the spiritual and secondly a complete discrediting of the current worldview and the associated authorities. These two pre-conditions are very much related.

    The process of discrediting the current worldview is happening right now and will continue. So let me try to explain what I mean by a willingness to accept the spiritual.

    The willingness to accept the spiritual is the basis on which a person can develop what Blake, Barfield and other romantics call imagination. That type of imagination requires a lot of introspection. It is a process that takes time. You need to know your-self well and also be able to imagine what other living beings experience. It is a form of empathy that goes much deeper than just saying “I feel your pain”.

    Things like meditation, prayer etc. were probably originally developed to stimulate this type of imagination. Anselm’s statement “Credo ut intelligam” also captures this idea that you have to actively want to experience the spiritual. It is not something that just happens (by accident).

    Before a concretion of the spiritual can occur, a willingness to accept the spiritual must have happened. So people for some reason must have turned inward and have become more introspective.

    Our civilisation does not encourage introspection. In fact, it almost makes it impossible. As long as that remains the case the concretion of the spiritual cannot happen. I have no idea what type of crisis will change our civilisation and make it more introspective.

    • Mike McDermott says :

      Yesterday I got Stuart Kauffman’s “Humanity in a Creative Universe, published the day before. In it, he mentions Andreas Weber. Weber published another book last January: Biology of Wonder: Aliveness, Feeling and the Metamorphosis of Science.

      The journey is well under way.

      • dadaharm says :

        Hi Mike.

        I read some books by Stuart kaufmann (“At home in the universe” and “Reinventing the sacred”). I liked them. The book by Andreas Weber also sounds interesting.

        Indeed, there are people doing things that point in the right direction and writing books (and blogs) about it.

    • Scott Preston says :

      Hello dadaharm: The spiritual isn’t a matter of abstraction, or at least not exclusively. Thinking is also spiritual activity. In the Wisdom Tradition, and in Blake and Gebser and Steiner, too, it’s all “spiritual” activity, and it’s simply a matter of waking up to that truth. You cannot “will” it so, because that is to try to draw it into the orbit of the second attention, rather than letting go of the second attention long enough to allow the first attention to have its say, as it were.

      So, it’s a matter of opening up to that influence rather than attempting to conquer it intellectually or by magical thinking and so on, and since the “irruption” is not willed, but is the implicit making itself explicit, it’s only a matter of our responses, whether those responses to the irruption of unconscious knowledge are skillful or unskillful responses, adequate or inadequate responses, or, in Gebser’s terms “effective” or “deficient” responses. That’s the only question, because the question of the hour (the “mutuation”) is already upon us now whether we want it or no, whether we will it or no. The implicate (or “the Itself” in Gebser’s terms) has a logic all its own, which is beginning to assert itself explicitly, and it is not necessarily conformable or can be encompassed by human logic — at least, “logic” or “mind” as presently understood. This is already the meaning of “breakdown” or “the mental-rational” now functioning in deficient mode, or what is also called “chaotic transition”. It’s much more subjective than objective.

      • dadaharm says :


        I do not see the concretion of the spiritual as something that suddenly happens all at once. Ancient Greece also did not all of a sudden spontaneously irrupt into a civilisation based on rationality. It was a long and hard struggle to achieve some form of rationality. Many philosophers and other people worked hard to make it possible. They did that because they believed in rationality. The concretion of the spiritual will similarly be only achieved after a long struggle and hard work.

        Just consider what a magical scenario of a sudden irruption might look like: Several scientists discover somehow that the universe has a mind and is in fact conscious. It is all over the news. Several TV-programs discuss the fact that it is now scientifically proved that the universe is in fact the body of god. All over the internet people are discussing the new scientific discovery. People all over the world are excited about it. Within a couple of years somehow magically humanity has achieved what Gebser calls the concretion of the spiritual.

        This magical scenario is in my opinion a fata morgana. It is too passive. A change in consciousness structure is (in my opinion) an active process. There must be an event or crisis that starts it. That can be considered to be what Gebser calls the irruption.

        All that this irruption can achieve is a change in attitude. A realisation that something must change in the way humanity experiences reality. This change in attitude is what I called a willingness to accept the spiritual. I am also quite willing to call it opening up to the influence of the spritual, as in your comment. Once that change in attitude has happened, humanity can work and try to realise the concretion of the spiritual. That will be a long and hard struggle.

        In short, I see the concretion of the spiritual as the ultimate aim of the integral consciousness structure. People must work to achieve it. It is not something like a mental mutation that one passively receives from heaven. The irruption that makes this possible, is then the sudden realisation by humanity that a change in consciousness is needed.

        (This does mean that my ideas differ somewhat from those of Gebser.)

        • Scott Preston says :

          Sorry, but I don’t think you’ve quite understood Gebser. You still seem to think it’s about “thinking”, about making a decision or “willingness” — terms you use, but which are quite out of place here. The “mutation” of which Gebser speaks has nothing whatsoever to do with willing or thinking, and more to do with even psychosis and neurosis more than some calm rational, willful approach. Gebser chose the term “irruption” explicitly to emphasise this — it’s volcanic character. It’s not a mere change of “attitude”, it’s a complete re-organisation of the entire psychic structure — veritably a new heaven and a new earth that Gebser’s speaking of.

          And I think you’ve got the emergence of Greek rationalism quite wrong. It happened very quickly, and in the context of the decadence of classical Greece. The Greeks themselves knew this — Athena, Goddess of Reason, emerges suddenly, fully adult and fully armoured from the head (or thigh) of Zeus. Not born like the others and then goes through a process of maturation. Her emergence has no natural or logical precedent, no orderly development. It’s sudden. In fact, I’m sure Gebser had his meaning of “irruption” very much from the myth of the birth of Athena.

          From Gebser’s perspective we do not “cause” anything. We are respondents, and we respond to the irruption either adequately or inadequately, skillfully or unskillfully. That’s all there is to it.A “metanoia” is not a mere matter of a change in attitude, or something that follows from thinking and willing.

          In terms of Holling’s adapative cycle, the situation we are in now corresponds to his “release” and “reorganisation” phases — the intersection of these. This is the same as Gebser’s “double-movement”. Now, if the Adaptive Cycle is truly reflective of the laws of energy, and applicable to all energy inclusive of human eras and epochs, it will be seen that it has absolutely NOT made by thinking or willing. It follows a prescribed pattern quite independent of anything like “attitude”. I happen to think that Holling’s Adaptive Cycle is indeed lawful, and that the release and reorganisation states correspond to Gebser’s disintegration and re-integration processes also.

          But for Gebser, the mutation is not caused by thinking or by willing. These are only responses to it.

          • dadaharm says :


            Let me follow your and Gebser’s ideas about the irruption and make it spectacularly dramatic and apocalyptic: Some planetary crisis happens. Humanity panics and looses control. It is planetary chaos. As a result one half of the surviving part of the human race has become psychotic, the other half is completely neurotic. Maybe there are also a few relatively sane people left.

            In this completely dysfunctional society somehow the concretion of the spiritual has to be realised. That probably means that some of the psychotics come up with a new vision of reality. Moreover, they manage to convince enough other people of the validity of their ideas about reality.

            This is what I imagine what Gebser means by the irruption. The question then becomes: Can this actually happen? I can imagine it happening and I consider it possible.

            The next question then becomes: What type of new vision of reality will arise out of such a chaotic situation? Here I am not very hopefull. I am pretty sure the vision will be religious in some sense. But it is unlikely to be a religion that differs in any essential way from the old religions. So there is little chance of achieving a new kind of consciousness structure. In fact, it is very likely to be a return to an old consciousness structure.

            Even in this dramatised way of looking at Gebser’s irruption there is need for thinking and willing after the new vision of reality has been formed. That is why I am more in favour of a change in attitude instead of a complete nervous breakdown. The change in attitude might well be triggered by some global mental crisis (but not a complete global nervous breakdown).

            I do not know enough of the history of Greece to be able to judge whether the rise of rationality in Athens appeared suddenly or over a long time. So you could well be right about that. But I look at the reorganisation phase of a civilisation as being a slow and long proces. Most of it happens in the preceding dark age and is hidden from sight. That is what in my opinion creates the illusion of a sudden appearance of a new civilisation. (We will keep disagreeing about the adaptive cycle.)

            • Scott Preston says :

              Well, the problem here is that you don’t seem to realise that the Age of Reason lost the plot a long time ago. What do you think the “discovery of the unconscious” and of the “psychopathology of everyday life” at the turn of the 19th century and on the eve of the First World War actually was? In fact, Gebser points to precisely this time as the beginnings of the “irruption” of the new consciousness structure, coincident with the new picture of the world being articulated by Einstein and quantum mechanics and in Picasso and so on — all detailed in his book The Ever-Present Origin. The world has been a madhouse for some time now. It’s not something impending. What Gebser forecast as a “global catastrophe” was simply the endgame of this development whose beginnings he saw in the 1914 – 1945 period.

              Until you understand coincidence of opposites and the principle of enantiodromia, you can’t understand the concerns of Gebser, or Blake for that matter, or what Gebser means by “the double-movement” of the times.

              I’ve mentioned Arthur I. Miller’s fine book Deciphering the Cosmic Number as a microcosmic example of what Gebser is talking about on a global scale. It details the career of the quantum physicist Wolfgang Pauli, who was a real Jekyll-and-Hyde character, a brilliant scientist who struggled with his own psychosis and sought resolution of it with Carl Jung. Pauli is a very good example of the “double-movement” that Gebser describes. It’s worth reading.

              In some ways, its the same “Dionysian madness” that Nietzsche anticipated as his “two centuries of nihilism” on the way to the transhuman. Gebser, in effect, concurs with Nietzsche’s diagnosis and prognosis.

  4. abdulmonem says :

    As Mike put it, the journey is well under way or as Scott put it, the implicate is beginning to assert itself explicitly. Gebser is basically a sufi that aspires to reach the unreachable, knowing that describing thing is not enough, if not substantiated by experience, that is indulging devoutedly in the divine story away from all types of cages. The sufis say, earth is the prison of the faithful, that is why we find him in a continual process of seeking the divine nearness, that is the participation in the sea of endless understanding of his simplicity.

  5. dadaharm says :


    Let me speculate a little bit about the reorganisation phase of the integral consciousness structure.

    Since the industrial revolution there has been a counter movement to the rational way of experiencing reality. It started with the romantic artists. The German idealist philosophers also belong to this tradition. Blake, Gebser, Lewis Mumford, Gregory Bateson, Thomas Berry and many others belong in this counter tradition.

    Currently this tradition has even infiltrated science through ideas like complexity theory, (radical) constructivism, autopoiesis, gaia theory and others.

    This counter tradition, which is still marginal and not the dominant tradition, consists of a set of reasonable coherent ideas. I would consider this tradition to be part of the reorganisation phase of the integral consciousness structure. So it gets born in the shadows, while the old mental-rational consciousness structure still rules.

    This counter tradition is I think now coherent enough to function as a full blown consciousness structure. All that is needed to become the dominant consciousness consciousness structure is some event or crisis. That is why I think (and hope) a full blown planetary nervous breakdown might be avoided.

    It could well be that I am somewhat naive about about the sanity of our planetary madhouse. (Or maybe the divinity that governs the universe just likes to play with fire.)

    • Scott Preston says :

      Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall
      Humpty Dumpty had a great fall
      All the kings horses and all the King’s men
      Couldn’t put Humpty together again.

      That is, in effect, the fate of the mental-rational consciousness structure as Gebser (and Blake) foresee — what Gebser calls “fragmentation” or “atomisation”. It will not be possible to reboot it by a simple return to first principles, since that is simply the dog chasing its own tail. The foremost victim of this breakdown of “Universal Reason” is the principal of universality itself. And this is happening today — racism, xenophobia, hyper-partisanship, nativism and egoism are all symptoms of the fracture of “Universal Reason”. Along with the breakdown of the mental-rational are the issues of blowback, unintended consequence, revenge effect, perverse outcome, etc — the failure of prediction and control. And the biggest failure in this respect is the process of “globalisation” itself, which is having the exact opposite outcome of what was intended for it — global “integration” and the “universal” free market as the institutional form of “Universal Reason” (the rationality of the Invisible Hand).

      All this is hooey. It will not work and is not working. Now there’s even talk of the disintegration and breakup of the EU, following Yugoslavia before it. The United States is fracturing politically and socially, and that’s another trend to watch. Not only is “Universal Reason” disintegrating, so too will go the principle of “Universal Human Rights”, and that is already happening with the migrant crisis, too. Universality is the first victim of the disintegration of Universal Reason.

      Not a good outcome. But its’ precisely this disintegration of universality that makes integralism now possible. There’s no integration, after all, without a corresponding dis-integration. The former requires the latter as a premise for itself.

      The turn to the Hermetic Philosophy in the form of Jung, Blake, Gebser, Berry and others you mention is simply necessary in light of the situation of the mental-rational. It’s the quest for a new principle of integrity and integrality, which has become necessary because the disintegration of the psychic structure of modern man may prove fatal if it doesn’t succeed.

      And then our fate will indeed by Humpty Dumpty’s. That’s happening even now. The Earth is a madhouse.

      • dadaharm says :


        At least we agree on what is needed. We will just have to wait for the future to arrive, to see how the planetary madhouse gets there.

      • Steve Lavendusky says :

        Scott – Have you ever read a book called THE ONE-STRAW REVOLUTION by Masanobu Fukuoka? Fukuoka was a man of science who had a Gebserian satori experience and how he chose to live after that experience. He believes he discovered the way out of our madness.
        I agree with him. I would love you to read it. It IS my favorite book of all time.

        • davidm58 says :

          Hi Steve,
          Our Transition group is co-sponsoring an upcoming talk by Larry Korn, translator of the One Straw Revolution, and author of The One Straw Revolutionary about Fukuoka…but I haven’t read the books yet.

          Does Fukuoka specifically reference Gebser?

          • Steve Lavendusky says :

            Hi David,

            Fukuoka does not reference Gebser. Fukuoka’s satori experience sounds very much like Gebser’s satori experience. Its a great book with a beautiful intro by Wendell Berry. Its a deeply philosophical book about diet, health, and about the limits of human knowledge. Its practical and philosophical. I hope you read it. It really is a gem.

        • Scott Preston says :

          I’ve heard of the book. Thanks for the reminder. Since I have an interest in agriculture, I’ll be sure to read the book.

    • Scott Preston says :

      And now I’m going to watch The Road again, just to cheer me up.

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