The Aperspectival Consciousness

I left off yesterday’s post on Narcissism and ‘The Point of View’ with a question about whether it is possible to escape the entrapment of consciousness (and identity, or the self-enclosure of consciousness) in the narrowing ‘point of view’ mode of consciousness called “the perspectival consciousness structure” (or “sensate consciousness”) now become deficient. “Deficient” is the term Gebser uses rather than “decadent”, although it amounts to the same thing. “Single Vision & Newton’s sleep” is how William Blake once put it.

That deficiency, or decadence, is best exemplified by two current mainstream phenomena that are, in fact, identical in meaning: Reformation has ended finally in fundamentalism, and Renaissance and Enlightenment have ended in reductionism. Fundamentalism in religion, and reductionism in thought are both the same reductio ad absurdum, equivalent in being the exhausted residua of Reformation and Renaissance, and perhaps best exemplified in the absurdity of the evolution versus creationism controversy — reductionism versus fundamentalism. I have absolutely no interest in this debate except as evidence of the exhaustion of all further possibilities for perspectivist perception and the current state of the ego-consciousness. The full truth of origin is much more subtle and nuanced than is represented by either term of this debased dialectic. From the aperspectival vantage point, reductionism and fundamentalism look exactly the same — both absurd.

If you can appreciate the absurdity involved here — the Tweedle-Dee, Tweedle-Dum battle between secular reductionism and religious fundamentalism — then you may not know it, but you are already well on your way to emancipating yourself from the thralldom of “Single Vision” and the deficiencies of the perspectival consciousness. If you sense the empty posturing represented by the two, then you are probably already participating in the emergence of the “aperspectival consciousness” as anticipated by Jean Gebser. Reductionism and fundamentalism, which are the two chief manifestations of the exhaustion of the mental-rational consciousness (or “Modern Era”) are both the offspring of the narrowing of further options for the ‘point of view’ mode of perception, and this self-enclosure of the consciousness is called “narcissism”. Whether they realise it or not, both reductionism and fundamentalism are nihilistic formations.

Once you see how fundamentalism and reductionism have shaped and conditioned the general human attitude and relation to world and self, and not just in terms of the evolution versus creationist controversy alone, then you will appreciate the essential problem as seen by William Blake, by Jean Gebser, or even by Iain McGilchrist in his neurodynamic approach (in The Master and his Emissary). The evolution versus creation controversy is just a special instance of this more general attitude.

Our apparent inability to transcend this ‘point of view’ consciousness and the twin problems of its collapse into reductionism and fundamentalism, is what constitutes the grave danger, presently, for the continuation of the human species. This should now be apparent in the turmoil of the present time. Becoming conscious of the roots and history of this particular mode of perception, as Gebser traces it in his Ever-Present Origin, is an essential task in the transformation or “metanoia” necessary to outrun it. I realise tackling The Ever-Present Origin is, for many, a daunting task. It’s a massive tome. But, as luck would have it, an excerpt covering the first 77 pages of his massive work is now posted online as “Fundamental Considerations” and it covers the history, the strengths and weaknesses, the origins of and prospects for, the perspectival and aperspectival orientations of consciousness. It’s an excellent history and outline of what we would today call “Ego Psychology”.

(And if, after reading it, it piques your interest further, you can follow it up by reading Iain McGilchrist’s excellent summary of his book The Master and his Emissary called “Divided Brain, Divided World” which is also very relevant to the concerns of Gebser and the present period).

It’s quite difficult, in some ways, not to look at the present state of affairs and find the whole situation repellent and contemptible. But understanding how it all got this way, and the prospects for transcending it through “aperspectivity”, is an important step towards emancipating ourselves from it and its destructive attractions and tendencies. Today, there are many resources, even online, to aid us in this respect, which assist us in understanding the “chaotic transition” — the crucible — through which we are currently passing: the “double-movement”, as Gebser calls it, of decline and ascent, of disintegration and re-integration, of the dangerous decadence of “The Perspectival Age” (with its attendant “end of history”) and the incipience of “The Aperspectival Age” as being a new, more holistic orientation of human consciousness towards our understanding of self and world, human and cosmos.


4 responses to “The Aperspectival Consciousness”

  1. LittleBigMan says :

    Thank you for the link to the summary of Gebser’s “Ever-Present Origin.

    I have to admit that I don’t view religious fundamentalism today as a true psychic event. It’s more like materialism at its most ruthless form imaginable; this imam or that rabbi or that other preacher is paid to say or do something in public, leading the unsuspecting audience to their demise.

    The “Single Vision” of “I’ll do and say anything for a buck”, exercised by preachers/scholars/imams/rabbis etc. etc. is the real root of religious fundamentalism today. There’s money in it!! The second this stuff stops making money for someone, all the rhetoric will go away, too.

    Religion is the corporation (and the most dishonest corporation at that, too) created by an Imam, a priest, or a rabbi or whatever.

    For example, Astan Quds Razavi is one such corporation with hundreds of billions of dollars in revenue:

    Its former CEO was Tabasi, who was an Iranian Jew, but his Wiki page says and shows him as a Muslim:

    After Tabasi died, Ebrahim Raeeisi took over. Now, Raeeisi is an Iraqi Jew. But his Wiki page professes him to be an Iranian and Muslim. These people do and say anything to get a buck and there is no end to their deception.

    Notice that Raeeisi was Deputy Chief Justice in Iran’s Judicial system. Guess, who is the Chief Justice in Iran’s Judicial system. None other than Sadeq Larijani, who is a descendant of one of the most pure bred Jewish families in Iraq perhaps going back to the time of Babylon itself.

    Now, this ain’t fundamentalism. It’s just a bunch of sick psychopaths that are cannibalizing entire societies and cultures all over this planet.

    Personally, I don’t care who makes money and how much of it. But the fact is that under these agents of the dark, you have some of the sickest people who are hell bent to destroy anything that isn’t part of their ancient cult. And the modus operandi of this cult is the “double movement” of sorts that first let’s the thief escape and then picks up the phone and calls the police telling them which way the thief escaped; sets the forest on fire and then calls the firemen; sets entire regions on fire and then mediates peace talks – ad infinitum.

  2. abdulmonem says :

    Your posts have always raised in my mind more questions than restful answers. Is it really our problem can be addressed through describing, explaining or understanding the left vs right side of the brain knowing there are other components like the frontal vs the parietal or the medial vs the lateral. What about the language of the heart vs the language of the head. Is it a question of attention or cognition or both and how they fit in story of the whole consciousness. What about intention. Do not you think this is another reductionist approach, knowing the head is only one organ in the human, among other organs. I prefer Gebser approach and his emphasis on the following,
    The human is not just a creature of earth but also is a creature of heaven.
    Assimilate the entirety of existence into our awareness and this can not be done,only through realizing god in ourselves as the emanator of all existence.
    The new spiritual reality is without question our only security that the threat of destruction can be averted.
    Nothing that exists exists for its own sake, it exists for the sake of the whole.
    Life is abridge and it is unwise to erect a permanent house on it.
    It is how we view the world decides our destiny, that is to move from the automatic reactions to the deliberative stand.
    Our failure to be surprised, appreciative and admiring toward our creation and the creation of this wonderful cosmos tell the story of our oblivious spiritual demise.
    Every thing is speeding up that requires our speed without lingering lazily with some issues and forgetting the whole.

  3. Scott Preston says :

    I’ve begun reading Arthur I. Miller’s Einstein, PIcasso: Space, Time and the Beauty that Causes Havoc. I’ve mentioned his other work Deciphering the Cosmic Number frequently as a must read for students of Gebser and his “consciousness mutation”. Einstein, Picasso is just as important for gaining further insight into Gebser and even the meaning of perspectivism and “aperspectivity”, or the arational as the irruption of time into consciousness.

    Strangely enough, Gebser’s name appears in neither work, even though Gebser moved in the circles around Picasso and around Jung (the Bollingen Circle). Curious about that, I wrote Dr. Miller to inquire about that, and he replied he had never come across Gebser’s name in all his extensive research into Picasso or Wolfgang Pauli’s relationship with Jung. That was surprising.

    • LittleBigMan says :

      “I wrote Dr. Miller to inquire about that, and he replied he had never come across Gebser’s name in all his extensive research into Picasso or Wolfgang Pauli’s relationship with Jung.”

      That would, I think, make Miller’s work more original. Both of those books have been on my list (down on the list). I moved them up to numbers 1 and 2.

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