Archive | May 2019

The Dimensions

For the longest time — the era spanning what we call “the Modern Era” — we knew only of a reality of three-dimensions: the three dimensions of physical space described in terms of the extensions of length, width and depth. The discovery of the third dimension — depth — was the innovation of the Renaissance, and chiefly of the perspective artists.

This innovation largely marks the difference between the Modern and the Medieval worlds. The Medieval world was predominantly two-dimensional. Much of the social turbulence that attended the transition from the Medieval to the Modern, in terms of social outlook and organisation, was very much owing to this major “paradigm shift” in what were deemed to be the true dimensions of our reality, if not truth itself.

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Sub specie aeternitatis

The phrase sub specie aeternitatis, meaning something like “the view from eternity” or something seen “from the aspect of eternity”, was apparently coined by the philosopher Baruch Spinoza. Jung uses the phrase quite a bit. Formally, it is defined as ” expression describing what is universally and eternally true, without any reference to or dependence upon the temporal portions of reality. “

It is pretty much what Jean Gebser also means by “integral consciousness” or “aperspectival consciousness”, “time-freedom”, and a corresponding “universal way of looking at things”. Sub specie aeternitatis means that “universal way of looking at things,” which is aperspectival.

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Time, Consciousness and Digital Technology

This posting might be taken as a sequel to the previous post on “the New Normal” (and this “New Normal” also being coincident with the Post-Modern Condition), where we will take a look into another and different aspect of this “New Normal” as befits what Gebser calls “the double-movement” or “the crisis of paradox” as Jacob Bronowski also calls it — that is to say, “chaotic transition”.

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Hypernormalisation and “The New Normal”

Duplicity is the currency of the day

Pope Francis

If you have ever watched Adam Curtis’s documentary film “Hypernormalisation” (2016), you’ll have a pretty good idea of what is meant, too, by the phrase “New Normal” and why many think of it as a near global pandemic of “the Crazies”. It drives many people to despair because the “New Normal” does seem like the overture or prelude to a global disaster. It almost certainly is that. It is part and pracel of Nietzsche’s earlier forecast of “two centuries of nihilism”.

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“Single Vision” and the Collapse of Reality

Now I a fourfold vision see,
And a fourfold vision is given to me;
‘Tis fourfold in my supreme delight
And threefold in soft Beulah’s night
And twofold Always. May God us keep
From Single vision & Newton’s sleep!

— William Blake

What Blake refers to as “Single Vision” is what Jean Gebser refers to as the deficient mode of the mental-rational or perspectival consciousness structure. “Single Vision” is the twin curses of fundamentalism and reductionism — the contraction or narrowing of consciousness into the “point” of the “point-of-view” which also characterises the culture of narcissism. “Fourfold vision” is the corrective to Single Vision and to our current epidemic of fundamentalisms, reductionisms, and the culture of narcissism.

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The Tree of Life

In an earlier post, we looked at the peculiar etymology of the word “truth” or “true” from the Proto-Indo-European word for “tree” — *dru. And we also find the mythical World Tree as a central theme of many mythologies, even as the being the vital centre or axis of the world (to which we might even credit Goethe’s vision of the Urpflanze.)

Even one of Blake’s Proverbs of Hell invites comparison with the Tree of Life. “The cistern contains, the fountain overflows.” Here, the cistern is the tree canopy, the fountain represents the root and stem, and the sap or water the vital energies. It would, in those terms, be an appropriate symbol of what Gebser means also by “the ever-present origin” as root and its various unfoldings as the branches of the Tree of Life.

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Einstein, Picasso and “Chaotic Transition”

“Thought is emerging from the tacit ground, and any fundamental change in thought will come from the tacit ground. So if we are communicating at the tacit level, then maybe thought is changing.” — David Bohm.

I came across this quote from the late physicist David Bohm today, and it suggested to me also a new approach to appreciating some matters addressed by Jean Gebser in his book The Ever-Present Origin, including his ideas about chaotic transition and the double-movement. In some respects, we can credit Einstein for “the post-modern condition”.

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