Archive | September 2022

Where the Peril is Greatest

“Where the peril is greatest, there lies the saving power also” – Hölderlin

Hölderlin’s proverb is quite true, and the truth of it is the subject of today’s post on The Chrysalis. We will continue also with our attempt to gain deeper insight into what Jean Gebser means by the “deficient” and the “effective” modes of a consciousness structure as a “civilisational type” so that there is no confusion about this.

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Consciousness in Mutation

If you have been with The Chrysalis for any length of time, you’ll know how much emphasis I place on the “fourfold” and the mandala as a more appropriate representation of Gebser’s “aperspectival” or “integral consciousness”, and Blake’s own “fourfold vision”. So, when we speak of the present “perspectival” consciousness structure as now having become “dysfunctional” (or “deficient” in Gebser’s terms) we can easily understand this by comparing two symbolic representations of different “consciousness structures”.

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Consciousness, Time, and Dukkha

“The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.”

Omar Khayyam

We should try to understand how the present dysfunction of the Late Modern consciousness structure (the perspectival or mental-rational) is, as Gebser understood it, related to the “irruption of time” into that structure which is ill-adapted to the positive handling of time, and consequently why this irruption threatens the structure with dissolution in a “maelstrom of blind anxiety”, as he put it, which is everywhere present today. This is the import, too, of those famous few lines of verse from Omar Khayyam.

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