The society was established during the first conference at Ohio University, Athens, Ohio, U.S.A. in 1980. I was prompted to organize the first conference by friends and colleagues, and above all by students who were taking my seminars in Contemporary European Philosophy (which included lots of Gebser’s materials). The conference was attended by: Mrs. Jo Gebser, Dr. Rudolph Hämmerli, (inheritor of Gebser’s library), Prof. And Mrs. Paul Winter (both friends of Gebser and renown architects), Dr. Griessiker (art historian and a friend of Gebser), Dr. Wilhelm Grillmayr (a psychiatrist and a friend of Gebser), Prof. Richard Palmer, (well known in hermeneutics), Prof. Thomas Seebohm (president of Kant Society), Prof. Vytas Kavolis (president of International Society for the Comparative Studies of Civilizations), Prof. Alphonso Lingis, Prof. George Weckman, Prof. Algis Mickunas, Mr. Timothy Widman. Integral music was performed by Dr. Elizabeth Behnke (who later attended a Gebser conference in Schaffhausen, Switzerland and demonstrated with her violin the movement from mental to integral awareness).
Mrs. Jo Gebser asked me, Paul Winter, and Dr. Grillmayr to consider this conference as the beginning of the revival of Gebser’s thought and its entrance into the North American Continent.
The second conference was also held at Ohio University and, apart from the persons who attended the first conference (with the exception of Jo Gebser, Dr. Himmerli, and Gressiker), additional persons joined the work, including Burt Hopkins, Michael Purdy, Joe Pilotta, John Murphy, members from the Carl Jung institute in Chicago, and Dr. Patrick Milburn (editor of Main Currents in Modern Thought).
The third conference was expanded to include Prof. Joseph Freeman, Prof. Jack Scudder, Prof. Ingo Lauff, Prof. Alexander.
Prof. Lauff and Prof. Mickunas cooperated to organize a conference in Schaffhausen Switzerland which initiated the European contingent of Gebser’s friends and an organization of the Gebser Society.
Subsequent growth included various presentations of Gebser’s thought by Algis Mickunas, Timothy Widman, Elizabeth Behnke, at the International Society for the Comparative Study of Civilizations, presentations by Algis Mickunas, Joe Pilotta, and John Murphy of Gebser’s thought at various sociological conferences.
Then came the expansion by students, Eric Kramer, Michael Purdy, Kevin Williams, their schools, associates and students.
Algis Mickunas, Ph.D.
Professor Emeritus of Philosophy
Ohio University, 10/20/2004