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2024 Annual International Jean Gebser Society Conference: Call for Proposals

International Jean Gebser Society

Annual Conference

October 18–20, 2024

Santa Fe NM, Institute of American Indian Arts

Call for Proposals

Theme:

The Dance of the Sacred Feminine and Masculine—Duality or Polarity?


We are living in a paradoxical and confusing era. It is a time of the “deficient rational” when

people have trouble agreeing on a common set of facts—but it is also a time when the soil is

being tilled and softened in preparation for the integral age to be born.

Will there be a resurgence of sacred feminine energies as part of a rebalancing of consciousness

that has been overly patriarchal? Is this the time the time for men to hand over the baton of

leadership to the womenor is this the time when neither men nor women dominate, and there

will be a rebalancing of sacred feminine and masculine energies within all of us? What can we

do to midwife such a future into existence? How can integral awaring of the energy dynamic

between masculine and feminine inform our actual relations with each other? Can harmonious

relations between masculine and feminine energies be a harbinger of the integral age? To clarify

the latter question, Gebser suggests:

What must happen is a change in attitude by the male, who will have to forego many of

his presumptions such as the arrogance that everything, including wife and child, belongs

to him. He will have to give up his presumption in order that a world can come to be

without maternal or paternal dominance, that is a non-masculinized world where man and

woman together honor the human, and think not merely in terms of the human but of

humankind in its entirety. … In this integral world neither man nor woman, but rather

both in complement as human beings, should exercise sovereignty. … We prefer the term

“integrum” to indicate the integration of woman and man. [Ever-Present Origin 50, 161]

It may be that the exploration of the sacred feminine and masculine is the most important issue

for our times. It affects not only human society but the whole of nature. When there is imbalance

there is uncertainty and peril. It is time openly and honestly to reflect upon the power structures

of the present—all of us together. We must look at what is or isn’t working, what is or isn’t

changing, and listen to each other to learn what we can do. Each of us has a role to play in

facilitating a transformation to a world of greater balance and harmony.2

To clarify the difference between duality and polarity, Gebser says

Duality is characteristic of the mental structure to the same extent that polarity is a

hallmark of the mythical structure. But duality differs in one essential respect from

polarity: in polarity correspondences are valid. Every correspondence is a complement, a

completion of the whole.

Duality is the mental splitting and tearing apart of polarity, and, from the

correspondences of polarity, duality abstracts and quantifies the oppositions or antitheses.

… from duality only a deficient, because unstable, form of unity can be realized as the

unification of opposites in a third aspect. [EPO 85, 86]

The Mythic Age can be roughly divided into two eras, the first being that of goddess worship,

and the second the age of gods and heroes. The feminine age is far longer, dating from

Paleolithic times up until the middle to end of the Bronze Age. As Gebser implies, in the age of

goddess worship, polarity was the norm, and hard and fast opposites of duality had not yet come

into expression. The Great Goddess seamlessly moved from Earth to Heavens, from underworld

to upperworld. The reason she could be both goddess of the world below and heavens above is

that there was no hard line between life and death, which were instead seen as intermingling.

Innana was the goddess of both life and death, similarly to the Indian goddess of destruction and

rebirth, Kali. Only later, in the era of gods and heroes, did the underworld and upperworld

become more dualistic than complementary.

How does all this relate to the era we are in now? What are appropriate ways to navigate our era

in which the mental-rational epoch is deteriorating rapidly? How do we embrace that

disintegration as we experience the dawning of an integral age? How is our consciousness

transmuting and our understanding advancing toward integral consciousness in the following

fields:

Polycrises in world life, planetary citizenship, artificial intelligence, novel forms of

communication

Natural sciences, including biology, physics, mathematics [see EPO chapter 5]

Sciences of the mind, including psychology, philosophy [EPO chapter 6]

Social sciences, including jurisprudence, sociology, economics [EPO chapter 7]

Convergences of the above (“transdisciplinarity”) [EPO chapter 8]

Arts, including music, architecture, painting, literature, dance [EPO chapter 9]

Our common purpose is that our time together will be not only informational but also

transformational, as we share a co-creative experiment that can serve as an incubator for birthing

effective practices of masculine/feminine collaboration in all spheres of life.

Further details will be available at www.gebser.org


How to submit your proposal

Please submit in the following form:

*Your name

*Institution (if applicable) Student? If so, where?

We encourage students to submit, to explore Gebser’s ideas and apply them to your field of

interest or embody/manifest them.

Students whose presentations are chosen will be awarded a certificate and entered to win random

prizes, including books and a cash prize of $200.

*Summary/abstract/overview (maximum 500 words)

*Example of artistic expression with proposed elaboration (maximum 250 words + three

images/videos/recordings

*Time allocation requested (specify 15 to 45 minutes)

*A/V requirements (provisions available for PowerPoint)

Submit to jeangebsersociety@gmail.com

Submission deadline July 1 / acceptance notification by August 15

Registration:

$105 early bird—cut-off July 1

2023 Annual International Jean Gebser Society Conference Registration

Registration & Fees


$95 for Online & In-Person (Wednesday, 9/27 – Saturday, 9/30)

Entire Conference, includes:

  • Online: Wednesday, 9/27 & Thursday, 9/28
    • Zoom link will be emailed prior to the online portion of the event
  • In-Person at CIIS in San Francisco, CA: Friday, 9/29 & Saturday, 9/30 (Note: this is in-person only, there will be no remote attendance for these two days)

 


Student Price $25 for Online & In-Person (Wednesday, 9/27 – Saturday, 9/30)

Student Price for Entire Conference, includes:

  • Online: Wednesday, 9/27 & Thursday, 9/28
    • Zoom link will be emailed prior to the online portion of the event
  • In-Person at CIIS in San Francisco, CA: Friday, 9/29 & Saturday, 9/30 (Note: this is in-person only, there will be no remote attendance for these two days)

 


$25 for Online Only (Wednesday, 9/27 – Thursday, 9/28)

  • Online Only: Wednesday, 9/27 & Thursday, 9/28
    • Zoom link will be emailed prior to the online portion of the event (please include your email address for the Zoom link during registration when prompted)
  • Does NOT include in-person attendance for Friday and Saturday

 

The Emergence of Integral Consciousness: 2023 Annual International Jean Gebser Society Conference

2023 Annual International Jean Gebser Society Conference


The Emergence of Integral Consciousness

Jean Gebser, Sri Aurobindo, Carl Jung, Teilhard de Chardin

 

September 27-30, 2023

Wednesday and Thursday, September 27 and 28 (Online, Registration Below)

Friday and Saturday, September 29 and 30, 2023 (In-Person, Registration Below)

California Institute of Integral Studies

Namaste Hall

Co-sponsored by East-West Psychology and Transformative Inquiry Department

San Francisco, CA

View Full Conference Program Here

 


 We can say that the world is whole, a unity, an integrum—at the risk of reifying its multitudinous processes. We do not need to make it whole, to integrate it, per se. What then is the function of integrating? Does integrating, as a process, drive the very emergence of wholeness? Is it even possible to speak of integrality? Or to speak from it?

Gebser, Aurobindo, and Jung address such questions in their unique ways, as climbers scaling different faces of the same mountain. What can Gebser see from his vantage point that Aurobindo or Jung cannot, and what can Aurobindo or Jung see that Gebser cannot? Are their perspectives integratable? (That said, it is not necessary to compare, contrast, or attempt to integrate the works of these thinkers.)

To ponder various ways of expressing integrality, in general, consider the following questions:

  • Are the terms evolving (Aurobindo), integrating (Gebser), and individuating (Jung) commensurable? How do these processes inform each other to form a unity—within an individual and in collective life?
  • The powerful technologies that enable us to connect extrinsically are also designed to divide us. Is a sense of intrinsic mutuality possible or realistic?
  • How can harmony be imagined between and among fundamentally different ideologies?
  • Aurobindo, Gebser, Jung, Teilhard de Chardin, and other thinkers fully recognize the Spiritual in the wholeness of cosmos and human experience. How can we have a substantive conversation on the Spiritual?

Registration & Fees


$95 for Online & In-Person (Wednesday, 9/27 – Saturday, 9/30)

Entire Conference, includes:

  • Online: Wednesday, 9/27 & Thursday, 9/28
    • Zoom link will be emailed prior to the online portion of the event
  • In-Person at CIIS in San Francisco, CA: Friday, 9/29 & Saturday, 9/30 (Note: this is in-person only, there will be no remote attendance for these two days)

 


Student Price $25 for Online & In-Person (Wednesday, 9/27 – Saturday, 9/30)

Student Price for Entire Conference, includes:

  • Online: Wednesday, 9/27 & Thursday, 9/28
    • Zoom link will be emailed prior to the online portion of the event
  • In-Person at CIIS in San Francisco, CA: Friday, 9/29 & Saturday, 9/30 (Note: this is in-person only, there will be no remote attendance for these two days)

 


$25 for Online Only (Wednesday, 9/27 – Thursday, 9/28)

  • Online Only: Wednesday, 9/27 & Thursday, 9/28
    • Zoom link will be emailed prior to the online portion of the event (please include your email address for the Zoom link during registration when prompted)
  • Does NOT include in-person attendance for Friday and Saturday

 


Conference Schedule

View Full Conference Program Here


TimePresenterPresentation Title
9:15amWelcome/Opening Prayer
9:30 – 10amArshitra MitraA Comparative Study of Evolution and Individuation
10:00 – 10:30amMarco MasiIntegral Cosmology of Sri Aurobindo
10:30 – 10:45amBreak
11:00 – 11:30amCarl Johan CallemanConstruction of Different States of Consciousness and the Mayan Calendar
11:30am – 12noonLeslie Alan CombsIntersubjetivity in Integral Consciousness
12noon – 12:30pmPanel of Morning Presenters
12:30 – 6:45pmAfternoon Break
6:45pmRegathering
7:00 – 7:30pmRobert MitchellSpiritual Democracy
7:30 – 8:00pmAnshul AggarwalWhat is Education For?
8:00 – 8:15pmBreak
8:15 – 8:45pmJulie GeredienSmooth, Resilient, and Steady Mind
8:45pm – 9:15pmPanel of Evening Presenters
TimePresenterPresentation Title
9:15amWelcome/Opening Prayer
9:30 – 10:00amMike PurdyThe Gebserian Aesthetic
10:00 – 10:30amKatherine ZiemkePrimoridial Memories as a Conduit to Integral Consciousness
10:30 – 10:45amBreak
10:45 – 11:15amJessie ShawEnchantment and the Emerging Spiritual Imaginary
11:15 – 11:45amLucien LazarEmergence of the Integral Social Encounter
11:45am – 12:15pmPanel of Morning Presenters
12:15 – 6:45pmAfternoon Break
6:45pmRegathering/Opening
7pm-7:30pmMatt SwitzerCosmogenesis and Cultural Philosophy
7:30pm-8pmRenee EliThe Integral Immune System
8pm – 8:15pmBreak
8:15pm-8:45pmJulie YusopovaOn the Topology of the Noosphere
8:45pm-9:15pmPanel of Evening Presenters
TimePresenterPresentation Title
8:30 – 9:00amWelcome and Opening Ceremony
9:00 – 9:30amDevdip GanguliThe Harmonious Whole
9:30 – 10:00amJean Michel BorgeaudOrigin, Consciousness, and Time: Bridging the Future Now
10:00 – 10:15amBreak
10:15 – 11:00amMartha Brumbaugh and Debby FlickingerThe Integral Heart of the Drum
11:00- 11:30amJonathan KayAesthetic Ontogenesis and the Sonic Arts
11:30am – 12noonPanel of Morning Presenters
12noon – 2:00pmLunch Break
2:00 – 2:45pmJohn DotsonLiving the Prophecies
2:45 – 3:30pmLisa MaroskiA New Language for the Future
3:30 – 4:00pm           Break                (Book Sales and Poster Session with Azul Degrasso)
4:00 – 4:30pmGlenn Aparicio ParryLove and the Future Human
4:30 – 5:00pmPanel of Afternoon Presenters
5:00 – 7:00pmDinner Break
7:00 – 8:00pmKeynote Talk:   Debashish BanerjiThe End of the Curve of Reason and The Emergence of Integral Consciousness
8:00 – 9:00pmConcert with Jonathan Kay
TimePresenterPresentation Title
8am-8:45amAngela ReedMorning Experiential Activity: Mandala In Motion
8:45am – 9amBreak
9am – 9:30amDaniel PolikoffSpirituality and Politics in a Fragmented Age
9:30am – 10:15amDave ZuckermanSocial Place, False Nostalgia, and Revolutionary Integrality
10:15am – 10:30amBreak
10:30am – 11amBob PillarCommon Ground Emerging
11am- 11:30amSami ChhapraThe Integral Age
11:30am-12noonPanel of Morning Presenters
12noon – 2pmLunch Break
2pm – 2:30pmAnanta GiriIntegral Consciousness and a New Yoga
2:30pm – 3:15pmLakshmi MayyaEnsouled Architecture
3:15-3:45pmBreak        (Book Sales)
3:45-4:15PmLynlee LyckbergHuman Destiny and Paradigms of Consciousness
4:15pm-4:45pmPanel of Afternoon Presenters
4:45-6pmDialogue Circle
6pmClosing Ceremony

2023 Sri Aurobindo Conference (Immediately Prior)

Please note: an additional conference at CIIS (same location as the Gebser conference) is being conducted on September 23 and 24, 2023, additional details can be found here. 
Direct link to the Sri Aurobindo conference information and registration can be found here.


Hotel Accommodations in San Francisco

(also check Airbnb.com)

Recommended Hotels in Hayes Valley

Inn at the Opera – a European-style boutique hotel, 333 Fulton Street – a 13 minute walk to CIIS via 10th St., about $225/night

The Grove Inn – 890 Grove St. – 1 mile from CIIS, $266/night and up

Marriott Hotels – Numerous locations and prices, but tending toward more expensive

The Inn San Francisco, an 1800s era Victorian mansion bed and breakfast, 943 S Van Ness Ave – 1.2 miles from CIIS, $360/night

Cheapest and Closest but not recommended unless on a tight budget

Ram’s Hotel – 80 9th Street – a few blocks from CIIS, somewhat sketchy neighborhood , $105/night shared bath

Inn on Folsom – 1188 Folsom Street – 8 minute walk, $169/night shared bathroom (N.B.: next to Cat Club… can be loud until 3am)

A Conscious Emergenc(e/y) / Gebser-Jung Asilomar One Year Later

Participants will share reflections on the year that has passed since our 2019 conference

 

To all participants in the 2019 Gebser + Jung Conference,

We hope this note finds you well! It’s been nearly a year since we all convened at beautiful Asilomar to discuss A Conscious Emergenc(e/y), and a lot has happened since then, hasn’t it? Has it felt more like emergence to you or more like emergency?

We are dedicating one of our Thursday night virtual meetings, October 15, to coming back together—to check in, to share reactions and responses to this past year, and to continue to look ahead.  We hope you can join us.

To accommodate our East Coast friends, we will start at 6 pm PT/9 pm ET on Thursday October 15, 2020, and be together for about 3 hours.  Of course, you can come and go as need be. And you can invite people to come, even if they weren’t at the conference.  Other Gebserians and other Jungians, for example, as well as all your interesting friends.

To give it some structure, if you want to present a short statement (5-10 minutes), please send your request and ideas to jeremy@nuralearning.com

New Member Features

Hello Fellow Gebserians!

Thank you for your interest in the Jean Gebser Society.  Please register for the website below, and check back soon on how to become a Member.

Step 1: Register

Note: as a best practice, do NOT use a password you use on other websites, create a unique password for this site.

         Also note: after registering, you will get a confirmation email to your inbox, please make sure you check your SPAM box in case you don’t see it.  We had multiple folks in this pending status.

Step 2: Post an Introduction Note in the Forums

Looking forward to collaborating virtually!

 

 

 

A Brief Biography

A Brief Biography

In the somber halls of academe, an individual appears who is a philosopher in the original sense of the word — a bright lover of wisdom, a herald of higher human possibilities.

The Swiss philosopher and poet Jean Gebser belonged to that rare Socratic breed. He was a man of extraordinary vision who did not allow himself to be seduced by his learning, but intrepidly pushed beyond the boundaries of accepted truth. He likened modern philosophy to the “picking apart of a rose.” His foundational work on the evolution of human consciousness and culture is among this century’s finest contributions to our modern self-understanding.

In a nutshell, what Gebser succeeded in demonstrating through painstaking documentation and analysis was this: Hidden beneath the apparent chaos of our times is an emergent new order. The disappearance of the pre-Einsteinian world-view. with its creator-god and clockwork universe as well as its naive faith in progress. is more than a mere breakdown. It is also a new beginning. In fact, long before the apostles of a “new age” arrived on the scene, Jean Gebser spoke of our period as one of the great turning points in human history. What makes his work so appealing and relevant is that it offers a unique perspective on human history and the present global crisis. When Gebser’s study on the unfolding of human consciousness was first published it was considered one of the most controversial intellectual creations of our era. This is still true; his ideas challenge not only those of the establishment but also many of the new contenders.

Who was Jean Gebser? And why are a growing number of people excited about his ideas? Until seven years before his death at the age of sixty-two, Gebser was almost completely ignored by the academic establishment. It was then that the University of Salzburg, a venerable institution in Austria, created a special professorial chair for him-comparative culturology. This unique appointment was a belated acknowledgement of his genius. But it changed little, if anything, in Gebser’s lifestyle; he had lived and worked most of his life as a maverick.

It is hard to classify Gebser. Neither he nor his books fit any existing stereotype. He was a scholar, a linguist, a translator, a poet, a historian, an eloquent speaker, a traveler, an adventurous lover of life, people, and ideas-a man of experience, wisdom, spiritual depth, and charisma. Gebser had many friends and admirers, among them psychologist Carl Gustav Jung, biologist Adolf Portmann, physicists Werner Heisenberg and Carl Friedrich von Weizsacker, as well as Tibetologist and spiritual leader Lama Anagarika Govinda. It was the last-mentioned who described Gebser as “one of the most creative and stimulating thinkers of modern Europe.” Most important, however, are Gebser’s publications and lectures, which have affected tens of thousands of people in the German-speaking countries of Europe.

Today, more than a decade after his death, Gebser is being discovered by the Anglo-American world. Annual conferences dedicated to his work are held at Ohio University under the auspices of the International Jean Gebser Society. The participants include philosophers, communication scientists, linguists, sociologists, and political scientists. Since the publication of Gebser’ 5 magnum opus in English by the Ohio University Press, first in hardcover (1985) and then in paperback (1986) under the title The Ever Present Origin;’, independent’ study groups have started to spring up in different states. The demand for this massive volume has been such that a second printing was done in 1988. Other works by Gebser are in the process of translation. A Gebser newsletter is published in Illinois, scholarly studies on his ideas have appeared, and doctoral dissertations are being written on him.

Gebser was born in Prussia (now Poland) in 1905. He inherited his studious nature from his father, a jurist and author, and his more vivacious side from his beautiful femme fatale mother. He was an excessively sensitive child, and in a remarkable autobiographical essay, Gebser speaks of his childhood years as years of dormancy. “At that age,” he writes, “there is only the connection to one’s parents. That is our world.”

And for Gebser, that world was one of increasing domestic conflict. When Jean was seventeen his father died of the injuries incurred when he jumped out a window in a suicide attempt. Later, in a diary entry of 1941/42, Gebser would note, “Family and country are the two main impediments to individual development.” The death left his well to-do family in ruins-Gebser was forced to abandon his schooling and become an apprentice at a bank. He could bear the drudgery and boredom only because in his spare time he attended lectures at Berlin University. During that time he discovered Rilke, Schopenhauer, and Freud. (Of Freud he wrote, “…an excellent guide into Hades, but does he also lead us out of it?”) As soon as he had completed his apprenticeship, Gebser left the monotony of the corporate world behind, dedicating himself to the muses. He had tinkered with his first novel at the age of eleven, and now he could pursue his passion for literature and books.

What he could not foresee was that Europe was preparing for its darkest hour. In 1929 Gebser decided to leave Germany, embarking on his pilgrim years. In Munich he had witnessed the first “brown hordes” of the Nazis, and what he saw filled him with horror. After a brief spell in Italy he went to Spain, where he lived for six years. He befriended and worked closely with Garcia Lorca and other poets, whose works he translated into German. Only his astonishing inner flexibility and linguistic facility allowed Gebser, a writer, to acculturate so quickly and successfully.

Twelve hours before his apartment in Madrid was bombed in the fall of 1936, Gebser again abandoned everything. He went into exile in Paris, where many other intellectuals were seeking refuge. There he shared the company and the poverty of giants such as Pablo Picasso and Andre Malraux. World War II erupted with a vengeance, so Gebser, who saw in war the ultimate absurdity of which humans are capable, decided to leave France. Two hours before neutral Switzerland closed its borders in August 1939, he crossed into safety, if renewed uncertainty.

It was in Switzerland that Gebser finally found a permanent home, though having been repeatedly uprooted made him sense that we must find our roots elsewhere than in geography or culture. As he puts it in one of his poems, written in the mid-1950s, ” real living-at-home is only/in the hearts of those who love.

In the following decades, Gebser worked tirelessly to give shape to his inner vision. At first he focused on his poetry and on the literary works and political struggles of the Spanish friends he had left behind. He published a study of Rilke, and then began his long career as a social critic and visionary.

In the winter of 1931, Gebser had received in a flash of inspiration the concept of his later work, and now he was dedicating his life to making explicit what he had intuitively grasped in that moment. What he had realized was that the phenomenal transformations in the arts and sciences during the first three decades of the twentieth century amounted to a change in the very consciousness of humanity, in the way we perceive ourselves and the world. He compared it in its significance to the transmutation that ancient humanity had passed through at the time of Socrates in Greece, Lao-Tzu in China, and Gautama the Buddha in India. Gebser saw that early period as a transition from what he came to call the mythical structure to the mental-rational structure of consciousness. He felt that the restructuring he was witnessing in his own time was an equally fundamental shift from the mental-rational structure to the arational aperspectival structure of consciousness. Remarkably, he formulated this essentially positive concept at a time when entire nations were in shambles, and when Oswald Spengler’s predictions about the doom of Western civilization were capturing the feverish imagination of the public. In a diary entry of 1941, Gebser affirmed: “Our era is, despite or because of its visible destruction’s, an era of overflowing formative fullness.’ His words still ring true today.

Gebser thus anticipated the key notion behind the so-called Aquarian conspiracy. Unlike so many human potential advocates, however, Gebser never thought for a moment that the emergent consciousness would necessarily usher in a utopian paradise where today’s complex problems would all be solved automatically. Rather, he frequently spoke of the initiatory birth pains that contemporary humanity would have to pass through before the new consciousness could become a reality.

In characterizing the emergent consciousness as arational (as opposed to irrational) and aperspectival, Gebser sought to indicate that it transcended the dualistic, black-or-white categories of the rational orientation to life. Rationalism, for him, was by no means the pinnacle of human existence, but, on the contrary, an evolutionary digression with fatal consequences. He regarded it as a deficient of the inherently balanced mental structure of consciousness. In other words, Gebser did not reject reason, merely its inflation into the sole arbiter of our lives. As he recognized, the human being is a composite of several evolutionary structures of consciousness, and we must live all of them according to their intrinsic value. The individual who is dominated by the rational structure represses all other structures, which are viewed as irrational and hence dispensable. Thus the “reasonable” person is inclined to reject magic, myth, religion, feeling, empathy, and not least ego-transcendence.

In a 1955 diary entry, Gebser observed, “Becoming an ego is painful. Hardly anyone finds his ego prior to the middle of his life. Then most people remain stuck in it and become hardened in it. The still more painful process of ego-transcendence with all its crises and relapses is accomplished by only a few. But it is just this ego-transcendence that is the decisive task of human life.”

The reason-dominated individual tends to be heavily ego-defensive, because identity is defined in terms of the ego-personality. The person who has broken through to the arational-aperspectival consciousness, however, sees the limitations of the ego, and is not threatened by the suggestion that he or she is more than the narrow field of awareness and angular vision that is associated with the ego. In fact, that person welcomes the idea that individuality arises in participation with the larger reality-a reality that by far eclipses the rational mind and even the feeling heart that is so often closed to the rationalist.

In 1943, Gebser published his book Abendlandische Wandlung (Transformation of the West), in which he surveyed the most significant changes in the natural and social sciences, suggesting that they point to a new constellation of consciousness and reality-perception. Six years later, he published the first part of his major work, Ursprung und Gegenwart, available in English under the title The Ever-Present Origin (see Resources, this page). In it, he concerned himself with the aperspectival foundations of our modern civilization. In 1953, the second part appeared. Here Gebser looked back into our human past, identifying and clarifying for us other similar fundamental mutations of consciousness. He distinguished four in all: the archaic structure, the magical structure, the mythical structure, and the mental structure (out of which emerged, as its deficient form, the rational consciousness during the Renaissance). Today a fifth mode or style of cognition, the a rational structure, has become a possibility that, as Gebser never tired of insisting, requires our conscious midwifery through personal and collective self-transcending practice.

Gebser’s unabashedly spiritual orientation, which is unique in European philosophy, has confounded and annoyed his peers, especially those anxious to uphold the neutral rationalist standards of academia. Today, American Gebser scholars, unfortunately, tend to repeat the error of their European counterparts when they try to make Gebser into a phenomenologist of consciousness and culture, ignoring his strong spiritual communication.

I had the opportunity to present a paper on the spiritual implications of Gebser’s work at the 1987 Gebser conference at Ohio University in Athens. Except for some old-timers, who had known Gebser personally, my presentation caused a stir among participants when I reported that Gebser had confided to me in a letter that he had had an enlightenment experience (satori). “It was sober,” he put it, “on the one hand happening with crystal clarity in everyday life, which I perceived and to which I reacted ‘normally,’ and on the other hand and simultaneously being a transfiguration and irradiation of the indescribable, unearthly, transparent ‘Light’–no ecstasy, no emotion, but a spiritual clarity, a quiet jubilation, a knowledge of invulnerability, a primal trust.”

This satori experience surprised Gebser while he was visiting Sarnath in 1961, the place where 2,500 years ago the Buddha preached his first sermon. A year later Gebser published his Asienfibel (Primer on Asia), subsequently reissued in expanded form under the title Asien Lachelt Anders(Asia Smiles Differently), in which we meet Gebser the thoughtful traveler and bridge builder. He regarded the East/West encounter as central to our contemporary task of personal and cultural integration. He wrote, “The view that East and West are opposites is wrong. It is not permissible to apply opposite-creating rational thought in this context, which can, if we continue to persist in this faulty opposition, even lead to the suicide of our culture or civilization. West and East are complementarities. In comparison with the dual, divisive character of opposition, complementary is polar and unifying.”

Gebser, as a spiritual pilgrim, also visited Tiruvannamalai in South India, where Ramana Maharshi, one of modern India’s finest sages, had lived and taught until his death in 1950. But where he felt most in the presence of the emergent arational-integral consciousness was in the Pondicherry ashram of the twentieth-century philosopher-yogi and former political activist Sri Aurobindo. the creator of “integral yoga,” who, incidentally, also died in 1950. Of that visit Gebser said, “There in Pondicherry is, to the best of my knowledge as far as India is concerned, the only place where the mutual flooding of rationalistic machine technology on the one hand and psycho-spiritual yoga technology on the other hand, has begun to be a radiant enrichment of both Asia and the West.”

Undoubtedly, what attracted Gebser was the same clarity that he also appreciated in the Zen monasteries of Japan. According to him, clarity is an essential aspect of the arational structure of consciousness. He lived by this principle himself. Gebser stood for intensification. rather than mystical or psychedelic expansion, of consciousness. Clarity is both a means and a sign of such intensification. Gebser approvingly cited a remark by Paul Klee, one of the great pioneers of the aperspectival consciousness in art. “I begin more and more to see behind or, better, through things.”

It would appear that this observation entails useful advice for anyone.

2019 Conference Videos

Videos from the 2019 Conference

Please find the conference videos on the Jung Monterey YouTube channel.

Become A Member

Join the Jean Gebser Society

Members of the Jean Gebser Society support the preservation and furtherance of the work of Jean Gebser through academic symposia, publications, discussion list, social media, and other means.

MEMBERSHIP BENEFITS – UPDATED PAYMENT INFO COMING SOON

A modest financial contribution ensures a discount in the admission to our annual conference. Society members also receive the option to host a dedicated bio page on the Gebser Society website, featuring a description of their research, academic contributions and artistic work. Members can also request access to publish on the society’s blog. More membership benefits will be posted here as they become available.

Regular membership:  $35

Student membership:  $15

Lifetime membership: $350