New Insights into Nature Archive

New Insights into Nature

Forty-Sixth Annual International Jean Gebser Society Conference
In conjunction with Seattle University Philosophy Department

7-9 OCTOBER 2016
Seattle, Washington

Romuald Hazoumè (Benin), Twin Airbags, 2004. 

Romuald Hazoumè (Benin), Twin Airbags, 2004. 


Conference Theme

For Jean Gebser, philosophy is rooted in a structure of consciousness that has dominated the west for the past two and a half thousand years. It is an expression of what he terms the ‘mental-rational ontology’, which according to him has been shifting into its deficient phase or ‘fragmentation’ for the past five hundred years.

What are the implications for philosophy’s future? Alfred North Whitehead said, “It is the business of the future to be dangerous”. Part of the current philosophical task is our ability to see our own place in history, be aware of the nature of our perspective. Are we imprisoned by the invisible measures of the Western mental-rational perspective? Or can we give categories a radical new flexibility? Do we have the ability to think in another dimension about ourselves beyond the realm of logos?

The 46th International Jean Gebser Society conference looked at this question with regard to the ever-shifting perception of philosophy’s first examination: nature.

Orienting Questions

The conference explored the following questions:

  • Is nature understood today as more a symptom of something else we haven’t yet discovered? Or has it become a mere abstraction? A construction?
  • Does our current understanding of nature ask too much of us?
  • How do our perceptions of nature affect the politics of existence?
  • What happens when we integrate the social with the natural, how does this complicate the conventions of nature?

“New Insights into Nature” intended to evoke and widen the dialogue on the urgency of the subject of nature. Rather than generalizing, romanticizing or poeticizing– it proceeded as Gebser suggested, by being open to lived experience and abandoning our inherited views of reality. He proposed a method of verification and verition to ware. By this he meant to cultivate “care, patience, trust, creativity, receptivity, and listening” as a way of gaining new insight– or in the language of Trinh T Min Ha, an insight that is actually physically located in site. Papers from all disciplines, and all forms of media, that can offer genuine in site were encouraged.

Conference Recordings

Day one — Friday, 7th October

Presentation of hand-drawn map of Seattle with key landmarks relative to conference theme, Donna Schill, MFA

Day Two — Saturday, 8th October

The City Beautiful Movement, Rebecca J. Arnfeld, MA

Day Three — Sunday, October 9th

Efficient Mental, Integral Mutation and Listening, Michael Purdy, PhD

Insights into Nature — Gallery

Conference Programming

Day one — Friday, 7th October

2:00     Welcome, registration, coffee
2:30     Presentation of hand-drawn map of Seattle with key landmarks relative to
            conference theme, Donna Schill, MFA
3:00     Keynote: Gary Snyder and Dogen, Jason Wirth, PhD
3:45     Humanity and Technology in Gebser’s Later Works, David Zuckerman, PhD
4:30     Kempo Katas : human and nature, Faith Allen
5:15     Curating Our Nature: War, Integrality and the Tao, Rick Muller, PhD
6:00     Society Meeting

Day two  — Saturday, 8th October


10:00   Morning Coffee
10:15   The City Beautiful Movement, Rebecca J. Arnfeld, MA
11:00    Original Thinking: The Source of our Consciousness, Glenn Parry Aparicio
11:45    Answer and Echo: Plant Communication as A-Waring, Jennifer Stickley and Brandt Stickle

Lunch Break    12:30 – 1:30
1:30     Afternoon Gathering
1:45     BIRTH, John Dotson, BA
2:30     Semiotic Insights into Reality: Aperspectival Consciousness and Evolutionary Love in
            a Transmodern World, Farouk Y. Seif, Ph.D
3:15     “A Fish with Frog Eyes,” Lisa Daus Neville, PhD
4:00     Coffee Break
4:15     Psyche and Nature: Navigating the Politics of Existence, Lynlee Lyckberg, MFA, MA/PhDc.
5:00     Romantic Nature, Daniel Joseph Polikoff, PhD
5:45     In Excess of Being: a phenomenological practice of nature, Sabrina Dalla Valle, MFA
7:00     Dinner at Café Presse

Day Three — Sunday, 9th October

9:00     Morning Coffee
9:30     Efficient Mental, Integral Mutation and Listening, Michael Purdy, PhD
10:15   Sustainable Development : the mutational period from the mental-rational limits of the material
            growth towards a new integral a-perspectival paradigm, Juan Pabblo Bellene Arena, PhD
11:00   Shifting Perspectives of Nature: The A-Perspectivity and the Anthropocene Evidenced in Art and Media,
            Jeremy Johnson, MA
11:45   A Gebserian Tour in Terratopia, Donna Emsel Schill, MFA
          This involves a half hour stroll through Capitol Hill to the Asian Art Museum where the presentation will
            take place.

Conference Conveners:


Jason Wirth, PhD        

Sabrina Dalla Valle, MFA


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