Seeing Through the World


47th International Jean Gebser Society Conference
6-7 OCTOBER 2017
Judson Memorial Assembly Hall, New York, NY

Call for Papers

Phillip Otto Rung, "Der Morgen", 1808

Phillip Otto Rung, “Der Morgen”, 1808


ABout Jean Gebser

Jean Gebser (1905-1973) was a German philosopher, poet, and phenomenologist of consciousness. He is best known in the English-speaking world for The Ever-Present Origin (1949/1953), a masterful work of philosophical scholarship detailing a series of structural transformations in human consciousness. These leaps, or “mutations”, between structures often coincided with the simultaneous breakdown of deficient mentalities and the creative resurgence of new, spiritual qualities in humanity. Our present world anticipates a dramatic leap into the new, integral structure, which is noted for its quality of a-perspectivalism and seeing through and behind things. Only through transparency can the ever-presence of origin be perceived.



In Jean Gebser’s body of work, the principle of transparency is a unique expression of the emerging integral world. The nascent, integral structure of consciousness, which Gebser believed was well underway during his lifetime, could be identified by its spiritual capacity to render the world transparent, to shine through (durchscheinen) to its originary and primordial powers. The effect this would have on the previously realized structures of consciousness would be to render them diaphanous in both its dark aspects (the magic and mythic ontologies) as well as its light aspects (the mental-rational ontology). The synonyms clarity and lucidity were also provided by Gebser as qualitative descriptors—found in both the arts, through poets like Rilke, or the sciences, through physicists like Niels Bohr and Werner Heisenberg with the discoveries in quantum mechanics—to further elucidate the integral structure.

For the 47th annual Jean Gebser Society conference, we ask our presenters to examine the question of transparency. What is the nature of transparency? In what ways has transparency manifested in our present world? What are its challenges and complexities? How might this quality be assessed in both the humanities and the sciences in the decades following The Ever-Present Origin’s publication? How have planetary-scaled phenomena, like climate change and the ecological crisis, or communication revolutions, like New Media and the internet, furthered and complicated our understanding? To what degree does transparency reveal both the efficient and deficient manifestations of globalization?

Presenters are encouraged to consider the direct, phenomenological implications of transparency. Alongside scholarly and scientific studies, contributions from the arts, such as music, experimental cinema, and poetry, are especially encouraged.



  • Transparency as it relates to Teilhard de Chardin’s concept of “planetization”, or the emergence of what William Irwin Thompson has called “planetary culture”
  • An ecological consideration, the immediate and alarming transparency between human civilization and the so-called “natural” world, through climate change, ecological crisis, and what is being called in the humanities the “non-human turn”
  • As a cultural manifestation: relating to McLuhan’s “electronic culture”, communications, combinatorial creativity and the digital world
  • As a geographical, or post-geographical consideration. New Media presents us with new experiences of space and connection
  • As a theme in the arts (music, film, digital art, etc.)
  • Transparency of time: modes of experiencing the past, present, and future bound together
  • Ontological transparency: rendering the different structures of consciousness integrally present and visible through diaphanous awareness
  • Transparency in relationship: connections across time to interlinking, and interdependent events
  • As it relates to biographical considerations in Jean Gebser’s life
  • Transparency as it reveals connections with the larger integral purview
  • The Earth as a transparent sphere



Please send a single paragraph abstract and a 150 word bio by Sunday, July 9th, 2017 to the conference organizers:

Jeremy D Johnson, MA
Society President, conference convener

Sabrina Dalla Valle, MFA
Society Vice-President



The 47th Annual Jean Gebser Conference will preside at Judson Memorial Assembly Hall, across from Washington Square Park in New York City.

Light refreshments will be served at the venue.

This event will be open to the public. Registration and conference programming to be announced in July.


Judson Memorial Assembly Hall
239 Thompson Street (Between West Third Street and Washington Square South)
New York, N.Y. 10012



Presenters and attendees are encouraged to use Airbnb for their accommodations. Hotels near Washington Square ParkBowery’s Whitehouse Hostel (only a few blocks walk away from the conference location).


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