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Structures, not Stages? A Comparative Look at Gebser and Wilber

March 22 at 8:00 am - 9:30 am PDT

This Integral Life Experience is only available to the supporting members

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Jean Gebser (1905-1973) is one of the foundational ‘architects’ of the integral world. Throughout his published works, Ken Wilber readily acknowledges and adapts many of Gebser’s theoretical contributions to Integral Meta-Theory. You are likely already familiar with many of these terms. Gebser named the “structures” of consciousness the “archaic,” “magic,” “mythic,” “mental” and “integral.” Would it surprise you, then, that Gebser did not place them in a stage-centric model of consciousness unfoldment? Would it also come as a surprise that the term “aperspectival” is never used as a conceptual ‘pejorative’ in Gebser’s model, let alone to describe an“aperspectival madness?”

In this talk, Jeremy Johnson, author of Seeing Through the World: Jean Gebser and Integral Consciousness, provides a nuanced and clarifying deep-dive into the major differences between Gebser’s and Wilber’s respective approaches to integral philosophy. Jeremy will argue that Gebser’s philosophy– developed decades ago during the mid-twentieth century–nevertheless has exciting applications for the present, and more so the future. The reason is twofold.

First, Gebser’s description of the history of consciousness goes above and beyond mere description: his work attempts to render explicit and experiential each of the structures of consciousness (archaic, magic, mythic, mental) through works of art, poetry and language which bring them to live in each of us. Second, and perhaps most importantly, Gebser’s unique thesis concerning the integral mutation was that it involved a new consciousness of time, and with it new modes of thinking and being. It is this latter insight that deserves a closer look and, ultimately, may help integrative meta-theory go further in its application and relevance today.

This presentation will conclude with a discussion on the nature of integral time and its critical relevancy for all practitioners and scholars of integral life.


Jeremy Johnson is an author (Seeing Through the World: Jean Gebser and Integral Consciousness), publisher (Integral Imprint), managing editor (Integral Leadership Review), podcaster (Mutations), senior research associate at Perspectiva, and integral philosopher.

His academic research, writing, and publishing advocates new forays into integrative thinking and praxis—aligning the scholastic, poetic, and spiritual—as existentially crucial work for pathfinding in a time of planetary crisis. Jeremy is a PhD candidate in the Philosophy of Religion at the California Institute of Integral Studies.

His edited anthology, Mutations: Art, Consciousness and the Anthropocene and second book, Fragments of an Integral Future (Integral Imprint) are forthcoming in late 2023.
Learn more about Jeremy’s work here.


March 22
8:00 am - 9:30 am PDT
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Practice Leader

Jeremy Johnson