The Integral Way of Jean Gebser

Jeremy JohnsonBiographies, Cognitive, Free, Perspectives, Space-time, Video, Worldviews

“Our concern is with a new reality—a reality functioning and effectual integrally, in which intensity and action, the effective and the effect co-exist; one where origin, by virtue of “presentiation,” blossoms forth anew; and one in which the present is all-encompassing and entire. Integral reality is the world’s transparency, a perceiving of the world as truth: a mutual perceiving and imparting of truth of the world and of the human and of all that transluces both.”Jean Gebser

Jean Gebser (1905-1973) was a Swiss poet, integral philosopher and phenomenologist of consciousness. His magisterial work, The Ever-Present Origin (1949) has made significant contributions to both Ken Wilber’s Integral Theory and the field of Integral Studies at large. Gebser describes — in vivid detail — the unfoldment of human consciousness across the span of history: from our origins in the archaic to the magic, mythic, and mental, and still further onto our collective integral futures. The great breadth and depth of his knowledge of art and culture, shared through the unique prose of a man who was both a poet and a contemplative, allows for a truly radiant vision of human consciousness that shines through and past concepts of linearity and hierarchy.

In this liminal epoch, marked by the throes of social fragmentation and a warming planet, our species finds itself under the immense pressure of a world, and worldview, in painful transition, the outcome of which is uncertain and potentially terminal—not just to us, but to all life. This makes it not just an opportune, but a crucial moment to revisit this seminal architect of integral philosophy. His work opens us to seeing, as he did, that we are already being shaped by tomorrow. As Gebser shows so transparently, it is only through a deep, senseful communing with a living present we can understand and integrate the past. Within this understanding of time, our voice can truly become an echo of our future.

In this two-part introductory series, participants will explore a brief — if experiential — journey through the structures of consciousness, discovering how they continue to live in and through us and our world.

In part two, we turn to Gebser’s unique transmission of integral consciousness, drawing from contemporary examples of art, culture, and philosophy to help illustrate the emergence of “integral time.” It is through living this integral mode of time that we can begin to cohere the complexity of our Anthropocene present and wayfind towards habitable tomorrows.

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Jeremy Johnson

About Jeremy Johnson

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.