October 13, 2005

Jean Gebser

In his monumental and heavily documented work Ursprung und Gegenwart, Jean Gebser shows how the modern ‘perspectival’ mental stage in the evolution of mental consciousness appears to be giving way to a new ‘aperspectival’, arational and integral mode of experience, amounting to a mutation of consciousness, in which the earlier phases are not left behind but transmuted into a diaphanous present. Gebser remarks in one of his last essays:

My concept of the emergence of a new consciousness, which came to me like a lightning-flash of inspiration…is very similar to the philosophy of Sri Aurobindo, with whose writings I was then not familiar. My attempt, however, was concerned only with the western world and lacks the depth and pregnancy belonging to a rich tradition.

From the massive corpus of Sri Aurobindo’s writings there comes to us a voice charged with a sense of impending breakthrough to a new dimension of consciousness…of a step being taken beyond the edge of history and the Orient-Occident dichotomy.
[J.L.Mehta: 1978~43]

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