Ever-Present Origin

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* Book: Jean Gebser. The Ever-Present Origin.


"Gebser identified five structures of consciousness (archaic, magic, mythical, mental-rational, and integralarational) and showed that mutation of the currently dominant mental-rational structure into the last, “fifth structure” gathered momentum at the turn of the last century." [1]


"Jean Gebser was a German-born poet, philosopher and linguist most well known in the English-speaking world for The Ever-Present Origin, first published in 1949. A weighty tome, EPO spans the history of human consciousness –describing a series of trials and tribulations, followed by transformations, that have marked the human journey. Following a “lightning-like” flash of inspiration in the winter of 1932/1933, Gebser sought to understand what he perceived as a radical shift in Western society, exhibited in the poetic expressions of Rilke and other poets of his time. He began a study, starting with Rilke and Spain and culminating – twenty years later – in the first edition of The Ever-Present Origin. From transformations of language, to new expressions of poetry, to scientific discoveries, it was Gebser’s central thesis that a potent “leap” in thinking was happening in the 20th century. This new mode of thought would be a holistic-centered, or integral one; an answer to the type of thinking responsible for economic and industrial crisis, two World Wars, and what many today consider a dire, global ecological crisis." (https://www.metapsychosis.com/books/the-ever-present-origin/)


Michel Bauwens:

The P2P Foundation's founding was originally a left-integral impulse, i.e. an attempt to renew the emancipatory tradition for the networked age, inspired to a certain degree by integral theories and thinking. One of our sources was Jean Gebser and his history of forms of human consciousness, and their successive mutations that also corresponds to types of civilizations. (Peter Pogany has worked on a synthesis between thermodynamic realities, socio-technical infrastructures of human civilizations, and the dominant forms of consciousness that accompany them.)

It's not enough to understand the evolution of socio-economic structures, we must also understand the cultural intersubjective and subjective mentalities that co-evolve with them. This is 'the' book, to understand the evolution of consciousness, in its archaic, magic, mythological and rational forms. Gebser sees how each mode of apprehending the world, has its generative phase, but also its 'deficient' or degenerative phase. The rational mode of consciousness becomes deficient when calculations dominate everything, and the whole can no longer be seen. Civilizational changes are also 'mutations of consciousness'.

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