Fifth Order Form of Consciousness and Its Application to Economic Worldviews

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* Article: “Fifth structure”- emergence in economics: Observations through the thermodynamic lens of world history. By Peter Pogany. International Gebser Society Conference, Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY. 15th - 17th October 2009



Why you should read this remarkable essay, by Michel Bauwens:

The work of Peter Pogany, author of Rethinking the World and Havoc, is absolutely crucial, as it is an integration of the three necessary levels of understanding:

  1. the thermodynamic (matter-energy, planetary boundaries), which allow the physical planet and its living beings to exist;
  2. the adaption or mis-adaption of human socio-economic regimes to this reality;
  3. the human mode of apprehension, linked to common culture and dominant thought, which dictate what we can see of the world, and what we CANNOT see.

Pogany's work uses the important framework of the Swiss cultural historian Jean Gebser, and his history of the forms of collective human consciousness.


"Gebser’s archeology of consciousness, augmented by its graciously nonpositivistic (open destiny) eschatology through archaic-originary projection, presumes the epiphenomenon of socioeconomic transformation. Since the history of consciousness is also a history of social consciousness, which is never without economic interpretations, it is mirrored by the history of economic thought.

The thermodynamic conceptualization of the human journey provides further warrant to Gebser’s caveat that the mutation of the prevalent mental-rational structure of consciousness into the integral-arational (“fifth”) constellation is a sine qua non for dignified survival. This crucial moment in collective psychohistory is inseparable from a change in the global socioeconomic system, which cannot occur without transcending mainstream orthodoxy in economic sciences."