= philosopher, a linguist, and a poet, who described the structures of human consciousness
URL = https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean_Gebser
Ulrich J Mohrhoff:
"Born in Posen, Germany, in 1905, Jean Gebser was educated in Breslau, Königsberg, Rossleben, and at the University of Berlin. In 1929 he emigrated to Italy and subsequently lived in Spain, where he was attached to the Ministry of Education of the Spanish Republic. After leaving Madrid twelve hours before his apartment was bombed, he spent the years 1937–1939 in Paris, in a circle which included Pablo Picasso, André Malraux, Paul Eluard, and Louis Aragon. In 1939 he left for Switzerland, where he arrived two hours before the frontier was closed, and in 1951 he became a Swiss citizen. For many years Gebser was Lecturer at the Institute of Applied Psychology in Zürich. Although later he was appointed honorary Professor of Comparative Studies of Civilization at the University of Salzburg, Austria, his declining health prevented him from assuming the duties associated with the chair. For his many publications, including books on Rilke, his friend Federico García Lorca, recent developments in the sciences, East-West relations, evolution, and twentieth century civilization and its antecedents, Gebser received several prizes. He died in Berne in 1973."
Via gebser.org :
“In the somber halls of academe, an individual appears who is a philosopher in the original sense of the word — a bright lover of wisdom, a herald of higher human possibilities. The Swiss philosopher and poet Jean Gebser belonged to that rare Socratic breed. He was a man of extraordinary vision who did not allow himself to be seduced by his learning, but intrepidly pushed beyond the boundaries of accepted truth. He likened modern philosophy to the “picking apart of a rose.” His foundational work on the evolution of human consciousness and culture is among this century’s finest contributions to our modern self-understanding.
In a nutshell, what Gebser succeeded in demonstrating through painstaking documentation and analysis was this: Hidden beneath the apparent chaos of our times is an emergent new order. The disappearance of the pre-Einsteinian world-view. with its creator-god and clockwork universe as well as its naive faith in progress. is more than a mere breakdown. It is also a new beginning. In fact, long before the apostles of a “new age” arrived on the scene, Jean Gebser spoke of our period as one of the great turning points in human history. What makes his work so appealing and relevant is that it offers a unique perspective on human history and the present global crisis. When Gebser’s study on the unfolding of human consciousness was first published it was considered one of the most controversial intellectual creations of our era. This is still true; his ideas challenge not only those of the establishment but also many of the new contenders.
Who was Jean Gebser? And why are a growing number of people excited about his ideas? Until seven years before his death at the age of sixty-two, Gebser was almost completely ignored by the academic establishment. It was then that the University of Salzburg, a venerable institution in Austria, created a special professorial chair for him-comparative culturology. This unique appointment was a belated acknowledgement of his genius. But it changed little, if anything, in Gebser’s lifestyle; he had lived and worked most of his life as a maverick. It is hard to classify Gebser. Neither he nor his books fit any existing stereotype. He was a scholar, a linguist, a translator, a poet, a historian, an eloquent speaker, a traveler, an adventurous lover of life, people, and ideas-a man of experience, wisdom, spiritual depth, and charisma. Gebser had many friends and admirers, among them psychologist Carl Gustav Jung, biologist Adolf Portmann, physicists Werner Heisenberg and Carl Friedrich von Weizsacker, as well as Tibetologist and spiritual leader Lama Anagarika Govinda. It was the last-mentioned who described Gebser as “one of the most creative and stimulating thinkers of modern Europe.” Most important, however, are Gebser’s publications and lectures, which have affected tens of thousands of people in the German-speaking countries of Europe.
Today, more than a decade after his death, Gebser is being discovered by the Anglo-American world. Annual conferences dedicated to his work are held at Ohio University under the auspices of the International Jean Gebser Society. The participants include philosophers, communication scientists, linguists, sociologists, and political scientists. Since the publication of Gebser’ 5 magnum opus in English by the Ohio University Press, first in hardcover (1985) and then in paperback (1986) under the title The Ever Present Origin;’, independent’ study groups have started to spring up in different states. The demand for this massive volume has been such that a second printing was done in 1988. Other works by Gebser are in the process of translation. A Gebser newsletter is published in Illinois, scholarly studies on his ideas have appeared, and doctoral dissertations are being written on him.
Gebser was born in Prussia (now Poland) in 1905. He inherited his studious nature from his father, a jurist and author, and his more vivacious side from his beautiful femme fatale mother. He was an excessively sensitive child, and in a remarkable autobiographical essay, Gebser speaks of his childhood years as years of dormancy. “At that age,” he writes, “there is only the connection to one’s parents. That is our world.”
And for Gebser, that world was one of increasing domestic conflict. When Jean was seventeen his father died of the injuries incurred when he jumped out a window in a suicide attempt. Later, in a diary entry of 1941/42, Gebser would note, “Family and country are the two main impediments to individual development.” The death left his well to-do family in ruins-Gebser was forced to abandon his schooling and become an apprentice at a bank. He could bear the drudgery and boredom only because in his spare time he attended lectures at Berlin University. During that time he discovered Rilke, Schopenhauer, and Freud. (Of Freud he wrote, “…an excellent guide into Hades, but does he also lead us out of it?”) As soon as he had completed his apprenticeship, Gebser left the monotony of the corporate world behind, dedicating himself to the muses. He had tinkered with his first novel at the age of eleven, and now he could pursue his passion for literature and books.
What he could not foresee was that Europe was preparing for its darkest hour. In 1929 Gebser decided to leave Germany, embarking on his pilgrim years. In Munich he had witnessed the first “brown hordes” of the Nazis, and what he saw filled him with horror. After a brief spell in Italy he went to Spain, where he lived for six years. He befriended and worked closely with Garcia Lorca and other poets, whose works he translated into German. Only his astonishing inner flexibility and linguistic facility allowed Gebser, a writer, to acculturate so quickly and successfully.
Twelve hours before his apartment in Madrid was bombed in the fall of 1936, Gebser again abandoned everything. He went into exile in Paris, where many other intellectuals were seeking refuge. There he shared the company and the poverty of giants such as Pablo Picasso and Andre Malraux. World War II erupted with a vengeance, so Gebser, who saw in war the ultimate absurdity of which humans are capable, decided to leave France. Two hours before neutral Switzerland closed its borders in August 1939, he crossed into safety, if renewed uncertainty.
It was in Switzerland that Gebser finally found a permanent home, though having been repeatedly uprooted made him sense that we must find our roots elsewhere than in geography or culture. As he puts it in one of his poems, written in the mid-1950s, ” real living-at-home is only/in the hearts of those who love.
In the following decades, Gebser worked tirelessly to give shape to his inner vision. At first he focused on his poetry and on the literary works and political struggles of the Spanish friends he had left behind. He published a study of Rilke, and then began his long career as a social critic and visionary.
In the winter of 1931, Gebser had received in a flash of inspiration the concept of his later work, and now he was dedicating his life to making explicit what he had intuitively grasped in that moment. What he had realized was that the phenomenal transformations in the arts and sciences during the first three decades of the twentieth century amounted to a change in the very consciousness of humanity, in the way we perceive ourselves and the world. He compared it in its significance to the transmutation that ancient humanity had passed through at the time of Socrates in Greece, Lao-Tzu in China, and Gautama the Buddha in India. Gebser saw that early period as a transition from what he came to call the mythical structure to the mental-rational structure of consciousness. He felt that the restructuring he was witnessing in his own time was an equally fundamental shift from the mental-rational structure to the arational aperspectival structure of consciousness. Remarkably, he formulated this essentially positive concept at a time when entire nations were in shambles, and when Oswald Spengler’s predictions about the doom of Western civilization were capturing the feverish imagination of the public. In a diary entry of 1941, Gebser affirmed: “Our era is, despite or because of its visible destruction’s, an era of overflowing formative fullness.’ His words still ring true today.
Gebser thus anticipated the key notion behind the so-called Aquarian conspiracy. Unlike so many human potential advocates, however, Gebser never thought for a moment that the emergent consciousness would necessarily usher in a utopian paradise where today’s complex problems would all be solved automatically. Rather, he frequently spoke of the initiatory birth pains that contemporary humanity would have to pass through before the new consciousness could become a reality.
In characterizing the emergent consciousness as arational (as opposed to irrational) and aperspectival, Gebser sought to indicate that it transcended the dualistic, black-or-white categories of the rational orientation to life. Rationalism, for him, was by no means the pinnacle of human existence, but, on the contrary, an evolutionary digression with fatal consequences. He regarded it as a deficient of the inherently balanced mental structure of consciousness. In other words, Gebser did not reject reason, merely its inflation into the sole arbiter of our lives. As he recognized, the human being is a composite of several evolutionary structures of consciousness, and we must live all of them according to their intrinsic value. The individual who is dominated by the rational structure represses all other structures, which are viewed as irrational and hence dispensable. Thus the “reasonable” person is inclined to reject magic, myth, religion, feeling, empathy, and not least ego-transcendence.
In a 1955 diary entry, Gebser observed, “Becoming an ego is painful. Hardly anyone finds his ego prior to the middle of his life. Then most people remain stuck in it and become hardened in it. The still more painful process of ego-transcendence with all its crises and relapses is accomplished by only a few. But it is just this ego-transcendence that is the decisive task of human life.”
The reason-dominated individual tends to be heavily ego-defensive, because identity is defined in terms of the ego-personality. The person who has broken through to the arational-aperspectival consciousness, however, sees the limitations of the ego, and is not threatened by the suggestion that he or she is more than the narrow field of awareness and angular vision that is associated with the ego. In fact, that person welcomes the idea that individuality arises in participation with the larger reality-a reality that by far eclipses the rational mind and even the feeling heart that is so often closed to the rationalist.
In 1943, Gebser published his book Abendlandische Wandlung (Transformation of the West), in which he surveyed the most significant changes in the natural and social sciences, suggesting that they point to a new constellation of consciousness and reality-perception. Six years later, he published the first part of his major work, Ursprung und Gegenwart, available in English under the title The Ever-Present Origin (see Resources, this page). In it, he concerned himself with the aperspectival foundations of our modern civilization. In 1953, the second part appeared. Here Gebser looked back into our human past, identifying and clarifying for us other similar fundamental mutations of consciousness. He distinguished four in all: the archaic structure, the magical structure, the mythical structure, and the mental structure (out of which emerged, as its deficient form, the rational consciousness during the Renaissance). Today a fifth mode or style of cognition, the a rational structure, has become a possibility that, as Gebser never tired of insisting, requires our conscious midwifery through personal and collective self-transcending practice.
Gebser’s unabashedly spiritual orientation, which is unique in European philosophy, has confounded and annoyed his peers, especially those anxious to uphold the neutral rationalist standards of academia. Today, American Gebser scholars, unfortunately, tend to repeat the error of their European counterparts when they try to make Gebser into a phenomenologist of consciousness and culture, ignoring his strong spiritual communication. I had the opportunity to present a paper on the spiritual implications of Gebser’s work at the 1987 Gebser conference at Ohio University in Athens. Except for some old-timers, who had known Gebser personally, my presentation caused a stir among participants when I reported that Gebser had confided to me in a letter that he had had an enlightenment experience (satori). “It was sober,” he put it, “on the one hand happening with crystal clarity in everyday life, which I perceived and to which I reacted ‘normally,’ and on the other hand and simultaneously being a transfiguration and irradiation of the indescribable, unearthly, transparent ‘Light’–no ecstasy, no emotion, but a spiritual clarity, a quiet jubilation, a knowledge of invulnerability, a primal trust.”
This satori experience surprised Gebser while he was visiting Sarnath in 1961, the place where 2,500 years ago the Buddha preached his first sermon. A year later Gebser published his Asienfibel (Primer on Asia), subsequently reissued in expanded form under the title Asien Lachelt Anders(Asia Smiles Differently), in which we meet Gebser the thoughtful traveler and bridge builder. He regarded the East/West encounter as central to our contemporary task of personal and cultural integration. He wrote, “The view that East and West are opposites is wrong. It is not permissible to apply opposite-creating rational thought in this context, which can, if we continue to persist in this faulty opposition, even lead to the suicide of our culture or civilization. West and East are complementarities. In comparison with the dual, divisive character of opposition, complementary is polar and unifying.”
Gebser, as a spiritual pilgrim, also visited Tiruvannamalai in South India, where Ramana Maharshi, one of modern India’s finest sages, had lived and taught until his death in 1950. But where he felt most in the presence of the emergent arational-integral consciousness was in the Pondicherry ashram of the twentieth-century philosopher-yogi and former political activist Sri Aurobindo. the creator of “integral yoga,” who, incidentally, also died in 1950. Of that visit Gebser said, “There in Pondicherry is, to the best of my knowledge as far as India is concerned, the only place where the mutual flooding of rationalistic machine technology on the one hand and psycho-spiritual yoga technology on the other hand, has begun to be a radiant enrichment of both Asia and the West.”
Undoubtedly, what attracted Gebser was the same clarity that he also appreciated in the Zen monasteries of Japan. According to him, clarity is an essential aspect of the arational structure of consciousness. He lived by this principle himself. Gebser stood for intensification. rather than mystical or psychedelic expansion, of consciousness. Clarity is both a means and a sign of such intensification. Gebser approvingly cited a remark by Paul Klee, one of the great pioneers of the aperspectival consciousness in art. “I begin more and more to see behind or, better, through things.”
It would appear that this observation entails useful advice for anyone.”
Interpretation by William Irwin Thompson
William Irwin Thompson:
(from the book, Coming Into Being)
"There is another genius who wrote on the evolution of consciousness who can be of use here to help us understand our contemporary predicament as a choice betwveen evolution and dissolution: the German turned Swiss cultural historian Jean Gebser. A refugee from Franco's Spain and Hitler's Germany, Gebser was a brilliantly intuitive intellectual mystic with a pro found understanding of poetry and art. Right in the middle of the rise of Fascism in the 1930s and the descent of Europe into the Second World War, he had an intellectual vision of the evolution of consciousness that anticipated and excelled the whole New Age and the new paradigm thinking of the 1970s. Gebser was a friend of Frederico Garcia Lorca and Pablo Picasso, and his understanding of culture is based upon a deep feeling for specific works of poetry and art. But his high cultural European approach to the evolution of consciousness makes it difficult for Americans to appreciate his work.
Gebser can help us to steer wide of the California substitution in which the integral is a theme park simulacrum of electronics and psychedelics. Gebser is not a Disney animatron of the thinker; he is the real thing, a true European philosopher of art and culture who prophesied in the 1940s the shift to the new chaos dynamical mathematical understanding of nature, the new appreciation of matristic values in a dissolving of patriarchy, and the new spirituality beyond reactionary religions and deficient magical cults. Amazingly, Gebser seemed to be able to avoid the mistakes of other prewar thinkers, from the flirtations with Fascism that captured Mircea Eliade, Martin Heidegger, and Paul De Man, to the facile Communism that captured Louis Althusser and Jean-Paul Sartre, or the nihilism that destroyed Michel Foucault. Spiritual without being occult, Gebser also managed to avoid the psychic inflation of the self-elected guru that caught George Gurdjieff, so Gebser's work on the evolution of consciousness is well worth the effort, and now that it is available in an English translation, I hope that at least enough people will read him so that Ever-Present Origin does not go out of print.
Gebser's narrative is one of structural transformations of consciousness ... These turnings and transformations (in German, WandLung) are fivefold, and interestingly, Gebser's model is isomorphic to McLuhan's.
1. Oral 1. Archaic
2. Script 2. Magical
3. Alphabetic 3. Mythical
4. Print 4. Mental
5. Electronic 5. Integral
Gebser's five structural mutations of consciousness should not be read as static stages or levels in a linear progression; they are processual trans-formations. His Eurocentrism derives not from any imperial contempt for other cultures, but from the fact that he was a political refugee with severely limited funds trying to flesh out his intuitive insights with the books that were at hand as he worked in the center of Europe, in Bern. Like McLuhan, Gebser holds out a visionary possibility for a transformation of consciousness in which the degenerative returns to the magical and the deficient efforts to recover the mythical are overcome in the quantum leap to the integral. In trying to understand this new level of global consciousness, Gebser became interested in the Zen philosophy articulated by D. T. Suzuki and the integral yoga of the Indian evolutionary philosopher Sri Aurobindo.
Although Gebser did not elaborate the point, I noticed in reading his works that a dark age is characteristic of the transition from one structure of consciousness to another.
Before agriculture, there was a loss of culture in the Mesolithic; gone was the high culture of Paleolithic Lascaux, but not yet come was the high culture of the Neolithic. So in the Exocene weather change, with its 300-foot rise of the seacoast level there was an Atlantean inundation that engulfed the old glacial world. Agricultural society stabilized itself from 9500 to 4500 B.C.E., and then came the Kurgan invasions and the destruction of the undefended agri cultural villages of the great goddess. So before civilization, there was a second dark age transition. By 2500 B.C.E., civilization had stabilized itself in the new forms to be found along the Nile, Tigris and Euphrates, Indus, and Yangtze rivers. Then before Western civilization, there is the Aegean dark age of 1400 to 800 B.C.E., which expresses the shift from
Gebser's mythical to mental epoch. Before Western European civilization, there was the dark age of 476 to 800 C.E. And now, before the shift to the integral, we seem to be experiencing our own dark age in which our civilization is disintegrating.
So if we line up Gebser's structural transformations of consciousness with dark ages, we get this:
Mesolithic Dark Age, 9500 B.C.E 1. Archaic 1.
Kurgan Invasions, 4500 B.C.E. 2. Magical 2.
Aegean Dark Age, 1400-800 B.C.E. 3. Mythical 3.
European Dark Age, 476-800 C.E. 4. Mental 4.
Contemporary Dark Age 5. Integral 5.
In the loss that is characteristic of a transition to novelty, the dark age seems to, paradoxically, open up a new possibility: the loss of the magical in the shift from sacrificial, matristic cultures to militaristic, patriarchal cultures, or the loss of the mythical in the shift to the mental in Greek philosophy, or now the loss of literate civilization in the shift to the electronic noetic polities of a decultured planetization. Naturally, this shift is opposed by traditional and reactionary forces, from Islamic jihads to Aryan nation attacks; but as enemies adopt the electronic technologies of their opponents in order to fight them, they are inevitably pulled into the culture they abhor. Televangelists like Reverend Jimmy Swaggert may hold the good book in one hand while they gesticulate against rock music with the other, but to the degree that they use television to promote themselves, they become isomorphic to rock stars and become just another sports star or celebrity.
In chaos dynamical theory in mathematics, it is the accumulation of noise that pulls a system from one attractor to another. So in our transition from industrialization to planetization, it is the accumulation of noise that is pulling civilization apart. In industrialization, the global marketplace was the phase-space of human culture that defined the value of all human transactions. The new phase-space, however, is not the marketplace but the catastrophe, for it is the catastrophe that brings us together in a condition that now defines all our human transactions. This evolutionary catastrophe bifurcation of "up or out" compels us to look on human culture with a new, deeper, and more compassionately spiritual level of understanding. Those who are oriented to the marketplace will resist this transformation of world view^, so the accumulation of noise will have to be great indeed before they are pulled into the basin of a new attractor. Nevertheless, noise is the transition to the noetic polity; it destroys the solitude necessary for the philosophical reflection characteristic of the mental epoch. But before we can effect the transition to the integral to stabilize our condition in the angelic musical polities of the future we will have to learn how to make our way through the demonic states of possession of our present. My contribution to this effort is to offer —in the face of the disliterate, electronic world of MTV — this study of specific works of literature as expressing the true markers along the way of the evolution of human consciousness."
Jean Gebser on Sri Aurobindo
Ulrich J Mohrhoff:
"In the Preface to the second edition (1966) of Ursprung und Gegenwart, reproduced in part in the English translation, Gebser cites the following reasons for the addition of new material to the text:
- "The additions have been necessary in the light of many ominous as well as encouraging events since publication of the first edition. The ominous aspects are conceivably outweighed and counterbalanced by insights and achievements which, by virtue of their spiritual potency, cannot remain without effect. Among these achievements, the writings of Sri Aurobindo and Pierre Teilhard de Chardin are pre-eminent. . . . Both develop in their own way the conception of a newly emergent consciousness which Sri Aurobindo has designated as the “supramental.” We defined it in turn as the “aperspectival (arational-integral)” consciousness to which we first referred in Rilke and Spain (1940) and later in our Transformation of the Occident (1943). It remains the principal concern of the present work to elucidate the possibility as well as the emergence of this new consciousness, and to describe its uniqueness. . . .
The reader will have to judge for himself in what respects our discussion parallels or diverges from those of the authors mentioned, the dissimilarities being occasioned by the differing points of departure. Although both authors have a human-universal orientation, Sri Aurobindo — integrating Western thought — proceeds from a reformed Hindu perspective, Teilhard de Chardin from a Catholic position, whereas the present work is written from a general and Occidental standpoint. But this does not preclude the one exposition from not merely supporting and complementing, but also corroborating the others. (xxix)
In a lecture published in 1970, Gebser made the following statement:
- It should be kept in mind: my conception of the emerging of a new consciousness, which I realized in winter 1932/33 in a flashlike intuition and started describing since 1939, resembles to a large extent the world conception of Sri Aurobindo, that was at that time unknown to me. Mine is different from his insofar, as it is directed only to the Western world and does not have the depth and the gravidity of origin of the genially represented conception of Sri Aurobindo. An explanation for this apparent phenomenon may be seen in the suggestion, that I was included in some manner within the strong field of force as radiated by Sri Aurobindo."
William Irwin Thompson on Jean Gebser
William Irwin Thompson:
"There is another genius who wrote on the evolution of consciousness who can be of use here to help us understand our contemporary predicament as a choice between evolution and dissolution: the German turned Swiss cultural historian Jean Gebser. A refugee from Franco's Spain and Hitler's Germany, Gebser was a brilliantly intuitive intellectual mystic with a pro found understanding of poetry and art. Right in the middle of the rise of Fascism in the 1930s and the descent of Europe into the Second World War, he had an intellectual vision of the evolution of consciousness that anticipated and excelled the whole New Age and the new paradigm thinking oft he 1970s. Gebser was a friend of Frederico Garcia Lorca and Pablo Picasso, and his understanding of culture is based upon a deep feeling for specific works of poetry and art. But his high cultural European approach to the evolution of consciousness makes it difficult for Americans to appreciate his work. We have so replaced culture with psychology, psychotherapy, and simplistic workshops on how to fix the depressive flats of our lives that we prefer the compulsive mappings and textbook categorizations of Ken Wilber to the poetic insights of Jean Gebser. Wilber seeks to control the universe through mapping, and the dominant masculinist purpose of his abstract system is to shift power from the described to the describer. As an autodidact from the Midwest, Wilber wants to promote himself as "the Einstein of the consciousness movement" and so he is announcing a trilogy of thousand-page tomes that will explain everything once and for all. This form of scholarship is really a mode of psychic inflation and self-magnification; it is a grand pyramid of systems of abstract thought, piled on other systems of abstract thought, with Wilber's kept for the top. Never does one come upon a feeling for the concrete, a new^ look at an individual poem, a painting, or a work of architecture. Gebser, in contrast to Wilber, is the genuine article, a grand European thinker with a grand vision, but one who comes upon his general insights through a loving attention for particulars: through an understanding of the role of adjectives in the poetry of Rilke, the resurgence of a prehistoric matriarchy in the surrealistic line drawings of Garcia Lorca, the meaning of an ancient Chinese mask that has no mouth, or the social significance of the lack of perspective in the paintings of Picasso. It was a Sisyphean labor to get my San Francisco students to read Gebser, for they all preferred the undergraduate textbook generalizations of Wilber, but characteristically the members of my Ne^v York Lindisfarne Symposium loved Gebser's masterwork and felt that his Ever-Present Origin was the kind of book that changed one's life. Precisely because Gebser's rich high Euro pean culture takes for granted not just a knowledge of poetry and painting but an instant recall of famous poems and canvases. New Yorkers, who live in a museum-rich culture, can recall the pictures and understand the argument. The "New Edge" Californians think that a color-degraded image of a Monet on CD-ROM or the World Wide Web is better than the real thing. Gebser can help us to steer wide of the California substitution in which the integral is a theme park simulacrum of electronics and psychedelics. Gebser is not a Disney animatron of the thinker; he is the real thing, a true European philosopher of art and culture who prophesied in the 1940s the shift to the new chaos dynamical mathematical understanding of nature, the new appreciation of matristic values in a dissolving of patriarchy, and the new spirituality beyond reactionary religions and deficient magical cults. Amazingly, Gebser seemed to be able to avoid the mistakes of other prewar thinkers, from the flirtations with Fascism that captured Mircea Eliade, Martin Heidegger, and Paul De Man, to the facile Communism that captured Louis Althusser and Jean-Paul Sartre, or the nihilism that destroyed Michel Foucault. Spiritual without being occult, Gebser also managed to avoid the psychic inflation of the self-elected guru that caught George Gurdjieff, so Gebser's work on the evolution of consciousness is well worth the effort, and now that it is available in an English translation, I hope that at least enough people will read him so that Ever-Precent Origin does not go out of print.
Gebser's narrative is one of structural transformations of consciousness. These turnings and transformations (in German, WandLung) are fivefold, and interestingly, Gebser's model is isomorphic to McLuhan's."