Thursday, March 01, 2007

Initial impressions reading Jean Gebser

I've started reading Jean Gebser's Ever Present Origin - actually it isn't the sort of book one can read from cover to cover so i'm reading it in bits. Very intriguing but also very heavy and difficult to read; very much that "old world" style of writing. Blavatsky, Jung, and Aurobindo are the same (as are most 18th and 19th century authors), it makes for very tiring reading; although if you read only small selections here and there you tune in to a lot of wisdom.

I had heard about Gebser through Wilber, but unfortunately I have to say that once again this is an example of how Wilber (without meaning to, i'm sure) totally misinterprets (or Wilberises; i.e. makes them out to be earlier predecessors of his own views) the people he cites and refers too. Gebser in fact is dead against the sort of linear, perspictival, evolutionary-progress-orientated approach championed by Wilber, contrast Wilber's AQAL cosmology (see Sex, Ecology, Spirituality, or Integral Psychology, or other such books), the Wilber-Beck Spiral Dynamics, etc etc, with pp.36-41 of Ever Present Origin (Ohio University Press). A better approach to Gebser is through William Irwin Thompson; both have a visionary multidisciplinary renaissance man type approach. Gebser also reminds me of Steiner in the description of his Magical, Mythic, and Mental structures of consciousness. But unlike Steiner and Wilber these are not "sequential", as mentioned, Gebser rejects that sort of interpretation; "archetypal" might be a better word; all the structures are archetypal, as indicated by the table of correspondences in the back of the book.

So this has really deepened my appreciation of teh range of persoectives that constitute the Integral movement and Integral philosophy. Whitehead, who I haven't read, and Teilhard who I have, a bit, are two evolutionary theologians who are also representative of the "Integral Paradigm". More about this in my book in progress of the same name.


Blogger ZAK said...

Mr Kavlev I agree with this. I have just completed a 9000 word plus essay, on the subject of WILBERISM AND METAPHYSICS refuting his notion that full enlightenment has anything to do with AQAL or "evolution"

I am cleaning it up, you know; don’t want to be too rough on our friend Ken Wilber. I also have not decided conclusively to publish it, in any venue at this point.

This Essay touches on what you write here about Gebser. I am a person who doesn’t accept the idea of “Evolutionary enlightenment” as it relates to metaphysics. I also have said directly to Wilber in the essay that he should not associate AQAL with metaphysics, as he is doing. He should leave it as an open cosmological theory.

I explain in the essay that metaphysics being a knowledge or science directly created for the sole purpose of guiding humans back to their lost nature can have nothing to do with evolution.

Metaphysics being a temporary “created” science with only the above intent in mind to be associated with evolution as Wilber and his buddy Cohen do, would doom it.

Anyway on a personal note I have enjoyed your web site for years. It is incredibility positive, and informative. I also have read some of your essays on the Visser site, and they have great merit.

1:19 PM  
Blogger paxx5 said...

I enjoyed very much your mention of W. I. Thompson, re Gebser. Thompson himself addresses Wilber's glosses in Coming into Being. Wilber underestimates the meaning and power of poetics, toe to crown, as it were, the breathing room given the primal charges. Wilber occasionally evinces a post-rational poetic sense from the mountain top, but otherwise is stultifyingly rational, the principal irony. To have a living poetic sense of magic-mythic-mental-integral and demonstrate that in language use, is cardinal to respecting Gebser's pioneering work.

4:39 PM  

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