By Algis Mickunas
Because of its compass, complexity, and depth, Gebser's work has been highly regarded, both by serious scholars of comparative cultures, and by a variety of seekers for a new age and salvific spirituality. While such regard may be warranted, the task Gebser assumes is much more profound and indeed relevant for deciphering diverse human cultures, their interconnections, and above all the ways that the so–called "past" human modes of awareness continue to play a dominant—although unrecognized—role in our times.
Moreover, his work has shown correlations among the most diverse domains of cultural creations, from poetry through sciences. The correlations led Gebser to the conception that despite various proclamations of the end of the Western world, there is evidence of an emergence of a different mode of perceiving—the integral. This emergence offers a clue to broader scholarly ventures and correlations of cultural phenomena during different periods and at different places of cultural creations. This is to say, Gebser points out that our age is not the only one that experienced a vast transformation in awareness. He undertakes the task of tracing the correlations of such diverse phenomena in order to show their connections and through the latter to decipher the types of structures of awareness that connect such phenomena.
To Gebser's own surprise, the phenomena suggest vast periodic transformations—mutations— of awareness that restructure human modes of perceiving, conceiving, and interacting. Such mutations not only yield novel structures of awareness, but also integrate and position other modes of awareness within the requirements of a predominant structure.
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ALGIS MICKUNAS is a scholar, consciousness researcher, author, international organizer and Professor Emeritus at Ohio University.
- See Also: Evolution of Consciousness According to Jean Gebser, By Ulrich J. Mohrhoff -