The archaic structure[ edit ] The archaic structure is the first structure of consciousness to emerge from the "ever-present origin": The term "archaic" as used here is derived from the Greek arce, meaning inception, or origin. Origin or Ursprung, in the original German is the source from which all springs, but it is that which springs forth itself. It is the essence which is behind and which underlies consciousness. They were identical with that world.
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The archaic structure[ edit ] The archaic structure is the first structure of consciousness to emerge from the "ever-present origin": The term "archaic" as used here is derived from the Greek arce, meaning inception, or origin.
Origin or Ursprung, in the original German is the source from which all springs, but it is that which springs forth itself. It is the essence which is behind and which underlies consciousness.
They were identical with that world. Symbols and statues do not just represent those events, objects and persons, but are those same objects and persons. Unlike the archaic structure in which there is a "perfect identity of man and universe",  man is aware of nature as something within his community to which it must "listen" and out of which it must act in order to survive.
Mythologies give coherence to consciousness. Only when taken together as an elemental ambivalence, and not a rational contradiction, are they constitutive for the mythical structure. Gebser symbolizes it with the "triangle", which illustrates a "trinity" of thesis, antithesis, and synthesis: "the base of the triangle with its two points lying in opposition represents the dual contraries or antinomies which are unified at the point or apex.
The rational structure of awareness seeks to deny the other structures with its claim that humans are exclusively rational. The rational structure is known for its extremes as evidenced in various "nothing but Extreme materialism claims that "everything is nothing but matter — atoms ".
Philosophy, the love of wisdom, is replaced with instrumental reason, the ability "to make". Contemplation —looking inward—is devalued in relation to what one "can do". Living becomes hard to bear in such a consciousness structure. Some saw the cause of this despair as a lack of values or ethics.
Gebser saw that it is the very consciousness structure itself which has played out to its inherent end. He saw that its metaphysical presumptions necessarily led to this ethical dead end. A "value-free" ontology like materialism leads of necessity to living "without value". Any attempt to remedy the situation by a return to "values" would ultimately fail. But it was through this very quagmire of "the decline of the West " that Gebser saw the emergence of a new structure of consciousness which he termed the integral.
The integral structure[ edit ] The integral consciousness structure was made evident by a new relationship to space and time. In the second part of his work, Gebser set out to document the evidence that he saw throughout various human endeavors. Of note here were the incorporation of time in physics, the attempts to "paint" time in the visual arts and the like.
Gebser noticed that the integral structure of consciousness was largely witnessed as the irruption of time into the "fixed-reality" of the mental structure. For Gebser, dualistically opposed and "static" categories of Being gave way to transparency.
Transparency points to how it is that the one is "given-through" and always "along-with" the other. For centuries, time was viewed as having distinct categories of past, present and future. These categories were said to be wholly distinct one from the other. Of course, this created all kinds of difficulties regarding how beings moved from one category to the other — from present to past, for example. What integral awareness notices is that though we may utilize categorical thinking for various purposes, we also have the realization that time is an indivisible whole.
That various beings in the present are crystallized from the past, and which also extend into the future. In fact, without already having an integral awareness, one could have no notion of time as "past" or "present", etc. Without the awareness of the whole, one would be stuck in a kind of "not-knowing" of an always only "now" not connected to any sense of past or future.
Even the mental awareness which divides this whole into distinct categories could not have become aware of those categories without an awareness which was already integral. Thus, awareness is already integral. Gebser introduced the notion of presentation which means to make something present through transparency. An aspect of integral awareness is the presentation, or "making present", of the various structures of awareness.
Rather than allowing only one rational structure to be valid, all structures are recognized, presented, one through the other. This awareness of and acceptance of the various structures enables one to live through the various structures rather than to be subjected to them "lived by" them in German. But Gebser says that it is a task that we cannot choose to ignore without losing ourselves.
This means that our so-called "objective thinking" is not without consequences, is not innocent. That to live "objectively" means to give life to the horrors of nihilism combined with the know how of highly "efficient" weapons. It means that "objectivity" gets applied to "engineering humanity" whether it is in the behavioral sciences or the physical sciences.
He asks of us whether or not we have had our fill of those horrors yet. Are we willing to settle into the comfort of our daily life or to take on the process of change? He offers as a guiding note that just as there is also a time to act, there is also the much neglected time of contemplation.
In a world where know-how is overvalued, simple knowing must also be nurtured. He calls upon us to realize that we are what we think. Discontinuity[ edit ] Gebser cautioned against using terms like evolution, progression, or development to describe the changes in structures of consciousness that he described.
Gebser traces the evidence for the transformations of the structure of consciousness as they are concretized in historical artifacts. He sought to avoid calling this process "evolutionary", since any such notion was illusory when applied to the "unfolding of consciousness. The unfolding of awareness is, by contrast, an opening-up. Any attempt to give a direction or goal to the unfolding of awareness is illusory in that it is based upon a limited, mentalistic, linear notion of time.
Gebser notes that "to progress" is to move toward something and is thus also to move away from something else; therefore, progress is an inappropriate term to describe the structures of consciousness.
Gebser wrote that the question as to the fate of humanity is still open, that for it to become closed would be the ultimate tragedy, but that such a closure remains a possibility. To Gebser, our fate is not assured by any notion of "an evolution toward", or by any kind of ideal way of being. Space and time[ edit ] Gebser notes that the various structures of consciousness are revealed by their relationship to space and time.
The mental structure lives time as linear , directed or "progressive" and space becomes the box-like, vacuum-like homogeneous space of geometry.
Von bis arbeitete er am zweiten Band, der erschien. Sein letztes Werk, Verfall und Teilhabe erschienen schloss er kurz vor seinem Tod ab. Jean Gebser starb am Mai in seiner Wohnung in Bern. Gebsers Bewusstseinsgeschichte[ Bearbeiten Quelltext bearbeiten ] Gebser wird heute meist assoziiert mit der Bewusstseinsgeschichte, welcher der erste Band von Ursprung und Gegenwart mit dem Titel Die Fundamente der aperspektivischen Welt. Beitrag zu einer Geschichte der Bewusstwerdung gewidmet ist. Er nennt diese Bewusstseinsstrukturen die archaische, die magische, die mythische und die mentale.