SEEING THROUGH THE WORLD: TRANSPARENCY AND PLANETIZATION
47th International Jean Gebser Society Conference
6-8 OCTOBER 2017
Judson Memorial Assembly Hall, New York, NY
About jean Gebser
Jean Gebser (1905-1973) was a German philosopher, poet, and phenomenologist of consciousness. He is best known in the English-speaking world for The Ever-Present Origin(1949/1953), a masterful work of philosophical scholarship detailing a series of structural transformations in human consciousness. These leaps, or “mutations”, between structures often coincided with the simultaneous breakdown of deficient mentalities and the creative resurgence of new, spiritual qualities in humanity. Our present world anticipates a dramatic leap into the new, integral structure, which is noted for its quality of a-perspectivalism and seeing through and behind things. Only through transparency can the ever-presence of origin be perceived.
In Jean Gebser’s body of work, the principle of transparency is a unique expression of the emerging integral world. The nascent, integral structure of consciousness, which Gebser believed was well underway during his lifetime, could be identified by its spiritual capacity to render the world transparent, to shine through (durchscheinen) to its originary and primordial powers. The effect this would have on the previously realized structures of consciousness would be to render them diaphanous in both its dark aspects (the magic and mythic ontologies) as well as its light aspects (the mental-rational ontology). The synonyms clarity and lucidity were also provided by Gebser as qualitative descriptors—found in both the arts, through poets like Rilke, or the sciences, through physicists like Niels Bohr and Werner Heisenberg with the discoveries in quantum mechanics—to further elucidate the integral structure.
For the 47th annual Jean Gebser Society conference, we ask our presenters to examine the question of transparency. What is the nature of transparency? In what ways has transparency manifested in our present world? What are its challenges and complexities? How might this quality be assessed in both the humanities and the sciences in the decades following The Ever-Present Origin’s publication? How have planetary-scaled phenomena, like climate change and the ecological crisis, or communication revolutions, like New Media and the internet, furthered and complicated our understanding? To what degree does transparency reveal both the efficient and deficient manifestations of globalization?
Presenters are encouraged to consider the direct, phenomenological implications of transparency. Alongside scholarly and scientific studies, contributions from the arts, such as music, experimental cinema, and poetry, are especially encouraged.
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