Integral Review

A Transdisciplinary and Transcultural Journal For New Thought, Research, and Praxis

Posts Tagged ‘time’

Integral Time and the Varieties of Post-Mortem Survival

Sean M. Kelly

Abstract: While the question of survival of bodily death is usually approached by focusing on the mind/body relation (and often with the idea of the soul as a special kind of substance), this paper explores the issue in the context of our understanding of time. The argument of the paper is woven around the central intuition of time as an “ever-living present.” The development of this intuition allows for a more integral or “complex-holistic” theory of time, the soul, and the question of survival. Following the introductory matter, the first section proposes a re-interpretation of Nietzsche’s doctrine of eternal recurrence in terms of moments and lives as “eternally occurring.” The next section is a treatment of Julian Barbour’s neo-Machian model of instants of time as configurations in the n-dimensional phase-space he calls “Platonia.” While rejecting his claim to have done away with time, I do find his model suggestive of the idea of moments and lives as eternally occurring. The following section begins with Fechner’s visionary ideas of the nature of the soul and its survival of bodily death, with particular attention to the notion of holonic inclusion and the central analogy of the transition from perception to memory. I turn next to Whitehead’s equally holonic notions of prehension and the concrescence of actual occasions. From his epochal theory of time and certain ambiguities in his reflections on the “divine antinomies,” we are brought to the threshold of a potentially more integral or “complex-holistic” theory of time and survival, which is treated in the last section. This section draws from my earlier work on Hegel, Jung, and Edgar Morin, as well as from key insights of Jean Gebser, for an interpretation of Sri Aurobindo’s inspired but cryptic description of the “Supramental Time Vision.” This interpretation leads to an alternative understanding of reincarnation—and to the possibility of its reconciliation with the once-only view of life and its corresponding version of immortality—along with the idea of a holonic scale of selves leading from individual personality as we normally experience it, through a kind of angelic self (a reinterpreted “Jivatma”), and ultimately to the Godhead as the Absolute Self. Of greater moment than such a speculative ontology, however, is the integral or complex-holistic way of thinking and imagining that is called for by this kind of inquiry.

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The Evolution of Consciousness as a Planetary Imperative: An Integration of Integral Views

Jennifer Gidley

Abstract: In this article I aim to broaden and deepen the evolution of consciousness discourse by integrating the integral theoretic narratives of Rudolf Steiner, Jean Gebser, and Ken Wilber, who each point to the emergence of new ways of thinking that could address the complex, critical challenges of our planetary moment. I undertake a wide scan of the evolution discourse, noting it is dominantly limited to biology-based notions of human origins that are grounded in scientific materialism. I then broaden the discourse by introducing integral evolutionary theories using a transdisciplinary epistemology to work between, across and beyond diverse disciplines. I note the conceptual breadth of Wilber’s integral evolutionary narrative in transcending both scientism and epistemological isolationism. I also draw attention to some limitations of Wilber’s integral project, notably his undervaluing of Gebser’s actual text, and the substantial omission of the pioneering contribution of Steiner, who, as early as 1904 wrote extensively about the evolution of consciousness, including the imminent emergence of a new stage. I enact a deepening of integral evolutionary theory by honoring the significant yet undervalued theoretic components of participation/enactment and aesthetics/artistry via Steiner and Gebser, as a complement to Wilber. To this end, I undertake an in-depth hermeneutic dialogue between their writings utilizing theoretic bricolage, a multi-mode methodology that weaves between and within diverse and overlapping perspectives. The hermeneutic methodology emphasizes interpretive textual analysis with the aim of deepening understanding of the individual works and the relationships among them. This analysis is embedded in an epic but pluralistic narrative that spans the entire human story through various previous movements of consciousness, arriving at a new emergence at the present time. I also discuss the relationship between these narratives and contemporary academic literature, culminating in a substantial consideration of research that identifies and/or enacts new stage(s) or movements of consciousness. In particular, I highlight the extensive adult developmental psychology research that identifies several stages of postformal thinking, and recent critical, ecological and philosophical literature that identifies an emerging planetary consciousness. In summary, my research reveals an interpretation of scientific and other evidence that points beyond the formal, modernist worldview to an emerging postformal-integral-planetary consciousness. I posit that a broader academic consideration of such an integration of integral theoretic narratives could potentially broaden the general evolution discourse beyond its current biological bias. The article concludes with a rewinding of narrative threads, reflecting on the narrators, the journey, and the language of the discourse. Appendixes A and B explore the theoretical implications of the emergence of postformal-integral-planetary consciousness for a reframing of modernist conceptions of time and space. Appendix C holds an aesthetic lens to the evolution of consciousness through examples from the genealogy of writing.

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Jean Gebser: Das Integrale Bewusstsein

Kai Hellbusch

Zusammenfassung: Um den Begriff des integralen Bewusstseins bei Jean Gebser deutlich werden zu lassen, werden die Bewusstseinsstrukturen in ihrem konzeptionellen Stellenwert erläutert, bevor jede einzelne vorgestellt wird. Die Kenntnis der bisherigen Bewusstseinsstrukturen ist Voraussetzung für die Kenntnis des integralen Bewusstseins, das sich aber nicht in der Integration des Früheren erschöpft, sondern seine eigene Aufgabe hat: die Realisierung der Zeit, also die Konkretion der den Bewusstseinsstrukturen zugehörigen Zeitformen. Dadurch entsteht eine neue Freiheit, die als bewusste Annäherung an das Göttliche, den „Ursprung“, zu verstehen ist.
Abstract: The Swiss-German philosopher Jean Gebser is introduced as the first to describe the integral worldview in detail. The author sketches Gebser’s biography, explains his basic assumption of a universal consciousness from which basic structures of consciousness emerge, and describes the different stages of consciousness development from archaic to magic to mythic to mental to integral. The integral structure of consciousness is presented in its main characteristics as an attitude towards the world, to ourselves and in particular to time.

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