Participatory Spirituality for the 21st Century
From a link I found on this site from theurge - a Google Doc, (p. 11 (2009) devoted to an old discussion about Jean Gebser:
"Shifting gears, out of left field, in simultaneity: “Gebser reprogrammed: suppose an emerging cyber consciousness” by William Miller, Integral Explorations Volume 5, 1998.
Gebser's vision of an emerging integral consciousness may well have been the product of his own mental/rational grand theory. A child of his time (as are we all) he wrote before witnessing the effects of television and the computer, the Web/Internet, virtual communities and virtual identities, the rise of the
information society, and post-modernity. Drawing on insights from Marshall McLuhan, Howard Rheingold, Paul Virilio, Arthur Kroker, and the consciousness brain/mind theories of Marvin Minsky and Daniel Dennett, perhaps instead of the integral we can posit an emerging cyber consciousness of virtual realities and virtual identities, cyborg-like machinic bodies, technological extensions, and hyper-experiences of instantaneity and virtual space. Instead of the integral's Picasso, for an image of this emerging consciousness we might well turn to the cybernovel Neuromancer."
OK, now read this excerpt from possibly Jean Gebser’s last writing, published Jan. 1974 shortly after his death, from an article entitled “The Integral Consciousness”:
“Our conception of what we call reality depends upon our mode of consciousness. For example, reality, as it is understood by many Asiatics, Africans, American Indians and other non-European peoples, is not the same as it is for Westerners, because they do not see the world as the correlate of their own ego. We, on the other hand, regard everything from the point of view of our ego-consciousness. For us, the world is a tangible reality which confronts us: Here am I, there is the world. We believe ourselves capable of managing this world by means of external techniques because we are strongly conscious of our position in space and time—we must be conscious of our stance, for without this conscious knowledge we should be egoless, indeed timeless, as are the representatives of those non-European cultures just mentioned. Their consciousness is to a certain extent dreamlike; it knows little of ego or of time. The same could also have been said of Europeans several thousand years ago, before we awoke to an awareness of the ego in the world, and thereby learned to regard time and space as tangible values. Thanks to this mental and ego-centered waking awareness we were able to shape our reality anew: We saw reality as objective to ourselves as subject, and thereby created science and made technology possible.
Yet. in spite of all the so-called progress we have made, in spite of all our achievements, we are threatened by a danger which becomes greater and more apparent day by day and which cannot be over-stressed: the danger that our identification with the ego may become too strong—that it may harden and degenerate into egocentricity, until we lose the ability to fructify conscious human relations and may even, eventually, become inhuman. Many people today feel that ego-development is leading to a fatal imbalance, even to the point of threatening our whole Western culture. The threat arises from the fact that excessive ego-centricity, which is associated with unbridled possessiveness and lust for power, results in a corrosive materialism and a ruthless disregard for the essential quality of human life. It leads finally to loss of the ability to apprehend those transcendent values which Asia still knows better than we do.”
Therefore, I would argue that Miller’s idea that we might cite an emerging cyber consciousness in place of integral would be exactly what Gebser warned of: that science and technology in service of ego development eventually hardens us into inhuman cyborgs with machinic bodies.
At any rate, this is important, mature thought of Gebser on The Integral Consciousness.
Jeremy Johnson's presentation on Meta Matrixes at last year's Gebser conference is worth watching. Jeremy lets Wilber and Gebser and William Irwin Thompson speak to one another, framed within Jeremy's own comments. I especially like the Gebser quote above: "What is gaining importance now is the spiritual light reigning between objects - the tension and the relation between them."
All of the presentations at that conference can be found here: http://www.gebser.org/2015-program-1
Cosmos and Consciousness in Jean Gebser - worth a read.