Gebser vivifies me to no end. But I find, particularly now, as we’ve embarked on this collective exploration, a great difficulty in communicating all that Gebser is pointing towards. In other words, I am plagued by caveats.
Gebser himself, from the very beginning, provides examples of what I mean. On pg. 2, he introduces the word “aperspectival”, and immediately sets out to clarify what it means, or perhaps more significantly, what it doesn’t. In the first section of chapter 3, he does something similar with “mutation”. Really, the meaning of words and the etymological tapestry of relationship between words is a huge aspect of the book. Its like he forces us to sharpen what has become dull, challenges us to clear away the forest duff to lay bare the Logos-root of it all. But, that’s not easy to do all the time, particularly because our language (English) isn’t much suited to the task; hence the need to couch everything in caveats.
“One difficulty which to some will seem insurmountable is the difficulty of “representing” the aperspectival world.” (267)
Yes, I’m sure tuckered out by this odious surmounting business, and I yearn for the summit, and the other side (else, why would I, we, be doing this? I ain’t no Sisyphus). I find that, as much as I’d like to communicate aperspectival/integral ideas with words, the words are not adequate “representations” of my thoughts or ideas. In fact, “idea” or “thought” aren’t either. And so we put quotes around them, which is a form of caveat, as if to say, I’m using this word, but not meaning it in the way you, the audience, are familiar with. Even Gebser did this in the quote above (in the German, its “vorgestellt”, in quotes), and the quote itself is pointing to this very difficulty.
Really, a lot hinges on the audience. In other words, dream with me…Imagine a world where we didn’t have to caveat, where we didn’t have to put quotes on “things” because I knew that you knew what I really meant (or we had a suitably veritional language). I think we’d have a pretty good picture of an aperspectival world if we could simply assemble the caveats into one neat collection. In other words, the use of quotes (on specific words) was rendered superfluous, and caveats unnecessary, because we had a shared experience of meaning (and not-meaning).
Perhaps this list of caveats would be symmetrical, or contrapuntal to, a list of Gebser’s neologisms, which would be an interesting thread to start, as well.
So I’m curious if anyone has had similar struggles/thoughts. Are there caveats that you find yourself (or others) having to repeat? What are the things you find hard to communicate, or would hope that your audience would not mis-take from your meaningful statements? Can we even hope to achieve a common understanding “beyond conceptualization”, and if so, what would constitute the new “common sense”?