Continuing the discussion from Week 1 – Kick-Off Hangout – Wednesday 1/13:
These are some notes from the initial reading of Gebser’s Prefaces and Chapter 1: Fundamental Considerations (before watching Week 1 Hangout and reading parts of the transcript for the Hangout #1 :
Gebser’s “we” stands out as a defining term.
Is it we, the reader and Gebser? It is partly this, as not everyone will be able to accept what Gebser is proposing, not everyone has discovered this structuration. He does engage the reader, though, to participate as a we, as if we know the path ahead or are working out to discover with Gebser this underlying consciousness he proposes. We have been willing to go along with this guy and hear him out…so far, in these first few pages, not much can be denied about his fundamental insights.
Is it “we” the researching team of anthropologists, historians, philosophers? …the “Yes, we have identified humanity’s demise and we wish to prevent it. Here is our science.” While he probably discussed this stuff with many friends and within intellectually stimulating conversations, the book was probably outside the realm of academic usage and peer-reviewing (just guessing)…he states in the Preface that he is basing the “academic” version of the “we” on about fifteen years of readings, insights and theories from a multitude of fields that resonate with his theory here. Does this leave a possibility for bias, on the selected material from his favorite fields of study, neglecting some of the more materialistic/capitalistic view of things? Is this causing Gebser to pigeon-hole himself into a specific niche or is it allowing him to open up a new realm of thinking?
Gebser’s “we” really seems to be describing those of us who have seen through the world, those of us aware of this underlying structure and also willing to pursue a life filled with this structure as the core of how we see consciousness playing out in the world. And in some sense, can the “we” identify as a calling…is he describing the theological or religious answer to the questions of “can we find the source of being?”… “how are we to live our lives?” “How are we to,” in the words of the children’s sage Raffi, “turn this world around?” The “We” is a call to see or be seen as alien to the world while within the world and for the world, maybe.