Psychology, the Numinous, and Gebser's assumptions regarding consciousness~

(Lynlee Lyckberg) #41

and that, Bruce, is for me, the integrated perspective~ (communion of differentiated ~individuated~ individuals)
thanks for your comments~ I appreciate them very much~

(Lynlee Lyckberg) #42

do you see Gebser as giving this otherness an ontological status as well? I tend to sense that he isn’t exactly doing that either. (part of what I was alluding to with his comment on Rank’s perspective as a theologian regarding “belief” in the numinous as opposed to it as an experience. (I tend to agree with you, as I am trying to understand the impact that the Christian tradition really has on our philosophical views regarding why we are here).
but. I might not be reading this clearly in Gebser and will need to re-read to extract what I believe he is saying.
as Pema Chodron would say… big and small at the same time~ :wink:

(Eric Towle) #43

Hi Bruce, not to beat a dead horse but–sorry if I misunderstood you before. When you wrote “The many and not just the one matter.” I interpreted this to mean creation itself and not just the encounter with the “itself.” And I certainly agree with Lynlee’s assertion that “otherness is essential.” She seems to be emphasizing otherness where I am emphasizing origin but I think we would all agree that both are essential. My concentration on origin is motivated by my feeling that our society does “otherness” quite well, it’s the origin part that it doesn’t get so much. In the integral, of course, you end up with both together and that, I believe, is Gebser’s point. You don’t have to give up the benefits of experiencing otherness you just have to realize, at the same moment, this communion that is born from the experience of you and the other both mutually arising from origin.

It also seems to me that we’re getting our terminology mixed up or we’re giving slightly different definitions to the terms: itself and numinous. Gebser defines the itself as a capacity of the apersonal self, outside the ego, that can bring together all the structures in the integral consciousness. It is the spiritual core of the person that is the presence of origin. He doesn’t speak of it as something outside as an other that is experienced by our modern consciousness. So you don’t so much encounter the itself in the outside world, only the experience that is it’s product. Numinous, on the other hand, Gebser asks himself in the text whether it is really something outside the self or simply a projection. He gives some logical propositions regarding this question on page 202 but he ends up stating, “Answering our question, remains however, a hazardous venture.” He posits that the numinous gets transferred from the magic experience of something outside ourselves as this awesome glowing power, to our capacity to experience aesthetic power in music, art, poetry, etc. in our current condition. So, we could say that this aesthetic power is an “other” that we encounter in the world and get great benefit from but Gebser seems to warn us not to make gods of this power. “either man incorporates it, or subordinates himself to it.” p.203 So, self–other, both–and, either–or…that is the nature of the integral, I suppose.

Anyway…I hope this has some value to our discussion.

(Lynlee Lyckberg) #44

I am not excluding origin in favor of otherness.
According to Jung, everything that is not perceived by the ego (does not have a conscious relation to the ego) remains unconscious.
these unconscious contents are what Gebser refers to as being outside the ego.
For me origin IS an awareness of the undifferentiated matrix from which we arose (where we are all one and connected/spirit) while Integral consciousness includes this archaic form of unity consciousness in a more mature form. (Again what Jung would call Individuation. it is where we HAVE an ego~ are awareness that a developed sense of self is absolutely essential, but we also recognize that we are a part of something much greater.)
sometimes I think we are missing the point between one another due to semantics around something that defies articulation. In fact, I am writing about “the origin” in my work (both Gebser’s idea of it and others who wrote about it too).
I absolutely believe that returning to an understanding AND embodied experience of the origin is essential, it just has to happen in conjunction with the other structures of consciousness. Too often, those seeking “unity consciousness” have NOT fully developed their sense of self (their EGO), and they try to eradicate the ego. I don’t think this is what Gebser means at all. I think we are in agreement that any experience of the Integral must necessarily contain BOTH.

My sense, Eric, is that you are misunderstanding what I am trying to point to.

and yes. the essential ontological assumptions in both Eastern thought and Western thought are absolutely the point here.
The East understands the relationship to the numinous (perhaps it doesn’t call it that) as an inner (esoteric) relationship that we can absolutely know and have a relationship with/to, while the West largely claims that the numinous is so vast (external to embodied experience) that we absolutely cannot know it except through a conceptual framework, interpreted by a mediary.
Both Gerbser and Jung see it as an and/both.
We have our own inner embodied experience (origin) and we learn to conceptually relate to something that we can never really know (the numinous). from this perspective, we can have an experience of the numinous, but that is NOT the numinous itself.
and of course, your thoughts, ideas, perceptions are valuable to the conversation. thank you for sharing them X

(Eric Towle) #45

Yes, I didn’t think you were excluding origin, just trying to expand on otherness. I appreciate that. I wouldn’t argue with anything you’re saying here. Gebser didn’t like the term “unconscious,” of course, since he was trying to elucidate these other ways of knowing. Yes, I agree completely that people sometimes want to escape the ego without properly maturing it. Its the ashram disease, and yes, I don’t see Gebser wanting to get rid of the ego either.

I think you’re correct that we have been kind of talking around one another at times and not quite getting the whole story from one another. I have trouble putting the proper stress on all the pieces simultaneously. That’s the problem with this kind of e-mail discussion that always drives me nuts. You think you’re saying one thing, and it comes off sounding like something else.

And, yes, origin inside and out and knowing and not knowing and relationship to it and it all gets very complicated which I feel is our trying to map something out that actually takes more dimensions to really get a handle on which I suppose is what Gebser says happens to us when our mind/body/spirit complexes are outflanking our current structure. It’s a wave but it’s also a particle. words.

Thanks for your comments. I really appreciate your (I won’t say perspective)

(Lynlee Lyckberg) #46

as difficult as texting is, it is the format that we have. I appreciate your insights and these discussions ARE helpful in clarifying (albeit awkwardly) something that defies clarification. thank you too for your responses~
sometimes I use these texting sessions to see exactly HOW text is interpreted. It helps me to see the ways that we DO distort meaning contained within the written word based upon our own assumptions and knowledge coming into it.
I was always taught that the text speaks to us, opens itself to us, or it doesn’t. The traditional four levels of meaning embedded in text from a Western literary criticism standpoint are often useful to penetrate more deeply into a text, at least for me, and especially when I remember that this, too, is a Western construct and not a universal absolute. best~ <3

(brucesanguin) #47

Thanks Eric, added value for sure…

(Heather Fester) #48

Hi, All, You might be interested in the upcoming Gebser Society Conference (48th Annual) from Oct. 12-14, 2018, in Boulder, CO, at Naropa University. Please let me know if you have any questions: