Week 1 – Kick-Off Hangout – Wednesday 1/13

Hi everyone, if you’re awake and available during this time, come join us for our kick-off Google Hangout. It’s taking place on Wednesday, 1/13 at 9 pm EST. (Time zone conversion.)

We know some people (particularly in Europe and Australia) may not be able to make it, but if there’s interest we will look into creating other times for those who want to discuss the book (virtually) in person.

You do NOT have to have read any part of the book to participate in this hangout. We are just getting started and will have a more general discussion about Gebser, philosophy, language, literature and poetry, or whatever else comes up.

Here is the event page, where you can participate live:

And here is the YouTube page if you want to watch the video without joining live:

We can continue the discussion on this topic thread!


So sorry I couldn’t make it to the first hangout, but as much as we’d like to be free of time, the clock still has a way of gettings its hands into everything.

Thanks to the moderators’ efforts and the wonders of modern technology, I was able to at least watch what went on. I was really happy to see that it wasn’t a mere intellectual excursion into the conceptual realm, rather a down-to-earth, full-bodied, experiential interaction. Congratulations to all who made that happen.

One comment/recommendation I do have, however: whenever anyone reads a passage or quotes something from Gebser (in particular), could the page number be provided as well. It would be especially helpful for me since I’m reading it in German this time through and being able to quickly find the original text from the English-language version’s link is a real timesaver. Many thanks in advance.


At one point in the Hangout, @madrush read a longer passage from the beginning of chapter 1 (the second full paragraph), in which Gebser simply gets down to business without the usual academic easing-into as many scholars are wont to do. On its heels, @Donna drew attention to the very last sentence of the chapter. The reason I bring this up is that the last sentence is one of those which comes across to-the-point and powerfully in the English translation, but it’s one of those Gebserian formulations that makes the EPO an exciting read in the original German as well. Since I wanted to give a little background on such things, I thought I’d take this opportunity right up front to share a taste of this with all of you.

The English reads (p. 7), " Integral reality is the world’s transparency, a perceiving of the world as truth: a mutual perceiving and imparting of truth of the world and of man and of all that transluces both."

The original German reads, (Jean Gebser, Gesamtausgabe [Complete Works], Vol. 2, p. 34), “Diese ganzheitliche Wirklichkeit ist Weltdurchsichtigkeit, eine Weltwahr-Nehmung: ein Wahr-Nehmen und Wahr-Geben der Welt und des Menschen und alles dessen, was die Welt und den Menschen durchscheint.

An almost literal translation of the German could be, “This complete (all-of-one-piece) reality is world-transparency, a world-truth-taking, a truth-giving of the world and humanity and all of that which shines through the world and each human being.” Of course that’s not very good English, which is why Barstad and Mikunas took a different route through this sentence.

This is one of those passages where you see Gebser the Poet at his craft. The key notion here is wahrnehmen, “to perceive”, primarily, but also for all the connotations thereof, such as “to observe”, “to sense”, “to appreciate”, “to apprehend”, “to detect”, “to discern”, “to experience”, and more. It consists of two primary elements: wahr, the German word for “true” and the verb nehmen, “to take”. Wahrnehmen, then, is quite literally a “taking as true”. The noun form, Wahrnehmung is most often translated “perception”, but any of the other meanings of the verb could be substantiated as well. The experience of perception, though, is not, as we now know, a purely receptive one, rather we know that we are active participants in making sense of the world in which we find ourselves, a notion which Gebser contrasts Wahr-Nehmung (“a taking of something as true”) with Wahr-Gebung (“a giving of something as true”). There is both an active and receptive notionality brought out here, not an “either-or” but rather a “this-as-well-as-that”.

A similar case obtains with the last word in the German, which is the appropriately conjugated form of the verb durchscheinen, which quite literally means “to shine through” (durch = through; scheinen = to shine). What remains a bit ambivalent in the German, however, is whether this shining is active or passive. You can shine a light, for example, through something (transparent, like a pane of glass; or translucent, like a different pane of glass) and thereby see what is on the other side. Conversely, yet simultaneously, what is obscured can shimmer through and be recognized. We can use a strong light to see through (active) or circumstances can be that what would otherwise be hidden shines through what is obscuring it and can be seen. It is a matter of perspective, if you will, but as quantum physics has shown us, the answer to question whether light is a wave or a particle is most accurately “both”.

One of the facets of Gebser that has held sway upon my own mind is this deep penetration into language, and not just his own as we shall see as we progress through the text, and its parallels to be found in all manner of expression, be it art, architecture, literature, or even simple everyday speech. And the EPO is simply full of zingers like this last sentence in Chapter 1 … happy discovery to you all.


Thank you for your insight and wonderful contributions to this experience!


Thanks, Donna! Hope you can join us again next time, too.

I am SO happy with your presence and work here with the text in German!
so grateful that you bring so much to the conversation here~

Just finished watching. Wow. So many interesting threads opened. Almost overwhelming, and, yet, patterns rising to the surface. Perhaps, I am prematurely birthing them, but, I want to give it a shot…

@gillesherrada Mentions that he wonders if after reading EPO, if his life will be better, or thrown into chaos. @madrush encourages just to jump in the chaos…the water’s warm.* :stuck_out_tongue:

I’ve suddenly developed a fear that I might be showing up as showing off, and a suspicion that it might be right…OK. On with it, then: CHAOS!

During the interchange, I wondered if the encouragement to jump arose out of a romantic attachment to Chaos over Order or a recognition, that when enough of the right type of attention, that Order (patterns) inevitably arises.

For me, both the rich, detailed, unique fingerprint of every-moment and the commonalities that bind the details together are Ever-Present. One does not have to deny the other, but can complement each other through an organic packing and unpacking of abstractions witnessed purely. Of course, this is on good days…On other days, I’m like #blargh.

Problems, to me **, tend to only arise when one is advanced at the expense of the other.

In larger part, these considerations are the fruit of resolution of a perceived tension, between two ends of a pole, that has been giving me trouble (read: causing my physical pain, mental anguish, and loss of sleep) for a while: on one end the pole is abstraction (order) and on the other concreteness (chaos).

A pithy phrase I’ve used to encapsulate a healthy way to resolve this tension is:

“Respect differences while recognizing commonalities.”

This also hints at a unhealthy way of dealing with this tension:

“Disrespect differences and/or deny commonality.”

Applied to this case, I desire to embrace the particular light this reading may bring to crannies not yet illuminated, while, at the same time, allowing the shared ground it illuminates to become brighter with the shining of lights from thousand readings arriving from all moments in all conceptions of time.

As to @Jeremy’s question of if there are new structures of consciousness emerging and if there is hope, and to @Donna’s response that yes and that one of their defining characteristic’s may be love.

I say Yes and Yes! And, the characteristic that has brought compassion into my life is time! In particular a deepening awareness of cyclical time spiraling through linear encapsulated by the momentary. Time exist in the imaginal space, and the imaginal space happens in the moment…NOW! NoW! nOw! now. So, all past and future imaginations are experienced presently, and as our imagination develops and encompasses MORE time our compassion expands in inverse correlation to our reactiveness and fear.

My theory is that one of the primary conditions that give rise to this, for lack of better words, historical/integral/holistic/aperspectival consciousness is living just the tendency for post/modern folk to live longer. When we live longer, we literally see and go through more. We actually experience historical events emerge, unfold, and resolve themselves.

Watching multiple crises resolve themselves, not only do they have the potential to become less threatening, we can compare them to other crises and gain perspective about their relative strengths. Then, looking at the direction the strength is moving, and gain even further perspective…bring more time into the imagination.

Then, if we use our longer lives “wisely,” we can delve into multiple histories, examine the data, analyze, organize the understandings, and this can bring even larger swaths of time into our awareness to be flooded by compassion. But, all of this takes time, time, time, time, time, and, as Hofstadter’s law says, “Things will always takes longer than you expect, even when you take into account Hofstadter’s Law.” So, this takes longer life-spans. And, even with long-life spans, no one person can do all this delving, examining, organizing, aggregating, analyzing, experimenting, writing, etc, etc, etc alone. So, it takes a community of long-lived folk, working over generations, supported by adaptive, boot-strapped structures, that, at best, both extend and collapse our time, time, time, time…annnnnd, step back and open, its all here, now. Welcome to time. May it expand within you and fill with love and clarity.

On a personal note, going through these things in my life have reduced my sense of responsibility. When I was first exposed to the reality of the !CURRENT SITUATION OF OUR WORLD IN CRISIS!, I spent a good number of years running around like a chicken with its head cut off and the world on its shoulders to save. I mean, I just saw this, and I didn’t know anything about it before. So, no one else must either, and then I must be obliged share and organize and fix? Right? I also must convince all of my friend that it is their obligation as well and they must help me share, organize, and fix? Right? Well…only, if I want to annoy a lot of my friend and come of like a domineering, righteous, egotistical asshole. LOL. Awww, poor friends…poor me. :wink:

What I found out after doing years of intensive research into the causes of our !CRISIS!, it’s potential solutions, and trying to enact these solutions on a grassroots level. Basically, dedicating my life to it… What I found out was that there were uncountable numbers of other people and organizations, smarter, more caring, more organized, more funded, more adaptive, more agile, and more motivated than myself, that are were also aware of the ‘crisis’ and working around the clock to addresses it.

Along with, what I began calling holistic-historical consciousness, starting to emerge/stabilize in me, this experience brought me to a realization. I am not needed. Humanity’s got this, in spades. #Hope #Relief The chicken can put his head back on and the world down.

Now, I can focus on what really matters to me: masturbatory art! :smile:

I may get back into the business of saving the world some day, but it will come from a different orientation and not because I feel responsible. It will come from a feeling of it being time. It will be more humble in its approach. Instead of doing it all myself, Ill want to plug into organizations that have a proven track record of doing good, effective work, in which I can contribute my unique skills and passions to the larger whole.

Best to all. If you made it this far, thanks for your attention. Sorry for the typos…I’m not editing right now.

Did you see the patterns, or do I need to subtract more to abstract more. :wink:

*BTW. I’m taking poetic liberties in my paraphrasing. It’s likely that I’ve misunderstood meaning. If anyone feels the desire to defend or clarify, feel free. However, there may be no need…I am aware that all of this is first filtered through my perceptual lenses, then, my memory, and, finally, through a semi-conscious decision making process determining which memories to communicate, how to arrange, and what meaning to overlay. I own all resultant distortions. :slight_smile:

**OK, I’m gonna stop saying things like ‘to me’ and ‘for me’ here. Can we assume from here on out, all thoughts, feelings, enactments, bulshit, etc, etc, etc, is my own.)


Hell, Ive even got to the point where someone like Trump doesn’t get me reactive. I tend to feel understanding and love towards both him and the constituents he represents…note, that understanding/love doesn’t equate to allowing/condoning harmful behavior. :smile:


I was going to post this even before it was suggested that we share things other than our damnable (sarcasm) intellect. Great minds think alike.

Doodles while listening to the hangout:

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Ich bin dankbar und ein wenig eifersüchtig, dass du es auf Deutsch für uns lesen kannst. Vielleicht könnte ich es auf Deutsch lesen, aber nur wenn ich einen Klon für die Aufgabe in hätte.
I am grateful and a little envious that you can read it for us in German. I could perhaps read it in German, but only if I had a clone for the task.


Transluce is an interesting (original) word. I assume it translates durchscheint?

Beautiful word. Creatively ambiguous, perhaps how Gebser meant it.

What transluces? The light, the lit object?

The truth of the world, the world as truth.

I get the sense of an infinite self-reflection between mirrors. World and “man.” Truth and world. Perceiving and imparting. Transparency and light.

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I like the chaos of your mind, dude!

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loved your thoughts. lots to ruminate on~

transluce~ beyond light? I am thinking that darkness contains a light so bright we cannot see it according to some philosophical perspectives.

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We usually encounter the notion in “translucent”, for example with certain ceramics. I, too, liked that the translators decided to verbalize it for it does capture a good bit of the double nature of durchscheinen.

yes. I am familiar with and use translucent and opaque paints in my work to achieve varying layers and effects. In some traditions, it is believed that the darkness contains light so bright that it is blinding. this is what I was referring to.

For sure, for sure … there is a old, traditional Kabbalistic teaching that there are two media of “writings” of the Hebrew letters, white fire and black fire.

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In the Sufi tradition (or Islamic/Farsi (?)~ language and thought in general) the darkness is actually the light that is situated so remotely above us that we cannot see it.
I love thinking about it this way, especially when we refer to the presence of the invisible. It really supports the idea that visible worlds are actually one singular reality. Here in the West, we do not think of the darkness this way.

Here’s the transcript and notes for this hangout. Feel free to add to it, thanks!

Hangout #1