What is consciousness? Does it exist? Many scientists and philosophers say that consciousness is ‘nothing but’ a product of the brain. But there is another school of thought that thinks otherwise. For them, consciousness is not produced by neurons and atoms, but is an irreducible reality in itself. It is also not limited to the ‘everyday’ consciousness we ordinarily experience, but can open onto states of extraordinary depth and expansion. In this three-part series, based on my book A Secret History of Consciousness, I will look at some of the alternative accounts of consciousness that form a counter-tradition to the school of ‘nothing but-ism’.
Part 3. Sunday 11th July 6pm
The Presence of Origin
The little-known twentieth century Swiss philosopher Jean Gebser is one of the most important figures in the secret history of consciousness. His magnum opus, The Ever-Present Origin, charts the ‘mutation’ of consciousness through what Gebser calls different ‘structures’: the archaic, the magical, the mythic, and the mental-rational. Gebser, who died in 1973, believed that we were experiencing the breakdown of the mental-rational consciousness structure, in preparation for what he called the next and final structure, the integral, which would integrate the previous four. My talk will introduce Gebser’s ideas and relate them to those of others in our secret history. I will also show why I believe we are experiencing the breakdown Gebser spoke of, and what it means for the future.
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