The title says it all. This Friday and Saturday, the 17th and 18th of October respectively, we are holding the International Jean Gebser Society’s 2014 conference. Our theme this year is Crisis and Mutation, inspired by the insights of the German-turned-Swiss scholar Jean Gebser, a contemporary of Jung, Eliade, Corbin and the like (though perhaps lesser known outside of integral theory circles). I’m honored to be convening this conference with the help of society president, Dr. Aaron Cheak.
The conference covers quite a lot of ground through its speakers — tackling the question of consciousness transformation during a time of global crisis, economic meltdown, and ecological collapse. What do we make of our time and how can we think constructively toward a better world?
Within a dissolution, there is a solution, Gebser noted. Within each crisis there is some bleak but promised window of opportunity for mutation. Conversations regarding a new Paradigm, a new consciousness, a new “planetary culture” are common today, but so are the cynics, the critics, and those who warn us we may very well be headed for a fall. So what do we make of this mottled spectrum of light and darkness?
Many of our presenters will be exploring this question from their own, unique angles, bringing some of the critical elements of contemporary culture to bear from the philosophical and multi-disciplinary perspectives of integral thought. Poets, scholars, writers, and consciousness studies academics will be sharing their creative responses to our global crisis. As an integral thinker myself, I am happy to suggest the possibility that “integral” thinking, evidenced in scholars like Jean Gebser, Sri Aurobindo, William Irwin Thompson, Ken Wilber, Edgar Morin and Roy Bhaskar promise ideas that can transform the way we think about consciousness transformation and, arguably, need more voice in contemporary discussion. Further, these writers, with Gebser in particular emphasis here, straddle the borderlands of deep rigorous scholarship and the poetic insights of spiritual and theological methodologies. Precisely what we may need in the spiritual counter-culture: an intellectual spirituality.
We hope to see you there, too. Tickets open to the public on both Friday and Saturday. You can get yours on the Gebser page or purchase them live at the door (cash and debit will both be available).