The Ever-Present Origin

By Jean Gebser; Noel Barstad et al. | Go to book overview

kind of cultural-historical parallel to the importance of Freud's "excavation" of the psyche) is still predominantly an examination of time from a spatial viewpoint, particularly if we consider it from the standpoint of its relevance to a temporic inception. Yet the layers uncovered in Troy convey neither a purely naturalistic perception nor a purely abstract notion of time. They expand the historicity of European man and enrich that faculty of consciousness that enables him to perceive time forms other than those bound to the psyche or to the abstract measurement of natural time. Again we encounter a temporic point of departure and yet another inceptive moment towards the possibility of a later time-concretion.

And to the extent that this concretion of time leads to a diaphanous present and to a transparent presence, some words of Hölderlin are appropriate--Hölderlin, who encountered the sun on his journey home from Bordeaux. 158 Like Dante's teacher, Brunetto Laitini, and, later, van Gogh, he too encountered the great measure-ess of time; and we are perhaps justified in relating his words to the consciousness structure then emerging which he anticipated in many respects. Hölderlin wrote: "Behold! it is the eve of time, the hour when the wanderers turn toward their resting-place. One god after another is coming home. . . . Therefore, be present. . . ."

1
See Gebser, Abendländische Wandlung ( Zürich: Oprecht), ?1 1943 and 2 1945, p. 216ff.; 3 1950, p. 194ff.; Ullstein ed. no. 107, p. 163ff.; Gesamtausgabe, I (Schaffhausen: Novalis, 1975), p. 313ff.
2
It would be a worthwhile and rewarding task to trace the likely kinship or at least the remarkable affinity of the two words neu (new) and neun (nine); cf. note 103, p. 246 below.
3
The discussion in this and the following chapter, as well as in Chapter 3 of the second part, formed the basis of lectures held by the author on the subject of the "History of conceptions of Psyche and Spirit" presented in courses on applied psychology at the Psychologische Gesellschaft, Basel, in July of 1946, and later in the psychological seminar of the Institut für angewandte Psychologie, Zürich, during the summer term, 1947, the full text of which is now reprinted in the Gesamtausgabe, V/ I, pp. 7-100.
4*
Sri Aurobindo was the first to propound in detail the thought that the fundamental and signal event of our time was the present-day transformation of consciousness. The genial articulation of this thought first appeared in the years 1914- 1916 in articles entitled "The Life Divine," which he published in the journal Arya ( Pondicherry, South India). They later appeared in English in book form under the same title, The Life Divine ( Calcutta, 1939- 1940), and in complete form in 1955 in Pondicherry. An abridged German edition came out in 1957 ( Sri Aurobindo, Der integrale Yoga, Rowohlts Klassiker no. 24), which first introduced the present writer to his world of thought. Other publications in German include his Der Zyklus der menschlichen Entwicklung (München-Planegg: Barth, 1955); Stufen der Vollendung (Weilheim: Barth, 1964); and Der Mensch im Werden ( Pondicherry: Sri Aurobindo Ashram; Zollikon bei Zürich; Sri Aurobindo Verlag, 1964).--From a different point of departure (the principles of Darwinian evolution), Teilhard de Chardin has developed lines of thought closely akin to the basic conception shared by Sri Aurobindo and the present author. He has recorded these thoughts in his Le Phénomène Humain ( Paris, 1955); English translation by the title The Phenomenon of Man ( N. Y.: Harper & Brothers, 1959); German translation: Der Mensch im Kosmos

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