The Ever-Present Origin

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

conditionalities and limitations. As a consequence of this failure to recognize its own roots, much that sails or swims under the name of psychology is a lesser but nevertheless destructive demonology, for as long as phenomena remain unintelligible and unrecognized, their effect on us today will be disruptive. Yet despite all kinds of erroneous attempts and results, this does represent an inception of a left-right shift--however dubious--that dates back to the statement of the concept of an "unconscious" toward the end of the eighteenth century.

And finally let us mention in passing one of the many inceptions visible in the artistic sphere. So far as we are able to judge the situation, these artistic inceptions are the only ones which cannot be evaluated either in a positive or in a negative sense because they are already integral. For this reason they will be discussed in detail in Part II. We refer among other things to a style of representation in modern painting (particularly following Picasso and Braque) in which definitely "left" values, as we would call them--symbolized by a skull and similar things-are for the first time depicted on the right side of the canvas or picture.

The paradoxical form of expression, with its left-right interchange, is still partially bound to conceptualization. Yet it cannot be achieved through thinking, or at least not by thinking itself even with the forms of expression of the other consciousness structures in lived events, or experience, or conceptualization, but only through the addition of what we have called "waring" or "verition." The actual effectuality of the apocryphal words of Jesus does not take place in the conceptual and representational spatio-temporal world, nor in the two-dimensional, nor in the one-dimensional world. Only where the world is space-free and time-free, where "waring" gains validity, where the world and we ourselves--the whole--become transparent, and where the diaphanous and what is rendered diaphanous become the verition of the world, does the world become concrete and integral.

1
The antithetical terms Wand, "wall" on the one hand, and Wandel, wandein, "change," Wandlung, "transformation" and wandern, "to wander," on the other, are derived from the same Germanic root; see Kluge-Götze, Etymologisches Wörterbuch der deutschen Sprache ( Berlin: de Gruyter, 11 1936), pp. 670 and 692.
2
Both words derive from the Indo-European root g(u)el:g(w)el; see Kluge-Götze, (note 1), pp. 461-462. We have frequently met up with this root, which is audible in such words as Helle: Hölle, "brightness," and "hell," and in symbol; see note 77 above, p. 243.
3
For this derivation see Kluge-Götze (note 1), pp. 666, 667, and 700, as well as Menge- Güthling , Griechisch-deutsches Wörterbuch ( Berlin: Langenscheidt, 28 1910), pp. 236 and 633, entries "wahr," "wahren. . . . . Wurzel," and eryomai, "preserve, attend," and hora, "proper or correct time"; a primordial kinship also exists between these words and Latin vereri, "shun, honor, fear," Gothic tuzwerjan and allawerei, "to doubt" and "sincerity" respectively, and Middle High German ware, "peace." There can be little doubt that the latter word is a primal "opposite" of English "war"; see Skeat, An Etymological Dictionary of the English Language ( Oxford: Clarendon, 1935), p. 701, and KlugeGötze , (note 1), p. 693, entry "wirr," in conjunction with German verwirren, French guerre, and English "worse" ( Skeat, p. 723). Skeat traces these words to a Germanic root wers, Kluge-Götze to an Indo-European root wers, which is most likely an extension of the root war.

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