The Ever-Present Origin

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

who remains confined in his familiar consciousness frequency while the necessary "tide-turning" new consciousness mutation begins to superimpose itself over the exhausted consciousness structure. Each excess of quantification leads to powerlessness, vacuity and helplessness. Wherever this is evident it is an indication that the inadequate consciousness structure is already surpassed. In this light, the computers are a negative omen of the new consciousness structure and its strength.

In the computers, the deficient mental world is surrendering itself and manifesting success in our task. And there can be no question that our task will be resolved, since it originates in necessity. The only open question is whether it will be resolved soon; if not, the solution would demand unthinkable sacrifices of those who are surrendering themselves. The number of those who will experience the solution depends on the temporal intensity of the emergent consciousness structure. If the task is not accomplished in time, it will lead to an almost complete self- surrender of mankind. This is the decisive two-fold sense of our task.

1
Oswald Spengler, Der Untergang des Abendiandes ( Munich: Beck, 2 1923), I, p. 379; the italics are Spengler's.
2
See in this regard our paper "Auflösung oder Überwindung der Persönlichkeit" in the series "Kommt der vierte Mensch?" ( Radio Beromünster, Winter 1952), published the same year under the same title ( Zürich, Vienna, and Stuttgart-Europa: Verlag), and reprinted in In der Bewährung ( Bern: Francke, 2 1962), p. 111 f.; Gesamtausgabe, V/I, p. 259 ff.
3
James Hogg, Vertrauliche Aufzeichnungen und Bekenntnisse eines gerechtfertigten Sünders, introd. André Gide ( Stuttgart: Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, 1951).
4
Claude Roulet, Elucidation du Poème de Stéphane Mallarmé "Un Coup de Dés jamais n'abolira le Hasard" (Neuchâtel: Ides et Calendes, 1943), p. 23.
5
On this subject see Hanns Hasting, "Zur Frage der modernen Musik," Stimmen der Zeit 142 (73, 10; July 1948 ). 304.
6
A remark made by Bartók to his friend Karl Kerényi, the Hungarian mythologist,who in turn shared it with the author. As Pierre Bourgeois has pointed out to me, J. S. Bach has also used the tritone, albeit in a manner differing from Bartók's. It occurs three times in the St. Matthew Passion: in the alto recitative "Ach Golgotha, unselges Golgotha" (in the syllables "-ges Gol-"); it is again used in the phrase "ans Kreuz" ("Der Segen und das Heil der Welt wird als ein Fluch ans Kreuz gestellt ") in the same aria. The tritone also occurs in the chorus "Lasst ihn kreuzigen" (Let him be crucified) in the syllable "kreuz."

The degree to which the basic current of the "new" is sensed even by those who attempt to bring it to the fore with means inappropriate to the times is illustrated by a remark of Jean-Paul Sartre: "What I am after is the ever-present expression of complexity"--which, however, cannot be attained by playing off God against Satan in a dualistic manner as Sartre does. The case of T. S. Eliot is quite different. In an essay cited earlier, "Die drei Sphären," we noted the presentiation and simultaneity, the interplay of several spheres of reality in Eliot Family Reunion. Eliot later told the author that he had not consciously striven for this while writing the play. This mode of presentation-- no longer merely "complex" but integral--Eliot later underscored in an address given in Germany in 1949: "It is in fact the prerogative of poetic verse drama to be able to show us simultaneously several levels of reality" ( T. S. Eliot, "The Aims of Poetic Drama"). See

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