Towards an Integral age and a Planetary Consciousness

I’ve come across a few interesting “diagrams,” or visual representations that relate to our experience of reality. The first one is my favorite:

1. The Enneagrammatic circuit:

In particular, I appreciate how each symbol is represents a sensory experience in our awareness: touch, sight, thought, smell, etc. Also abundantly apparent is the idea that, “all roads lead to the source,” and in a completely non-linear way, all roads are already the source. Therefore, this “circuit” model is a representation of liberation beyond and within time. A three dimensional representation of what “4 dimensional” realization could be like. In a sense, if we allow it to be this model is also a “window” or “door” to infinity. It shows our journey in the linear experience of this three dimensional reality, and also displays “windows and doorways” through to infinity, in which all times are happening “now.”

The “X” or “cross” symbol intersects at infinity, much as Gebser mentions that, “the paradox is the doorway to infinity.” If you have been looking for a good visual representation of “integral,” or mystical perceptions of reality, this might be a good one.

2. Jean Gebser’s “mutations in consciousness.”

Jean Gebser is one of my favorite authors on consciousness. His work is thick, his language complicated, but the message is wonderfully clear. This isn’t the exact image I wanted to show, but the actual diagrams from the book are hard to find. This is also more of an abstracted representation, not necessarily as useful as the first one (in that the Enneagrammatic circuit is intended for a more experiential guide). At any rate, it can also be helpful to see how human societies have undergone powerful mutations in our history, not just genetic but also “shifts” in consciousness, in which a previous way of seeing reality fell apart, and a new one emerged from that crisis.

This is a very natural processes that all civilizations and cultures have undergone. Each mutation has allowed us to understand the world in 1 dimensional, 2 dimensional and 3 dimensional ways. Summarizing, each mutation allowed us to interpret and understand our place in time-space.

3. The Ever-Present Origin

I came from brillancy
And return to brillancy.
What is this? -the last poem of

The current crisis in civilization could be described as a disillusionment with linear time-space. Very much related to the understanding manifested in the Enneagrammatic circuit, human consciousness is in midst of understanding 4th dimensional perception: being not just immersed in time and space but also realizing the origin of time/space itself. Ways of perceiving reality that take the “Whole,” into account.

Human beings, in other words, have come full circle. We unconsciously have emerged from the source, and now consciously return to it. Buddhist traditions describe “finding the source,” to be like a pond reflecting the moon, or a mirror reflecting anything that passes through it. This is a very good analogy.

The formless is the source of all form, the timeless is the source of all time, and that is the paradox. The “enlightened,” or “awakened,” are those who discovered reality is timeless and formless. All possible times and all possible forms are happening now, an infinite now. Yet, somehow there is no duality with the experience of being a human within time and form. This is the original meaning of “integral,” in that it allows for a integration of the paradox: timeless time, formless form. This realization is something potentially shared by the world’s mystical traditions, though they each may describe it differently.

The experience of linear reality and linear time is a partially conscious state, whereby humanity has not yet recognized the whole state of being. The current shift Gebser speaks of is both the “death” of a linear understanding of reality, and the birth of lucidity, realizing the “ever present origin.” To be awake while dreaming is probably a good analogy here: when you are conscious that you are dreaming while you are still dreaming. By discovering ourselves as being-in-truth, we allow for an outpouring of the spiritual present.

Lost is the demand to continuously add more to ourselves, to “build” ourselves up with transient pieces, but instead we discover our already-wholeness, for which no partial view of reality could ever rival or replace. Is it possible that we may be at the beginning of an age where we creatively, consciously participate in evolution, as well as allowing it to work through us, lucid dreamers of reality itself?

4. Implications for the world, a new planetary age:

I believe this “shift” in consciousness is enabling us to begin to see a bigger picture at work. Human beings are undergoing this crisis together and on many levels, and it’s not just us. The Earth itself is going through a great evolution, we are a part of that.

It is now very difficult to simply view humanity as a collection of nation-states. We have, in a very real sense, become the rudimentary form of a planetary civilization. Economically, socially, politically, we have become interdependent. Spiritually, is it any coincidence that the mystical teachings of the world’s religions, which all claim such an underlying universality,are now accessible to the greatest amount of people in history? It is here, in this global age where the world has converged, that we face a crisis together, and as one species, one civilization we can emerge from it.

As our unconscious activities start to harm us more than help us, we appear to be falling ever-deeper into a crisis state, where old perceptions of reality become brittle. Our conscious activities, from a larger scale, are largely unconscious: war, endless consumption, destruction of the biosphere, etc. I believe that this clearly demonstrates something: though human beings are a new “whole,” they are also a “part” of a greater emerging consciousness. Our current shortcomings in the midst of great planetary challenges, however, demonstrate something greater at work. Human beings have an immense potential, and that is exactly what is emerging in this century. Everything looks like it is falling apart, but that is because everything is opening up. This is the flowering of Earth’s consciousness in human beings. Truly a new age is possible.

What can man do to bring about this mutation? …Man is in the world to sustain it as well as himself “in truth,” not for his or its own sake, but for the sake of the spiritual present. It is this spiritual present which elevates wholeness to transparency and frees us from our transient age, for this age of ours is not the present but partiality and flight, indeed, almost a conclusion. Only someone who knows of origin has present–living and dying in the whole, in integrity.”   -Jean Gebser, Ever Present Origin.


9 thoughts on “Towards an Integral age and a Planetary Consciousness

  1. We are a unique collective consciousness. Never before have we been as who we are now, nor whom we will be in the next moment. Darkness is just information waiting to be integrated.

  2. I always enjoy your essays and this one is no different…I wish I as as optimistic as you about the shift in Consciousness occurring on a much wider scale…which I believe it must if we are to continue to survive and evolve as a species….I think Integral Thought and more importantly Integral Action contain the seeds of a fruitful future…but I am frustrated with the amount of time it is takeing for the seeds to germenate and flurish…Intergral anything by it very nature seems to take Time…Time I am not sure we have. But I continue to hope and Live these principles in my own life…and it is the painful slow pace of my own transformation that concerns me when I see the changes reqiured on a globel scale.
    Kosmic Hugs

  3. @Mike –thanks!

    @1PostPoMoMan1 — “We are a unique collective consciousness…” We are indeed! Something like this has never happened before on Earth. Which is why it is so beautiful, and hopefully inspires us to continue to be creative and innovative.

    @David McCoy — You’re right about this shift in consciousness being on the slow side. At least, relatively speaking. IMO I think humans will more rapidly respond to it as soon as the current “paradigm,” is no longer supporting them. Until then, the seeds will just gradually spread about, waiting to spring to life as soon as the old trees fall. In a way i think the “flowering” metaphor makes the most sense, because the actual growth process takes a lot of time, and the budding as well (buds even stay dormant sometimes). But when the flower does open it’s a beautiful and quick process, like nothing we’ve ever experienced before. Some of my inspiration comes from intuitive feelings I often get…I don’t know if they are correct, but I do have hopes for our future. Maybe within this century? There is a lot we will have to go through first, I feel, and a lot to learn. The more we develop complexity and infrastructure in our global civilization, the more old systems will continue to burst apart the leaves that enclose a new consciousness.

  4. I feel we are on the edge, inside of a “greater emerging consciousness.” Thanks for speaking of our journey in a non linear way. Love how you describe coming full circle, returning to source. Beautiful. “the paradox is the doorway to infinity.” Yes, Paradox has the power to crack our minds and hearts wide open..

  5. “It is here, in this global age where the world has converged, that we face a crisis together, and as one species, one civilization we can emerge from it.”

    Very inspiring phrase, very true! This is on of the most important things to keep in mind in this chaotic time. We humans have a tendency to drive ourselves into a wall before we change…

    This whole blog is very impressive – I just discovered it – I will definitely follow it!

  6. @florries –thanks for stopping by!

    “We humans have a tendency to drive ourselves into a wall before we change…”

    I definitely agree. It seems like things don’t really change until the old support systems are tumbling down around us. Unfortunate but I suppose there is a reason. When something IS working, it works really well, life flourishes around it, bursts into a new level and scale, and often tumultuous shifts are the driving force behind that evolution. It’s really interesting.

  7. Pingback: Setting Up A Crowdsourced Literary Mashup: The Science Fiction Of Viral Social Media « how to play big science

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