Journal of Conscious Evolution


This paper explores an evolutionary integral aesthetics arising at the end of a two hundred year arc beginning with Immanuel Kant's establishment of modern aesthetic theory, and culminating with Jean Gebser's integral mutation of consciousness described in The Ever Present Origin. I examine Kant's aesthetics of the sublime as an early opening into Gebser's integral mutation of consciousness, and describe how an encounter with the sublime can boost the mind into wider bandwidths of consciousness with the activation of an integral perception. Beginning with the concept of the sublime in art, I describe how supersensible perception might be evoked and developed through encounter with the sublime. I then examine how experiences of the sublime through encounters with natural phenomena and works of art have the ability to suspend rational and verbal modes of cognition, clearing the way for the rise of supersensible states and the opening into a wider awakening of integral awareness. Along the way I shall discuss theories of postmodern aesthetics, recent conceptual mappings of consciousness, and how discoveries in electrophysiology and anatomy call for a new model of human consciousness to account for the psychodynamics of encountering the sublime. My thesis is that an integral aesthetics will catalyze the transformation of consciousness from exclusively mental into the integral by activating a supersensible state that is at the same time a reactivation and a retrofitting of that mode of consciousness operating prior to human language. A supersensible aesthetics will induce the emergent integral consciousness foreseen by Gebser without loss of previous evolutionary structures. In so doing it will open up to us truly new perspectives, previously unimaginable new visions of the universe.