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Consciousness and Culture

An Introduction to the Thought of


Jean Gebser
EDITED BY Eric Mark Kramer

INTRODUCTION BY Eric Mark Kramer & Algis Mickunas

Contributions in Sociology, Number 101

GREENWOOD PRESS Westport, Connecticut · London

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Publication Information: Book Title: Consciousness and Culture: An Introduction to the Thought of Jean
Gebser. Contributors: Eric Mark Kramer - editor. Publisher: Greenwood Press. Place of Publication: Westport, CT.
Publication Year: 1992. Page Number: iii.

INTRODUCTION: GEBSER'S NEW


UNDERSTANDING
Eric Mark Kramer and Algis Mickunas

Because of its scope, complexity, and depth, Gebser's work is highly regarded, both by
serious scholars of comparative cultures and by a variety of seekers for a new age and a
saving spirituality. While the esteem of the latter group may be warranted, Gebser's
work is much more profound and indeed relevant for deciphering diverse human
cultures, their interconnections, and, above all, the ways that the so-called "past" modes
of awareness continue to play a dominant--although unrecognized--role in our times.
Moreover, his work demonstrates correlations among very diverse domains of cultural
creations, from poetry through science. The correlations led Gebser to the conclusion
that, despite various proclamations of the end of the Western world, there is evidence of
an emergent and different mode of perceiving--the integral. This emergence offers a clue
to broader scholarly ventures that seek to elucidate correlations of cultural phenomena
across epochs and cultures.

Gebser pointed out that our age is not the only one that has experienced vast
transformations in awareness. Gebser undertook the task of tracing the correlations of
diverse cultural creations in order to show their connections and to decipher the types of
structures of awareness that connect such phenomena. To Gebser's own surprise, the
phenomena suggested vast periodic transformations, mutations of awareness that
restructure human modes of perceiving, conceiving, and interacting. Such mutations not
only yield novel structures of awareness but also integrate and position other modes of
awareness within the requirements of the currently predominant structure (whenever
that may be). Gebser's achievement hinged on his mode of research. He did not proceed
from a presumed method or system, but followed the clues discovered among a variety
of cultural
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Publication Information: Book Title: Consciousness and Culture: An Introduction to the Thought of Jean
Gebser. Contributors: Eric Mark Kramer - editor. Publisher: Greenwood Press. Place of Publication: Westport, CT.
Publication Year: 1992. Page Number: xi.

phenomena. He avoided the stock of methods available to and used by the post-
Renaissance (modern) Western sciences and humanities. Gebser's reservations
concerning such methods rested squarely on their limitations, specifically on the
recognition that these methods belong to a particular structure of awareness and as such
cannot be deemed to be universal. Moreover, Gebser was quite cognizant of the various
conceptions, belonging to our own century, that suggest the impossibility of an impartial
observer or of an application of some method that does not distort the subject matter
under consideration. This is important, above all, with respect to cultural studies
containing linguistic, aesthetic, and even ritualistic phenomena, to the extent that these
phenomena are the very fabric that suggests a variety of modes of awareness required
to access them. In other words, from the detached attitude of a rational observer, one
cannot phenomenologically appreciate the direct experience of the sense of purification
and cure induced by a Navaho "sing" rite, or the "internal conversion" expressed by the
Balinese, or the feeling of iklas (detachment, resignation) felt at a Javanese funeral.
Description of surface behavior, no matter how "thick," is ontologically and
phenomenologically distinct from that which is described.

Gebser's effort goes beyond the post-Cartesian emic/etic distinction that characterizes
the current ethnomethodological (phenomenographic) project that seeks to expose some
folk "logic." 1 This approach is perhaps best exemplified by Erving Goffman's ( 1959)
rendering of humans as "vehicular units" functioning as "co-operatives" within "teams."
Similarly, Gebser did not subscribe to a linguistic totality, as suggested by Edward Sapir
and Benjamin Whorf, or to the fundamental "linguisticality" of the world promoted by
Martin Heidegger and Hans-Georg Gadamer's hermeneutics.

Gebser suggested that cultural studies should attempt to decipher sense connections
among various cultural phenomena ( 1976: 124). This attempt should not result in a set
of abstract conceptions but rather in a concrete understanding of the origin, position, and
tendency of cultural ventures, including our own. In this sense, Gebser did not posit a
dualism, whereby one would have an external view toward one's own culture; he instead
included our own tendencies and participation in cultural ventures. Thus, his research
was done both to avoid fragmentation and isolation, which are predominant in many
areas and constitutive of a pervasive attitude, and to show that what is fragmented in
fragmentation cannot be understood without showing the connections among
diversities--the genesis of meaning from comparative difference.

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Publication Information: Book Title: Consciousness and Culture: An Introduction to the Thought of Jean
Gebser. Contributors: Eric Mark Kramer - editor. Publisher: Greenwood Press. Place of Publication: Westport, CT.
Publication Year: 1992. Page Number: xii.

Gebser demonstrated that the major division of modern thought, that between the
sciences and the humanities, functions effectively only at the level of praxis. Both "sides"
of the modern object/subject incision (into the "flesh of the world," to quote Maurice
Merleau-Ponty) and their correlative literatures and polities, however, are equally
reducible to the cultural level of symbolic origin. Though the current state of
fragmentation has left the sciences and the humanities unable to speak to each other,
Gebser maintained that they share this common ground of expressivity. Both are cultural
inventions that share a fundamental characteristic. Each generates sense. Each springs
from the liminal (threshold) between nothing and something. This is the essentially
creative/inventive quality that all sense making shares.

While the sciences are oriented toward control, possession, manipulation, and prediction
through the method of induction and the humanities confront understanding and
deduction, the practice of cultural investigation is reduction. In order to be clear about
this practice, Gebser pointed out that reduction is a final outcome. The practices that
lead to this outcome are: (1) phenomenological; (2) comparative; and (3) coordinating.
This suggests that even the results of the sciences and humanities must be understood
and regarded as cultural phenomena, like all other civilizational expressions. The dream
of immaculate perception rendered by an objective metadiscourse is a myth.

STEP 1: THE PHENOMENOLOGICAL


SUSPENSION OF METAPHYSICAL
PREJUDICE
Before opening a dialogue (textualization) with any civilizational expression, such as
"What are you?" or "What do you mean?" the investigator must attempt to suspend or
set aside all metaphysical prejudices that might preempt the exploration. Of course, the
most difficult aspect of this process is the effort to become cognizant of one's blinders,
so that the attempt to remove them is possible. For instance, to appreciate voodoo as a
different mode of being and awareness from some other cultural phenomenon, one must
first be willing to accept it as it is and not immediately seek to explain it in terms of
some other ontological basis, such as reducing it to brute physicalism (behavior patterns
or neurophysiology). This is not to say that a physical description is invalid, but rather to
make a commitment not to presume that a physical description is the only way to make
valid statements about voodoo. To reject a priori--that is, to exclude any phenomenon
(like spell-casting) from the field of investigation simply on

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Publication Information: Book Title: Consciousness and Culture: An Introduction to the Thought of Jean
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Publication Year: 1992. Page Number: xiii.

the basis that it is deemed nonempirical--is to commit an unwarranted prejudice, based


on a narrow metaphysical faith in materialism.

Because metaphysical prejudices may distort or even preempt investigations, they must
be elucidated through self-reflexive critique and then set aside. Many scholars, including
Edmund Husserl, Paul Ricoeur, Gilbert Ryle, and Clifford Geertz, agree that cultural
phenomena call for a fiduciary attitude of generosity (of time spent with them and space
on paper for "thick description") and trust. Gebser's approach is not amenable to
ignoring entire classes of experience because they lack spatial extension, color, or
weight. To help elucidate the differences and commonalities among cultural phenomena,
including our own metaphysical prejudices, comparison with other modalities is essential.

STEP 2: COMPARISON
It must be noted that the practice of comparison is not equivalent to inductive
generalization from multiple contingent cases to a general category. Rather, it is a
discovery within a given phenomenon of its basic invariants; the latter, in turn, comprise
the basis of comparisons leading to reductive recognition of basic structures across very
diverse phenomena. In other words, the imaginative free variation (thought experiment)
of any cultural phenomenon yields invariant properties that are essential to the identity
of that phenomenon and that can then be compared with other invariants discovered
among other phenomena. Invariants typically yield relational characteristics such that,
for instance, it is not essential that a chair (any chair) have four legs, or a backrest, or
recline, but all chairs have a common relationship to people's posteriors. Such invariants
manifest all pervasive structures of awareness that connect them. It is to be noted that
any complex culture exhibits a variety of structures; hence, rationality in one situation
may be the predominant (good and true) awareness, while under other conditions,
reason may yield a very different, even marginal or evil sense. Note the extermination of
the Coptics and Arians as heretics (after their having helped to define early Christian
doctrine) because they valued Classical Greek-style analytics over faith. The conversion
of former logicians to Christianity formed corps of apologists ( Terullian) and polemicists
( Hippolytus) whose fervent attacks on pagan logic [like those renunciations by
Lactantius, Arnobius, and Titian] reveal a particularly virulent backlash. Today the
ridicule of theists by rationalists manifests the same chauvinistic cruelty and intolerance.
Thus, in one sense, modern rationality is purely logical--all the way to quantification. But
in another sense, it is emotive-magical with its own vital

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Publication Information: Book Title: Consciousness and Culture: An Introduction to the Thought of Jean
Gebser. Contributors: Eric Mark Kramer - editor. Publisher: Greenwood Press. Place of Publication: Westport, CT.
Publication Year: 1992. Page Number: xiv.

interest and investment in a particular version of reality. Care must be taken to discern
differences among such structures, lest we become subject to unrecognizable forces that
can lead to violence.

STEP 3: COORDINATION
What Gebser proposed to avoid is a one-sided scientism or positivistic methodological
absolutism. He also proposed to avoid historical relativism that leads directly to
irrationalisms. Such a rejection is implicitly an effort to avoid system construction in
favor of the coordination of cultural phenomena. Coordination is guided by the distillation
of invariants, which, in turn, is dependent on free and rigorous description, unbridled
from metaphysical interests such as spatializing quantification. Thus, if science, even
Weberian nonpositivistic systematics, seeks to build an allencom-passing explanation,
which itself may become confused with (via projective association) what it pretends to
explain (reified diagrammatics, for instance), then for Gebser it belongs to modern
Western culture with its pervasive and obsessive reliance on representational simulation-
iconographic projection. The residual connotative and denotative effects of applying the
word "system" to the world should not be overlooked. "System" carries with it the sense
of dualism, basically of space and time. These can be expressed at other levels as
object-subject, inner-outer, chaos-order, and even divine-worldly. It conjures abstract
flow charts and organizational plots that real people are then compelled to live "up to" as
implements. Such iconography assumes not only that imagery (a plan) facilitates
security and control, but also the value of a managed, rational world order. In brief, a
system can be built only on the basis of a static metaphor of space and time and on
reification.

This is precisely the problem pointed out by the critics of the Club of Rome's world
models generated by Jay Forrester (published as The Limits to Growth, 1972) and Dennis
Meadows (published under the title Mankind at the Turning Point, 1974). One threat to
the accuracy of prediction is that changes that have not yet occurred, including
"progressive" ones, cannot be factored into a model very well. But the more insidious
threat to accurate prediction, which is described by Eduard Pestel in the book Beyond the
limits to Growth ( 1989) and acknowledged in the book Beyond the Limits ( Meadows, et
al., 1992), is the fact that making predictions about the future helps to spur change that
makes such predictions inaccurate. Of course, it was the desire of the Club of Rome to
make its projections about planetary instability based solely on current trends so as to
motivate change. The intent of the authors of such gloomy works is to frighten world

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Publication Information: Book Title: Consciousness and Culture: An Introduction to the Thought of Jean
Gebser. Contributors: Eric Mark Kramer - editor. Publisher: Greenwood Press. Place of Publication: Westport, CT.
Publication Year: 1992. Page Number: xv.

leaders into changing policies so that they may become self-falsifying prophets in the
sense of the Latin proverb utinam vates falsus (that I were a false prophet!). Indeed, in
such cases as these, to be proven true is to face disaster. Unlike the common source of
pride for the average hypothetical scientist, these authors would gladly sacrifice the
accolades given for accuracy in favor of averting disaster.

In noting multiple, intertwined consciousness domains, Gebser used what he called


"systasis" to articulate the ways in which such domains integrate, including rational
efforts to assure self-falsification. Integration does not posit some static whole, but an
incessant process that constantly traces all the latent and ever-present structures and
the ways in which they complement each other. Latency is what provides clues for the
active copresence of all domains of consciousness. One must not regard systasis as a
method that deciphers consciousness historically. The latter approach is neither wrong
nor right, but belongs to a mental structure that presumes linear causality as the
cosmological/transcendental law. In the sciences, this causality is conventionally
expressed as fragmented bits that function as material causes to fatal effects: t 1. . . t
2. . . t 3. . .

Gebser's concept of "plus-mutation" is different from the conventional idea of a


mutation. "Plus-mutation" describes a process of enrichment rather than destruction. The
"past" state is not surpassed or abandoned, but instead, is added to. Thus, even though
Gebser demonstrated that the mutation to perspectival consciousness erupted around
1400 A.D., this does not mean that the previously dominant mythic and magic structures
ceased to exist at that time, but only that they became relatively "latent" (concealed via
rationalization). Thus, a very rational individual, like an astronaut, ship's captain, or
fighter pilot, may feel compelled to name "his" vehicle "Eagle" or "Saturn," assuming the
connotations that these words embody. Such naming is usually depicted by conventional
communication models with linear arrows. But the process is less a transference than a
transformation that is neither spatial nor temporal. This is more than a simple physical
process. At the ritual of a christening or baptismal naming, which presumes a
community, all relationships to the rocket(ship), including the talk about it and emotions
for it, change instantly and simultaneously. It is literally a birth with all the attendant
emotions, like pride, hope, and love--a celebration. Thus, one finds magic incantation
integrally intertwined with the most modern of rational technologies. Hence, ultramodern
skyscrapers have no thirteenth floors, and astrologers counsel leaders who command
nuclear arsenals.

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Publication Information: Book Title: Consciousness and Culture: An Introduction to the Thought of Jean
Gebser. Contributors: Eric Mark Kramer - editor. Publisher: Greenwood Press. Place of Publication: Westport, CT.
Publication Year: 1992. Page Number: xvi.

DELIMITED WORLDS
Gebser's investigations indicate that there are distinct structures of consciousness, each
having a predominant mode of experiencing. He articulated at least five structures: (1)
archaic, (2) magic-vital, (3) mythical, (4) mental-rational, and (5) integral.

The Zero-dimensional Archaic Structure


The predominant mode of experiencing in the archaic structure is a sense of unity. The
human is completely submerged in and coextensive with the world. Archaic
consciousness is an awareness akin to dreamless sleep and has been hinted at in
numerous metaphoric expressions, such as an initial human oneness with a divinity in
paradise, the mystical visions of merging into the one, or the spontaneous rituals that
dissolve the participants into a state of trance. It is a zero-dimensional consciousness, in
the sense of not having any objectifying, vitalizing, or psychologizing valence or
distance. As compared with the modern mental-rational effort to obtain abstract,
transcendental truth, which divides the world into knower and representationally known,
the archaic attitude can be called rescendent identification. Mental-rationality separates
the dream from the dreamer for analytic (directional) purposes, ontifying experience into
a thing that can be symbolized and signified across semantic space. By contrast, in the
third century B.C., Chuang Tzu wrote of the archaic mode of awareness: "Dreamlessly
slept the true men of earlier times."

The Pre-perspectival Magic-Vital Structure


With the mutation from archaic unity to magic awareness, a rudimentary sense of space
emerges as does its correlate, the self. Spells are cast directionally and with a willful
purpose to confront and control that which is external to the self. The magic-vital
awareness is one of identity. Every event is vitally connected to and can be transformed
into every other event; one can become the other. In vital awareness, the human has no
specific egological identity or psychological self (image); rather, the human is identical
with the powers that it embodies. Thus, a hunter who performs the hunted animal's
movements in dance or wears the animal's skin consists of the very powers of the
animal. The hunter does not symbolize the animal as if s/he had a permanent identity
separate from it and was merely enacting the animal. In magic there is no symbolic
distance. Thus, modern semiotics, with its post-Cartesian dualism of signifier/signified,

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Publication Information: Book Title: Consciousness and Culture: An Introduction to the Thought of Jean
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Publication Year: 1992. Page Number: xvii.
stresses the arbitrary and conventional characteristics of modern abstraction. A person
who lives a magic life, however, may very well panic when s/he has lost a protective
amulet or charm, precisely because the "sign" is not merely a symbol for a protecting
force but is (identical with) it. The preserved finger of a saint in a cathedral is (literally)
holy and manifests miraculous powers. The magic universe is not arbitrary but is
saturated with absolute motivation. Everything is "connected" to everything else.
Accidents, probabilities, and coincidence do not happen here. Things are easily offended.

Magic-vital awareness can assume a variety of forms. Instead of a ritual, one may
engage in incantations, appropriate sayings, assumption of names, and even prayers. As
long as the performance is regarded as identical with another event whose powers the
former incorporates or becomes, magical awareness is at play. Nonetheless, concomitant
with such awareness is the vital want, as a source of will to master and control, to make
things happen and to obtain power. The very term "magic" unfolds into such European
terms as the English "to make" and "machine" and the Germanic Macht (power), and
Moegen (to want.). In this sense, magic awareness tacitly integrates vital interests,
technical production, rhetoric, and theater. For example, the latter is premised on the
understanding that the actor "becomes" the role, that Richard Burton disappears and
Hamlet appears. Rhetoric is not only a mode or a transparent attempt to convince but,
more fundamentally, an incantation that identifies the addressee with slogans, sayings,
promises, and images that draw power from an office, star status, a nation, or a flag. In
contemporary but appropriate parlance, such events exemplify the "halo effect." The
magic "rubs off" quite without reason. Moreover, the making of implements and
technologies that transform nature in accord with human vital wants, human will,
scientific designs, and rationality, is modern magic. Thus, in its own context, magic
integrates other modes of consciousness. This consciousness is one-dimensional, in the
sense of an identity of one power or one event with another. It remains vital even in the
most highly industrialized societies, among, for instance, urban youth gangs, military
and sports organizations, and clubs (like the Masons). All exhibit totemic unity and
identification. The ritual "opening" and "closing" of the Olympics is quintessentially
magical, including the transference of the "Olympic spirit" via the ceremonial touching of
the Olympic flag as it enters the arena and the maintenance of the flame.

Integration reveals how a given structure bears other structures within its own
predominant mode. The magic-vital mode of awareness both functions in the vital
identification of any part with any other part and

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includes wants and desires that are magical modes of willing. As an aspect of directed
and rational activity, willing is equally contained in magic insofar as the latter exhibits an
implicit ends-means correlation. While magical activities preclude symbolic distance, they
contain tacit polarities that are an aspect of mythological psyche. The predominance of
the magical structure thus does not mean that other structures are completely excluded.
The integrating mode of analysis offers a means of accessing the ways in which a
particular structure situates its ways of experiencing from those of other structures.

The Unperspectival Mythic Structure


The third structure of consciousness, as delimited by Gebser, is mythological. It must be
emphasized that this structure has very little to do with storytelling or fables, although
stories and fables usually manifest the ways, images, sayings, and human relations in
which the mythological structure appears. While the magical structure contains point-for-
point identification of every vital event with every other vital event, the mythical
structure relates events polarly. The latter structure is to be distinguished from duality,
insofar as polarity means the dynamic movement of one event, image, or feeling that
provokes, attracts, and requires another event. The appearance of sky is also the
appearance of its polar aspect, the earth; the appearance of love is likewise the
appearance of hate, while the appearance of high, demands the polar presence of the
low. One is never given without the other, and one may replace the other. Thus, gods
and demons may exchange their positions through various deeds. Demons may become
good and rise to the heights, while gods may become corrupt and sink to the low region.
While this movement comprises a rhythmic and indeed a dancing and oral
(synchronizing) mode of awareness, such an awareness is cyclically temporic. The
cosmos moves in cycles that repeat themselves: from spring to summer, from summer
to fall, from fall to winter, from winter to spring. The periodicity of mythical rhythm leads
to cyclical repetition, still resonating in Nietzsche's eternal return of the same. One of the
best graphic symbols of the mythic mentality is the ancient Chinese tai chi, with its
intertwining polarities of yin and yang that depict both movement and stillness at once.

Being temporic and not spatial, the mythical consciousness is expressed in images
requiring no traversal of space for their movement. Gebser noted that myths are usually
expressed by psyche and its polar arrangement of dynamically interchanging images,
among which the oral imagery predominates. Psyche is not mind for this concept belongs
to the mental-ra-

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tional consciousness structure. Psyche is characterized by unrational images and


imaginings such as projecting, forecasting, prophesying, and dramatic representation.
The mind, by contrast, is characterized by rational prediction, simulation, modeling, and
experimentation. The genuine researches about psyche belong to the mythical world.
This assertion should not be regarded as an identification of mythologies with method.
Instead, the way that mythical consciousness integrates all human awareness, including
the function of the psyche, within its own requirements comprises the very access to the
mythological world. It should be emphasized that this world is fundamentally oral and
musical, and that both modes are direct expressions of psyche.

As with other modes of awareness, the mythical mode has its own way of integrating the
other structures of consciousness within its own parameters. For instance, a modern
perspectival machine like an airplane may be experienced and "explained" mythically by
tribal peoples. Conversely, a modern is quite likely to rationalize (demythologize) sacred
texts. These examples illustrate how phenomena can be enriched and impoverished
simultaneously. The mythical dimension has been exploited to great effect by such
Hollywood directors as George Lucas and Steven Spielberg. Although their stories often
emphasize out-of-this-world technologies (which are of course magical), the drama is
always mythic in structure. In the mythical mode, vital wants turn into psychological
desires and passions, expressed in imagery that is attractive, repulsive, and indifferent.
Such imageries are nonetheless bearers of magic power that can affect human lives and
their destinies. In this sense, the psychological imagery contains desires that have their
"will" and rationality. The imagery bears an explanatory power that focuses on the
"reasons" that events happen the way they do. These modes of awareness are read both
polarly and cyclically. Numerous magical sacrifices do not summon powers from some
other spatial locations (some place) but comprise the powers that insure the recurrence
of the cosmic and human rhythms and cycles; these in turn guarantee that the
explanations maintain their coherence.

The Perspectival Mental-Rational


Structure
The mythical consciousness does not retain its polarizing and psychic character
indefinitely; it undergoes a mutation that leads to the preeminence of a mental structure
of consciousness. The characteristics of the mental structure consist of various radically
fixed aspects. First, this structure is dualistic, with preeminence given to the function
called "mind" over matter. Second, mind is not regarded as an entity but as a function of

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directedness, orientation and finally, linearity. Third, orientation originates with a center
called the ego--at least in the modern configuration--with a propensity to lend the ego a
spatial position from which perspectives become constituted toward the "object out
there." Here we acquire the concept of the egosubject in opposition to material object.
Fourth, the egosubject, as an orientational function, may be treated at a deeper level as
constitutive of linear time, while the material side can be regarded as a representation of
space. According to Gebser, this implies a division of space and time. This division
between the subject and the object is manifested in many different expressions such as
the idea of dialectical knowledge in jurisprudence and the notion that media news
coverage must be "balanced," as though "reality" is "balanced," leading to many
epistemological disputes about "false" consciousness versus some external truth and
"reality" versus propaganda (agenda setting and gatekeeping for instance). Is the
dualistic mental consciousness thus coextensive with an awareness of time separate
from an awareness of space? Gebser, believed that this prejudice is characteristic of
modern thinking and that it leads to the reification of time as an indifferent measure of
the linear motion of spatially located objects. It seems that modern mental
consciousness is constituted fundamentally on a spatial metaphor. Indeed, all events and
phenomena, in order to be real, must be reduced to spacio-temporal positionality and
thus to perspectival fragmentation.

Despite the fragmentation, it ought to be pointed out that integration also plays a role in
the mental consciousness structure. Integration is unavoidable at the level of mundane,
everyday experience. Thus, a person living in mythical consciousness does not question
her integration. Indeed, such questioning would make no sense (the explication of a
given consciousness structure is only possible via contrast to another consciousness
structure). The only other way of recognizing the unique qualities of a given
consciousness structure, is by reflecting on its fragmentation and disintegration (deficient
mode) and its maintenance in face of fragmentation and disintegration.

The Decline of the Perspectival

This double possibility of reflecting one mode of awareness offers a profound solution to
the incessantly discussed theoretical and methodological issue of the access to both
one's own and other cultures. At heart, the question is how it is possible to step outside
of one's own culture (blind prejudices) in order to regard it and other cultures
objectively. Gebser's analyses of consciousness structures as coextensive with cultural
life show that each culture bears within itself consciousness structures that are

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accessible to all structures and that provide reflexive moments from which the dominant
consciousness structure can be recognized. In this sense, if any given consciousness
structure becomes deficient, reaching a point of fragmentation, then other modes not
only reflect it but also may provide the moment of integration. Thus, deficient (meaning
ineffectual) rationalization reverts to magical consciousness in order to maintain its
power.

During both the mutation from mythical to mental and from mental to integral modes of
consciousness, the deficient modes are proliferated by the invention of new myths or by
the production of new logics and ever-new calls for the subjugation of all areas of cosmic
and human processes to quantitative research. Anxiety calls for heroes (shamans,
soothsayers, statisticians, experts, and sorcerers) who know the true path to salvation.
Thus, we all anxiously await a victory over AIDS, an unlimited and clean source of
energy, a correction of the economic recession and its mysterious "market mechanisms."

Nonetheless, during both mutations, a modicum of integration is achieved. Quite


frequently such efforts are most strenuous and violent (virulent). Each new invention or
effort to maintain the deficient myths or rationality claims to be the only "truth" and
consequently demands the suppression and indeed even destruction of its own efficient
forms. Such a phenomenon is prevalent among contemporary fundamentalist trends.
Each claims to be the sole truth and calls for the destruction of all evil enemies. (This
tendency is also present among the political technocrats with their best "humanistic"
efforts to improve humanity).

For Gebser, this phenomenon does not mean that the deficient mental consciousness
accepts other modes of awareness in their efficient modes. Mythology thus assumes the
form of progress. Progress is not a sign of purposeful activity but becomes a self-
referential and self-enhancing repetitive structure: Progress is for the sake of progress.
It turns back upon itself and assumes a mythological structure of cyclical repetition.
Magical awareness, in the form of technology, is equally included in the deficient world of
mental awareness. After all, technology bears the marks of want and willing, of the
making and fulfilling of individual or social-national vital interests. If one couples
quantification (as the mode of deficient rationality) with the ability to make and control,
one notes that this coupling is coextensive with the incrementation of power. Power
pervades all magical practices, to the extent that it initially deals with the making of
equivalent identifications while serving volitional designs with instrumental rationality. If
one were to push this magical base to the limit, one could say that modern magic is the
will's empowerment of itself or empowerment of its own self-proliferation as will.

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As noted above, the condition for the possibility of mental consciousness is a specific
constitution of time and space. The issue for Gebser is the extreme dualism of subject
and object, and more fundamentally, of space and time. Immanuel Kant expressed this
dualism in its basic configuration by showing that space is the external mode of
perception, while time is the internal mode. Yet it is precisely this type of duality that
cannot be integrated by mental consciousness, especially in its deficient mode. Hence,
mental consciousness must presume that magic is an integral structure, in the form of
the modern insistence on making, technology, and a continuous emphasis on the
fulfillment of material wants. Modern industrial culture is obsessed with the magic of
production as the common denominator and final purpose of all activities. At the level of
magical consciousness dualism is avoided in the form of rampant materialism with an
attendant glorification of power. For Gebser, this state of affairs explains contemporary
power confrontations.

The fragmentation of a given consciousness structure opens two options: first, the
intimation of an emergent integration that is both a mutation and a restructuration of
other structures of consciousness; second, the reversion to a culturally available mode of
consciousness that promises "salvation" from the ravages of the dissolving consciousness
structure. These salvations, however, no longer offer an integration. In one sense, this is
not a problem of fragmenting rationality but rather a lack of awareness of a mutation of
consciousness toward another structure. While the latter may not yet have become
prevalent, in the sense of being "lived," it appears in the fragmentation of a prevalent
structure and in what is sensed as missing. The missing aspect dominates the
fragmenting consciousness and, as noted above, can be filled either by reverting to
magic and its power to regenerate myths or by tracing out the constitution of an
emerging awareness. The latter, according to Gebser, prevails only through a
commitment. Yet the important methodological consideration focuses precisely on the
missing aspect that offers access to the fragmenting and to the upsurging consciousness
structure. Upsurgence has always been atemporal and aperspectival, although not
explicitly manifest within the diverse "time" structures belonging to the various modes of
awareness. Instead, each culturally specific cosmology emerges against an ever-present
aperspectival ground. The aperspectival is implicated with every structuring or meaning-
giving cosmology, including the "scientific," the Buddhist, or any other universe that
exists.

The current debates concerning the viability of qualitative methodologies do not comprise
a novelty but rather an effort to enhance the continuity of the mental consciousness
structure. Certainly the significance of this

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debate cannot be overlooked. It reveals the adequacy of both the qualitative and the
quantitative methodologies and demonstrates the need for a methodology of integration.
This is to say, the objectivation of the two mental methodologies manifests a
consciousness structure that defies magical integration and opens the ever-present
integrum that is prior to parts and wholes, to the one and the many, to unity and
diversity, and even to time and eternity. Integrum is not a whole that unifies the parts or
that is more than the sum of the parts. Rather, integrum frees diversity from
constrictions on openness and liberates the life-world from succession and structural
rules. This, for Gebser, is the case of the twentieth century.
The Emergent Aperspectival Integral
Structure
Transparency

The integral consciousness is increasingly becoming manifestly predominant in every


domain, from the physics to the poetry of this age. It comprises an explicit presence of
what has been latent or implicit in all the other modes of awareness. Integral awareness
immediately precludes the notion that integration is an arrayment, a recognition and
acceptance of the different structures of consciousness. We can trace in each
phenomenon the commonalities that are "transparent" precisely because the
phenomenon is different from others. Gebser's understanding of the integral, which is
manifested basically by transparency, requires meticulous articulation. It should be clear
that transparency does not mean seeing through things by some mystical vision. At the
first phenomenological level, Gebser accepted the consciousness phenomenon of
meaning that does not signify any exclusively material or ideal "reality," but rather
comprises an event of mutual relationships and dependent differences.

When we take a material object, a cube for instance, every dimension of it means other
dimensions, thus integrating and in turn being integrated by them. The cubeness of a
cube is understood as six planes that simultaneously rely on each other in order to form
the object meant as a "cube." Cubeness is an integral meaning that evaporates the
instant one atomizes the object into six square surfaces. This is why mental reductionism
ultimately fails as an explanation, for the cubeness of the object depends on the
integrated relationships of all the surfaces at once. When it is taken apart (altering the
relationships of the various planes to each other), the cube disappears. Likewise, a plane
surface (meant as a side of a cube) relies on being an integral (integrated) "side of a
cube"--sideness. The instant that sideness is removed, its sense changes--the side
becomes

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merely an isolated surface. To appreciate the covaluation and coconstitution of the


meanings "cubeness" and "sideness" is to understand the systatic quality of relative
interdependence. In other terms, this is why persons often feel a loss of identity when
they are laid off or retire from being an integral part of some larger organization.

To become integrally aware of the vital role difference plays in identity is to understand
systatic integrality (interdependence of a sort). For instance, black pride in race relations
can exist only if there are other, different colors to relate to for comparison. The
colloquialism "I can relate" usually means "we are the same," but one cannot relate to
oneself. Identity negates communication. Difference generates relativity and the
potential for dialogue. Indeed, if all the world were one color, the word "color" would
have no meaning. Diversity is enriching. Thus, one's own value is dependent on one's
relative difference from others, and vice versa. Similarly, we can appreciate our magic
awareness only because we also experience mythic and rational modes of being, and vice
versa.

Once again, a side of an object means other sides, and it is thus both different from
them and yet transparent with them, as they are transparent through it. In this sense,
meaning points to other meanings that are different from and yet related to one another
as different. Meanings integrate in their mutual call for each other and in their mutual
differentiation.

Atemporality

The second basic feature of integral awareness is atemporality. Once again, some basic
misunderstandings should be avoided. This term signifies concrete awareness of time as
integral, prior to its abstract and linear division into past, present, and future. At the
level of meaning, even that division suggests transparency of one through the others and
their differential integration. Indeed, as numerous researches into time awareness have
shown, purely sequential experience cannot yield any sense. Such an experience would
be totally fragmented into disconnected temporal quanta. Any connection already takes
for granted the presence of concrete awareness that is integrating--mutual implication.
The atemporality of such integration means that prior to various constructs that are
introduced to account for time (such as money, images, projections, and expectations),
the consciousness of the presence of the whole is required. Thus, the integrating process
of the previous, the present, and the subsequent is prior to their sequence and allows
the perception of one through another. For Gebser, this perception is atemporal
concretum and is the basis of aperspectival awareness depicted by the artists of this
century.

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Without atemporality, there would be no aperspectivity as a way of seeing something


from all perspectives, as omnipresent. Atemporality integrates spatial perception of
perspectives, allowing an awareness of something from all sides without a succession of
mental functions; grasping cubeness at once. This state of affairs can be explicated even
in the familiar language of mental consciousness. To have the presence of a perspective
requires a copresence of a previous or a subsequent perspective. But such a requirement
is possible only if atemporality is experienced such that the latter makes copresent the
previous and the subsequent perspectives as integral aspects of an awareness of the
whole. Thus, at the level of materiality, atemporality is an integration of spatial
perspectivity.

In brief, the future is not something that is coming but is copresent as the difference
between the given and its variants. The future exists as present potentiality. The latter,
in turn, integrates and is vitalized by the magical transformation of the given toward a
variant meant as potential. It is a magic transformation that is atemporally present such
that what is to be transformed and its variations are copresent. Aperspectivity and
atemporality are essential to integrating differentials that allow for openness and yet
transparent comprehension.

It would be a mistake to speak here of wholes as if they were pregiven structures, in


contrast to the parts. In other words, such a linear conceptualization presumes the
controversy within mental consciousness concerning the priority of parts over wholes and
vice versa. Indeed, this controversy reflects the difference between the qualitative and
the quantitative aspects of the mental structures, or between the efficient and the
deficient phases of any structure. In other words, the notion of the whole within the
integral consciousness must be regarded nondualistically, such that even the notion of
one aspect becoming another, of energy changing into matter and of matter
transforming itself into energy, or of psyche being the other side of the body and of the
body being an appearance of the psyche, must be avoided. Gebser's view demands that
we think integrally in a way that avoids dualism without the assumption of holism
wherein, to paraphrase Hegel, everything is a night in which all cows are black.

While dualisms are premised on the separation of time consciousness from space
consciousness, the integral consciousness is a concretization of time in such a way that
space is dynamized. Indeed, this very separation, which leads to the mental, linear time,
results as well in time being reified and an appeal to spatial metaphors for explication.
The difficulty in grasping the integral consciousness as atemporal and aperspectival may
be attributed to the hindrance of the prevalent discursive language which manifestly
expresses dialectical mental-rationality. At the same time, other

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possible modes of expression offer themselves, beginning with conceptions of


"openness," "probability," "chance," and even "chaos." Such terms preclude conceptions
of spatial closure and strict localizability. They suggest the eruption of atemporality
within spatial rigidity and thus the disruption of such rigidity. This eruption, for Gebser, is
not an intellectual invention but is traceable across the diverse cultural phenomena of
our century, from poetry to physics. The eruption of atemporality avoids dualism and
abolishes the language of inner and outer, expression and the expressed, meaning and
the meant, or the now famous signifier and signified.

It should be noted that the integral does not abolish the other modes of awareness, nor
does it simply aggregate them and tolerate their differences by allowing each to have its
say. Rather, the other modes of awareness become subject, or even subordinate, to the
integral. In this sense, rationality ceases to be fragmenting and merely instrumental,
instead assuming a sense-making function that is continuous; ever-present.
Sensemaking is not purely logistic and argumentative but is also connecting within the
context of the integral. It plays the role of tracing out sense implications and their never-
finalizable intersections. This rationality sets transgressible limits that allow for openness
and integration.

DIAPHANEITY
The task, for Gebser, is to articulate the integral without a loss of significant
differentiations. These become most important in the face of various contemporary
sociopolitical and theocratic movements. They seem to be reasonable, and yet what is to
be noted is their immersion in various deficient modes of consciousness structures.
Cognizance of such modes is a way to avoid becoming subjected by the deficient and at
the same time extremely virulent enchantment, commitment, and action based on such
modes of being. We know well the magic of Adolf Hitler and Ronald Reagan, the mythical
sayings and magic rituals of all types of fundamentalisms, whether theological or
political, that ply their trade under the protecting guise of rationality, the right to speak
and "convince," and even the violent right to impose the fundamentalists' "truth" on all,
for their own good.

What is required is a cognizance of the limits of one mode of awareness vis-à-vis other
modes. Magic and myth integrate rationality, yet if one were to shift to a rational mode
of awareness and its ways of integrating, one would be able to appreciate the limits of
the other modes and would thus not fall prey completely to the direct, lived solicitations
of the other modes

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of awareness. The same can be said of mental consciousness; in the context of the
integral, the limits of the mental become transparent, not only in relation to other modes
of awareness, but also through their all-pervasive integral dimension.

EVER-PRESENCE
The cognizance of the integration of differentiation also shows the common integrating
ground. The latter is "ever-present" and in one mode or another precludes a complete
collapse into fragmentation of any mode of awareness. At the same time and at a more
fundamental level, the integral awareness escapes the above-mentioned issue of
theoretical and methodological access to one's own and other cultures without having to
transcend them. With integral consciousness, one can regard events within the context
of the preeminence of one or another structure of consciousness of any given culture by
noting the recurring though diversely expressed integration. This is to say, one can
access events both atemporally and aperspectively. Thus, one need not appeal to some
unconscious reality, material base, or instincts in order to extricate oneself from one's
intracultural positionality. These tandems, which are regarded as explanatory bases,
attempt to avoid cultural closure but inevitably introduce elements that are outside of
both culture and consciousness. For Gebser, even such explanatory offerings presuppose
a specific mode of awareness that integrates them with other modes of awareness and
does not allow one mode to be completely supreme. Indeed, the explanatory
components are not some dead substances or mechanisms but are borrowed from
another structure of consciousness.

The understanding offered by Gebser's investigations into specific consciousness


structures--as coextensive with cultural structures--rejects both the evolutionary thesis
as well as the teleological thesis of Western philosophies, which remain prominent under
the silent sway of G. W. F. Hegel, Karl Marx, and even the mythology of progress. For
Gebser, such teleologies are neither right nor wrong; they must, however, be located
within their proper consciousness structures and evaluated with respect to their limits
and their manifestations within the preeminence of specific modes of awareness. Indeed,
in the context of integral consciousness, the teleological aspect is not abolished; rather,
multipurposive horizons--an aperspectival understanding--is opened.

No doubt, Gebser's work is not complete; yet its depth offers multidimensional access to
human awareness and cultures. The vast correlation of cultural phenomena and the
analyses of all the consciousness structures

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that intersect such phenomena provide a contribution that is novel, profound, and
replete with fruitful suggestions for future research. Much of this volume is, in fact,
devoted to such research. After all, to be true to Gebser's work and insights, one need
not repeat what has been done by him. Rather, the task is to extend human awareness
concerning various current phenomena.The following essays were all commissioned with
this idea in mind. All are original pieces with the exception of Chapter 2, on "The Physical
Sciences and Their Socio-Cultural Impact," which originally appeared in German and has
been translated for this volume by Professor Eveline Lang.

Chapter 1, "Gebser and Culture," by Eric Mark Kramer, makes an extensive review of the
idea of "culture" in light of Gebser's concept of perspectival abstraction. Kramer
concludes that culture has come to mean all things that are not natural, but the idea of
"nature" itself is revealed to be an invention. "Culture" and "nature" emerge
simultaneously as a modern duality that enhances the power of material production. The
deeper question addressed is what compels the production of this tandem itself.

In Chapter 2, "The Physical Sciences and Their Socio-Cultural Impact," Friedrich G.


Winter discusses the advancement of the disintegration of the world into smaller and
smaller quanta. Individuation of all aspects of life and art promotes competition and
many forms of violence epitomized by the cobalt and neutron bombs. Winter calls for an
integral, "gestalten" attitude and style of thinking.

Chapter 3, by Joseph J. Pilotta, is entitled, "Media Power Working Over the Body: An
Application of Gebser to Popular Culture." In this essay, Pilotta offers a new theory for
understanding how the media exploit the magic power of animus--animation. He explains
how various media, including speech, create the world via incantatory power and how
this action moves people to imitate media messages.

In Chapter 4, "The Significance of Aperspectival Art in Light of Gebser's Work," Rosanna


Vitale applies Gebser's theory to broaden our understanding of the efforts of several
artists. Vitale explains the integral nature of Paul Cézanne's proto-Cubism, as well as
Picasso's development of the idea. She also demonstrates the value Gebser's ideas have
for our understanding of modern poetry and architecture.

"Magic and Technological Culture" (Chapter 5) by Algis Mickunas, demonstrates how


modern metaphysics and ontology manifest the magical compulsion to enhance power
through creative processes. He traces the sense of the technological world that
ultimately reduces everything (in-

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cluding humans) to particles in motion and then interprets them as an interchangeable


resource base that is exploitable by will power.

In Chapter 6, "Gebser's Understanding of Political Practice," Joseph F. Freeman explores


the profound political implications of Gebser's work. Freeman discusses what "empire-
building" and the "founding ideas" of constitutional law mean and how they produce
change. Gebser's idea of an "open government" as a new way to think about political
activity is reviewed. Freeman contends that constitutional order is abstract and
outmoded. He argues that campaign practices and poor voter turnout indicate the
deficient state of an overly abstract political system.

Chapter 7, "Gebser and the Theory of Socio-Cultural Change," by Vytautas Kavolis offers
a broad perspective from which to compare Gebser's ideas critically to those of other
cultural theorists. Kavolis traces how Gebser's work takes up the perceptual aspect of
culture, which is largely ignored by conventional social scientific approaches.

In Chapter 8, "Gebser and Pedagogy: The Integral Difference," Elizabeth Lozano and
Algis Mickunas apply Gebser's theory of multidimensional structures of awareness to the
classroom experience. They specifically discuss the experience of the Latin American
child and various "logics of understanding." They suggest that the traditional pedagogy
used in the United States, being a print-centered ontological version of learning, is no
longer effective with many children. Therefore, a fundamental change in pedagogical
assumptions and practices must be implemented for the new multicultural classroom.

Chapter 9, "Jean Gebser, the Commonweal, and the Politics of Difference," by John
Murphy and Jung Min Choi, offers a "postmodern" alternative to the current polity based
on Enlightenment assumptions. They demonstrate how Gebser's work anticipates the
current political philosophy of many postmodern writers, including how Gebser's idea of
"systase" offers a solution to the modern dialectic that defines difference and order as
antagonistic aspects of social life.

NOTE
1. In the oft-quoted article, "Etic and Emic standpoints for the description of Behavior"
(in A. Smith, ed., Communication and Culture, 1966), the linguist Kenneth Pike
attempts to take into account the "subjective" perspective of the social actor by
suggesting that there are two perspectives that a researcher might take into
account. The "emic" perspective is one whereby a researcher attempts to
understand behavior from the actor's point of view, while the "etic" approach

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is an attempt to understand behavior objectively by comparing it to other examples


with an a priori category of interest to be applied across the samples.

REFERENCES
Gebser Jean. The Ever-Present Origin. Trans. Noel Barstad and Algis Mickunas . Athens,
Ohio: Ohio University Press, 1985.

----- . Gesamtausgabe band W: Kültur philosophie äs methode und wägnis. Stuttgart,


Germany: Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, 1976.

Goffman Erving. The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday
Anchor, 1959.
Husserl Edmund. Ideas. Trans. W. R. Boyce Gibson. New York: Collier Macmillan, 1931.

Kant Immanuel. Critique of Pure Reason. Trans. Norman Kemp Smith. New York: St.
Martin's Press, 1969.

Keckeis Jean. "Inmemoriam Jean Gebser." In The Ever-Present Origin, xviixxi. Trans.
Noel Barstad and Algis Mickunas. Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press, 1985.

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8 GEBSER AND PEDAGOGY: THE


INTEGRAL DIFFERENCE
Elizabeth Lozano and Algis Mickunas

Jean Gebser's research can be considered one of the most significant efforts of this
century to understand cultures and multicultural settings. Among the widespread
implications of the Gebserian phenomenology of culture, the conception of an integral
understanding of education appears remarkably urgent, although it has been mostly
neglected by Gebser scholars. An age of multicultural configurations and of continuous
cultural resettlements requires us to reconsider the tasks of education and instruction, as
well as to posit new pedagogical practices. The case of the United States is especially
timely. An educational system that has not changed fundamentally since the nineteenth
century is facing a dramatically transformed society for which it does not seem to be
prepared. This multicultural setting calls for a fundamental revision of educational
policies and practices. We shall pursue this revision from a conception of cultures as
multidimensional modes of experience and a conception of education as the nexus in
which these experiences intersect ( Gebser, 1964). In order to do so, we will refer
specifically to the case of the Hispanic population in the United States.

First, we will study Gebser's "structures of consciousness" in the particular case of Latin
American culture. Next we will examine the paradoxes of Hispanics in the United States,
and finally we will explore the composition of an integral pedagogy in the current U.S.
educational crises. Pedagogy and the world we live in are identical, but education as an
institution tends to separate itself from that world and to create an incompatibility
between instruction and pedagogy. Resolving this incompatibility will allow diverse
groups to understand their mutual contributions to the enrichment of human awareness.

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GEBSER'S MODES OF AWARENESS


Gebser's vast investigations are oriented to the analysis of the structures of
consciousness that frame the cultural experience of space and time. There has been a
pervasive tendency to understand these structures of awareness--the archaic, the
magical, the mythical, the rational, and the integral--as evolutionary or historical
developments. Within this view, the integral is regarded as the ultimate achievement of
human development. This view is precisely what Gebser wanted to avoid, for this
developmental conception of the human is restricted to a rational and diachronic
conception of time, which legitimates the hierarchization of cultures and rationalizes
racism. To the contrary, Gebser maintained that structures of consciousness are
intertwined and ever-present and that their interplay constitutes our life ( 1974: 15).

Although structures of consciousness are ever-present, they also account for important
differences among cultural practices, from the mythical memory of Peruvian Indians, to
the magic rituals of Haitian voodoo, to the "rational" operations of money exchange in
the United States. These cultural differences, according to Gebser, depend on the
preeminence of one mode of awareness within whose context other modes of awareness
are integrated. The more one attends to these cultural differences, the more evident it
appears that they embody and integrate common features. Santeria in Brazil survives
alongside Roman Catholicism; Catholicism in Puerto Rico and Cuba is translated into
African pagan tradition, televangelists in the United States save souls in exchange for
money. Which is the rational consciousness, which the mythic, and which the magic?

The appearance of a new preeminent structure in a culture where another basic structure
is already preeminent seems to initiate tensions and even clashes. Yet such tensions
would not arise without the recognition that the other's mode of awareness makes
transparent my own mode and simultaneously traces the other's mode as an aspect of
my own awareness. Our understanding of copresent others and our inhabiting of others'
styles, are prior to the others' being localizable in specific spatio-temporal coordinates.
Integration with other human beings and cultures pervades and grounds all forms of
discriminating, ranking, or categorizing.

Since, as Gebser contended, integration is not a unification of the many into the whole,
but an integrating in activity, one is called upon to be extremely sensitive to the
structures of awareness in action. Thus, ways of dancing, speaking, interacting, or
walking express the integral and manifest the intersections and dialogue among diverse
cultures. Speaking, for

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example, bears in itself all the domains of awareness; we describe events logically, but
we also express our attunement, distress, indifference, and interrogation in our voices,
and we announce valuations and imperatives "in the same breath."

Despite different modes of speaking, we can recognize in any language the activity of
speaking and the complex intersection of logical, psychic, imperative, and kinesthetic
dimensions that play in it. The integral appears as the enactment of a common
background that allows different cultures to be recognizable in our own, and vice versa.

Even though the integral background is always present, there are occasions in which a
particular mode of integration becomes deficient and fragmenting. Such is the case of
modern rationality which, according to Gebser, is a mode of awareness undergoing a
crisis of self-fragmentation. 1 This crisis is manifest in the separation of the realms of
labor, play, instruction, affection, and policy. Education as an institution participates in
this fragmenting rationality, for it separates and opposes the practical to the intellectual,
the physical to the mental, and the entertaining to the didactic. Courses, disciplines, and
activities are understood within their own parameters; they neither imply nor require one
another. Hence, mathematics does not illuminate botany, physics does not require
history, history does not say anything about literature, and the latter is environmentally
neutral.

Even when the educational system promotes cultural awareness, it does so by


fragmenting. Cultural awareness is understood as providing accurate information about
other peoples, which is given within the restrictions of a specific area or course, such as
history. At the outset, this information constitutes an aggregate of discrete data that
does not provide an understanding of the commonalities among cultures. More
importantly, one is left with the impression that "our mode of awareness" is the sole
standard of commonality to which the others must conform. While the others may be
anthropologically interesting, they must be brought into the normal awareness--the
American "mainstream." By regarding other cultures as curiosities to be tolerated, the
Anglo-American consciousness regards itself as a complete and self-sufficient project--
the end of history. This project of segmented rationality paradoxically releases one from
any fundamental effort in comprehending and becomes, indeed, a form of indifference in
the name of democratic tolerance. Neither students nor teachers require participating,
recreating, or incorporating the ways of the others. To follow and fulfill the contractual
rules of the syllabus is the only requirement. It is this requirement that fails the integral
awareness that is constantly enacted in daily behavior.

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A PEDAGOGY IN A MELTING POT


According to Richard Weiner, Hispanics are the fastest-growing ethnic group in the
United States and will soon become the largest ethnic minority in the country ( Weiner,
1983: 133). Unlike other immigrant groups, Hispanics seem to become more
marginalized, less socially active, and more poorly educated the longer they remain in
the United States. Indeed, recent studies conducted by Bean and Capa ( 1991) have
suggested that, for many second- and third-generation Mexican-Americans, "mobility is
strictly downward"; for example, the "longer Mexican-American families are in the United
States, the lower their children's educational level will sink" (cited in Kantrowitz, 1991:
60). About one-half of the Latin American immigrants are illiterate. In coming to the
United States, they envision the opportunity, for themselves and their children, of
becoming literate. Being highly valued in Latin America, education is symbolically and
pragmatically relevant to status and prestige. Mexican families, according to Concha
Delgado-Gaitan, support the Spanish and English literacy of their children "so that they
can communicate with family members and obtain stable employment in the future.
Parents enforce their goals of literacy development by encouraging children to behave in
class and learn to read, in order to succeed in school" ( 1989: 287). In spite of this
regard, the Hispanic student does not seem to succeed in the American system. Puerto
Ricans, Wilfredo Nieves and Mercedes Valle have argued, are much more successful on
the island than they are on the mainland ( 1982: 155). About 45 percent of Hispanics
will drop out of school, the highest rate for any group in the country.

The lack of formal education carries with it more poverty and fewer chances for social
and political voice. Rationally speaking, it seems contradictory to come to the United
States to advance economically and to gain stability and at the same time, to "behave"
in ways that undermine those goals. The morphologies of the Anglo-Saxon and Latin
American cultures can play a crucial role in this move towards marginalization.

A MORPHOLOGY OF THE "SOUTH"


In the effort to analyze cultures, one immediately confronts the difficulty of having to
assign a common name to a human group that arguably could be named and identified
in a variety of ways. There is a Latin American culture that is expressed, among other
ways, in a common history, language, religious heritage, ethnic mixture, aesthetic
attunement, and social structures. At the same time, this Latin American culture

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embodies an important diversity of contexts and peoples and could itself be identified by
a number of subregions, subgroups, and subcultures. Still, this diversity does not deny a
primordial affinity, for in contrast to the map, a cultural topography is never a neatly
delimited figure.

Instead, a cultural topography can be compared to a tapestry in which threads can be


followed in many directions, from their points of convergence to their lines of divergence
and from their dispersed networks to their dense knots. Depending on what threads are
followed, diverse patterns become apparent and particular features show up in the
foreground. Although we can have a sense of culture as a single tapestry, its inner
designs seem constantly to escape delimitations. The knots and patterns are shapes of
constantly transgressable contours, intensities without precise boundaries. As in the case
of a tapestry, a culture's contour is nowhere in particular, for it is the very crisscrossing
of the woven net.

The Colombian Gabriel García Marquéz has stated on numerous occasions that he is not
Colombian; he is costeño (that is, a native of the Atlantic coast, inclusive of Panama,
Colombia, and Venezuela). As such, he does not have much in common with the "other"
people, the inhabitants of the cold mountains, who, according to him, leave their houses
only to attend funerals. 2 The axis of coast, mountain, and plains conforms to a very
strong cultural figure in Latin America, as do the axes of rural and urban, Indian,
Mulatto, and Mestizo, and popular and elite. Along these axes, one can envision the
complex fabric of Latin American identity, whose source is the crisscrossing of multiple
threads. Regions embody important cultural differences, which go from the
predominance of one or another line of "mestizaje" (ethnic mixture) to costumes, rituals,
dances, foods, moods, clothing, and accents. Another look at this tapestry reveals music
and dance as powerful sources of national and Latin American identity and expressivity.
While Brazil sings samba and bossa nova, Argentina is the home of tangos and milongas;
Peru, Ecuador, and Bolivia bring the Indian rhythms of the Andes, and Colombia offers
cumbias and vallenatos, rhythms and stories of the Atlantic coast. Chile, Cuba, and more
recently, Nicaragua, offer the continent the "music of the revolution," the musical protest
for which the famous Victor Jara and others have been persecuted or assassinated. From
the Caribbean, by contrast, the traditional rhythms of Cuba and Puerto Rico bring salsa
to the rest of the continent, a music that for many is the very embodiment of the
vibrant, voluptuous, and impassioned dancer, the pagan poet of Latin America. Mexico,
finally, has given the continent rancheras that sing of the dramatic deeds of the country
people. This musical mosaic announces important commonalities

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and affinities. In them, we trace pervasive understandings that reveal the common
texture of the culture, its integral nature.

LOGICS OF UNDERSTANDING
Latin American is neither West nor East but "South," if such a denomination can be
used--a hybrid of white-red-black consciousness, of the "rational" European, the "mythic"
Indian, and the "magic" African. In contrast to the modern homogeneous rationality,
Latin America seems to articulate a heterogeneous reason, manifested differently in
different cultural realms. 3 Thus, while the social logos is communitarian, the political
logic is familial and capitalist and the cultural aesthetic is amodern or integral. The
cohabitation of different realms of reason allows for ambiguity and ambivalence as a
normal way of being and for the continuous overlapping of mythical and magical
dimensions. Latin American modal-ities of reason can be studied in the paradoxical
magic realism of literature and in daily life, in which family and social structures
participate.

The structure of the family, characterized by the power of the patriarch, seems to
permeate most levels of the social fabric. The leader, whether the family patriarch, the
town's gamonal, the country's dictator participates in a pervasive structure of patriarchal
and familial power. The successor of a dead leader is not his second in command, but his
closest family member, usually the wife. Violeta Chamorro in Nicaragua, Evita Perón in
Argentina, or María Eugenia Rojas de Moreno Diaz in Colombia are examples of this
kinship logic. The privilege of birth and the duties acquired within the community rule
over the concept of constitutional, social, and individual rights. Thus, the wealthy
landowner and his family are the de facto authorities in a town, by virtue of social and
political connections and economical power. Such authority is extended at the national
level in the form of political patronage and clientage. Although their influence is not as
explicit now as it was a century ago, families still control the political and economic
destiny of the region. In this context, the figure of Uncle Sam feels at home, as the
godfather who controls a network of family members and local leaders.

While the gamonal has the right of wealth, the caudillo has the right of courage. The
popular leader speaks with the voice of the community and enacts a rhetoric of solidarity
and dignity (familial and communal values). His right does not come from the blessing of
a patron, but from the blessing of the community and the battle, this makes him a
natural nobleman, a breeder of strong blood. In One Hundred Years of Solitude, García
Marquéz ( 1970) wrote that mothers brought their daughters to Colonel

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Aureliano Buendia to improve the breed and bear seeds of glory. The families recognize
the patriarch's out-of-wedlock children who acquire status by the natural right of "buena
cuna," good origin.

To examine the Latin American political structure is to examine the paradoxes and
ambiguities of its sociajl life in general. Its democracy is oligarchic, its capitalism is
feudal and colonial, and its patriarchy is also populist. Modern concepts, such as the
autonomy of the individual, the body as private property, and the law as the ultimate
mediation of equality, are abstractions for the Latin American. Instead, as Elizabeth
Kuznesof ( 1989) has maintained, Latin America has a communal structure governed by
rules of loyalty, friendship, dignity, solidarity, and generosity. Jorge Luís Borges,
describing the Argentinian, captured this difference between civil society and community.
"Unlike North Americans and almost all Europeans," explained Borges, "the Argentinian
does not identify himself with the state" ( 1981: 167). Borges continued:

The Argentinian is an individual, not a citizen. Aphorisms like Hegel's--The State is the
reality of the moral idea--seem like a vicious joke. Films made in Hollywood repeatedly
portray as admirable the man . . . who tries to make friends with a criminal so he can
turn him over to the police later; the Argentine, for whom friendship is a passion and the
police a mafia, feels that this "hero" is an incomprehensible cad. ( 1981: 167-168)

THE AESTHETIC CONFIGURATION


The social and political ambivalences of the rational and magical within a mythic
consciousness find their aesthetic expression in melodrama, whose force is felt in music,
storytelling, social ceremonies, and political rhetoric ( Martin- Barbero, 1988, 1989).
Melodrama, according to Jesús Martin-Barbero, integrates the continent from "below,"
for its pervading force is that of mestizaje, the ethnically mixed, in which opposing
tensions, loyalties, languages, and sagas continuously fluctuate and afflict one another. 4
From the paradoxical and melodramatic, life has emerged as magic realism, which for
many is the very voice of the Latin American conciencia (mode of awareness and
standard of action: consciousness and conscience).

Magic realism, according to García Marquéz, is not dilettante fiction, but rather the
faithful chronicle of Latin American multidimensional reality. What is more magical and
what is more real? one may ask: that the virginal Remedios the Beauty "ascended to
heaven in body and soul" or that a nocturnal train carried the corpses of "more than
three thousand

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people, workers, women, and children," piled upon each other, to be discarded "into the
sea like rejected bananas" ( 1970: 256, 309, 312). 5

Both accounts are equally real and magic. The former is the magic of the mestizo sagas,
in which religion is animistic and political. The latter is the magic of Gabriel García
Marquéz' characters (in One Hundred Years of Solitude) expressed as Mr. Brown's and
Mr. Herbert's technology, which endowed them with "means that had been reserved for
Divine Providence in former times . . . to change the pattern of the rains, accelerate the
cycle of harvests, and move the river from where it had always been and put it with its
white stones and icy currents on the other side of the town" ( García Marquéz, 1970:
233).

In the Latin American experience, one does not exist without the other--the rational
without the magical, the historical without the incredible, the civilizing without the
sacrificial, and the communal without the eccentric. Everyday reality must be reinvented
every morning and cunningly transformed according to the whims of life. It is a
bricolage, a maze or labyrinth without an exit.

SPACE-TIME CONFIGURATIONS
The magic-realistic consciousness bears within itself a specific spatial and temporal style,
which can be seen in the cyclicality of time, the unpredictability of public space, and the
ambiguity of the aesthetic body. 6 For the purposes of this chapter, we will give primacy
to the first of these.

Cyclical or mythical time emphasizes rhythmic dynamics, periodicity, mood fluctuations,


and oral adherence. In this temporicity, the body is primarily attuned to the sonorous
world, the mythos, which pulsates through voices, sayings, sagas, and a musing that is
extended in gestures charged with vital vibrancy. For the Latin American consciousness,
time is less a commodity or a factual objective condition than a quality of experience that
is intense, fluctuating, and dramatic. Reality solicits the Latin American with its multiple
voices and unexpected resonances, whose overlapping is the very texture of the future.

Thus, to plan the future is a frivolous act of magic, an ineffective rhetorical ritual, and a
form of violence exerted on a voluptuous reality. One deals with the uncertain as the
only thing one can rationally expect, for the texture of the world is ahuman, arational,
and aperspectival. Paraphrasing Borges, Jaime Alazraki has written, "things are their
dusty future." Time is a consuming fire and a sweeping river, but "I am the fire . . . , I
am the river" ( Borges, 1981: 197; Alazraki, 1988: 48). Since our very substance is
time, it cannot be measured in homogeneous particles

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or standard sequences. Time is the time that I am, the populous time of action, pleasure,
devotion, struggle, or labor.

This mythical time clearly contrasts with the neutral time of the AngloAmerican, which is
the invariable measure of all actions. The time of lovemaking, TV-watching, or football-
playing is made up of the same homogeneous substance, alien to intensities,
elongations, or mutations. Standardization of time is also the homogenization and
segmentation of space into equivalent perspectives. With that comes the possibility of
envisioning the future, which then can be focused, targeted, and planned. Thus, the
present is but a moment toward the future, a tool justified in the construction of the
reality "ahead." To the Borgesian "we are all that we will be, all that we have been," to
which Anglo-America would oppose the "history is bunk" argument of Henry Ford. What
is in the past is gone, over, never-present, dust.

For a "magic-realist" consciousness, such unambiguous directionality can be experienced


as a superstition or a privilege. The Anglo-American scene appears as a magic world in
which the superstition of linear time actually works as a power over reality. The Latin
American might find surprising the predictability of daily life in the United States, which
frees one from continuously deciphering and reflecting on the surprising. Wellestablished
routines, rules of interaction, norms of social comportment, and standard architectures,
procedures, and mechanisms convert cultural polysemic signs into monosemic signals.
Like any efficient magic, the technologically constituted world restricts multilayered
actions to the enactment of precise performances that produce specific results (Mr.
Brown knew where to put the river for improved bananas, so to speak).

Mythical ambiguity and polysemic bricolage are, perforce, excluded from this world. The
bricolageous world of Latin Americans emphasizes resourceful responses to surprising
events (that is, the situated, contextual, and attuned originality). This response is a
retrogressive understanding within a polysemic field, the recursive use of everything that
is available. Interpretations of action are multiple and indefinite, and every activity is
performed as a variation. Within this context, the United States magicland is as pleasant
as it is terrifying, for it regulates polysemy and establishes manuals for action. It also
provides for security, law, and order, a justified trust in the system, and a guarantee of
legal rights.

THE CLASHING OF WOR(L)DS


The magic-realistic conciencia can be seen in the Latin American sense of identity and
origin. Penelope Harvey has noted the ambivalence that

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Peruvian-Andean communities experience, between the Spanish heritage and their


indigenous Inca identities ( 1991: 6). The Peruvian-Andean community is aware of two
pasts:

One, associated with the Quechua language, combines a positive evaluation of their
powerful autochthonous ancestors with a negative view of the Spanish invaders. The
other, associated with the Spanish, presents the Spanish-speaking state as a positive,
civilizing force acting on the ignorant backwardness of the superstitious indigenous
people. ( 1991: 6)

This sense of ambivalence is a characteristic structure of the Latin American mestizo


consciousness.

While Anglo-Americans spontaneously say "when we came here," Latin Americans say
"when they came and invaded us," regardless of their skin color or cultural "preference."
Latin Americans take mythical side with the conquered, the Indians. "We" Latin
Americans were born out of rape, abuse, indoctrination, domestication, and subjugation.
"We" AngloAmericans were born out of heroism, stoicism, strength, love of liberty, and
individual struggle with the elements.

The mythical father of a Latin American is a Spanish soldier who came to steal gold and
return to the Old World. Her or his mother is the one with whom the Latin American
identifies, the Indian, the black, the oppressed, the insulted. The mythical father of an
Anglo-American is the frontiersman, the lonesome cowboy who wins against all odds,
saves the town, and rides off into the sunset. The latter is the open horizon, the always
new territory to be explored, conquered, colonized, and exhausted.

Latin Americans experience an ambivalence about their origin that is not present in the
Anglo-American consciousness. On the one hand, Latin Americans reject the Spanish
invader but speak his language, worship his gods, and value his "civilized" heritage. On
the other, Latin Americans also embrace the invaded as their mother and express pride
in her myths, rituals, and customs. The same ambivalence appears in the way that Latin
Americans regard Anglo-Americans. The United States is a constant cultural and political
invader, a presence that pervades television, film, music, fashion, technology, and state
regimentation. While envied, admired, and emulated for its sophistication and promise, it
is also despised for its banality, superficiality, consumerism, and greed.

To come to the United States is to become the frontiersman, attempting to carve out a
territory in "silence" and endurance. The Hispanic must assume the very style of the
once-despised invader, sharing with him the logic of action, individuality, and
detachment from the land. But while the

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pragmatics is now that of the Anglo-American, the discursive mythos remains that of the
motherland. Literally, the Hispanic acts like an AngloAmerican and speaks like a Latin
American.

The cultural experience of the Hispanic occurs at the intersection of Latin American and
Anglo-American traditions, and so the Hispanic's experience is a tension between two
modes of awareness and their differing space-time constitutions. 7 Although Latin
America may continue to be the "motherland" of Hispanics, the United States is now the
homeland or even better, the workland. Thus, Hispanics find themselves "speaking" two
cultures whose languages become the expression of split cultural territories. According to
Beatríz Lavandera, while Spanish becomes the "domestic" language, predominantly used
for talk of the past, English becomes the talk of the future, the language of the public
space ( 1981: 53 ). 8 This cultural segmentation and tension is also present in the
distance between the functional education demanded by the workland and the rooted
pedagogy provided by the motherland.

EDUCATION AND PEDAGOGY


To immigrate to the United States is to inhabit two worlds that collide mythically,
although they complement each other in the realm of magic. The mythical shock is
expressed in the distance between the pedagogical and the instrumental; that is,
between the traditional "ways of the people," which are learned orally, and the modern
"myth of progress," which is learned in the pragmatic situation of the workplace and
toward which education is directed. The magic, however, is felt in the power--of money,
efficiency, and technology--to produce and to consume, to transform and to be
transformed. The promise of becoming something better, of acquiring values, powers,
and charms, remains the most seductive force of the United States.

In order to enter this magic realm, the Hispanic needs to adapt, transform, or bypass the
primacy of orality and bricolage, if s/he is to fit the requirements of the efficient magic.
The Latin American bricolageous logic must adapt to a logic of binary and digital
oppositions, which is as present in the workplace as it is in the street and the classroom.

According to Martin-Barbero, Latin America is basically an oral culture ( 1989: 22 ). The


art of conversation is a prized social attribute, verbal disagreement is a must of daily life,
and every encounter is an occasion for an opinion, an interrogation, or a jab. Information
is transmitted by gossip, whose true value challenges that of the press and television
(which

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are always suspected of lying), and the body is a public territory, a sonorous place whose
frontiers are as unlocalizable and flexible as the voice itself. 9

But the Hispanic encounters a new game of human relationships in the new cultural
setting. The "chaotic" street, in which everyone is accessible to interpellation (continuous
reinterpretation) is now structured by the rules of appropriate body distance, demeanor,
and single-minded directionality. The right to privacy defines civil comportment in the
communal and public space, delimiting body, property, and civility. While for the Latin
American, community and family are coextensive, for the AngloAmerican, one belongs to
the public realm and the other to the private. The Hispanic must now treat the
community and the home as private in contrast to the larger public society.

A Hispanic child who is raised within an understanding of community as an extended


family will treat the Anglo-American public school in the same way, and be "put in her
place" by the system. The child's communal pedagogy clashes with the educative
system, which serves as an official melting device, the carrier of mainstreaming
enculturation, and the manufacturer of normality as averageness. The educational
system requires the Hispanic to confront his/her peripheral quality as a handicap, his/her
difference as a deviance, and his/her accent as a signal of incapacity. Communal orality
as a way of knowledge becomes incompatible with the functional space-time structures
required in the Anglo-American classroom. Spontaneous interpellation is judged to be
disruptive and even symptomatic of bad upbringing. Used to being resourceful and
ingenious, inquisitive and flexible, the Hispanic will find the monothonic classroom
remote, rigid, boring, and pat.

Teachers instruct on what is civil or uncivil behavior, good or bad attitude, and
disciplined or undisciplined discourse. The Hispanic will find that his/her communal
tradition is on the "negative" side of the polar dichotomies. Thus, s/he learns that
"unsolicited" contact with others, by touch, look, or address is not civil and should be
avoided. In order to have a disciplined discourse, the Hispanic must learn to separate
his/her inquisitiveness into fragmented activities. There is a time for reading, another for
debate, a third for questioning, and yet another for playing. The fulfillment of time
requirements takes priority over interactive learning. Thus, following the syllabus is more
important than satisfying curiosity, provoking interest, or probing the depths of an issue.

For Latin Americans, bilingualism is an academic and professional achievement. Herman


García has argued that for Hispanics, bilingualism becomes a hindrance and a stigma
through the presence of an accent ( 1983: 71 ). For instance, Chicanos' dialect is often
understood as an inefficient

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form of speaking both English and Spanish. Some, in fact, have gone so far as to suggest
that Chicanos are acultural, lacking any "real" language. Fernando Penalosa has
observed that code-switching is not, therefore, a cultural skill but an incapacity to
manage a single language ( 1981: 4 ).

In summary, the cultural conditions mentioned above can help throw light on the
Hispanic's flight from instrumental education. Trueba has enumerated the consequences
thus. First, the Hispanic faces a "tolerance" in that disguises indifference and passive
segregation. Second, the school system requires the student to remain silent, so to
speak, for a dozen years. Third, such a situation pushes the Hispanic into a domain of
irresolvable difference, in which he or she is excluded from both community and society (
1988: 147 ). Penalosa has claimed further that in some cases the Hispanic background is
negated, while in others, English is rejected with the rejection of mainstreaming
assimilation ( 1981: 2 - 17 ). In any case, the bilingual dialects that predominant among
Hispanics are also the most rejected by speakers of both languages--especially the
Chicano version of English ( Penalosa, 1981: 15). Those who become more "hybrid" and
less assimilated are more likely to be alienated by a system that understands those with
accents as cerebrally handicapped, disabled, and disadvantaged. Fourth, the
functionalization of life deprives education of both its pragmatic purpose (since one is not
going to improve on the social scale by education) and its sociocultural purpose (since to
be educated does not carry the symbolic status in the United States that it does in Latin
America). 10 Given its irrelevance, education may be seen as an unnecessary subjection
to the impositions of the system.

MAINSTREAMING EDUCATION
Even progressive, bilingual programs that are designed to instruct students in their
mother tongue before they enter English have as their main purpose to mainstream the
linguistic minorities. Mainstreaming purports to make students equivalent, anonymous,
accent-free, and as successful as everyone else. A successful mainstreaming, therefore,
deprives the Hispanic of the fertile ground that fosters curiosity, daring, exploration,
creativity, and flexibility. As Trueba has explained, very often the most important lesson
that minority children learn in school is that they are disabled and worthless. Minority
students are "socialized to fail" by a school experience that often leads to a sense of
individual and collective inadequacy, "ultimately creating a cumulative sense of
impotence, isolation, and low self-esteem" ( Trueba, 1988: 148).

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Paradoxically, therefore, mainstreaming prevents integration from occurring. Thus, one


despises one's culture, simultaneously hates at the same time the very setting that
defines one as inadequate, and is left in a "no-(wo)man's-land," a territory of
hopelessness and indifference. Indeed, literally, the street and the gang become the new
family.

The clash of cultures, which is already present when the immigrant settles in the United
States, reaches a critical point upon entering the educative school system. The
decreasing levels of education among the Hispanic population stem, at least partially,
from the experience of formal education itself. The second generation is more affected by
a sense of detachment than the first generation ever was, for the children have lost the
pedagogic wisdom of the motherland and are prevented from reaching the knowledge of
the workland.

It seems clear that this situation of estrangement, although particularly felt in the
Hispanic community, is also sensed by other ethnic minorities, especially African
Americans. Indeed, to study the case of Hispanics also sheds important light on the
general failure of the educational system, which is now discussed in public forums across
the country. These forums themselves quite clearly indicate an inability to come to grips
with the fundamental question of the integration of cultural diversities. One finds, for
example, attention given to capital investment, curriculum, and the historical
contribution of minorities ( Education Week Line-Up), but none of these aspects can
result in a better understanding of the crisis because they already assume the ideal of
mainstreaming, the logic of addition as improvement, and faith in competition as
progress. As Henry Cisneros, Mayor of San Antonio, Texas, has insinuated, the liberal,
multiculturalist approach to education fails to ask the question, "What do we have in
common?" ("Who Gives a Damn?"). The multicultural setting of the United States can no
longer afford the luxury of mere toleration of differences. It calls for the constitution of
an integral pedagogy that could lift the restrictions imposed by the logic of education as
technique.

THE EPISTEMIC BODY


The educational system, with its consistent support for functional rationalism, precludes
the multidimensionality of experience, thus enforcing the dualism between "pertinent
knowledge" (in the classroom) and "impertinent interaction" (in the street). The same
dualism that determines the source of valid knowledge also assumes the separation of
mind and body. While mind comprises the cognitive, epistemic, rational, human aspect,
the body is a wilderness, the amoral, instinctual, and nonhuman

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spect. Thus, to gain education is to cultivate the mind and domesticate the body,
disciplining it into a system of functions that react to prescribed stimuli (see Chapter 1).

This duality leaves the body out of the classroom, since the body does not perform any
"positive" cognitive function. Paradoxically, by doing so, the educational system is also
abolishing pedagogy before the student even enters the classroom. An education that
forgets the body also forgets that the premise of learning is "I can"--the active, engaged,
and situated body ( Mickunas, 1989). Education is impossible without interaction and
dialogue, and neither of these activities can exclude the expressive and performing body,
which is much more than a physiological entity.

The body resonates, swings, vibrates, and inflects all realms of human creation, from
poetry to mathematics. An expression of this performing force is offered in Peter Weir
The Dead Poets Society ( 1989). Shouting verses while training at soccer, climbing on
tables to see the world anew, disrupting uniformity and conformity, learning to walk
"funny," composing verses and reading aloud are all invitations to enact poetry; to listen
to the poetic body. Without a bodily attunement, the playfulness and complexity of
poetry is inaccessible; one expresses the flesh of a verse with the entire body. One lives
the verse, inhabits it aperspectivally.

The engaged body is more than what the mind will think of it. It is magic-vital, mythic-
psychic, archaic-primordial, thinking-practical, and integrating-kinesthetic. The very
experience of creativity is the enactment of the overlapping dimensions that the body is.
Thus, to dance is to enfold musical notations, work practices, fertility rites, divine
enchantments, or primordial archai (origin). An acknowledgment of this interactive
complexity can be found in the works of such noted architects as Friedrich Winter
( 1977) and Hans Bahrdt ( 1974), musicologists like Hans Stuckenschmidt ( 1969), and
poststructuralists like Roland Barthes ( 1972) and Peter Sloterdijk ( 1986). These
scholars have shown, in one way or another, that the integral body is at the base of the
social architectonic (from buildings through music) and of narratives.

The participation of different modes of awareness in a common search for understanding


permits one to reconstitute distinctions and separations among activities and disciplines
that are often taken for granted. In the 1970s, Melvin Alexemberg ( 1974) constructed
an "aesthetic education project for Israeli youth," based on Gebser ( 1972) and Algis
Mickunas' ( 1973) morphologies of cultures. Some of the classroom activities that this
project carried out demonstrate the practicality of a search for commonalities among
radically different cultural groups (that is, Western European and Oriental Middle-Eastern
Jews). In one activity, students randomly

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selected cards that provided directions for activities involving shadow drawing,
fingerprint taxonomies, and their relationship to natural patterns, such as tree rings,
zebra stripes, and planetary movements. Alexemberg has explained that:

Conceptualizing the changing relationships of sun and earth, relating those dynamics to
the form of one's personal shadow, and communicating these relationships in (the
student's) serial painting--his squat noon time body form to a late afternoon elongated
body form--moves the student toward an integral structure of consciousness by unifying
time-space, subject-object, man-environment, and science-art. ( 1974: 151 )

Integration will take particular shapes in particular cultural contexts. If one mode of
awareness is characterized by orality and vitality (like the Latin American) and another is
stressed visually and mentally (like the Anglo-American), then integral awareness
manifests visuality in sound, passion in learning, wisdom in sensuality, and music on the
production line. The experiential attunement of Anglos and Hispanics is latent in these
dimensions, which integrate the magical, the mythical, and the rational within an
aperspectival consciousness. The sonorous vision is, literally, melodramatic.

Melodrama is precisely the addition of the sonorous, moody, Dionysiac body to the
Apollonian, logocentric, classic drama. In the classroom, melodrama could be the
encounter of the vital and the cognitive in the force of storytelling, the dramatic
(impassioned, relevant, engaged) addressing of issues, and of embodied and interested
class activities. Instead of a new technology or a new infusion of money, what appears
central is the creation of a classroom atmosphere that invites orally charged sensuous
knowledge, exploratory space, and engaged time. Such an atmosphere can be created
only through the participation of teachers and students, the fundamental recognition of
another's contribution to my own learning, and the appreciation of the classroom as the
territory of "us," as those who are changing, growing, and belonging. Learning "requires
that the learner play an active role in determining the whats and hows of the learning
process" ( Trueba, 1988: 139).

Visuality in sound and sonorous vision have been the common fare of the universal
didactics of storytelling, adopted by children's programs such as Sesame Street, which
are as enchanting in the United States as they are in Latin America. Melodrama, myth,
and the "sonorous vision" are not absent from the American setting, by any means. Once
again, television is a prime example. From the news, with its heroes, villains, treasures,
and

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victories, to soap operas, television enacts the myth of contemporary society. In it,
according to Elizabeth Lozano ( 1991), the postmodern MTV talks back to narrative-
driven and mythically invested serials. And yet, neither the storytelling of journalism, the
patterning of MTV, the puns of comedy, nor intense, unresolved melodrama finds a place
in the classroom as possible ways of sense-making.

Both Hispanics and Anglo-Americans share a video-centric magic as their cultural


background ( Kramer, 1987, 1991). Literacy is no longer the skill of the younger
population, whether Anglo-American or Latin American. Instead, one has the logic of
patterning, videocy, and juxtaposition that Gregory Ulmer ( 1989) has identified as the
new cognitive style of the postmodern world. This cognitive form, which has been
neglected by the educational system, is no longer localizable in the traditional space-time
framework, but instead articulates an adirectional, atemporal, and aperspectival mode of
awareness. Unless the educational setting incorporates this de facto pedagogy of the
new generation, learning will remain outside of the classroom, where it had been up until
now.

CONCLUSION
The U.S. program of mainstreaming by "integral schooling" has failed, for it does not
recognize the interactive presence of a multicultural consciousness, which already
reconstitutes the cultures in contact. The aim of indifferent integration (to which
minorities are subjected) should become an integration-in-difference.

The classroom should not be understood as the institution of normatization or as part of


the necessary incarceration that Anglos, Blacks, Hispanics, and Asians have to endured
as a rite of passage. Education does not need to be like that. It does not even require a
drastic change of syllabus, for such change will mean nothing without a change in
pedagogy. It requires instead a willingness to listen and to see, to play and to
contemplate alternative ways of playing, a taste for storytelling, and a respect for the
pedagogic force of the aesthetic and the poetic. Pedagogy is not in the syllabus. It is the
dynamics of interaction, the dialogical connection, the possibility of recognizing traces of
myself in the practices of others, of becoming others in my own terms, and of inhabiting
a novel intersubjective region. This cultural dialogue accounts for both voices of diversity
and common visions and for the connection of the different and the differentiation of the
common.

An integral pedagogy is not an aggregation of cultural perspectives but rather a


recognition of the tacit experiential areas of interconnection

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among cultures and peoples. This intersubjective encounter will broaden the
understanding of phenomena in their multiple magical, mythical, archaic, rational, and
integral dimensions and will provide students with a cultural depth that cannot be
acquired within the traditional educational setting. It will then be possible to imagine
with the hands, to play with numbers, to think with the body.

NOTES
1. The fragmentation of modern reason results in an instrumental rationality that is
ruled by a myth of progress. This myth has been denounced by thinkers such as
Theodore Adomo, Jurgen Habermas, and the Latin American Jesús Martin-Barbero
( 1988: 457) as a form of alienation, and a reduction of cultural plurality to a single
standard of success and failure. Within this logic, education is reduced to the
acquisition of techniques to serve the needs of production.

2. Gabriel García Marquéz is referring specifically to Bogotá, the Colombian capital, and
the shocking uneasiness he felt when he visited the city and the region for the first
time. He found it a sad city, constantly rainy and foggy, inhabited by sad, grave,
and ceremonious people.

3. The Latin American understanding of reason does not have the logic of instrumental
thought. In contrast with the latter, Latin American reason sees education and
learning as activities of enlightenment that are justifiable and valuable in
themselves.

4. The integrating melodramatic consciousness includes a pedagogical dimension,


which is particularly present in literary pamphlets, radionovelas, and telenovelas
(that is, melodramatic serials). The pedagogical importance of these popular genres
has now been attested by Latin American, North American, European and Indian
researchers (Lozano, forthcoming).
5. The famous "banana massacre" occurred in 1928, on the plantations of Balboa,
Colombia, when workers demanded better conditions from the United Fruit
Company. They were killed by the Colombian army.

6. We use the phrase "magic realism" in spite of the possible confusion that it may
create. The Latin American consciousness is mythical, but it recognizes the
primordial magic of the world, over which humans have little or no power. Magic
realism is a domain that denies both realism (a modern invention) and magic (a
radical empowerment), proposing instead their coextension.

7. For the sake of clarity, we distinguish between "Latin Americans" and "Hispanics,"
the latter referring to U.S. immigrants of Latin American origin. For a specific
analysis of immigration patterns, see Nora Hamilton ( 1988) and Hamilton and
Norma Stoltz Chinchilla ( 1991).

8. The way that Hispanics use Spanish and English reflects cultural differences. While
Spanish and the bilingual dialects become the main oral languages of the
community, English is the language of transactions, business, and public life. The
oral reveals customs and the motherland; the written reveals the

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functional and the workland. For an extended analysis of these issues, see Richard
Duran ( 1981).

9. Gossip "is in many cases a mode of communication carrying authentic counter-


information and reveals the applicability of an oral culture that enjoys a wide range
of communication possibilities only feasible in the complicity established between
the speaker and the creativity it encourages" ( Martin-Barbero, 1989: 23).

10. As some have insinuated, the fact that Hispanics are surrounded by drop-outs who
are "making it" and by school graduates working at McDonald's points to the
irrelevance of staying in school. In the United States, the ideal of success is not the
"man of reason" but the "man of action" who works his way up by sheer resolve.

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