The following excerpt is about Eric Weiss, “Jean Gebser: the mutation of structures of consciousness” presented at Esalen’s CTR first annual invitational conference on evolutionary metaphysics, December 2006.
"To read Gebser in a Hegelian manner, as Ken Wilber does with his popular slogan 'transcend and include,' is, in a sense, to grasp the letter of Gebser while missing the living spirit of his work. Gebser himself discussed the limits of the famous Hegelian dialectic. He said that because mental thought tends to be dichotomizing, it necessitates the generation of a third term to move toward reconciliation. But even this third term (the Hegelian 'synthesis') is in turn split again as the overall process marches onward. Gebser saw this dialectic as an unsatisfying expression of the deficient phase of the mental structure of consciousness (which will be described below). Overall, Weiss wanted to be clear that Gebser's thought should not be mistaken for a new version of Hegelianism, nor should it be reduced to it, and in his own life Gebser tried to distance himself from Hegel's work.
"Weiss said that Gebser was clear that his work did not describe a linear evolution, development, or progress of consciousness. Instead, he claimed that the process described in book The Ever-Present Origin was more complex and nuanced. Gebser used the term 'mutation'to describe the process of moving from one consciousness structure to another, but this was not intended to reduce the development of consciousness to a biological metaphor. Rather, he used this term to emphasize the discontinuous nature of the various structures of consciousness. The word 'mutation' connotes the sense of a leap that is more sudden in comparison to the gradualism of Darwin's biological evolution. Gebser viewed each structure of consciousness as a latent possibility or inherent disposition within Origin – i.e., within the ultimate origin of all that is. He saw humanity as naturally predisposed to the discontinuous transformations that have taken place during the course of history and pre-history. But crucially for Gebser, the later mutations do not 'transcend and include,' as in Wilber's model of evolution. Instead, they are discontinuous and autonomous modes of awareness, each of which has its own intrinsic validity, and for which the perception and appearance of time and space are radically different."