JASPERS APPLIED TO “EXISTENZ, PAIDEIA” AND “KARL JASPERS SOCIETY OF NORTH AMERICA” WEBPAGE (initiated March 1, 2007)
Critique of articles from “Existenz”, Editors Alan M. Olson and Helmut Wautischer
First Critique– “Jaspers Applied” to Alan Olson’s Faith and Reason, Isaac and Ishmael Revisited http://www.bu.edu/paideia/existenz/volumes/Vol.1Olson.html
A partial table of contents:
O1. Prefatory words on public domain, Existenz and Paideia (Scroll to the end)
1. Alan’s Footnote (29)-A Jaspers-Kant reply to “genetic-fallacy”––I want to expand on and perhaps correct Alan’s understanding of Jaspers’ (and Kant’s) position on theological institutional authority. In footnote (29) Alan could be interpreted as saying that Jaspers might have softened his criticism of Catholicity if Jaspers could have updated and revised his book, Philosophical Faith and Revelation, after the “Pope John XXIII–Second Vatican Council”. (Here I acknowledge that unfortunately the words Christian and Catholic are used equivocally even when used independently; and my position is that titles of distinction are genetic-fallacies as such can impair retrospective and prospective cognizing). In the footnote, Alan does two things with Jaspers’ references to Karl Barth and Heinrich Barth. He reminds us that Jaspers contested Karl Barth (recognized Protestant) but not Heinrich Barth and that this might mean Jaspers’ value judgments are loose enough to be swayed by conviviality. However, Jaspers conditioned his kind critique of Heinrich by declaring the need to…protest…hearing and obeying theologically centralized vatic authorities. My position is that after thorough reflection Jaspers would never hear and obey just because he had received an invitation to participate in a prestigious Festschrift, or having been invited to…say…Oxford—if Gertrude would have had any input. Well…maybe to avoid a gas chamber. (Seems like I remember reading that Hitler had plans to make Oxford the capital of his new world order.)
2. Alan’s thinking is like this: For the 1958 Festschrift honoring Heinrich Barth––prior to Philosophical Faith and Revelation––Jaspers’ presentation was entitled philosophical faith in view of Christian revelation (i.e., words to that effect). Alan seems to conclude that Jaspers was less critical of Christian revelation (or as Alan, with too little source-reference, redefines revelation as “religious revelation”) due to Jaspers’ approval of some of Heinrich’s theological expressions. They were complimentary toward Jaspers use of therapeutic ciphers while Karl Barth was deprecating. It is doubtful that because Heinrich appropriated and demonstrated a grasp of some of Jaspers’ cipher-language that this clarifies why Jaspers dropped “Christian” in the book’s title—if it was ever there. It is questionable that because Jaspers did not use “Christian” that it represents some fundamental systemic fluctuation in Jaspers’ overall and constant systematic thinking. Alan suggests Jaspers mollified a special criticism of religious revelation and enhanced the general after the Festschrift. This is doubtful, risky, and can result in incorrect consequential inferences.
3. Alan could be interpreted as saying Jaspers was so easily swayed that he might have had a complete…turn about…toward Catholicism’s revelationism… after the Vatican-council Catholic philosophers’ and theologians’ deliberations; that Jaspers’ Existenz could be so shallow and inauthentic that a selfish tit for tat back-slapping episode would emerge especially if they had given some Heinrich-like credit to Jaspers. This apparent need to genuflect before a vatic magistrate deteriorates into a search for similar about-face movements in the way Jaspers read Kant, and exemplified by Kant’s presumed (but understandably cautious) lack of expressed certitude regarding whether transcendental being is more metaphysical or philosophical, or both, more than less, simultaneously––and all that relative to the question whether the word transcendental or Transcendent describes the ground of revelation. I prefer the word inspiration.
4. Aggiornamento vs. Ressourcement!––To his credit, Alan does indicate the unquestionable influence that Jaspers’ Philosophical Faith and Revelation had on Catholic theologians whether they acknowledged Jaspers or not. Jaspers’ influence is such, as a reputable psychopathologist, that Alan’s mere involvement with the KJSNA could qualify him for an exploitative visit to Oxford where, lest we forget, Existenzen were burned. But I doubt and prefer not to think that Jaspers would have been so enraptured with appreciation to the point where he’d violate the core of Existenz philosophy. The encounter with Karl Barth showed Jaspers cutting to the core; a core well read, deciphered, by the “Vatican”, for Barth, I read somewhere, was invited to the council. I would venture that Jaspers was not invited, and would not have attended even if possible. Both Karls were too frail to attend anyway and both would have been little more than regalia fodder for the best that Catholic philosophers had while never seriously questioning the value-perpetuity of “ressourcement”. The terms “aggiornamento and ressourcement” are Catholic terms meaning respectively new ideas are to be absorbed and refined by vatic tradition. Alan uses “aggiornamento” in his essay.
5. Questioning the value of protestant soil and the growth of small sects—Alan implies, it seems to me, that if Jaspers had survived to witness the terror of today’s Middle East monopolistic sectarian forces, he would see his mistake in suggesting anything worthwhile might come from bible based sects. The implication is that Jaspers would hastily classify all abnormal behavior in current society as “fundamental” movements suffixed with an “ism”. But it is substantially questionable that he would analyze religious conduct so narrowly without giving due consideration to humankind as a whole in all the complexity thereof. Rather, one can say Jaspers remained firm in his hope for humanity growing on protestant soil and the small biblically based sects that emphasize individual change. Alan’s tone, to me, implies that biblical (book) monotheistic thinking causes Middle East conflicts, and whatever value-judgments following such a major proposition is best nullified by the alternative conclusion that a polytheistic value system would be healthier and corresponds with value-pluralism (see 6.). It is true that Jaspers lists monotheism (and polytheism) as possible consequences of “the biblical battleground” but a reader must make a distinction between monotheistic thinking and monotheism’s square-cap on thinking (PFR, p. 333).
6. Value-pluralism, defined, is more polytheistic than monotheistic. It involves the idea that valuable values are…more…current creations and…less…to-be-discovered, clarified, and understood inherited standards of normal behavior in society and history. Alan is confusing the monopolistic forces Jaspers speaks about with the monotheistic biblical imageless God. The latter is the fundament of Jaspers’ values. The fundament is not polytheism. In view of this apparent attempt to make Jaspers subject to value-pluralism, this is where the bible and small sects come in. Jaspers says and has not said differently:
Alan’s preference for a convenient “later” Jaspers can most safely be corrected in Philosophical Faith and Revelation where he explains what he did not mean by “many creeds” (pp.336, 342, 355f).
7. International Web access; a threat to the education industry, a potential boom for the independent church––Today by using a fraction of rising tuition costs one can acquire information and still have time and resources to financially support the local church. The perpetual value of independent congregations involves ethics not monopolizing forces––except for the consequential social product resulting from individuals’ conversion, i.e., all ethics is local—local conversion of the inner individual. The Lord-sent revival begins within. Today with worldwide information accessible through Internet connections serving as causal connections influencing life as a whole internationally, the worldwide in-depth value of local independent congregations is an all the more encompassing need. But independent groups must not be so uncommitted to fundamental faith as to sell out its independence to an ecumenical union, i.e., a church at large to war against political forces. Unity of faith does not mean a union of denominational “Faiths”, nor solidarity by the force of numbers rather than declaring the gospel message of self-image sacrifice. Alan’s revealing footnote seems to challenge Jaspers’ fundamental local-empowerment thinking here. But perhaps Alan is laboring under University censorship either directly or indirectly for anything published in the name of the University could have financial consequences in terms of student enrollment. The University he represents has a Methodist origin and ecumenical mission with less appreciation for diversification then is practical. Local thinking though is primarily recognition that conversion begins within each individual and the individual’s environmental influences are causes to be considered.
7.1. Christopher Thornhill––So, it seems Alan falls victim to the hard-to-avoid scheme of theological institutionism, i.e., Jaspers must be subjected to a fundamental principle of “evolving”—i.e., arbitrarily Jaspers becomes early-Jaspers/objective and come-lately-Jaspers/subjective. This demand to make Jaspers irrationally ambiguous spills over into a genetic-fallacious search for something more primitive for historical support and succumbs to a ridiculous atavism. So the same demand is imposed on Kant (as forefatherism) through Alan’s mentioning a slightly extant work done by Christopher Thornhill—extant because accessing it one must be able to endure the expenses, like that involved in participation in the APA-KJSNA conferences (but there is wind on the horizon that may blow these papers into more free public domain). Thornhill and other scholars are dropped into Alan’s essay in support of a need to be critical of Jaspers, perhaps merely because one’s position depends on productivity whether there is a market for it or not, and with little regard for the fact that the deceased cannot ask for a recall of the interpretation.
8. Evolutionary values––What should be guarded against here is an attempt to establish a necessary “evolution” of values in the philosophically seminal Jaspers and seminal Immanuel Kant, for such wise paradigmatic\seminal individuals must be updated, reinterpreted, and then exploited and made to curtsy before the 1996 “Vatican’s” apodictic evolutionism (bio-theologism)––a “Papal” proclamation demonstrating genetic-fallacy in action, fully fleshed-out. Jaspers and Kant must by hook or crook be encompassed, confined, and restrained by Catholicity’s “Ressourcement and Aggiornamento” spectrum of exclusivity.
9. The Constancy of Kant––Although Kant shows that he has “nothing to bring against the rationality and utility of the ontological argument for the unconditioned Author” (God), [or we could say the Transcendental encompassing of ontological thinking, or as Jaspers says “periechontology”] he emphasizes that we commend and further the ontological argument but
We need to be clear that Kant’s position did not change or “evolve” and accommodate an “evolving” vatic revelation. Kant here is a contestant, or protestant, protesting individual and vatic revelations but leaving the door open to individual inspiration but within and not in contradiction to the individual-Kant’s moral, biblical and ethical cultural psychic phenomenal lineage--ethos. This is consistent with Jaspers view that revelation reveals, or better put…inspires…by concealment (p. 58, 109, PFR). We should stick with Jaspers’ expressions regarding the intellectual and political methods of Catholicity, for “In the Roman Church exclusiveness is a decisive tenet” (p.39). It is and remains tenet; it is more “ressourcement” than “aggiornamento”.
10. Constancy of Jaspers with a view to title-dropping––
10.1. Alan’s suggestion that Jaspers was unaware of the history of humankind’s inhumanity to humanity is unreliable. Allen’s reference to most scholars (who mythologize Genesis, see 13.1. below) is informative but they should not be allowed to silence Jaspers’ warning about the hazards of demythologizing what is not myth but more than myth. He can no longer reply but that does not mean his recorded replies are less relevant. Current affairs would have no effect on the substratum of his clinical-honed thinking. Alan’s inclusion of the names of McGill’s and Oxford’s Charles Taylor, APA president Hilary Putnam 1976 (Wikipedia), etc. are essentially ab auctoritate arguments within an essay about the paradigmatic psychopathologist Jaspers. It could smack of cronyism, except Alan, in footnote (26) fashion, reminds us of Taylor’s proneness to being politically correct. But Alan has aided in a futile disqualification of Jaspers by dating his Question of German Guilt, though Jaspers’ legal qualification and court experience was established early during his clinical work. Jaspers’ encompassing and penetration of criminal, political, moral, and metaphysical guilt only shows that Jaspers considers “it fatal simply to adjust to a low level” of underachievers. Jaspers: “According to Kant expert opinion in the Courts on mental states should fall within the competence of the philosophical faculty.” (Gen. Psychop. 36) Jaspers says Kant’s position was that the philosophical faculty should be involved and Jaspers agrees that psychiatrists’ “competence” is “really commensurate” with philosophically qualifications. That quote is from Jaspers’ earliest works though it is uncertain to me how later revisions may have only modified stylistically what appears a constant more than a variable in Jaspers’ thinking.
10.2. Jaspers and Heisenberg––Catholicity’s glossolalia, like titles of distinction, overweening words like “aggiornamento” and “ressourcement” are religious primates’ regalia and are supercilious to the point of supersuccession in the strictest meaning of a genetic-fallacy. And…protesting or contesting one’s self-image (Existenz=being a self suspended between itself and the Transcendent) through methodical and systematic doubting, was not, as Alan seems to thinks, due to the influence of Warner Heisenberg. Jaspers was simply agreeing with the view that the unity of nature if couched in uncertain terms when elevated to…the level of…principle “is bought at the cost of dispensing in such cognition with the abundance of natural phenomena.” (p. 172, PFR) Of course it is true that the abundance of natural phenomena is never closed to falsification or verification. And I don’t mean vatic infallible falsification or sacerdotal/sacramental verification. “Lest we forget the limits of modern natural science and absolutize the result of such cognition, we have to guard against a perversion that will intrude whenever science is supposed to grasp the whole.” (Jaspers, Ibid. p. 173)
11. Jaspers not dated––Jaspers was aware that the protesting spirit flourished on German soil due in part to the existing buffer zones in the wars with the Turks. But the wars with the Turks occurred partly in reaction to moral deficits. The seeds of contesting were simply watered by war clouds. In Jaspers works on The Great Philosophers, Nicholas of Cusa, he speaks to how the Turks conquest of Constantinople shook the West to its foundations and how Cusanus futilely attempted to discourage a crusade by “restoring peace through union of the faithful of all religions” (239). Jaspers also reminds us that Cusanus yielded to vatic infallibility. That’s genetic-fallacy.
12. Jaspers timeless awareness––The suggestion that Jaspers lacked awareness–of what Alan feels is a need to unite against the fundamental monotheistic forces of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam–is probably a weak attempt to avoid Jaspers view that the hope of individual conversion lies on protestant soil. Alan seems to me to have this genetic-fallacy enmeshed within himself to the point that he has forgotten how to think beyond fundamentalism, e.g.: thatthe experiment in the separation of church and state in the New World is failing. That’s how I interpret Alan’s value-pluralism emphasis, i.e., as an effort to show how wrong Jaspers can be, when an academician of high caliber, needing to prove one’s position’s worth and meet the education industrialists’ expectations, becomes, in Kant’s words, an “overweening sophist”.
13. More reactions to Faith and Reason, Isaac and Ishmael Revisited
13.1. Alan’s Genetic Fallacy: Having learned little from Jaspers objections to Bultmann’s demythologizing efforts, Alan falls back into mythologizing biblical phenomena so that he can demythologize it afresh into a novel. He does not take primary responsibility for this; for in footnote (1) he defers to “most scholars” who view the first eleven chapters of Genesis as mythical accounts of primeval origins. This is supposed to prepare the reader for correcting what he views as Genesis’ inherent genetic-fallacy.
13.2. The Pauline Allegory--After deferring to and sharing the risk with…scholars…Alan corrects the Pauline-Galatian allegory. The Galatian allegory views the Abraham/Hagar/Ismael phenomena as indicative of the law and points to the restraining nature it imposes against ethical behavior if and when a person wants to act out faith freely rather than use moral prohibitions and commands as an excuse (I-follow-orders-fallacy). As Jaspers has said, the law is the result of deterioration in the moral state of humankind. The Galatian allegory continues by depicting the Abraham/Sharah/Isaac phenomena as a way of thinking about the spiritual Jerusalem that is from above rather than the seat of law geographically localized in Jerusalem where religious law was the law of the zion. The Pauline allegory served a meaningful purpose. It was meant to serve as a meaningful commentary to the law side of the OT that had its origin in Arabia, but terribly executed in Jerusalem and not the heavenly idea of the kingdom. No one should be controlled by such a limiting origin-sin/inhibiting thought process. Because Alan has supposedly and infallibly laid the foundation for demythologizing the OT account, he can ignore the NT account, and evade the abundance of data waiting to inspire the open mind.
13.3. The Scholar-revealed Alan-allegory—Alan’s Ishmael becomes reason, which always participates, to some degree in rationalism, and Isaac becomes faith under new mythological terms, and both are subject to Alan’s understanding application of the genetic-fallacy; via a novel genetic-fallacy model, the new myth takes on exclusivity. But the Pauline (Gal. 4) Abraham/Hagar/Sarah succession is tied to special geographical localities such as Mount Sinai in Arabia, and Jerusalem, and distinguished from the heavenly or transcendental dimension essential to the transformation of each individual making up humankind. Alan’s allegory misses the inspired, literal, and real point: the Abraham/Hagar/Sarah successor-phenomena is real and portrays a home disrupted by conduct that led to the need for rule by law including adultery, abuse of maidservants, and children in need of protection due to severe neglect. In order to force the origin of the genetic-fallacy to that of the Bible, the referring to and destroying so haphazardly an easily thought of literal account, simply flutters too much and becomes a personalized nemesis to holy conceptualizing, to inspiration.
13.4. The Literal Cypher Language of The Genesis Account—There’s no need to disrespect the biblical account by referring to the phenomena as a bizarre series of theophanies, as Alan appears to do. That tone is an in-thing that rationalizes and puts a cap on understanding and comprehensive inspiration. The biblical account of a disrupted family needs to be taken seriously. We cannot avoid the realization that the child most literally sacrificed was Ishmael after which God inspirationally reminds Abraham that he now has only one son and better concentrate on nurturing, while God takes care of the deserted Ishma-el (my hyphen). The inspiring account includes the message that God heard and materialistically answered the cry-of-need of the deserted child. We can thank God that due in part to the literal model we now have programs protecting children and adults.
14. Bultmann and Jaspers on the resurrection––Alan’s view that Jaspers was somewhat shaken by the debate with Bultmann seems like an overstatement. What Jaspers realized was that he was far more of a theologian and religious reformer than Bultmann. What Bultmann realized was that he was unprepared for Jaspers’ concrete clinical experience. It was Bultmann not Jaspers who broke off the debate; I mean it was not a mutually equal communication process that exhausted in meaningful silence for Jaspers had much more to say. For instance, though both agreed that a corpse cannot come to life and rise from the grave, Jaspers says that such materialistic talk is degrading to life and must be restated in cipher language. His unwillingness to demythologize the phenomenon (corporealizing humankind to space-time confinements) was by far more responsible, and it was a theological application of his “human species” Chapter in General Psychopathology which included the phantom side of the phenomenological method, i.e, the involvment of eidos in the body-psyche unity. At least Jaspers was not as certain that immortality needed to be demythologized and disagreed with his own father on the issue—to put genetic-fallacy in a Jaspersian perspective. Talk about immortality should be restated in such a manner that monopolistic forces could not exploit the phenomena.
15. Paul Tillich’s popularity–Alan correctly mentions Tillich’s popularity over Jaspers. There’s more to say about Tillich’s popularity in the U.S. compared to Jaspers. Alan mentions it in his footnote (19). I mention it partly because Tillich is listed on the board of Religious Perspectives and Alan introduces Religious Perspectives’ planner and editing editor, Ruth Nanda Anshen, into his essay (see below, item 16.). The reason Paul Tillich is more popular in America is because he is alleged to have a systematic theology and his three-volume work is entitled Systematic Theology. He knew how to exploit Jaspers popularity and his systematic philosophical logic. Whereas Jaspers is a recently translated systematic philosopher/theologian honed on psychopathology, Paul Tillich is given more to evolutionism than Jaspers. Tillich says, “It is impossible to say at which point in the process of natural evolution animal nature is replaced by the nature which…we know as human…” (p. 41, Systematic Theology Vol II). Anshen, board of editors Paul Tillich, and Karl Barth were Darwinian evolutionistic and one must wonder if the translator could have chosen a word like “development” rather than “evolution”, for I doubt if Jaspers would take kindly to being identified with that school of origin-thinkers. The popular Tillich was interred at New Harmony Indiana, a geographical location made famous by the atheist Robert Owens. See the Campbell-Owens debate on the Internet. One can grasp the importance of the American experience in the separation of church and state and see also the meaningful part small biblical sects can play.
16. Anshen as perennialist and evolutionist--The English translation of Philosophical Faith and Revelation did not suffer too much from Barth and Tillich being on the board of Religious Perspectives, and not much from the planning and editing of Anshen. Jaspers’ cipher language and cognizing is not easily perverted. And he is consistently and smoothly systematic leaving minimal systemic weakness attachable to his statement that “The ‘evolution of the genus homo’ [note the quotes=something he would never say out of respect for the cipher language of Being as such] is not a reality that can be apprehended as such or serve as an explanation of anything. And above all, this ‘biological evolution’ would only have been accomplished by a small, scattered section of mankind, not by mankind as a whole.” (p.14 Origin…Goal). Barth, Tillich, and Anshen were given to evolutionism and engaged in the profane and popular politically correct bio-language. Alan says Jaspers stands against Anshen’s on the perennialist tendency. I don’t know how Alan is using the classification. I would suspect it refers to religious perennialism, that in so far as updated data is taught and confirmed religiously by science, religious perspectives are guided less and less by faith and philosophical wisdom, and more and more by materialistic science.
16.1. Jaspers and “Constructivism” and Perennialism––If Alan means that Jaspers is a “Constructivist” if not a religious perennialist, he is less wrong. But more than the encompassings of history encompasses Jaspers’ constructs, and his cognizing does not spring into the air perennially due to some primitivism fathered by mother nature, or some form of radical constructivism.
16.2. About changing revelation into religious revelation––Changing Jaspers’ meaning of revelation to verbalizings about religious faith or religious revelation is philosophically disingenuous. Logically there is no such entity as religious faith any more than there is religious meta-physics, and religious science. There are bad-faiths held fanatically and in that sense such attitudes are maintained…religiously… and pseudo-philosophically (metaphysically and philosophically ritualistic) to the point that habitual repetition takes time away from objective observation and research, and probably, I wildly speculate, affects genomes and then manifests itself in personality traits.
16.3. Alan’s nihilism, Berlin’s “value-pluralism”––Alan’s first of two “headings” includes a low degree of hope regarding the possibility of philosophical faith and revelation communicating meaningfully. His second heading’s argument infers that monotheistic traditions of the Middle East are the problem and cannot be part of the solution. This attitude affects adversely the rest of the essay and fails to properly notice that by the end of Philosophical Faith and Revelation Jaspers has encompassed abnormal revelation-phenomena (what he means by “To my knowledge I have never believed in revelation”) with more understanding and comprehension than faith in the abnormalities, i.e., psychic life’s truth-claims (knowledge) are scientifically violated if closed to the understanding by an attitude that elevates knowledge to the force on an unquestionable immanent dimension of principality. Revelation when encompassed by clarifying reason and understanding becomes inspiration made possible by individual freedom of thought. Individual inspiration includes authentic selfhood through loving processes (Existenz=self suspended between itself and the Transcendent), e.g., Jaspers’ loving home milieu. Inspiration, rather than revelation, is more descriptive of Jaspers’ view. It fits in The Origin and Goal of History with the ideathat humankind “are related in Adam, originate from the hand of God and are created after His image” (xv) and fits in his Axial Period concept, in as much as “separate regions” (Jaspers) like China, India, and the West without knowledge of one another experienced the depth of selfhood in the lucidity of transcendence. (p. 2) Inspiration more than revelation is also essential to the spirit encompassing and penetrating his earliest textbook on psychopathology. Inspiration, or as he put it, psychiatrists must learn how to think, may occur through meaningful psychic connections but not without the empirical part of individual psychic phenomena.
16.4. Jaspers precursor not Berlin––Jaspers is therefore the precursor of whatever is meaningful in “value-pluralism” though the phrase was made popular by Isaiah Berlin, knighted Sir Isaiah Berlin. Alan appears to think that Jaspers views are clearer now due to this Oxford-man’s description of “value-pluralism”––meaning values are creations of humankind rather than products of nature waiting to be discovered in the perennialist sense. I think Jaspers would place greater emphasis on inherited consciousness. Enculturation affects causal connections. Berlin’s value-pluralism includes similar ideas in that there’s objective pluralism where values may be of equal worth but still in conflict. To me if they are of equal worth there is no more conflict and no more inspired value judgments. Here again the precursor of such objectivity is super-successor [Sir] Jaspers except objects are not creations of humankind without the Transcendental source of inspiration. That Transcendental inspiration avoids being hazardously judgmental towards the world’s patients some of whom are therapists not easily tolerated.
17. Tertullian as demurrer––One need not exactly be happy with the tone of Alan’s complaint when he says that Tertullian participates in something “painfully true”. I think Tertullian if he were here to defend himself could do so via demurrer, a defensive maneuver he was especially good at. Though today it would be a motion to dismiss. Anyway, Alan’s charge is contemporarily irrelevant and immaterial to Alan’s discomfort regarding monotheistic cognizing. Alan is referring to what he calls fantastic claims of Middle Eastern monotheistic religions and charging Tertullian as complicit. It appears it is not monotheistic open ended concept that Alan is critical about but rather the monotheistic psychology of religions albeit within a certain geographic location with all the complex dynamics thereof. I suspect Alan is breaching the monotheistic God concept and tapping into the popularity of Eastern mysticism, which is most likely misunderstood to the degree that it is popular. Whether meant or not, in footnote (1) it sounds like he is relegating Tertullian’s faith and roll in the history of sacred literature to a lot of profane litter––and much of which, like the NT and Koran (Alan’s examples) had hardly reached an ecclesiastic canon status. Tertullian’s reliance on Christ’s holy spirit for guidance was behind his inspiration more than the authority within collected apostolic letters, though not materially in conflict with them. Jaspers says that Tertullian’s faith in the absurd amounts to a participation in the Kierkegaardian absurdity that “Revelation reveals by concealment” a paradox for a fatalist. (p. 58) The alternative to monotheistic thinking is polytheism and that seems comparable to value-pluralism. Jaspers says “Polytheism testifies to a belief that we are torn into mutually exclusive possibilities, doing and thinking the irreconcilable [a poor psychological starting point—my comment]… Against this stands–not equally clear throughout history, and seldom in great and exemplary form–the will to unity.” (p. 137 PFR)
17.1. Jaspers on Tertullian’s “I believe because it is absurd”––The comment attributed to Tertullian in reality is not meaningless irrational verbalizations but rather a meaningful recognition of cognizing limits and the limits of knowledge, and what one must do at the boundaries of available knowledge, without a book, and still have a standard other than some vatic authority threatening to freedom. The expression, Jaspers says, points to the “Tension [that] has prevailed from the beginning between faith in revelation and that which believers call ‘natural reason’”. (PFR 58) What both Tertullian and Kierkegaard were witnessing to on the more meaningful rather than meaningless end of the spectrum of historical data, is that it does not matter to faith, because inspiration can result from admitting that the mystery of God and revelation is in the concealment of absolute truth but inspiration possible, in an individual sense, through the work of the Holy Spirit. Jaspers says:
It is not knowledge and faith that is found absurd. Given the abnormal psyche in society and history, causal connections and the conception of psychic life as a whole; it is absurd not to believe. In other words he means by “I believe because it is absurd” is what’s legally meant by filing a demurrer claiming there are no grounds for his charge for in the court of history the tension has always existed and cannot be legislated out as meaningless or hazardous psychic data.
INTRODUCTORY STATEMENTS ON EXISTENZ
01. By the end of 1966 I had researched enough of Jaspers’ works to settle on a title for a required thesis (two-part dissertation was allowed) to be submitted in partial fulfillment for the degrees of MA and BD. The Lincoln Christian College and Seminary records show the Thesis hours credited for the first semester--1966. The title chosen was: Karl Jaspers’ Existenz Philosophy and the Possible Application to Counseling. The date is important because the use of “Existenz” in my seminary world predated Paideia’s on-line “Existenz”—one Editor being Mr. Olson. My Dissertation may be available on this Website soon. Two hardcover copies are located in the Library of Lincoln Christian College and Seminary.
02. Note--“Paideia” is historically a public domain word but now has a protected Internet domain status. The word occurred in the Septuagint and its contextual Hebrew definition share fairly in its meaning. It is used in the title of this Webpage to attempt to attract the attention of Internet search engines. It is an attempt to level the educational and communicative field thereby neutralizing the education industry’s forces. The meaning of the Greek word should here be interpreted as: information that cultivates the soul by correction that curbs the passions, increases virtue, but not by interpreting the works of Karl Jaspers and then protecting copies of interpretations from being freely fourth-estate critiqued.
03. Currently, this Webpage is handicapped by certain financial restraints. Membership in the Karl Jaspers Society of North America, and participation in that Society involves expenses of membership, registration, travel and lodging, and all compounded by registration and attendance at the APA conferences. Though that is the current situation, that might change, for intellectual fairness in this cybernetic-Internet age offers the opportunity for an alternative, i.e., sharing papers for critical review by others at least fortunate enough to have and maintain computers.
04. Jaspers’ influence is growing and can easily be misused by religious institutionalism and the competitive education industry vying for our money. Hopefully this Webpage can bring the products of societies and associations into the public domain most of which is populated by the formally and informally educated.