EXISTENZ-KJSNA WEBPAGE Part 4
BOOK-REPORT ON GREGORY WALTERS’ JASPERS AND THE ROLE OF “CONVERSION” [sic] IN THE NUCLEAR AGE—et al. (May 16, 2007)
Preliminary remarks: Several days ago copies of three books authored by Gregory J. Walters were acquired including The Tasks of Truth, Essays on Karl Jaspers’s Idea of the University, and Human Rights in an Information Age. I’ve completed a review of the “Conversion” book, and the Tasks of Truth book. The review below includes other publicized articles. In my opinion he manifests an understanding of Jaspers’ Existenz philosophy when he writes out of a flexible and individual self-hood position. I consider his conversion book as indispensable to researching Karl Jaspers as Kirkbrights’ Karl Jaspers, A Biography, Navigations in Truth. The recommendation has some caveats I consider serious and will be considered below. But even then the abundance of research, references, and the display of Jaspers-related forces are invaluable. My impression is that he would not expect or respect less than a confrontational critique from another’s objective perspective. The cost of these books is but a token of the value of Gregory’s exhaustive research and documentation.
But again a buyer-beware warning is in order, as the following critique will show. I debated with myself whether to start with an antithesis or the recommendation. Due to Gregory’s currently apparent willingness to trust others and the openness of his willingness to communicate, I decided to lean toward the benefit of trust rather than doubt and point first at what is obviously deserving of appreciation. It is apparent he is Catholic in orientation, and I am protestant.
Though I was only aware of the title until several days ago, the general thought of his “Conversion” book was anticipated in 2002 and can be found in my Response 14, TA 51 (Müller’s “Karl Jaspers Forum”) to Rifat—one of my last comments to him while assuming he was still alive. In this Response (included at the end of this critique) I first left open addressing Gregory’s “Conversion” book—which seemed appropriate in view of Rifat’s passing and the relevance of religious conversion, Church, revelational-miracles, confusion, etc. Second, I stated that as a matter of principle I would not purchase the book. The principle remains, but to avoid any implications that the author may have provided them without cost to me, it should be known that he did not. Third, as the Response 14 shows, I anticipated Catholic influence mainly because the word “conversion” was in quotation marks. Having reviewed the Book, I feel justified in that prediction. Fourth, in my 1968 Dissertation, I had reported on Jaspers’ answer to the question of what one must do to be converted.
Due to caution, energy, and time, this critique of Gregory Walters’ publications will be “under construction”, ongoing, and open to correction by myself or possibly by others. In a sense it will take off from where I left off with critiquing Richard Dawkins’ publicized works. But meanwhile Response 14 below (scroll to bottom) can be inspected. As in the case of the review I did regarding Susan Kirkbright’s book before, and then after actually reviewing the book, Response14 amounts to a review before actually reading Gregory’s publications.
FIRST CONTINUATION…(some minor corrections have been made in the above 5-29-2007)
PART ONE: JASPERS NOT A FOUNDER OF RELIGION--A cathartic clearing of the atmosphere of haranguing particulates (May 29, 2007)
Table of contents
0. Approaching the separation clause--conversion rights
6. Pepper’s unsavory charge that Jaspers lacked a taste for science--the implication that Jaspers if not scientific he must be religious to justify Vatican religious infringement in science and compulsory-age public education.
6.1. Leonard Ehrlich’s Jaspers’ “rockbed of modern science” shatters sophists’ charge that Jaspers was establishing a “primal source” religion
7. Conclusion and inconclusivity
0. APPROACHING THE SEPARATION CLAUSE AND CONVERSION METHODS
01. Retrospective-Prospective perspective: Jaspers’ The Future of Mankind has a Chapter entitled Substitutes for Reason. Jaspers addresses the spectrum of religious organizations and function relative to the rebirth of humankind. He hit the nail on the head with a blow heard clearly that gets to the point of the conversion issue; he said the best chances for the human situation is seen in individual conversion, and he saw the best chance for that on “Protestant soil” “small independent congregations” and the biblical idea of individual-universal priesthood (Future 259). His position was not a Reformation of the existing established Church’s power. The position was and remains a restoration of biblical principles with a clear perspective for a responsible retrospective accounting relative to the failures of the Reformation within the then Church-State milieu and ever-present threat of the recurrence of intolerance. The retrospective accountability pointed to the need for a radical confrontation with fundamental thinking to avoid repeating overpowering and avoidable mistakes. He was proposing nothing new but a radical restoration of the faith believed essential for humankind’s future. Humankind was approached though at the center of the central nervous system, and not at the periphery of an abstract species category. He was not promoting a rationalized category but concerned with every single individual. Prospects for the future were bleak if the protesting of systemic problems were to be prevented by species-thinking rationalizations. His philosophical faith and conduct located the emphasis at the center of individual responsibility, as depicted in the loner’s verse “Lord, send a revival and let it begin with me”.
01.1. Jaspers’ was thinking in terms of the best side of sectarian designs--1962 Philosophical Faith and 1962 “postconciliar” coincidence—I think Jaspers was thinking within historically established biblical republic-democratic guidelines—and his retrospection included an awareness of the American soil where separation was constitutionally cultivated and prepared for experimental research. “Every chance of the churches lies in the Bible—provided they can…make its original voice ring again.”(Ibid. 258) It is plain that he is not thinking along the lines of the cliché that all religious roads lead to a central planning at-large locale, and that his concern was in some ways not unlike Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom (Origin, p. 281). Jaspers’ 1962 Philosophical Faith and Revelation revealed a continuation of his expertise in psychopathology, its application to philosophy and theology. With an educated foresight he might have anticipated what Gregory refers to as the “postconciliar” period “from 1962 to the present” (Sciences pastorals 11 (1992) p.11). For Jaspers, unsought but unavoidable church diversity, individuals making distinctions not minimized by unionizing cordiality, involves the personal unremitting application of the science of hermeneutics. Gregory, at times, seems to be more inclined to speak of Jaspers’ concentration on individuality as problematic, and symptomatic (Ibid. 12) of “modernity”—meaning it is the result of the dark side of a critical introspection that challenges the assent to unchallengeable authority. I take it that the best-left-unused word “modernity” is used by one main religious sectarian fundamentalist perspective to point disparagingly at the various circumventing movements that refuse to return to vatic-like authority. Consequentially that judgmentalism manifests itself, for example, in the misuse of the Trade-Towers phenomena; that misuse--comparable to a silent-moral-majority overstatement—takes the form of exploiting (corrected from exploited) the emotive words “sects” and “cults”. It amounts to an easy nominalism to escape facing the American based and established nondenominational restoration reemphasis (see his paper Fundamentalist Movements in North Amer…). The Restoration initiative on this soil is uniquely prior to Restoration in the Catholic current sense.
02. Restoration in the early American experience includes the initiative taken by “one” using the communication techniques then prevalent. More than a century and half ago one religious personage willingly initiated the public communication technique of fair and formal debate and at a grass-roots level and without any convention or vatic-like instructional incentive. That personage initiated the communication challenge in the area of religion, society, politics, education and science. It was discernible in the 1837 debate with Roman Catholic Purcell. Besides the debate with Purcell he was the only church person to publicly challenge Robert Owens and that debate occurred in 1829. An attempt was also made to arrange a debate with Joseph Smith, Jr. The personage I’m referring to would be derogatorily classified as an instigator of a “sect” or “cult” after the manner of Gregory’s “others-supported” definition as set forth in his 2003 paper on the Fundamentalist Movements in North America:… (p.182) That movement includes what is accounted for in the American experience as the Restoration Movement—the common-law title-right stands. It was an empirical initiation of the realization of a nondenominational slant using the bible in the spirit of Jaspers’ statement that “Western philosophy—whether we admit it or not—is always with the Bible, even when it combats it” (Scope 97).
03. Jaspers’ clear open-ended nondenominational stance can be muddled by taking advantage of a left or right positioning on the unavoidable spectrum of possible interpretations. A radical closed-ended exactitude will interpret his wording “institutional dismemberment of the Church” (Future 259) to mean only “the” one-Church--if enough sophistry is mustered. And if not somehow touching the foundation of that Church, his rival must assume Jaspers’ meaning participates too much in the invisible church to be practical, or as Paul Ricoeur suggests religiously nondenominational enough to become an established religion (Conversion p 248)--with that Gregory and company “agree”. Only nominalism and sophistry can suppress Jaspers’ emphasis on individual responsibility. The sophistry becomes militant, for the nondenominational stance’s pragmatic impact has been reacted to by a call-to-arms [my words] conscription qua George B. Pepper’s “Karl Jaspers’s writings command attention”(55 Tasks). It appears the first shot of the fracas is fired by George’s wondering whether since the “protestant soil” comment, Jaspers and others had learned anything from Catholicity, and whether anything had been learned from Catholic vatic educative announcements regarding “science”. I propose George is wondering whether Jaspers had learned not to philosophically legislate “religion” with soil comments; and wondering if Jaspers in fact mirrored George’s religious and parochial preferences which is after all propagated as universal or so general as to be unavoidable for existenzen in this information age. The second shot is heard in that George considers Jaspers’ books “dense” (Tasks, 57). And there is the comment that Jaspers “always held before him specific individuals as guides”; it leans toward a misunderstanding of Jaspers’ existenz and the biblical imageless God. George’s understanding, being based on a convenient density perception, seems designed to suggest that if Jaspers elucidated he would have been seen to have bowed to vatic authority or that Jaspers as an influential personage if properly grasping reality would be more Catholic and protesting less. George reminds me of the expert on Jaspers who didn’t study him because his writings were “convoluted”. Both have the smarts to grasp Jaspers’ meanings, but the agenda to disregard and misrepresent.
04. Jaspers not product of specific persons in George’s sense despite a 1996 vatic bomb but rather Jaspers shares in the biblical faith, the “foundation of our [Western] philosophy” (Scope 97). Jaspers cannot be converted to or inverted into “postmodern” status that conveniently. George makes mention of specific individuals influencing Jaspers in order to imply that Max Weber’s alleged emotional instability had more to do with Jaspers’ reputation as a therapist, little to do with Gertrude’s friendship with Weber’s wife, less to do with friendship, and nothing to do with aging and normal morbidity (see Kirkbright’s Jaspers). The foregoing is what George means by things “commanding attention”. Though I’ve taken George’s “commanding” quote out of Gregory’s 1996 book’s context; I have broadened the frame of reference to spoil the game-plan; I’m attempting to remove George’s superficial implications from relative significance and restore respect for the cipher-context of Jaspers’ philosophical faith, Transcendence, Encompassing of encompassings, and periechontology. I refuse to participate in minimizing Jaspers’ inspirational existenz and be accessory to making room for George’s Church’s committee of bishops’ interpretation of Mr. Wojtyla’s 1996 proclamation that apparently consecrates “a” hypothesis and seems to perform a rite transubstantiating some alleged science into a principle not to be questioned by “Christians” anywhere—existenzen not withstanding (my emphasis and comment). (Christian is a biblical name but unfortunately capitalized upon by misuse from neo-Nazis to established religions’ atheists.) There’s no reason to reduce Jaspers’ comprehensive overview of the human-situation and rationalize away the psycho-historical heart of the contention. The reductionism falls short of Jaspers’ “The Human Being as a Whole” thesis that “all such conversions into absolutes are false” (GP 751) but “every conversion into an absolute contains some truth which is thereby only destroyed” (GP 750). That early Psychopathology quote has always “commanded attention”—though revised over the years it is consistent with his earliest writings.
05. My efforts here will involve tracking Gregory’s trail of publications, in terms of signs, reactions in footnotes, transactions in contextual terms, while not excluding manifested authentic flexible self-image potentialities involved in his understanding and use of the term “existenz”. The tracking includes the effort to uncover the effects of totalitarianism’s pretentious announcement that it is all right for the humankind population to take comfort in the “universal” Church’s announcement that salvation is possible to those not excommunicated or not yet harvested, restored, and gathered into one solid collective--and probationers are tolerated and granted indulgences through selfdom penance, e.g., non-family friends working in solidarity against something captured in the insiders’ word “praxis”. I suspect it means, “Serfs wanted, only workaholics should apply”.
06. Silencing secret “restorative” forces--I’ll try to remain mindful that secret “anti-modernist” vatic “restoration” forces (“religious totalism”) are constant and consistent phenomena confronting Gregory, a brilliant personage who happens to be Catholic and probably in need of a vocation. I’ll try to remain aware that through the nature of institutionalism Gregory’s works are subjected to some sort of inquisitorial review regarding communications—multi-party reviews sharing risks and defenses unique to this information age. I presume, as a happy-to-be-outsider, that silencing tactics exist and are applicable toward tainted tendencies determined worthy of termination in excommunication terms and all the consequential loss of accolades. I don’t have to contend with stuff I’d find inhibiting, like two to three hundred religious orders, committees of bishops, and the titles of distinctions corporealizing God on earth.
07. Gregory’s works will be considered in some yet to be determined and ongoing too general and sometimes too un-detailed form but always somewhat correctable.
1988 Karl Jaspers and the Role of “Conversion” in the Nuclear Age
1. Introduction: reformation, conversion, restoration posturing—It seems appropriate to continue as a fully engaged protesting person—individually, as a standup stand-alone critic contentiously enduring the terms “modernity and postmodernity”. These “clichés” have been made less obscure to me by Gregory’s familiarity with and use of them. What I have learned augments some truculent reactions. And of course I’m emboldened by the distance this informational-age technology makes possible—and I am retired ashore, whereas Gregory, conceivably more conscripted than enlisted, is at sea fulfilling his tour of duty regarding George B. Pepper’s “Jaspers commands attention” (Tasks 55). I see from my perspective that In Karl Jaspers and the role of “Conversion” in the Nuclear Age, Gregory’s approach to Jaspers’ thoughts about The Future of Mankind proceeds and stands-out in large part due to the frequent use of plural pronouns. I’m referring to the use of “we believe” or what “our position is” on the value of Jaspers’ comments about saving humankind. The pronouns can be interpreted as a degree of succumbing to “postmodernity” the essence of which seems to be the absorption of individuality by a gnostic-like cultist indoctrination complex. Part of the indoctrination process involves the propaganda that the word, along with “modernity”, is universally accepted and individually acceptable without protest. To me, using those words participates in some degree of religious and secular profanity; if one misuses or uses them reluctantly, “one” fails “their” graffiti test. The complex is designed to distract from the simple “…let the revival begin in the individual”.
1.1. This critique is an attempt to learn how to think and come to meaningful coherent terms about individuality and what Gregory references as an anachronism [my word] because “we” are “entering upon a ‘post-individualistic’ phase of history”(Conversion 255). Anyone familiar with Jaspers’ philosophical autobiography will recognize the phrase “learn how to think”. He used it during an informal clinical staffing session, He was saying that psychopathologists need to think as responsible empathetic individuals rather than being restrained by handed-down extant confusing terms and others’ methods used to handle patients’ individual psychic phenomena, meaningful psychic connections, and causal connections of psychic life—or words to that effect. The lighthearted response to this individual protest was that Jaspers should be spanked. In the “postmodernity” phase individual protesting would be taken seriously, and in the “post-individualistic” phase Jaspers would be seriously disciplined, perhaps even terminated due to not fitting in with staff. Post burning might come in the stake-conciliar phase.
1.2. Pre-apologies are in order here, for it is easy to whack a book sealed from change between a hard cover and a hard cover (rock and hard place), an institutional requirement which tends to obligate the author to a life of defensive consistency regarding “what I have written I have written” while of course defending the institution’s award, recognition, and approval. The “conversion” book must be seen psycho-religio-historically, i.e., as follows:
2. It’s his Doctoral Dissertation--It’s important to remain sensitive to and remember that Gregory’s “conversion” book is obviously a doctoral dissertation. That helps make sense of what appears to amount to uneasy handling of undue influence that is systemic to a religious hierarchy. Hermeneutical theoretics can account for Gregory’s use of “conversion” in quotation marks when referring to Jaspers’ call for change in countless selves. “Conversion” is used consistently throughout 254 pages as though some copyright or divine-right violation had occurred. It is like: “When you use our word there is something essentially profane about it, and secular to the point of being irreligious”. “Conversion” becomes conversion in the last Chapter, the one that George B. Pepper influenced. Gregory makes the word-change after deficiently suggesting that Jaspers’ cipher language (the hearing of confrontational words preceding conversion—my augment) marks the point where Jaspers gave way to speculative thinking (see item 6. below) and philosophical faith becomes on-the-way to being a secular religion only needing a convention (along the lines of a Karl Jaspers Society—my supplement). That interpretation is deficient because the cipher language is an experienced therapist’s use of confrontational words, an invitation calling for individual change—though not limited to therapeutic approaches and methods. My impression of Gregory’s analysis does not sync with his demonstrated higher quality of thinking that proceeds out of authentic “existenz” evident in other parts of his Dissertation, which hopefully will be considered hereafter in another place and a more positive hopeful light.
3. Protestant soil as the topical vista--I sense a predetermination here to cope and come to other terms disregardful of Jaspers’ clear view that individual change has the greater chance of occurring on protestant soil and within protestant principles. It appears that Jaspers’ special cipher-language, distinguished from “symbols”, needed to be couched in a manner suggesting that a lingering “modernity” prevented Jaspers from being boosted to a “post-modern” level. There’s an attempt to show that Jaspers in effect switched to some form of civil or metaphysical religion as though he had not progressed mentally to “post-modern” levels where an “exceptional one” wills or assents to “others” authority. And surely if one can name it a “modernity predicament” or a “postmodern progression”, nominalism wins again if repeated often enough. Thus, given “Jaspers-became-speculative” (which I take as a deficient premise) it followed that Jaspers was talking more about the individual soul than…orthodox praxis (see item 4.1. below)…, i.e., more personal soul than “they” prefer, a preference designed to lay the groundwork for the influences manifesting “themselves” in Gregory’s and George’s final Chapter Eight. Again, Gregory’s point is that we have moved into a “post-individualistic” phase of history, and he reinforces this view with a reference to Karl Rahner’s emotive use of the self-less “Jesus Christ”—as though in the face of such holy name-use who could dare be critical of that sort of nominalism implying that God with “us” as the promised “one” is the precedent for “postmodernity’s” one living for the most, “most” primarily and ultimately meaning vatic authority. Rahner, as a Roman Catholic theologian, was highly influential during the Second Vatican Council that Gregory states marks the beginning of the “postconciliar” period; and we can say accurately it marked the beginning of the “postmodern” alleged dogmata epoch. Again, “postmodern” emphasizes assent to authority immanentally independent of individuality and absorbing inner revival fires.
3.1. Gregory’s abundant documentation’s inverse affects--Here Gregory’s invaluable abundance of reference-documentation works against a flexible authenticity, and the potential is constrained by “we” meaning Karl Rahner, Gregory, and others. Gregory’s better self’s thinking potential seems unarticulated, which hints at causal connections due to undue processes—like intervening “dogmata”. What seems clear enough is that there is less content and more stylistic opposition to Jaspers, but most clearly the reputation of Jaspers became the launching pad for Gregory’s publication momentum, which has recently reached more depth than in-depth levels in his recent APA, KJSNA paper (to be discussed in another Part). Mr. Pepper, cofounder of the KJSNA, probably deserves recognition of some sort for the latter—perhaps a Heidelberg Karl Jaspers Award presented by Leonard Ehrlich under the table (a co-founding KJSNA collaboration staggeringly puzzling to me, but making sense if one misappropriates an attitude similar to Gertrude’s when she convinced Karl that he had a problem with realizing what is psychological possible for a person—see 2.5. below).
4. Gregory’s doctoral dissertation and causal connections--So, one immediately wonders about the identity of “we”. Again, Gregory’s book was apparently a doctoral dissertation. By comparison it’s interesting that my MA/BD dissertation on Jaspers’ Existenz philosophy and its application to pastoral counseling proceeded from the critical examination of what “one thinks” and what “one feels”. While writing the Dissertation I recall feeling some discomfort about the frequent use of “one might think” “one could wonder” “one could question” “one” this and that. So when I began reading Gregory’s Dissertation his use of “we” stood out, as did my “one”. The been-there-done-that identification was made. In my case it would have been self destructive to use a plural pronoun and expect a dissertation to pass the committee of readers and the oral examination committee. It seems fair for…one…to say Gregory’s doctorate Dissertation quintessentially wonders or questions what a “one” single psychopathologist could contribute to the global reality spinning on the edge of nuclear extinction and encompassed within and without by militant powers with totalitarian potential capable of recurring efforts to squash individuality. One wonders about the milieu for this group-attack upon an individual reformation, or more apt, restoration personage. It looks and sounds like a juvenile like challenge: “we” can take singular “you”. But that is the culture some are born into and remain burdened and encompassed by unless heretical enough to be excommunicated. But that is not a decision “we” can make for any “one”.
4.1. The “we” rather than “one” issue also leaped out like a revelation from thin air as I wondered about “their” (objectified “we”) frequent use of “praxis”. It appears to be Greek for “practice” and seems to take “practice” to the point where it is foreign-Greek to me. It was used by Homer and in the New Testament usually meaning something bad practiced, or at best something done in the form of a vocation. Lacking insider data, I thought, surely it’s something more than an educative-test’s trademark, but an obvious cipher-siphoning of some mystic etymological significance attached to Greek culture qua Catholic’s Eastern Orthodoxy located exactly on the cultural invasions’ battlefront. Ah, yes, I thought, of course, the word includes the protectionist concern over the welfare of Greek Eastern Orthodoxy as Roman Catholic’s utilitarian friends on the eastern perimeter of Catholic Imperialism.
4.2. I’d guess praxis has something to do with Aristotle and Heidegger’s sorge, i.e., care or concern, sufficiently complex or nebulous enough but of classical association to justify a scheme of redemption…for some. It seems associated with a group’s protectionist survival-urge stylistically portrayed in moral and ethical terms. Probably interwoven into a pack string running from Anaximander to Aristotelianism through Thomism unto Heideggerianism and the likes of James Collins, (who once placed hope in Heidegger as an updated Church philosopher to replace Aquinas). Partly for the sake of logical consistency, I think it’s a continuation of the sort of practical concern fulfilled in the “1933…Vatican...concordat with Hitler…It was the first great endorsement of the Nazi régime…It made us shudder” (Jaspers, German Guilt). The “us” in Jaspers quote here includes his directly affected wife Gertrude and family, and friends of Jewish lineage. The instrumental agent involved in the signing of the Concord was Franz von Papen, appointed German Chancellor and diplomat, born in Roman Catholic Westphalia nobility. He was pro Nazi. The Vatican took a conciliatory stance that contributed to the empowerment of the Nazi regime. I mean there was no friendly Orthodoxy buffer zone in that vicinity. A major concern was to protect Catholics from fascist forces. Groupism protects members, friends, and productive serfs (in that order) one way or another. That is what denominationalism means.
(4.3. An aside “praxis”--There was no such battle front on a most western point on the continent at the beginning of the 20th century, so rationalism moved the battle to a remote coastline village in the form of the Fatima miracles and revelations almost as though there was a scheme to create greater unrest on the Eastern Orthodoxy firing line by in-your-face Fatima-miracles hinting at revelations from beyond, i.e., that Russian Catholics should remain steadfast—but kept secret with a few leaks resulting in an apparent competitive affront to Mohammed’s sister Fatima (The village of Fatima is of Muslim origin so named when the Iberian peninsula was controlled by the same). Coincidentally, it was this very subject, amidst others (Müller’s “Karl Jaspers Forum” that was being pursued with Claude Rifat when he reportedly passed away.)
4.4. With moral-ethical considerations Gregory addresses this concern for such safety while speaking of the cold war era. It takes the form of wondering about the consequences of Jaspers’ concerns or anxiety over the threat of totalitarianism. It includes the results of Jaspers’ willingness to risk losing independence and life when all else fails to preserve simultaneously some semblance of freedom and individual liberty (freedom as one of the constant distinguishing attributes belonging to the human population without which only animals exist). The crux of the issue is one of freedom to be protestant or captive and enslaved. But it seems fair to think and say at least “their” concern includes primarily Catholics in then Soviet Russia, for after all in a nuclear conflagration the results for institutional Catholicism had to have been of chief concern. Gregory’s uneasy constructive style though comes across as concern for general humankind, and he does remind that Jaspers was speaking as an individual married to another individual for whom and with whom he would die in dignity rather than in an avoidable death camp. I as “one” suspect Gregory speaks as one tolerated but yet outside the exclusive religious family, but yet his brilliance is something that can be exploited by “their” guidance and under “their” control, wherein Saints are made of saints, and scholars are made Scholars and exploited through institutional serfdom—and heretics are made Heretics.
4.5. A “They’re” might figure more into an engrained sense of duty and a learned divine obligation toward administrative flow-charts, and “they’re” figures less into a naive trust in others, which on the surface cantilevers into a reverence for religious regalia and clerical attire. I say that because only degrees of sycophancy can be made to sync Gregory with Jaspers’ Existenz-individualistic-emphasis. This said partly because of Gregory’s own admission that he agrees with Jaspers that Christ meant it when he wondered why anyone would refer to him as master or good when there is none such but the “father” in heaven. Jesus was publicly dealing with the temptation toward obsequiousness. And whatever such weakness can be found or planted in Jaspers, its seriousness is tempered by what would have happened to the Jaspers-couple if the lack of reverence were confronted in the way Jesus confronted it, which led to his torture and extermination. This puzzling ambivalence is mystifying in view of the value exhibited in Gregory’s research, e.g., his bringing to fore that a later and augmented 1981edition to Schilpp’s Philosophy of Karl Jaspers contains some criticism of Heidegger but posthumously included (“Conversion” 224) because Gertrude thought it would be disastrous to do so earlier (Kirkbright p. 315, see 1.2. above). One wonders why and who made the decision to publish it while intensive efforts were and are being made to defend Heidegger. Gregory does not include quotes or a summary of that Heidegger supplement. I don’t have the revised book. The defense for including it could of course involve minimizing Jaspers if he were not around to defend his position in a reply. It is possible to make an educated guess what might have been added, for it would have to be substantially loose enough to be somehow contrasted with his 1959 revised psychopathology’s evaluation on pp. 776 and 778 (Heidegger manages to “obscure things once more”). On the other hand, if objectivity prevailed in the augmented version, it might fulfill the single footnote reference to Heidegger in Philosophical Faith and Revelation, Jaspers’ last book, which included his intentions and most persistent and consistent values. I mean Heidegger was given insignificant footnote status (p. 272).
4.7. So I had to smile some when his acknowledgments masked the naked truth of how one can be expected to comply with those whose influence made possible the support making his research project an actuality. Some financial support came from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. That sounds like a Federally Funded Agency. That is said in the spirit of additional research needed regarding public fund use to support what might be more religious than secular--which leads to the following:
4.8. Gregory forthrightly acknowledges “Reverends” each clearly designated by “o.m.i” status (Oblates of Mary Immaculate). I guess that is what it means. A co-founder of the KJSNA, reverent George B. Pepper, with obvious clerical-uniformed Catholic associations is also acknowledged as challenging some early versions of Gregory’s Chapter Eight, which deals more specifically with the Catholic/protestant conversion issue. George’s “invaluable guidance” led Gregory to make some changes in the Chapter, and I would have liked to have seen the original Chapter. When Gregory is retired from obligations, it would be interesting to see a revised version of the book with that original in an appendage. Here, I mean no disrespect for an individual who communicates without clerical apparel or uniformed-solidarity begging, but disrespect for an Order unleashed and without the collar acknowledging the forewarnings rights due the public in the information age.
4.9. Acknowledgments can reveal more than disguise the ulterior reasons Jaspers is receiving so much attention by Catholic scholars. The absence of acknowledgments can mask, or acknowledgments can indicate how one is being used to establish a form of a Karl Jaspers’ international society—something, if becoming a reality, Jaspers would adamantly oppose. Jaspers would oppose it due to the immanent nature of the exclusive religious powers’ natural tendency to instrumentally organize a KJS as one more tactic to harvest influences to boaster the power under momentum. Jaspers is an insurmountable threat to all forms of catholicity, the latter meaning this or that ontology imposed by literal and figurative uniformed agents without regard for the propriety of individuals’ historicity.
4.10. Seeing this human situation requires an atypical world-perspective, which is undeniably what Jaspers manifested. When an individual, a highly regarded and growing authority in the field of psychopathology, manifests such an effective world-viewing, that individual becomes the target of established worldviews that depend on institutionalizing saintliness and miracles, and demonizing opposition if the protestor cannot be misrepresented or used as mere friends paying lip service to propagandizing forces. If one wants to make-it in a catholic community (any dominating group exercising patronage) you either as a catholic join the fiesta procession or at least observe the litmus test of cordiality--approving smiles and waves uttering titles of distinction. Catholicity includes competitive steeples, minarets, bells and callings.
5. Avoiding being targeted as a haranguer by Alan Olson--Admittedly I am attempting to defend myself against Alan Olson’s loose charge that Jaspers “harangued” against Catholicity. The use of that word might have been designed to endear him to Catholics. Alan has a university Protestant history too to represent so he then offers an apologetic defense for Jaspers’ haranguing—as though the theistic and biblical Existenz needs that short of condescension: e.g., Alan says Jaspers “harangue” was “in large measure” justified “by what he perceived as the perverse capitulation of the church and its leadership as symbolized by the infamous Concordat of Pius XII [sic] with Adolph Hitler.” (Conversion 224) The bracketed “‘[sic]’” is apparently Gregory’s perhaps to show that Alan failed to show proper respect and maybe to minimize the defense—something I cannot identify with, for, if I say “Eugenio Pacelli” it carries no disrespect for an individual. Such use of titles of distinction blows the mind but that is the designed effect.) Jaspers simply freely sermonized about Catholicity and neither Alan or I should refer to it as haranguing, but rather the haranguing charged is inversed if titles of distinction are expected. Any good Methodist with a sense for the English Reformation should and probably does understand that.
6. Peppers’ unsavory charge that Jaspers lacked a taste for science--The real in-depth insult to Jaspers came from the cofounder of the Karl Jaspers Society, George Pepper, in saying that Jaspers failed to recognize the contributions of science. Surprisingly Gregory says, “Professor George B. Pepper argued the case convincingly”. How “they” can be so convinced must be due to divine intervention. It was due more to bottom-up vertical intervention via cult convention. It was not due to psychopathologist Jaspers’ corporeal presence at a “pontifical”-academy-of-sciences’ convention. It is obvious to me that George was emboldened by the vatic authoritative statement of 1996, and while as awestruck as Stephen Jay Gould by all the eternal-city regalia. Remember, this harangue against what Jaspers is emphatically known for, i.e., the limits and simultaneous limitless value of all sciences (for there is no science without limited individuals with the potential for understanding and misunderstanding), is made by the cofounder of KJSNA and without the other cofounder’s response it appears the founders are unanimous or at worse in collusion. I guess this Pepper-charge, that Jaspers lacked something essential regarding science, is supposed to justify the tax-exempt status of the KJSNA; that it corrects the imbalance resulting from infiltrated Catholicity. It is not true, but if Jaspers is more metaphysical than a 1996 vatic-science proclamation, then surely there are no grounds for anyone having the audacity to audit holler. Charging Jaspers with lacking appreciation for science, and charging Jaspers with establishing a secular religion is propaganda to avoid the tax question (see item 2. above).
6.1. Ehrlich shatters the sophists’ charge that Jaspers established a “primal source” religion--But Gregory, in existenz mode, ambiguously (he’s ambidextrous here) intervenes perhaps as much as he dares without embracing “Heresy”. The worth of Gregory’s research, including footnote cross-references, quotes and comments, comes to the rescue but cautiously only in an after-note form where he quotes the other cofounder of the KJSNA Leonard H. Ehrlich’s statement that associates Jaspers with the “rockbed of modern science”(Conv. 220, ft. nt. 4). But Gregory could hardly inconsistently say Leonard’s argument is convincing, as he did of George’s. After all Leonard is not part of the Church hierarchy—I guess, but some spirit of reformation perhaps. Perhaps Gregory knew that Ehrlichs’ [sic] statement is more than equal to the Pepper-Walter argument. Gregory does say it is an “apt metaphor”. I suspect this is a case where my “literal metaphor”, the empirical side of metaphysics, is more accurate than Gregory’s “apt metaphor” the figurative side of metaphysics, even if given mere footnote status—even this footnote is more an empirical fact than George’s alleged “convincing” argument that Jaspers was science deficient. The Ehrlich-quote in footnote 4 refers to the same paragraph (p.190) where Gregory can be interpreted as suggesting that Jaspers began thinking about philosophical faith due to the comment by a Catholic priest; the priest said that Jaspers was theologizing more than philosophizing. Gregory properly quotes Jaspers, but the quote could easily mean Jaspers saw the need to clarify to the point of avoiding any identification with and exploitation by Catholicism—something he made clear in his final book Philosophical Faith and Revelation. Jaspers would not have wanted it said that he was arguing for something he never said or meant. I suspect, or hope, Gregory was not unaware of the extreme significance of this Ehrlich footnote. From the Ehrlichs’ perspective, they are caught between selling/distributing/translating Jaspers’ works in the Catholic community as well as the Reformed community, subjecting him to exponential misinterpretations that carry over into the scientific community. What Gregory calls an “apt metaphor” but unconvincing compared to Pepper’s “conclusive science”, Leonard Ehrlich was able to remind that Jaspers spoke not as a representative of any specific group, but rather as an individual independent philosopher. And that individuality plus rockbed science can never be religious in the same sense of being Roman Catholic. So the backhanded charge that Jaspers was establishing a religion is not only baseless but revealingly bully-like sophistry.
7. Conclusion and inconclusivity--In conclusion it needs to be emphasized that Jaspers is not to be interpreted as biased toward a patient or a personage. He expressed professional patience toward the faith of individuals and their historicity. That needs to be realized regardless of efforts to shoehorn him into some conjured repetitive nomenclature like heretical “modernity”, and despicable “postmodernity” or that he’s part of an underdeveloped species not yet fitting the “postindividualistic phase”. These used categories are designed to suggest that Jaspers was selfish rather than self-critically hitting bottom in reason and emotion prefatory to conversion or the transformation of the individual. The issue was and is: Heavy institutionalism is under increasing momentum, and there’s an increased difficulty in restraining establishmentarianism from plowing into political, and individual moral ethical issues by sanctifying ontology qua science.
7.1. Exploiting Gregory--My feeling, which is almost as fallible as reason, is that Gregory’s genius, beginning with multiple linguistic (no-longer-needed now) demonstrations and overall verbal skills, but mainly his religious orientation, was seen as a high-crop-yielding-field ripe for leaping upon and exploiting for the Collective. That Collective is emboldened by this well cultivated crop-yield, and the communication-gauntlet, namely Gregory Walters, is cast before any individual daring to accept the challenge to run the gauntlet of orders, bishops, and friends, stretching all the way to Rome. It is reasonable for the understanding to conclude that Gregory’s vatic vectored mission was to appropriate and handle and exploit this influential protestant psychopathologist, i.e., Karl Jaspers, and pronounce, expound, and renounce that Jaspers was a “…a Protestant [sic P] who advocated the ‘Protestant principle’ and the ‘invisible’ essence of the church…” and, Gregory added, that Jaspers did so radically (249 “Conversion”). With that statement from the Pepper-reviewed Chapter 8, my conclusion is established as being more than “a” (pardon my nonuse of highfalutin French) hypothesis, but the critique has merely begun and inconclusivity reigns as surely as God is, and conversion of the abnormal psyche in society remains possible.
7.2. Gregory’s potential use of conversion potentials--I’m still not convinced that Gregory didn’t use “conversion” in quotes to protect the existenz philosophy of Karl Jaspers from accusations that it violates the separation clause. That accusation could be used to excuse the infiltration of KJSNA by established organized religious entities. It’s also possible that pointing at “conversion” and implicating the separation clause distracts from the tax-exempt status of the KJSNA (which has gone international) which brings up some questions about using it as a means of Catholic propaganda on a highbrow level to further establish that particular religion in the name of contributions to charitable organizations for various preservation efforts (see George B. Pepper’s “Once upon a time”, internet KJSNA). Ending on a benefit-of-trust note, Gregory may have anticipated separation-clause conflicts and temptations; i.e., emphasis about “conversion” and conversion distinctions could prevent a “Jaspers’ Society” from becoming a front for laundering funds intended for a religious establishment—funds disguised as tax-exempt charitable contributions. The question is whether getting Jaspers out there through organized means is worth the risk. I’m looking forward to Gregory’s Human Rights in an Information Age—as a learning experience. The review of his publications so far has certainly been an education worth every cent he and his invested.