(April 24, 2007)



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Jaspers’ Ethics Applied to Groups, Books, and Blogs

Notation—This essay, routed to Web Site manager April 25, was roughed drafted the week of April 15th, 2007. There has been some communication with a personage who is working on a similar project and through dissimilar media and from a depth different than mine. This is not to imply approval or agreement. This Essay can be revised and corrected at any time. Others are invited to comment, and I’ll try to respond, and if the slant is toward that of “Karl Jaspers Applied” your comment might be posted. No e-mail in part or whole will be deliberately posted without prior timely notice and if there is disapproval.

1. Books, Bombings, and Blogs
2. The expired: membership or excommunicable material
3. Questioning and falsification of emotives
4. Inverting the polarization
5. Embarrassingly easy to be a critic
6. The timeless conflict
7. Aside from the infinite cellular nu/mt DNA complex, mystery grows
8. Jaspers’ ethics and groupism
9. The George Circle
10. A Kirkbright enlightening photo
11. Inspiration through independence
12. Intervention by independence
13. Confrontational dialogue, ethics and net-etiquette

1. Books, Bombs, and Blogs--It’s fair to ask why this essay is included within a Web Page categorized as “KJS” when in fact there exists alternative outlets. One expensive choice is traditional book authorship.  Another could be the KJSNA “Calls For Papers”. In the latter case it is academically invigorating if selected, but these papers are subject to unavoidable selection practices and carry the risk of rejection with no objectively stipulated public appeal process readily available. Authoring a book is also risky. For instance a book about Jaspers could be bombed—to use an Internet tactical concept—by propaganda suggesting that he was a simple by-product of Heidegger. Though that is essentially untrue it remains an allegation contributing to a population’s rejection of the book. Rejection involves unavoidable arbitrary processes even within groups whose original founders’ might have had the best intentions. The forces involved are easily imagined if not reasonably ascertained where great issues are involved, and Jaspers planted himself in the midst of historical--and prehistoric—controversy, e.g., whether the essence of humankind is centered in earth bound dust or its decentralizing principle is its origin. (See Philosophical Faith and Revelation, p. 173, first two Heisenberg paragraphs.) Traditional book production and a formal or informal group’s interdisciplinary and arbitrary rejection/acceptance processes are challenged by the “blog” phenomenon. It has swamped traditional media like a rough wave. It has led to a competitive marketplace’s hustle for control through intentional programming and smart search engines. Forces with money trails and collectives’ backing are mustering for tighter control. To keep pop pace presidential candidates blunder by shouting “Yahoo” (or a sound to that effect); a President tries to appear high-tech by an awkward improper intransitive verbal use of “Google” rather than a proper name for part of world web Internet monopolizing efforts.

2. Can the dead join or be excommunicable--So inevitably a seminal deceased individual like Jaspers is going to be asked, via the body of his works, how he would respond to group membership or participate in the blog media. Jaspers is a good one to ask posthumously because though deceased he lived abnormally long in spite of these group pressures—including church membership and matrimonial ethnic twaining (sic)—while coping with genetic (genotype) and phenogenetic (phenotype) peculiarities that left him enough different to be significantly paradigmatic. We know how he responded to the Nazi membership question, a knowledge illuminated by how Heidegger responded. Here a differentiation by comparison can enhance appreciation for gang-like tendencies or martyr-like recalcitrance (value judgments here I readily confess).  We know how Jaspers objectively “blogged” with Hanna Arendt while she endured the subjectivity of the Heidegger association and on through the effort to defend the relationship. It was called correspondence or letter writing in that time. 

3. Questioning and falsifying emotives--But still, honesty leads to wondering whether I simply don’t want to risk rejection and the restrains of the interdisciplinary processes imposed by another or others. It’s a fair question and deserves a double-edged reaction. I think this Web-Page essay is more than a tactic to avoid rejection and the shattering of an inferiority feeling’s conjured defensive superior self-image. After all there is nothing to lose (well, in the normal and ideal sense like in Job’s world) and much to gain through dialogue and amendments that a blog currently allows. It is also reasonable to wonder whether the very existence of a group bearing the name of Karl Jaspers is ethical if he in fact would oppose it. Alternately, rationalizing about an unwillingness to share in risks should be subjected to scrutiny, especially if it involves unfounded suggestions that reflect negatively on the intentions of the founders and all those stuck with the daunting ethical questions while dealing with the possible infiltrations of demeaning and demoralizing forces.

4. Inverting the polarization—Modernity’s (that technical word here means simply a non-technical “here and now”) web-net epoch amounts to a new dimension to the fourth estate. Like it our not, it affects other life’s dimensions including bringing about a pandemic migration of capital. It qualifies for common-sense status similar to William Greider’s One World, Ready or Not—in economic and communication categories. This novel global objectivity presents a situation wherein an individual Website can contain worthwhile essays that can be reviewed, and with or without owner permission, selected—while mindful of consequences. It challenges the control academia has over producing something with an outstanding and prestigious spin. If there are blog-papers in the web domains that are worthwhile locating, it’s an encumbering task, unless there is intense enough attention getting flaggers.  In view of the flags, it leaves the talent searching blog scouts riding jet-ski search-engines without excuse for careless skirting. Now the earth’s table has turned and an individual can participate in the selection and rejection process at least till capital finds a way to get a handle on due process and suppress responsibly pursued individual rights.

5. Embarrassingly easy to be a difficult ersatz critic--Let it be acknowledged that it is easy to critique the Jaspers related hard work initiated by others. I justify this easy effort though by boldly infringing upon some possible ulterior intent that might be precipitating group facilitators, the latter who may be well intentioned, innocent, but in fact manipulated, and who simply have not and cannot comprehend the greatest issue while swamped with serfdom duties. The other problem is how to oppose and resolve infections without destroying the body, the corporeal, i.e., the group of possible valuable and committed thinkers. One needs to be sure that issues are not purposively conjured to bring about the destruction of organelle without having replacement (ersatz) props immediately at hand.

6. The conflict is timeless--In the sixties I was not prevented from freely critiquing forces (Heideggerism and Thomism) that seemed bent on devastating the enlightening forcefulness of Jaspers’ contributions. I had grasped what seemed like Jaspers’ timely publications that seemed designed to beat Heidegger’s time and being proposals to print. Jaspers argued the issues publicly before Heidegger could get his bearings to give expression to his concerns. My grasp of this, right or wrong, is on record and in hardcover form. I then got enmeshed in getting a life outside of the academic dimension. After 25 years of practical work, I retired and was then introduced to the Internet. I saw what was available. I said to myself: “I wonder what the Heidegarians are doing to Jaspers!” A quick review of the Internet resources substantiated to my easy satisfaction that the misrepresentation of or distraction from Jaspers had continued. I wondered how far the effort might have, if any, infiltrated groups. In particular I wondered if the effort had infiltrated the KJSNA and as a matter of course The American Philosophical Association. I visited three KJS sessions when the APA met in Albuquerque several years ago and had the opportunity to say that I was simply there to see what the Heideggerians are doing to Jaspers. I was not a member and am not a member of any group. My first wife’s maternal grandfather was an early APA (philosophical) member and that is as close to aristocratic gradation I’ve gotten. A silly if not preposterous notion might be that I have no mitochondria APA determinates. My position of independence seems proper for me and perhaps has some outside advantages that inside privileges don’t. Jaspers, though not comparable to me by any metaphysical stretched of the imagination, seemed to have similar tendencies that are empirically based. The following is a superficial brief regarding Jaspers’ preference for independence too. It tends to give some content to wondering how Jaspers would respond to associations with such groups as the KJSNA, and whether he would participate in blogging.

7. Aside from the infinite cellular nu/mtDNA and other infinite complementarities, that put restraints on aristocratic judgmental tendencies, there are a few easy biographically known anecdotes manifesting a trend in Jaspers. Germs can suddenly appear, and the origins are not known to be recessive manifestations or environmentally dominate, or some of both simultaneously, affecting a particular being’s infinite predispositional and preconditional potential, and affecting the individual’s composition and development. And there are other this and thats.  Mutational survival may in one age result in institutionalization and fade away while in another age provide leadership. (Those familiar with Jaspers’ thought trend well find these comments familiar and typical to some degree.) But infections of humankind’s genetic constant can come to a head and need professional and careful lancing. This where Jaspers becomes applicable.

8. Jaspers ethics and associations with groupism--If one were to do a paper for a "KJS" session, the worse scenario could be that it might go over with a “tell me something we don’t know”; like give five historic antonymic-polemic reasons Jaspers would not be a member of a  "Society" bearing his name. Even after such an itemized presentation it could be disregarded with a little sophisticated French, e.g., “non sequitur” which means that if the paper didn’t use some Latin, French, or German, the biographical sketch can mean nothing worthwhile. The Latin does not have anything to do with the meaningfulness of the clear and distinct concepts that the biographical events lend. The shorter English word for non sequitur is “nonsense!!”. But a small circle of philosophizers considering the philosophy of another who never had a philosophy except in transient is probably less given to infiltration than continental or intercontinental organizations. One could wonder whether there could be international comprehension of what Jaspers means by “we are in the world but not of the world” (Philosophy and the World, p. 131) or “the primal source is not what was in the beginning, but what is eternally present and authentic”. (Perennial, p. 103) But that is my worse scenario and it allowed me to diverge to clear the air of particulates.

9. The George Circle--Jaspers was not a member of the George Circle. Jaspers’ less than gentle rebuff to that indictment by Walter Kaufman and Baumgarten showed he would not have been a member of a Max Weber groupish society: "to become a Weberian is impossible" and it is "stupid" he said. Jaspers’ seemed as incensed as his health permitted. The emotion shows a behavioral trend that is subject to some respectable predictions. The source of this information is Jaspers’ Reply to Critics in the Library of Living Philosophers.  One does not want to become a disciple of Jaspers either, and his way of philosophizing avoids that, e.g., his therapeutic language (ciphering). But one does not have to take aggressive societal initiatives to avoid discipleship and then simultaneously suggest there is something dated about Jaspers. I mean one does not have to violate the philosophical attitude to be philosophical rather than dogmatically meta-certain about the current state of scientific research. One does not have to prepare papers and unnecessarily conjure up something disagreeable. One does not have to be the faster gun, author, or blogger to avoid discipleship. The complimentary thing about the seminary I attended is that at the time one was allowed to do either a thesis or a dissertation in partial fulfillment for a degree. The only difference is that one is more of a written report while the other a written dialectical critique resulting in some conclusiveness. I realized one could not critique Jaspers’ works and especially to the satisfaction of those unfamiliar with his works, but yet one had the responsibility of not being interpreted as a disciple.

10. A Kirkbright enlightening photo—S. Kirkbright’s book, Karl Jaspers, A Biography, Navigation in Truth, shows a revealing photo of his basic scientific attitude and his independence can be felt in that picture. Jaspers is lightheartedly pictured as towering and central holding an open book while two kneeling scientists also take the laying-on-hands pledge to pure science. The dilettantish stance depicts a lighthearted attitude toward those that take science so emotively serious that open-ended thinking is restricted by short-circuited thinking—the book of science and all the supposedly conclusive categories is constantly opened to the ultimate limits of the mind.

11. Illumination through independence--Kirkbright also documents Jaspers’ reservations toward fraternities. The author’s data shows, to my satisfaction, that he was tolerated and permitted involvements with groups as an independent (p.11).  That tolerance was conditioned by his physical condition and the judgment that due to his disability nothing would come of him anyway in society. So he was allowed the liberty of infiltrating without suffering the familial restraints. In a similar vein, Jaspers’ autobiography attests to his necessary aversion to group participation. That information can be found in the conclusion of his “Philosophy and the World” and in the first part of The Library of Living Philosophers (the Jaspers’ volume).

12. Intervention by Independence is needed—It’s not nonsense to think that for ethical reasons Jaspers would never have infiltrated the George Circle. That’s applicable even if a Circle had significant influence. A suggested group flying the banner of Max Weber would have been responded to, as he in fact did, to defend himself and Weber from character assassination. But he did not and would not infiltrate via pretentious discipleship. Nor would he react by instigating a counter discipleship in the name of some comparable personage like Heidegger. When Jaspers was forced to decide and comply as a student where alternatives were possible, he chose to be clearly known as an independent and was allowed to consort with all three “house groups”. At Heidelberg a few fraternity members attempted to recruit him by “putting up a fight”. Such an aggressive membership drive could not compete with Jaspers’ “happy disposition” and the enjoyment of “being alone”. If a group blandishing a placard bearing his name were to emphasize a trend with which he disagreed he most certainly would have intervened but above board. As with the few fraternity fellows in his way he would “naturally get rid of them quickly”. None of the above is nonsense, nor is it conclusive. One of the purposes of this Web Page is to probe whether disagreeable drifts are taking shape in the name of Karl Jaspers and in the name of science.

13. Confrontational dialogue, ethics and net-etiquette—It is reasonable to hypothesize that there’s a trend to show that since Jaspers’ demise he has been dated by alleged dazzling advances in genetic science. The counter trend would be to show that, for example, genetic science’s alleged conclusiveness is the fulfillment of a proper understanding of Jaspers’ philosophy and attitude toward science; that, contrary to Jaspers, science is the converging ultimate solution rather than having ultimate limits that expand as knowledge inflates egocentricity. Both trends (he fits or it fits him) are more rather than less representative of the real Jaspers. Jaspers can be misinterpreted and according to the peculiar reader, i.e., if an ape looks in no human apostolic successor looks back. (Way to Wisdom, p. 28) And that does not mean that a real apostle looks in and pays homage to the bootstraps of consciousness for having made a great leap by intentionally seceding from something like a simian union. Organized disciplinary systems can misuse Jaspers’ works: One can minimize Jaspers’ reasoning that in fact is unlimited and goes beyond cipher language regarding the liberation of humankind’s individualization and touches the periphery of authentic selfhood’s potential. Liberty is an essential attribute of humankind and is essential to distinction. For instance, it is easy to forget the constant ethos of humankind’s distinguishing platonic-like real form, liberty. If once lost by forces intervening in the infinitely short and infinitely long units of timing things in space, then once almost forgotten, it is appropriate to speak as Jaspers did, that humankind “proceeds from dark, savage forces to personal gods from gods beyond good and evil to moral gods, from the gods to the one God, and on to the ultimate freedom of recognizing the one personal God as cipher.” (Philosophical Faith and Revelation, p. 284) Under the pressure of pop and papal science it is convenient to forget what was meant when he said if humankind knows its origin it ceases to be humankind. (Philosophy and the World, p. 131.) One could add that such super humans could territorially terrorize one way or another for the corporeal survival of what is considered…a… or …the…knowledge in need of protection through group strength. For Jaspers’ views on practical etiquette, see his reply to certain confrontational critics and especially his final paragraphs where one can find reasons for the deceased Jaspers’ lively counter attacks in the Library of Living Philosophers.


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