JASPERS’ APPLIED TO HAYEK AND THE HAYEK-JASPERS EVOLUTIONISM CONNECTION (11-25-05)
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Introductory Warning Note: This page is under construction in format and in conceptualization. It’s an exercise in both. It may be revised at any time with the dates of revisions indicated. Revision dates are important for Internet and word-processing techniques. Date-revision is an ethical decision (net-ethic), and it shows an effort to avoid covert plagiarism. Internet information is a threat to the book industry. Academicians must now prove themselves by surrogate book making. That’s why graduate school professors will have websites. Footnotes are becoming obsolete too. The economic implication of that is enough to put a Hayek-type in demand at the Google-Yahoo lines of scrimmaging. One must appeal to the mass using the slang of its turf. A case in point is John Landon’s second edition about the eonic effect. He admits the first edition is already obsolete. One can now with the speed of light add or revise and not give credit to a source. In this age of radical constructivism and word technology, one can record and forget the source and then stake a claim easier without a date or hint of the source. In this way composing, writing, the actual remaking of history, can amount to a faster-than-light resource. If it's not a deliberate misuse of “time” it is misuse by omitted time-space reference to the who and whom of the Internet. So, dating Internet posting and dating revisions may only be a confession of ignorance regarding others’ works. Perhaps at best it is a noble effort. I suppose what best secures one’s contribution is the uniqueness of the subject matter, such as applying Jaspers to Hayek and finding…something in general unnoticed but nearest to the heart of the authors’ intent. Jaspers and Hayek are more relevant to the communication implosion/explosion than ever. Jaspers emphasized the autonomy and unpredictable-importance of unchanging individuals for changing times. Hayek focused on how to get resources to individuals who know best, where knowledge can be made available to individuals, while avoiding corporate-collective-individual exploitation of the mass need for total knowledge. One pep word for the cooperate-invisible-individual is “evolution”. Jaspers’ has a therapeutic word, a panacea for the polarizing disease of evolutionism. That inspirational word is Existenz.
1. Dates and Significance of …the… “Hayek Footnote”
The first German edition of the Origin and Goal of History in 1949 followed F. A. Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom first published in English in 1944 and a German translation was published in Switzerland in 1948. Hayek received the Nobel Prize in 1947 (Jaspers’ the German Peace Prize in 1958). It seems safe to think Jaspers had critiqued it. I find it intriguing that Jaspers had time before publication to at least devote a significant footnote to that book at the conclusion of his. It’s a footnote not within the text but at the conclusion of the book, which can be a matter of design or circumstance, and maybe some of both, i.e., something added quickly without changing drastically the format of the book in process. The footnote reveals that Jaspers saw something emphasized by Hayek and of value in helping to establish his own thesis regarding the unknown origin of history and the goal of humankind. He saw expressed the value of the spontaneity of individuality, its autonomy, the danger of implosive rationalism and the threats inherent in centralized planning. It resonated with Jasper’s experience as a psychiatrist with preconstitutional predispositional biological factors, and inherited trends in the development of individual character, and the dangers of its loss from nonuse or misuse. Hayek surely read that footnote by Jaspers. What it said, in effect, was that Hayek agreed with Jaspers, more than Jaspers agreed with Hayek. Hayek was handicapped, and realized his need for exercises in psychology and philosophy as the next best thing to the status of psychiatry. It was then that Hayek enhanced his study of philosophy and psychology. He knew he had competition, and a clear distinction had to be made which he attempted…safely perhaps…after Jaspers’ death. After all he did not have the Internet, and a professor of notoriety must publish, if not books, still something made public in keeping with the slow pace of the classical-time times.
2. Jaspers and Hayek Resonated--Aversion to Evolutionism and its Total Planning.
2.1 Jaspers begins his book by establishing an unquestionable and necessary distance between continued opened-ended reasoning and the growing influence of the idea that the origin of humankind is known. He reacted to the idea that total knowledge had at least been corralled somewhere near, known by the experts who need the funding means and leisure to do the “showing” for the public. In other words, he objected to the idea that humankind’s history should be approached as though knowable in total. Humankind’s origin is unknowable. That it is known or within grasp, that presumptuous reality is restraining and becomes a threat to individuality and potentiality. It has a predeterministic effect on the research involving the history of humankind. It has a totalitarian effect. With misplaced certitude it grades the landscape with a path to servitude. There seemed to be some agreement on this matter of origin and Jaspers summarizes Hayek’s ideas regarding six destructive effects that total planning can have on individual and collective consciousness. Three relate to economics and the dangers of centralized total planning. Perhaps quickly understood in terms of the pecking order or the dominant aggressive cow effect. The other three show how centralized total planning leads to infiltration by low characters, requires the replacement of truth with propaganda, and the destruction of liberty and competition. Jaspers and Hayek agreed on the unavoidability of reason’s limits. Jaspers believed in the possibility of the further illumination of enlightened reason through the realized limits of knowledge. The other came to believe in overcoming the limits of knowledge as seen in the history of trial and error but hidden behind a subjectivity that could not be enlightened through objectivity.
2.2 Jaspers had systematically shown the limits of knowledge and the limits of reason and yet avoided nihilism. Dr, Madsen Pirie in a 1987 publication of “The Adam Smith Institute” stated that Hayek “appears to downgrade the role of the autonomous individual thinking things out and coming to rational conclusion” and “evolution, albeit cultural evolution, has displaced the individual rational mind from the pedestal it appeared to occupy”. I say Jaspers never degraded the individual autonomy while simultaneously shattering all the pedestals of conceit. Though the two agreed on limits, it seems strange that it was not till soon after Jaspers death that Hayek spoke more about the continental locale of rationalism or that libertine sort of liberalism, but he identified himself with English liberalism. He said continental tradition emphasized reason and man’s ability to shape his surroundings, but, he said, English common-law tradition stressed reasons’ limits and the spontaneous forces of evolution. He identified himself with the later. But the fact of the matter is that in England the forces of reason continued as a religious mission but were taken as threats and mere reactions to evolution. I’m referring to the evangelical continuum. What might have been science, turned into the great evolution commission.
2.2 Hayek initially, with Jaspers’ like emphasis, called attention to the need for pondering this Julien Benda passage:
2.3. Hayek then reminded readers about an English product of this kind (on Marxist background) “a work in which…all the characteristic idiosyncrasies of the totalitarian intellectual, a hatred of almost everything which distinguishes Western civilization since the Renaissance, is combined with an approval of methods of Inquisition.” He then points to C. H. Waddington’s book The Scientific Method wherein a totalitarian system is seen and approved of as preferable to “‘the present ferocious monkey-house civilization.” Hayek, referring to Waddington, says:
2.4. These few quotes tend to show the resonance with Jaspers’ concerns about naturalism and the need to show how the contributions idiosyncrasies can reflect against the individualistic worthwhilenesss of great thinkers who think outside the box. By Hayek’s statements above we get no hint to his later commitment to “safe evolution”. As he moved toward evolution he was lionized for finally reaching the level of being conservative. Conservatives are misusing and contributing to the misuse of evolution. The word “liberal” is a title Jaspers once claimed for himself, but his works kept ahead of its misuse. If one wants to know what liberal means prior to corruption one only needs to look at the whole Jaspers. We are at the liberal/conservative scrimmage line separating what we inherit (conservative) and what we do with it as independent thinkers (liberal).
3. “Liberal” and “Evolution” as terms of opprobrium
3.1 In his Introduction to Hayek’s work, Milton Friedman added this footnote in 1994. “I use the term liberal as Hayek does…in the original nineteenth-century sense of limited government and free markets, not in the corrupted sense it has acquired in the United States, in which it means almost the opposite.” (xi) And in the 1956 Preface Hayek reassures us that he retains the meaning above though it has come to mean the advocacy of almost every kind of government control. Interesting enough he states that the word “liberty” should not have been allowed exploitation for it was an appropriate and indispensable term. He then criticizes those who knowing better actually encouraged it by using it “”as a term of opprobrium”. My view is that Hayek should have, like Jaspers, continued to use it correctly and thus avoid the necessity of yielding to the fixating tendencies of another word of opprobrium: “evolution”.
3.2 Jaspers, I think, saw the similar problem with the word “evolution”. Why did Hayek start using this word? Was it because Jaspers’ put it in its place, and maintained the distinguishing meaning of liberal? What Jaspers meant by liberal is that the individual is autonomous but that includes what is inherited and in the strictest historical Western sense includes more of the biblical ethos as portrayed by Kierkegaard, the family, the church, the university, and the term he uses to capture it all and more is “Existenz”. That word encompasses the liberal. But, true to form he does not invent the word but gives credit to Kierkegaard, a person, rather than a rationalism, a.k.a. evolutionism.
3.3. Hayek settles on a phrase that perpetuates the opprobrium “evolution”. He, like Heidegger’s premature announcement of his fundamental ontology, had to stretch out the hope for an “evolved” sample that would assure the fulfillment of a current expectation as certain as Descartes “I think therefore I am” but rather we evolved with Dawkin-like cavalier confidence: “we are here as such”. Jaspers never did. He didn’t have too. His books were incomparable in clarity and system. While other existentialists were telling stories to express the ineffable, Jaspers writes from clear and systematic clinical, university, and war-years experience. He writes from values learned and inherited and through observing those affected by the lack thereof. His family and cultural, his upbringing did not need repressing.
3.4 Jaspers’ statements about the best soil for the transformation of humankind presented the occasion for Hayek to use a word that would distinguish him from such a frequently maligned religious movement of independent sects and the well-organized Evangelical movement (a danger in itself as a political tool). There are grounds for distancing oneself from some congealing movements: Jimmy Carter in a recent interview with Larry King expressed concern over his religious organization’s imposition of a creed (Jaspers warns of those dangers too), and of course there’s Bill Moyer’s similarly expressed concerns to the point of his distancing himself from his traditional religious group, and his interview with Dawkins which manifests approval rather than objective critiquing. Hayek finds a slang word too, to not only distance himself from religious planning and organization, but uses the secular turf word to engender him to forces. To meet academic expectations he speaks in evolutionary terms, an unnecessary bit of profane secular religious distinctioning. He could have simply evaluated the history of society, observing those that survived and those that didn’t while reflecting on the dynamics without using the emotional word “evolution”. Jaspers only talked about the origin of mankind in terms of uncertainty and with a quick referral to prehistory, and then a getting on with history but never without one’s historicity nor that of influential others which could only be misunderstood when approached as evolution in process and progress.
4. Hayek and Jaspers’ Conservative Stances
4.1 After Jaspers died Hayek’s recognized the role that cultural inheritance plays but calls it “safe evolution”—a most fitting popular connection with “safe sex”. Jaspers’ emphasis is not on variation but the constancy of tradition, for he says since the beginning man has remained unchanged, capable of laughter and crying, and mental and emotional illness. Hayek avoided central planning and preconceived designs by such earlier statements that there is no ground for biologists treating evolution as “solely a genetic process”. Even though he placed at least stylistic emphasis on “evolutionary” mechanisms regarding cultural mores more than on autonomous rational individual minds, his emphasis could be said to distance him from radial constructivism and the zero-derivation formula implied therein. Even then, in the end, it could be still said--with a realistic view of the unacceptability of evolutionism—that the title of distinction he sought was not that extinct. Though he stood for freedom of choice, the attention to preserving the spontaneity of efforts and the place of luck, he also recognized the role of traditions, cultural inheritance, and the negative effects of central planners, collectivists, and advocates of a preconceived design. If it were not for the imposed need to produce and differently than Jaspers, he may never have used the word “evolution” especially if he had suspected he was going to dubbed party to conservativism.
5. So, in objective retrospect, all academic forces considered, nothing much can be attached to this unfortunate opprobrium. One would think that with such a thorough demonstration of the limits of reason, the non-localization of dogma, first by Jaspers since his earliest works, and then somewhat by Hayek, the public would be educated enough to be able to use the word “evolution” without the unfavorable connotations. The time was not and is not right for the public is not yet aware of the religious like forces behind the propagation of designed systems to enslave consciousness. Evolution has no liberal or conservative side for its immanentally and geocentrically encompassing.
6. Regarding Hayek’s three economy points that lead to the bondage we can take a lesson from nature. Animals don’t use money. They use titles of distinction. It’s called the pecking order. There’s no democratic process, no constitution. Consider this case of the dominant Holstein cow, a cow that has reached heights of distinction comparable to John Deere tractors.
6.1 We had a milking herd of ten cows of mixed breeds, but one more Holstein and larger was the dominant cow. On cold winter days we would allow the cows a period of exercise in the barnyard and to drink at the water trough. One extremely cold winter day, after breaking the trough ice, the cows gathered in somewhat of a pecking line at the trough. Miss von Holstein (no bull) was the first at the trough, but due to changing times, the weather, etc. she remained too long dominating the area and would not allow the others to drink. The barnyard was protected by an electric fence. My father disgruntled over the Holstein’s hoarding and aggressive behavior, wrapped a wire around an ear of corn and hung it on the fence. Predictably, Miss Holstein first raced for the corn, wrapped her wet tongue completely around it and received the full force of the shock treatment, which was more psychological than physical. The therapy worked. We all were saved from this weather induced changed situation and from the natural centralized total planning type Holstein model. Humankind resolved the problem therapeutically. We need to wrap a wire around “evolution” and hang it.
7. There is no illusion about the depth of the core of the Greek connection with evolutionism, such as that alleged of Anaximander. It’s almost an orthodox traditional core with outreaches north-by-eastward and westward jumping the English Channel. It has resulted in a requirement for creed-like acceptance. To avoid the methods of a religiously secular-inquisition one is expected to renounce protesting against its geocentricity and its catholicity.