KARL JASPERS ON MOHAMMED
Preface--This is a website about applying Karl Jaspers’ scholarship in a pivotal way. His way requires individualistic involvement out of one’s authentic being. So, after the Jaspers’ quotes and The Pivotal Quote below, individualistic inclinations continue. They can be read as propositional, though comments are believed more than hypotheses, for they can tend toward confirmation by data requiring more space and time. There’s some specialized language that can be skimmed if preferred, though there’s been an effort to clarify.
Character assassination through caricature--Maintaining responsible buoyancy and balance requires dealing with unusual occurrences that emerge from infinitely complex being. “Apparitions” present such an…existential…challenge. My late wife Sheila clearly termed it: “I’d rather die than live like this!” She was reacting or transacting to my “no” to her question: “Glenn, is there an adult and child standing there?” In retrospective fact Sheila was dieing from a series of strokes. If it had not been for some degree of enlightenment I could have made light of her situation and drawn a cartoon. Of course there was some learned ignorance also in my answer, for, I’d checked by looking in the dimly lit room, and turned on the light for Sheila, but she had already turned away from the “hallucination”—for lack of a better term. One is existentially human and humane if open to other dimensions we tread near…and then nearer…and then from here…disappear. One with a civilized degree of empathy could see that nothing good could have come from “entity” assassination through caricature.
As a psychopathologist, and speaking about humans as special, Jaspers also said it well:
My Webpage here includes some degree of mechanical analysis and some loose-ended intuitive graspings in an effort to understand the phantom side of others’ phenomenal experience. A reader is free to reduce the effort to caricatures that have gang-like appeal. But beware of the cost--if such should result in reactions--that commence a domino-process that results in the suffering of those who are more respectfully informed or otherwise innocent.
The pivotal quote—Socrates, Buddha, Confucius, and Jesus were the four personages that Jaspers classified as history’s catalysts (paradigmatic individuals). Jaspers:
Making the best of desertion--Abraham, if we recall from the OT, deserted his son Ishmael. He and his mother were sent into the desert—hence deserted. God rescued the lad without prejudice, i.e., with a blessing. Ishmael was disadvantaged to the degree of his abandonment. Here is a case of a family disrupted by desertion. The descendents of Ishmael include the Arabians and this is where the story continues with Mohammed, and Jaspers considering him among the great paradigmatic philosophers. Mohammed was a child in need of protection due to the death of his parents—though he had some motherly influence before her death. Circumstances similar to Ishmael’s desertion left him lacking in “individual depth” by comparison with those Jaspers selected. Lacking in individual depth was not a pejorative statement suggesting any inherent deficiencies, but rather a comprehension of the disadvantages the deserted are limited by--in spite of their geniuses.
Mohammed (around 7th century) was a genius, and he survived partly by treating people fairly. But circumstances contributed to an eventual passionate fanaticism. He believed in one God (though Mohammed came to believe he was God’s spokesman via the angel Gabriel).
In Mohammed’s day idolatry was rampant—as was degeneracy in general. It was prevalent in the Western Latin and Eastern Church (the Occident and Orient respectively). Within this context he came to interpret individual phenomena to mean that God had chosen him to receive revelations from Gabriel. The miraculous attribution given to Gabriel reinforced Mohammed’s authority and empowered the Islamic movement through the belief in a divine history. Possibly contributing to his sense of inspired destiny was a “Monk” who enforced a sense of purpose, but told him to beware of the Jews and the Byzantines (probably planting a positive mental seed for the Latin Church in Rome). However the monk is reported to have been a Nestorian, which suggests he opposed the “mother of God” position.
A “Pope”-like Francis--The Islamic movement spread due to the forces being “terrible in attack, and mild in victory”. However, Francis of Assisi, around 1219, entered the camp of the hostiles as a missionary for the “Church”, and he was listened to for several days and then dismissed with honor by the Sultan of Egypt. Francis could not be convincing in part due to being associated with the Crusaders--and of course there were the dominant idolatry issues that accompanied degeneracy.
It is safe to think that the Mohammed’s warring responses were partly disqualifying factors in Jaspers’ choice for paradigmatic examples.
Mohammed, due to his ideological fight against idolatry thought he would receive support from the Jews. However he received only opposition. He never forgave them. In a sense it was as though there had been another Ishmael-like abandonment in the family.
Intuitive perceptivity--What we are seeing here might be manifestations of intuitive consciousness that take the form of entities that sublimate one’s otherwise normal logic. That’s what “ontology” means, i.e., the recognition or the logic of a personalized entity (or “Eidos”, GP 617). Helmute Wautischer has edited a book on this subject (Ontology of Consciousness, Percipient Action) and I’ve written a review of the work and it can be read at: http://www.amazon.com/Ontology-Consciousness-Percipient-Action-Bradford/dp/0262731843
Ontology can be idolatry because it’s near the seat of consciousness. That is why Jaspers used his own word, periechontology, i.e., to avoid making God-consciousness into a mental concept or a projected image. That new word’s prefix comes from Greek. The NT periech points more to the invisible historic-reason than the visible rationalism, thus retaining the OT imageless God dynamic. Thus God is Encompassing, always encompassing the most micro and macro appearance we might be tempted to prostrate before. Periechontology--or the biblical-like faith—discourages interpreting an angelic apparition in a way that changes El into Elohim (making the singular plural). Historical documentation of biblical intensity serves as a guide for interpreting apparitions—(περιεχει εν τη γραφη) “as contained in holy scripture” (1st Pet., ii. 6). For more on “periech” see item 5. http://www.karljaspersapplied.net/pdffiles/pdfupdates/kjforumUD37b.pdf
The catastrophic situational-impositions on consciousness relative to the Gabriel-phenomenon is encompassed within and about with God, as in the OT account of Gabriel’s contact with Daniel, and NT contact with Mary, and Zacharias. Contemporary consciousness at the time was traumatized by the ever-present threat of agonizing torture (slow or chronic), while sanity was maintained by the materialization of hope, with God working in mysterious ways.
Relevance to Mohammed’s consciousness of contact with Gabriel, and Joseph Smith’s consciousness of the angel Moroni, and the Campbells’ reaction is explained as follows—without prejudice, i.e., can be questioned: The American experience includes an informed consciousness at large, and the newfound freedom of thought and speech could blossom sublimely in intuitive individuals. The histories of the old world were clearly seen as lessons for the new world.
The Santa Clause Risk--The immediate threat to the continent here was the continental religious-force pushing in from the east and southwest--forces ready to fill any void that should opportune. The constitutional minds were aware of this threat of repeating lessons not learned from the old world. The awareness of religious forces, high Church institutionalism, entering the soul of the new nation and doing so via legislation, had to be dealt with. The separation clause was a worthwhile risk.
Campbells and small sect planting on American soil--Keeping these forces at bay was the goal of the separation of Church and State, thus shifting religious inclinations to the domain of free speech on the free soil of consciousness. This soil proved productive for Alexander and Thomas Campbell, father and son. They came to America from Ireland and the son by way of Glasgow University, Scotland. They launched off the reformation in England distancing further from the High Church of Catholicism, Episcopalianism, and eventually Presbyterianism. They approached the separation clause as an opportunity to spread the NT gospel.
An intuited effort at understanding the Moroni phenomena--Joseph Smith, it can be assumed for research, saw that the separation clause would leave the country morally destitute without institutional (state and church) religious influence. The shift to individual democratic self-reliance would not work—unless a new-world history could be established that could compete with the oriental and occidental historical momentum. His church-experience left him aware of a degenerative potential through established religious influences inherited from the old country.
Without a documented history here, the one from over-there would continue to inundate. There was no comparable documentation, so Smith recorded what the apparition “Moroni” revealed. Note that it’s a history that passes over 2,000 years and takes up history here--rather than there. In this way the great controversy’s dominion was circumvented. Whether a researcher believes in the revelation is immaterial from the standpoint of the results, that being the passionate spread of “Mormonism”. Their nationalistic element indicates the degree of fear over the loss of institutional religion--in the beginning. This has become one component of the trial for the ongoing American religious experience.
Simultaneous with the rise of “Mormonism” was the Campbell influence. Alexander is known as the debater. He used public dialogue—freedom of speech—to stem the tide of institutional religious forces such as Catholicism and Atheism. He attempted to debate Joseph Smith and went to New York for that purpose but their meeting did not occur. Alexander did have historical debates such as with Robert Owens (see New Harmony Indiana experimentation), Catholic Bishop Purcell, etc.
The Campbells proceeded as though the separation clause was not as much of a threat as it was an opportunity for religious expression. The “other” continental history was overcome by efforts to restore the biblical faith based on the book that had come to be established (the OT and NT). This new world was to be the soil for the growth of biblical faith—without bibliolatry replacing faith and God, and without angelic intervening apparitions that any one or group-force could claim as verification. Apparitions, if not respected and comprehended, can simply opened the door for an exclusive universal church such as the “Mary” apparitions. The Campbell movement is known as the “Restoration Movement” by its members; it circumvents the intervening controversies by studying the biblical standards.
This biblical-consciousness and conscience is no less inspired in effect than the consciousness that’s friendly toward ongoing apparitions, like Gabriel and Mary—though there’s some merit to being able to handle the Latin and Orient apparitions with an apparition that results in something like the rationally challenging book of “Mormon”. Comprehending the “Moroni” apparition is complicated by a dedicated or serious study of the “history” book. Its depth and broadness, though archeologically unverifiable, reinforces the need to comprehend the apparition. The strength of the phenomenon is accomplished through missionary zeal in promoting the phenomena of the “Book of Mormon”.
The biblical faith includes the acceptance of the Gabriel-phenomena but by limited such to the biblical accounts. So the two American religious experiences continue. The “Mormon” movement has had emotive crises congealing and intensifying the defense of the group. That persecution should not be ignored, nor should the inherent tendency toward religious exclusivity. The secular world is suspicious of religious exclusivity to the point of radically taking advantage of the freedom of the press that can lead to oppression. But the secular also can corporealize; the entity of exclusivity then excludes those that might threaten the corporation—even if the threat merely exists as an easily identifiable entity other than the protected hidden corporate entities.
There’s an ontological-idolatry factor that needs to be encompassed and reasoned about. Jaspers accomplishes in one word, “periechontology”, what’s attempted in a long scholarly book about the “Ontology of Consciousness, percipient Action”.,