THE "KARL JASPERS FORUM" WEB PAGE (12-8-05)
0.1. The goal of this webpage is to correct any apparent ongoing inaccurate portrayal of Karl Jaspers on H. Muller’s Website. It has been easily accessed on the Internet over several years with Internet Links enhancing its influence. Though open communication is one feature of Jaspers’ existenz-philosophy, and another the critiquing of the sciences, it is not reasonable to use that sense of courage and fair play as the basis for subjectively guiding discussions. Editing discussion through some designed guidance under the guise of an academic interdisciplinary technique can lead to emphases about which Jaspers had devoted little concern, or about which he had spoken sufficiently. One example is that Website’s fostering of atheism. Another is the obvious presumptuousness of a biological notion of progress, and the assumed establishment of some principle of process explaining or attempting to establish an atheistic metaphysic as a surrogate-construction, a conjuring without due regard for historically orthodox rules of healthy thinking and conduct. This Webpage provides equal time and space—the spirit of a common-sense rule of law, equality under law, which means there should be available recourse in time and space before ideas are legislated by popular opinion.
0.2. My constant recommendations to Mr. Muller to make Jaspers pivotal in specific ways, or change the title, eventuated in his censuring me, this after his Website was disassociated somewhat from the University with which he was associated. His name is still associated with the University though, in the sense that the institution’s letterhead (in an Internet way) is still adding prestige to what is now apparently a personal Website.
0.3. Prior to my being censored by Mr. Muller, I have a dated accounting of my request that he post my Website address. He has not done that to my knowledge. That makes it all the more imperative that a means of retort be available.
0.4. Again, my purpose is to present Jaspers in a fair light. I may refer to other Websites or discussion groups but always from my perspective of Jaspers, and usually if there is some direct or indirect reference to Mr. Muller’s Website that bears Karl Jaspers’ name.
0.5. The most current postings on his Website are considered below, for Mr. Muller’s basic argument has changed little and is yet being used as though unopposed. His arguments, when reduced to something comprehendible, have been thoroughly opposed and exposed. The difference between Mr. Muller and Jaspers is further clarified below.
1. Mr. Muller says, “Reality is structured (processed) within subject-inclusive experience.” This statement is unclear. It should not be the responsibility of an interpreter of the statement to have to decide randomly which meaning might be correct and then make a comparison with Jaspers. This is not the way Jaspers communicates, and regardless of the possible interpretations it is not the way he thinks.
1.1. Jaspers speaks about the “Inner and outer world”. He says, “Everyone has his own private world but an objective world also exists—a general world common to all.” He also says “the psyche discovers itself in its own world and with that creates a world. In the world it becomes intelligible to others and the world brings it to creativity” and; this “general analogy holds good; there is a basic relatedness between what is within and what is without; we are in a world common to all living things and to all psychic life and to every human being in his separate reality” (Gen. Psycho. 11-13). There are two clear ideas here: first, there is no general misunderstanding of his thoughts nor the words used, and second, this is not a later-Jaspers but the earliest-Jaspers (and it is the constant-Jaspers), third, there is no doubt about the place of the categories of the encompassing, that there are three encompassings here. One is the encompassing in which we are born. The second is the encompassing that we are. The third encompassing is consciousness as such and could be capitalized as Encompassing. “It [consciousness] implies awareness of experience and as such is distinct from loss of consciousness and from what is extra-conscious; secondly, it implies awareness of an object, knowing something, and as such is distinct from unconscious subjective experience, in which ‘I’ and ‘object’ are as yet undifferentiated; thirdly, it implies self-reflection, awareness of one’s self and as such is distinct from the unconscious experience where I experience the self and the object as separate entities but am not explicitly aware of this differentiation.” Emphases are Jaspers, bolding is mine. The point here to show what Jaspers clearly says.
1.2. No person can say such in-depth things without the sort of in-depth self-understanding resulting from reflections upon early memories. An empirically laced real example of the application of consciousness, awareness, and experience is offered here. It is one of several of my early life memories. The one involving the sewing machine serves well as a tutorial. It is that early life experience ridiculed on Mr. Muller’s website. One does not need to accept it as an accurate report to see its value here. But it is my testimony that it is more accurate than not. It serves to demonstrate how the word “experience” can apply and not apply to a situation. I had asked that Mr. Muller make application of his formulae to that memory. He did not do so.
1.3. Even if I could comprehend Mr. Muller’s statement (1. Above), there is nothing applicable to the reality Jaspers sees. Mr. Muller’s sentence is opaque enough for him take refuge in and to make room for propagating his creed like formula “O-D as the solution to “MIR”. Those symbols stand for the “zero derivation” of all structures inherited about reality, and includes mind independent reality as equally objectively non-existent and applied indiscriminately to anyone who talks about outer reality. This includes Jaspers; and one must ask then, why still use Jaspers’ name in his Webpage title? Unless the thing is beyond his control in some providential sense so that it can be revealed what Jaspers is not saying.
2. Mr. Muller is, in “1.” Above, replying to J. Johnson who lives in the same inner and outer world as Jaspers describes, and the world of my early memory. However it appears to me that Mr. Johnson has fallen victim to using the word “subjective” for it fits his abstraction theory of reality. It’s essential to his private world, the world Jaspers says everybody has, and presumes that because he has a private understanding in mind, this is due to a consciousness the source of which is the outer world, and an accurate reflection of that objective world. In that he thinks he is correct because in his judgment it is a general world common to all, that world Jaspers refers to too, but, for Jaspers the outer world like the psyche cannot become an object without becoming less or more than it is, and can never be reduced to a creedal like formula such as “0-D MIR” or “AT” (abstraction theory).
2.1. Mr. Muller faults J. Johnson for referring to this outer world to support the inner world. In this case the outer world is the brain’s stochastic (a word with a meaning ranging from guesswork to impossible-to-measure phenomena except with some probability unrelated to ethical-value interpretations) neural network research. Mr. Muller points out that “this is impossible”. It is impossible to verify a worldview by the outer world even if one is as close as the brain as the outer-world’s bridge. But, for Jaspers it is impossible due to the limits of unilluminated thinking and not due to what Mr. Muller verbalizes. The latter says it’s impossible because everything takes place “within experience”. And this leads us to where we can now consider the different ways Jaspers and Muller uses the word “experience”.
3. Jaspers clearly says consciousness “implies” awareness of experience as distinct from the loss of consciousness and as something distinct from extra-consciousness. Consciousness implies “awareness of an object, …distinct from the unconscious subjective experience, in which ‘I’ and ‘object’ are as yet undifferentiated”. Here we are beyond the subject-object dichotomy essential to the polemics affecting dialectical thinking, i.e., systematic thinking. My suspicion is that Mr. Muller is incapable of escaping his ‘I’ and sees everything through a personal subjective state. He cannot understand that consciousness implies self-reflection, awareness of one’s self and as such distinct from the unconscious experience where the “I” experiences the self and the object as separate entities but while not explicitly aware of this differentiation.
4. Jaspers’ sees the need to have a clear understanding of what experience can mean, for it is essential to the study of psychopathic data, and the therapist must make these clear distinctions. Having made the distinction between consciousness and experience, the word “experience” can—as it was then--now be used without avoiding those first, recent, or earliest experiences, some that are too horrible to easily remember; we can now talk about repressed experiences. We can talk about repressed experiences in the same way we can talk about being conscious of consciousness. With regard to Mr. Muller’s statement, it is being suggested here that there has been a repression of experiences, or that there is a lack of experience where there occurs an overlapping of the categories of consciousness and experience. There are simply some who cannot think in terms of an outer and inner world simultaneously, and one or the other must be avoided in their thinking.
5. The current status of Mr. Muller’s Website shows a few contributors. One continues to be J. Johnson. Since efforts to find objective proof in “quantum physic’s evolution” he has lost some objectivity while seeking understanding and support from Mr. Muller for his abstraction theory. I’m referring to his initial emphasis on “quantum evolution” and his value judgment of progress transferred to scientific procedures. He left nuclear physics in general and settled on a quantum neural evolutionism for it was nearer the seat of idealism. He moved away from an objective realism to a subjective idealism. The outer world is reduced to the inner world of the brain but the emphasis on the brain is mitigated by the use of the word “subjectivity”. I think this was done in the hope of finding agreement in someone of stature at least to the extant that a medium could be utilized for sharing his convictions. Process physics relative to brain studies’ dependency on state-of-the-art technical apparatuses did not violate his commitment to notions of evolutionism, the singular notion he –with dogmatic certainty--shares with Mr. Muller. But Mr. Johnson fails to accommodate himself sufficiently to the Muller-creed, i.e. Mr. Muller’s zero derivation and mind-independent-reality formula. Even though J. Johnson uses the word “subjectivity” he acts out of an appropriate lingering objectivity. H. Muller holds fast to his verbalized subjectivism while implying that objectivity as-ifs do two certain things: it proves the source humankind, and that God is dead. J. Johnson does not verbalize the latter and that independence is not endearing to Mr. Muller.
6. We know what Jaspers means when he uses the word “experience”. We know how each time he uses it in his book on psychopathology. It’s indexed. He uses it when differentiating one mental illness from another. He uses it to distinguish inner from outer phenomena. We know that “experience” can be normal or pathological. We know that with some mental illness the outer world disappears and that is their (patients’) experience, and that inner experience can be overpowering. When we read Jaspers’ biography we read about clear experiences. We do not know enough about Mr. Muller’s bio to know what he means by experience. We have no inkling as to what he means by experience, or whether he experiences consciousness well enough to describe what he means by experience or to differentiate experiences. He appears to use it metaphorically whenever challenged and then disappears behind a stream of consciousness. We have a situation here that is classifiable as undifferentiable (highlighted for reference later).
7. We know what J. Johnson means regarding his experiences with regard to the realities of quantum field objectivities. I do not agree with the certitude of his interpretation of those experiences. His interpretation is subjective. His consciousness succumbs to the experience of psychic phenomena and then it becomes a psyche creed, i.e., AT, which stands for abstraction theory. But the theory aspect is absorbed by the creed and the demand for assenting to it by others becomes a test of other’s intelligence. J. Johnson and H. Muller are given to evolutionism. Jaspers is not.
8. J. Johnson and I disagree in the area of historical experience. My reflective experience is that humankind’s paradigmatic and seminal individuals have always existed and two poles of consciousness are manifested in the struggle over the best psychology for life (because we have no recollection or knowledge other than testimony regarding first-mankind we have to depend on a concept of revelation). One earlier mosaic-type paradigmatic sage will look at zoology along with a seminal Anaximander-disciple type. (In some quarters Anaximander is alleged to be the first evolutionist.) The latter will find reasons for emphasizing constant similarities with consequential fixations, whereas the former remains faithful to the constancy of differences and the hope for protecting freedom for the healthy recreation respecting the ageless traditions which can be illuminating, illuminated by current sagaciousness (wisdom). From the latter perspective, animals are sacrificed with religious discretion not wantonly. Animal/human sacrifices polarized the issue. Humankind’s relation to non-hominoid quantities and qualities is a polarizing bit of consciousness requiring a decisive leaning one way or the other on the issue. Each and all have awakened in awareness of the outer world and must make sacrificial decisions for humankind.
9. One contributor to Mr. Muller’s Website deserves honorable mention for outstanding efforts at communication. Standing toe-to-toe on unfriendly soil is Phillip Benjamin. He cannot be censored for unfriendliness for he exhibits none. Others will not be censored for exhibiting intolerance toward his adamancy for freedom. From a reasonable and scientific perspective he holds his own and even excels. The only recourse for silencing his objectivity is to categorize him in some unpopular fashion. That recourse is inquisitorial; he must be accused of using Mr. Muller’s Website as a propaganda platform for manifesting disrespect for the Website author’s commitments. But the accused just keeps on quietly pointing at experiences and applying fairly the faculty of differentiation. Such reasonableness is similar enough to Jaspers to be worth mentioning, though he makes no claim to familiarity or association with Jaspers.