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Notation: My Website manager’s schedule changed making the following piece possible this week. Mr. Herbert Muller’s Website “Karl Jaspers Forum” postings 1-21-2006 included a Comment by Dewey Dysktra, Greg Nixon, Peter Bussey, Serge Patlavsky, and a Response by Herbert to Greg Nixon. Except for Mr. Dysktra’s draw on the title “Karl Jaspers Forum” (see item 2 below) no posting refer to the thoughts of Karl Jaspers. Peter Bussey, an academic physicist at the University of Glasgow, has considerately indicated that he is “actually a physicist with no deep acquaintance with the thought of Jaspers!”

1. Herbert and Greg Phenomena

1.1. Herbert may not have appreciated the hostility Greg manifested toward Henry’s Target Article. Normally Herbert encourages Target Articles selectively and usually from those he thinks might be supportive of his views or with ideas he can easily relate in a critical fashion to his concept-formula. So some initial civility is expected from a Commenter to the Target Articles. He chastises Greg with some abrupt words for saying that a certain Whitehead-contemporary was “Unknown” or too unknown to warrant consideration. Although Herbert is responding to a previous Target Article’s Comment by Greg, one should remember that as editor-in-chief of his Website, Herbert has the editorial privilege of referring to information at his disposal though the dating his Response suggest an earlier account.

1.2. Greg’s need for teacher-approval is clear to me and surely must be an embarrassment to Herbert. But Herbert needs all the contributors he can get, and Greg opened himself up for Herbert’s need to exhort a student. Greg has this pattern of allowing himself to be set-up for his “professor’s” attention. If he can’t get approval than he’ll take disapproval. This time Greg is disciplined for not being aware of an author’s works. This disciplinarian, Herbert, sees the splinter in Greg but not the misused paradigmatic analogue in his own Website, i.e., the misuse of Karl Jaspers.

1.3. Herbert has not studied Jaspers and cannot comprehend his works and presumptuously admonishes Greg on the need for competency! Herbert uses the name of Karl Jaspers to lure others into his domain under the guise of representing Jaspers’ views. Herbert not only misunderstands Jaspers but also openly disagrees with his theistic, philosophical views, including the limits of natural science. Herbert is not only manifesting incompetence but also competency regarding overt political exploitation of a named power, namely Jaspers.

2. The Dewey/Herbert Teamwork

2.1. If my research is correct, the last time Dewey Dysktra contributed to Herbert’s Website is found in the Short Notes’ section. Here he supports Herbert’s move toward censoring by the use of obscure tactics. (See my Replies to Critics on my front page.) One can be aware of covert tactics, but suggesting its application does not instill ethical confidence in a facilitator’s empowering and manipulating a classroom consensus.  My reply to Dewey was that the issue was and remains the proper/improper use of Jaspers. It is not strange that he would continue to support, since the actual censure, the continued misuse of Jaspers’ name in that Website. He makes no supporting or critical reference to Jaspers, nor does Herbert in this current week’s postings, (but yet Greg Nixon is criticized by Herbert for not reading a contemporary of Whitehead). It is worthy of note that I had questioned the accountability of Dewey’s claims that the results of years of his classroom/lab application of “Radical Constructivism” verify the significance of a presumed originator, Mr. Glasersfeld. My dispute with Ernst remains that anything of value in “Radical Constructivism” has been preempted in Jaspers’ works excluding anything radical.

2.2. Dewey, in sync-collaboration with Herbert, does…mention…the name of Karl Jaspers. Note though, first that Dewey is a disciple of Glasersfeld. He is a “RC” which is an often-repeated formula for Radical Constructionism, which places Dewey under duress to apologize for the “ism”. “RC” is a formula; a title of distinction similar to a reductionistic creed for something complex and controversial and if one does not utter it in a refrain fashion with the group then one is not part of the group. Jaspers never resorts to this sort of creed or formula use and he criticizes that sort of conduct. Radical constructionism as an “ism” cuts off conscience that makes such poor deportment guiltless. If one reviews Dewey’s Website, his exposé on the philosophy of teaching seems too defensive regarding an unfavorable title attributed to him by some students.

2.3. Dewey and Herbert do--at least wishfully--belong to the newly forming group known as the Constructivist Foundation. Herbert and Dewey contributed to the first Journal’s postings. Herbert, in his Article, mentions Dewey but in no critical sense and as a fellow supporter of the Radical Constructionism of Glasersfeld, another first contributor to the Journal. Herbert is misusing information from his Website to justify being worthy of membership in the community. See Site Map and click on CONSTRUCTIVIST FOUNDATION JOURNAL.

2.4. In Dewey’s Jan. 21st Comment he comes to Herbert’s rescue on this usufruct issue, that is, the collaborative non-legal privilege of using another’s good name. Let’s see how Dewey does this. It’s reasonable to assume that Herbert has asked Dewey to continue contributing to the (misnamed) “Karl Jaspers Forum” for he needs some reinforcement from the “Radical Constructionism” rite.

2.5. But first, Dewey, through the use of an opening anecdote establishes some authoritative reputation as a “teacher” of Tibetan Buddhist monks “in-exile” in “northern India”. So, he establishes his credentials as a teacher-of-status relative to Serge Patlavsky. He criticizes Serge for using less impressive anecdotes. Please refer to my Site Map THE APPLICATION OF JASPERS TO CONCEPTS OF NUCLEAR PHYSICS AND TO NEUROLINGUISTIC EFFORTS AT DERIVING CONSCIOUSNESS FROM THE UNCONSCIOUS, and especially item 6 which includes Jaspers’, Jung’s, and Zimmer’s views on Eastern tradition and the search by starry-eyed Westerners (my metaphor) for something from the unconsciousness in the Eastern personages. Dewey’s exotic trek to teach something about physics is picturesquely documented on his Website.  It seems probable that claims will be made that some unique technique and cathartic process was applied and that the interpretation of some records might tend to prove Ernst and Dewey’s Radical Constructionism in some questionable connective way involving Tibetan conceptualizations. He will probably find what he is looking for in Tibetan Monks that mysteriously or metaphysically verifies a radically exclusive constructionism. Jaspers has pointed out an amazing similarity between Tibetan religion and the religion of Catholicism. That is something to at least bracket in our minds, for the exclusive culture is not all that strange.   

2.6. Dewey then makes the connection between his anecdotal notoriety and the authority of Karl Jaspers. He cites Serge for asking for a rehashing of established principles [DD5] and refers to TA17 by Glasersfeld as establishing clearly enough Radical Constructivism. The collaborator-cluster is flaunted by reference to Dewey’s Glaserfeld-references. The usufruct comes in with the statement “cited…on this very Forum”. He’s referring to the misnamed “Karl Jaspers Forum”. The only thing established here is that there are comments posted but subject to editorial privileges under the name of Karl Jaspers. Dewey then talks about his large class of students, “comparatively equally gifted students”. It is probably easier to compromise teaching techniques to accommodate peer-pressure student-determinants than administrative pressures regarding proper academic accountability. Though under such pressure Jaspers refused to adjust his textbook, General Psychopathology, for low-level students and stated that:

One should be guided by the better students who are interested in the subject for its own sake, even though they may be a minority. Those who teach should compel their students to rise to a scientific level. But this is made impossible if the ‘compendia’ are used, which gives students fragmentary, superficial pseudo-knowledge ‘for practical purposes’, and which sometimes is more subversive for practice than total ignorance. One should not show a façade of science. There is a decline in culture and intellectual effort in our days and it is the duty of everyone not to compromise. (xi)

If this is the sort of teaching and learning Dewey is referring to it is not novel to Jaspers, and should not be to Dewey. He certainly does not give credit to Jaspers. Of course he would claim, as does Glasersfeld, that he has no responsibility to study Jaspers’ views, which means he is free to stake claims on the basis of unlerned ignorance. (Herbert Muller, as disciplinarian, is understandably permissive regarding Dewey’s behavior.) Then the link between his Constructivist Foundation Journal’s article and Herbert’s Website is slam-dunked: “I refer…to this Karl Jaspers Forum…” He is saying that Radical Constructionism has been adequately argued on Herbert’s Website. My question is this: Why does Dewey and Herbert not take these issues and controverts to the Foundation instead of Herbert’s Website? There, at least the name of Karl Jaspers is not being exploited in the same way, except for Herbert’s piece. The answer is obvious. Herbert and Dewey’s principles have not been established, and are in a constant state of challenge by screened and edited analysts. Moreover, unless the Karl Jaspers Applied Webpage is successfully confronted, membership in the new community is dubious.

3. Stephen Gould used by/use of Vatic Authority and Ilk (reference is to Leonardo’s Mountain of Clams and the Diet of Worms, mainly Chapter 14, Non-overlapping Magisteria which he forces into a formula NOMA)

3.1. So how is Gould relevant to this misuse of authority? First, Herbert never permitted further discussion about Jaspers natural views if it tended to go beyond a superficial misunderstanding of Jaspers’ views on the limits of science. Herbert’s imposed restraints on discussion short-circuited meaningful discourse regarding the “Vatican’s” intervention into science. So the matter is now here more fully considered. Gould too admonishes what Herbert verbalized, “…it never hurts to read primary documents—a rather simple and self-evident principle that has, nonetheless, completely disappeared from large sectors of the American experience”. (273) Dewey’s primary sources for utilizing Karl Jaspers are non-existent, except to shift the responsibility to Herbert’s choice for using the name—and his misunderstanding of the Jaspers’ Encompassing of encompassings and encompassing concepts. Herbert’s reason has become an excuse, and a base for Dewey’s use of that Website.

3.2. Stephen used tactics similar to those of Dewey and Herbert. He relished being used by vatic authority. In this way they and the vatic-associates are of like ilk. The difference here is that Jaspers, having no chance of replying cybernetically, would not approve of being used by Herbert and Dewey. Stephen’s vatic authority (“The Vatican”) would like to use Jaspers, as can be seen in the ontological emphasis and Catholic interest in Heidegger’s ontologism for it is Catholicity friendly. It is something universally graspable and imagined if protesting can be eliminated. Jaspers had predicted and avoided such misuse by Catholicism and Heideggarianism. This instense usufruct as such casts suspicion on the intellectual honesty of a claim that a theory stands on its own merits, whether it is Stephen’s catholicity—the certainty of evolutionism—or his contradictory (NOMA) non-overlapping magisterial, or a reinforcing catholicity that is verbalized as holy.  The subtlety involved here is the manipulative nature of the linguistics; one cannot talk about a church without its name predetermining the affective outcome, i.e., catholic meaning universal. Stephen uses this to canonize, bless, an evolutionism. So one must keep in mind that both magisterial powers escape critiquing through a mutual catholicity. It’s a mutual collusion illusion manifested in the following way:

3.3. Stephen’s anecdotal visit to the “Vatican” in 1984 was sponsored by the “Pontifical Academy of Sciences” and he refers to “our crowd” being comprised of “French and Italian Jesuit priests”. That sponsoring Institution does not miss an opportunity to capitalize on popularity, to feed off it and to feed it with inter-mutual expectations that certainly worked in Stephen Gould’s case.

3.30. In Stephen Hawking’s case, he did not bow like Gould did, and the vatic authority knelt instead at his wheelchair--albeit in compliance to a disability act. Hawking had not emotionally bowed either, for the tactics did not affect his objectivity; earlier he had received the “Pius XI Medal from the Pontifical Academy of Science, but he continued on with his work on the no-boundary theorem which in effect showed he was not assenting to a vatic judgment that it is futile to attempt to find out how the world came about. Hawking continued as though the cosmos was not created applying the scientific method of falsification, that, if a theory is good it is subject to disproof or falsification. I’m not that current on Hawkins recent works so he may have buckled too. At least he turned the table on authority taking full advantage of his disadvantages.

3.31 But Gould was tactically-affectionately endeared to that vatic organization. It’s in the nature of the Institution to harvest every possible force. If it were not for cyber-space/time Jaspers would be shown to have visited Rome along the same lines as alleged of Peter. There’s an enhanced need to harvest scientific powers such as paleontologists and theoretical physicists especially to decompensate; such as in the case of the Teilhard Chardin paleontologist’s controversy, i.e., his being caught up in scandal, and the negative reflection on his move to establish the Catholic Church of Evolution in The Heart of the Matter. Gould was/is especially important for Catholicism in this world struggle with Islamic powers, for he claims to be Jewish, though a Jewish agnostic, but moreover a Jewish evolutionist--whatever that means beside the fact that he is all too inhuman in his thinking. So, it was important to seek his…exclusive (catholic=universal) thinking…to support the vatic decree emphasizing one side of a minimum-dichotomized dualistic view of humankind’s origin. I don’t want to address the question of his claim on a Jewish lineage but it seems there is more exploitation than similarity reflected in his association with the title of Moses. Moses had the choice of being an “evolutionist” as much as…say…an Anaximander, or a Gould.

3.4. Gould’s approach to Moses is certainly superficial, and excludes a high level of understanding about the historical significance of the cosmogony question (see last week’s Update regarding Jaspers on creation). Those not yielding unquestionably to evolutionism, Gould says, are not “people of goodwill and keen intellect” (279). With those words Gould easily classifies and discard’s Jaspers’ creation cosmogony as politics, and local politics at that. But it is not so much the correctness of Gould but his reputation that the vatic authority could use. Gould responded, as predicted, with mutual cordiality by writing about it lionizing a vatic authority’s continuum as a natural state of evolutionary progressivity while bashing “Protestant” proselytizing evangelicals as regressivity. This was predictable, for it would take effort to refer to his vatic experience in less distinctive terms than “the Vatican” and “Papal” advice as being “(holy)” and, this, from an alleged objective scientist. Regarding his vatic authority he talks beyond the point, and with regard to protesting phenomena he talks short of the point. Understanding is replaced by expediency.

3.4. Stephen Gould demonstrates his own awareness of the principle of local politics and the use of it by established religious institutionalism. “Creationism is a home-grown phenomenon of American sociocultural history—a splinter movement…by Protestant fundamentalists…” (270) And “creationism is a local and parochial movement, powerful only in the United States…” (271) Gould is hiding his interpretation behind the “ism” somewhat like Herbert and Dewey do with the “ism” in Glasersfeld’s “Radical Constructionism”, i.e., a definite linguistic repose into a suggestive catholicity. Though Gould acutely understands politics, he protects his vatic authority from having such acuity. He avoids seeing and/or saying that no one can teach (magister to use Gould’s…latin) political manipulation more effectively than “the Vatican.” One only needs to read Jaspers Phil. Faith and Rev. to see he shares this historically demonstrable view of the “Vatican”.

3.5. Gould prefers not to think of this vatic authority having the wherewithal to act as the double agency to two Catholic branches, i.e., conservative Catholicity and simultaneously accommodating and capturing Catholicity’s trendy side. Gould has the expertise, and fundamentalists have it, but when the “Vatican” uses it, it is due to an innocent language error, “a fascinating example of the subtleties and inherent ambiguities in rendering one language into another”. Reference here is being made to his footnote on page 279 where he easily explains away a conflicting bit of “Vatican” propaganda interpreted by him as prone to evolutional error by reference to a French “un/une” that can either mean “a” or “one”. Gould is attempting to show that decades of scientific progress after “un” was translated as “one hypothesis” instead of as “a hypothesis” it finally was seen as an error in translation. Nobody saw it and admitted it till Gould thought he found the assumed unintentional error. When Gould found what he considered the error, the “National Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Science and Human Values” heaped praises on him and Gould expects us to believe he was not a victim of a well orchestrated promotion of an in-house conciliatory effort and efforts to harvest and help catholicize a popular science. Linguistics then becomes the scapegoat for error and not the inerrant-vatic authority of evolutionism and Catholicism’s reluctance to wait for greater consensus before correcting the…designed…error. Mr. Muller and Mr. Glasersfeld attempted to do similarly with German symbols used by Jaspers. It amounts to apparent intellectual dishonesty!

3.6. Gould could be subtle, but that attribute is inaccessible to the inerrant moral “magistrate”? Gould fails to admit as possible the collusion between a “Vatican” and the fourth estate including the manipulation through controlled leaks to the press, all designed to be Catholic in a very diverse secular and religious world. To believe otherwise is equivalent to accepting God’s divine intervention into the faculties of a “primary leader from the other major magisterium of our complex lives.” After such a simplistic casting away of the collusion possibility, it is a too late and too little to escape into Gould’s “complex lives” and the church of evolution, Catholicism. The damage done to science by Gould and the vatic authority amounts to a conjured punctilious equilibrium or the “ism” of catholicity. There’s a similar attitude of excessive certitude manifested by the type of thinker lured by a title of distinction like “Radical Constructionism”.

3.7. What is this other major catholic magisterium? Well of course it’s the other side of the unavoidable dichotomous perspective. The radical catholicity taught by teachers of evolutionism. It is now by vatic decree no longer a theory, or hypothesis, or a classification of phenomena, no longer includes suspended or critical judgments about meaning, for, Gould says “Sincere Christians must now accept evolution not merely as a plausible possibility, but also as an effectively proven fact”. (280) Such certitude does not lend itself to falsification. What we have here is a good excuse for a potential renewal of a court of inquisition regarding one’s uncertainty about the psychology of the collusion between the Church and the Science.

3.8. Gould speaks of “Pope John Paul” and his vatic comments as “gospel” which of course means, as Gould says, “good news”, and then Gould makes a play on the name of “Pope John” in the same sentence making reference to John’s gospel of the New Testament. For Gould, that gospel message “in the beginning was the word” as though the “Vatic” word has now confirmed that humankind/consciousness evolved from animals and the control of conscience “evolves” from the holy catholic church and we must now utter the formula “NOMA” for the remission of sin (original limitations), for the symbols stand for “non-overlapping magisterial” which entails also not really meaning it, only believing it without critically understanding it. To acquiesce to “NOMA” requires a violation of the dichotomous polarity essential for thinking not only to begin but also to continue.

3.9. Gould’s “reformed” interpretation is not what the gospel writer had in mind. His intention was to show that Jesus is to be believed when he said that our source, origin, is not of this world but rather a heavenly source. Jesus knew what the issue was. So did Moses. He saw it in the misbehavior of his fellows, in the excuses for poor performance due to the poor examples of father David or father Abraham. Even the willingness for human sacrifice was permitted, because of the political-felt necessity of circumventing the psychological affectivity of believing in the origin to which Jesus pointed. To teach or be allowed to learn about the sublime origin of humankind is as much a threat to the education industry as it was to the religious/political establishment then.

3.10. Jaspers position is that with regard to the evolutionism displayed by Stephen, Herbert, ilk, and any vatic authority is that they have one thing in common. “Their proponents seem to know what happened. They operate with forces, gods, substances, categories, whose own source is not further inquired into.” In my “Karl Jaspers Forum” Update here, I have inquired further into the presumptuousness of those who seem to know the world in which they must excel and radically reconstruct. Jaspers said, “thus while being in the world, we are also from elsewhere. We find ourselves in the world, and yet we are not of this world…If we could grasp where we came from, we would cease to be human.” “The cipher of the idea of Creation…stirs us by the very fact that it does not permit us to know.”

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