A REPLY TO CHO’S CRITIQUE OF KARL JASPERS’ “MESSIAH” AND RESURRECTION THOUGHTS
Correction notice 11-5-2014—I’m thankful that it’s been brought to my attention that the paragraph Seeking Prior Approval (below) could use a detail. This parenthetical clarification has been added: (Papers published in “Existenz” are not always presented at the Karl Jaspers Society of North America--though publication might be considered.)
Preface—Karl Jaspers has been inappropriately identified with those that think the resurrection of Jesus and messianic beliefs contribute to human rights violations—whether termed “racism”, “racialism”, or “antisemitism”. This Webpage begins with 12 counter-arguments to show that the resurrection of Jesus and messianic fulfillments deter the violation of human rights. The arguments presuppose that the reader knows the need for transactional reasoning on these issues. Otherwise, preliminary preparation can be found by scrolling down to the Orientation which defends Jaspers from being misinterpreted. (References in parentheses are primarily for my benefit and for those familiar with Jaspers material.)
PART ONE OF THREE
TWELVE COUNTER PROPOSITIONS
1. Individual trust in the meaningfulness of the real resurrection of Jesus (as son of man, and God) results in seeing all other individuals as children (daughters and sons of humankind) of God. Such trust could not result in an exclusivity that “results in actual coercion and intolerance” (Myth and Christianity, 83). That trust perpetuates, resurrects, in consciousness and conscience, an aversion to inflicting suffering temporally and eternally.
2. Individual trust in the resurrection goes to establishing the Kingdom of God in which torture is subjectively and objectively nonexistent as a means of control. It relates to ideal living here and now and the commitment to the elimination of suffering eternally, and in time/space (such as the spectrum of suffering ending with palliative care services).
3. The individual trust in the resurrection of Jesus establishes the messiah concept as an actual event in the here and now of the space/time continuum; it discontinues the major interlude-excuse for torturing those not in compliance with an “evolving theocracy”—until that which is perfect has “evolved”—the hope of which never comes once the institution is on a roll. Individual trust in the resurrection of the crucified Jesus is not localized in some past conclusive event or future hope but in the here and now history’s continuum.
4. Individual trust in the resurrection of Jesus is non-judgmental and not exclusive. Universal individualistic trust in the resurrection of Jesus in relative time-space is typically “the way” to avoid, save us from, the resurgence of the spirit of torture and tolerance for suffering in general. Trusting the resurrection can exclaim (!), i.e., lift high, immortalize, the disgracefulness of a gruesome death (see Jaspers’ judgment that among the paradigmatic philosophers there is no comparison; e.g. the death of Socrates cannot compare (M84).
5. Individual trust in the resurrection of the Jew Jesus precludes antisemitic bias; e.g.: It is not “antisemitic bias” to point at the destructive tendency of a theocracy’s enforcement tactics. On the accusation of being antisemitic, if John’s gospel were undermined it would undercut the protestant guide. Jaspers said, “I like to think I live…[by]” the Bible and (protestant) Kant (M 78). Being unnecessarily uncomfortable with theology and modern Biblical scholarship, Jaspers relies too much on views about John’s Gospel (M 82). Moreover it would mitigate the historical standard that is replacing the primary and secondary effects of authoritarianism coming from south of the Alps. Furthermore, what Jesus said to his disciple John applies to the gospels and the good news; John was corrected and informed about biased judgments: “For he that is not against us is on our part” (Mark 9). I mention Mark and Matthew for they are mentioned as “closer to sources” by “higher critics”.
6. Individual trust in the resurrection can be reasonably proclaimed without bias toward those who do by humane nature the moral precepts (Paul). The dialectic is individual-to-individual, i.e., a dialogue without presumptuous group-uniformed power-demanding handicaps. Individual empathetic response to individual can at least be: if not against then for. Textual criticism reveals that when responding to the Pharisees’ accusation about Jesus being the prince of Devils for alleviating suffering, in that humane context, Jesus said, “He that is not with me is against me”. (Matt 12:30)
7. Individual trust in the resurrection and distrust in torture in retrospect and prospectively can be fearlessly subjected to psychopathological research. However it is historically normal to believe in the immortality of consciousness in some form including the need for the immortal imperative of a good conscience.
8. Individual trust in the resurrection of Jesus involves the use of immortality concepts supporting the connection between the visible ephemeral-empirical and humankind’s dark matter integral empirical presumptive attachment (as in dark matter but excluding conclusive “evolutionary” source thinking). It can qualify the quantitative statement by Jaspers that a dead body cannot come back to life, so if not a body suspended alone, the meaning to Jesus loudly giving up the spirit remains mysterious but also a response to excruciating pain.
10. Individual trust in the resurrection of Jesus includes individualistic messianic interpretations (exegesis). As a member of the invisible church (wherever, as prophetess or prophets in small sects or large cults) it is the hope of the protestant spirit, and the stumbling block for the universal imposition of messianic-based (incarnation of God) institutionalism (hidden corporate-protected individuals without identities).
11. Jaspers’ expression that a dead body cannot come back to life can be comparable to what Nietzsche (the minister’s son) meant when he said “God is dead”; Nietzsche was not an atheist but giving expression--in a slight way like when Jesus said “My God…forsaken me”. Jaspers says of Nietzsche’s statement: “…it might serve to arouse us to do all the more resolutely anything that will refute it and thus gain the assurance that God is not dead” (Nietzsche 246). This judgment can also be applied to Jaspers: his way of putting a stop to the misuse of the “resurrection” and “Messiah”, the messianic interpretations.
12. I’m not ashamed to be a believer in the OT and NT God of life found not amidst the dead but the living as in the resurrection of Jesus and his fulfillment of the messianic-hope--as it was used as an excuse for executing those considered a threat to a messianic theocracy.
ORIENTATION--Jaspers’ statements about the resurrection of Jesus and the messiah seem clear enough on the surface, i.e., very superficially. Understanding Jaspers is subject to handicaps, e.g., his reading and writing English was limited (Kirkbright 177). So, translations from German and predispositions affecting interpretations by those familiar with German require caution. If a biased reader crawls into his works, no upright recipient looks back--immediately.
It’s as a psychopathologist that he says he does not believe in demons, magical causality, and “the resurrection of the body” (M102, 17). As a psychopathologist Jaspers sees the historical messianic complex and states that the protestant message survives amidst Catholicism “…only if we dispense with…[the institutionalized messianic complex, (GPsy 371)] as one of the Bible’s particular religious conformations” (PFR 338). I’ve inserted “messianic complex” because the misused name of “Christ” is emotionally toned running the gamut from profanity, “Christocentrism”, and repulsion for torture if disrespect was shown toward the host in the “Eucharist”.
But role-playing as protestant minister, faithful to the precept of not making any graven image, and faithful to God as imageless, Jaspers can talk with relative discretion such as: the “Resurrected [emphasis mine] saying, touch me not, His Ascension, the Descent of the Holy Ghost, and so on…” (M 19). He has no qualms here about magic, like “The Jews…this miracle of history…” (PFR 338).
He passionately confronts the theologian Bultmann for making biblical “myths” and then getting credit for demythologizing. Jaspers defends that area of consciousness that comes to terms with the unusual, saving it from eradication. He defends the sentient faculty that makes possible openness to mysterious experience. Spinning off Bultmann’s use of the term “myth” with the same emotionally charged term (concept), the more popular tone continues to lend dissonance to Jaspers’ therapeutic meaning. That presents a problem for readers needing to adjust to handling modernity’s toned word, “myth”.
Jaspers’ stumbling block: Theology “scholars”--Between these two temporal poles (physician and minister) on the spectrum of critical thinking Jaspers gets bogged down, or, at least convoluted expressions and translations can sidetrack an interpreter who might already be off track. His theological views get unconvincing when he fails to speak as an independent open-ended philosopher and starts kowtowing somewhat to theological academia, e.g., friends, family, including higher critics of the Bible (Debilius and even Bultmann).
It is clear to me that Jaspers is speaking against the materialization of the spirit in corporeal form (around which buzzards circle, Luke 17:37) and against the resurrection of the corporal-emphasis being used as a skeletal-relic that goes to enforcing conformity to orders made by institutional men. (M 22)
Jaspers is clear enough as a protestant minister. He would deal with the resurrection of the dead and other biblical images if it could be presented in such a way that the listeners would not conclude that they are unquestionable “empirical realities”—therefore, not subject to interpreting. Those images, phenomena, can be interpreted as literal in the sense that human existence is not literally only empirical but also immortal. He would speak to it if something could be illuminated that would remain lost without such an image. (Preserving from this lost, my 12 arguments counter opposition to both the resurrection of Jesus and his fulfillment of messianic-based excuses.) Jaspers means to preserve here-and-now the whole spirit and meaning of the historic event, saving it from objectification and then exploitation by various powers.
My 2007 Webpage on the resurrection ended with only the item “10” caption that proposed looking at Jaspers’ psychopathological thoughts and how they might be relevant to the discussions regarding the crucifixion and resurrection phenomena. It is now continued and includes explicit messianic matters implicit in the resurrection.
Meanwhile, in 2010, Joanne Miyang Cho’s work was published regarding Jaspers’ views on the resurrection and “Christ”. That publication in Existenz (An International Journal in Philosophy, Religion, politics, and the Arts) tended to support some apparent misunderstanding. She identified Jaspers’ interpretation of “dead bodies do not rise from the dead” with Bultmann’s stated disbelief in the resurrection of Jesus. Cho said they did not believe in the “literal” resurrection.
Transactional reaction--But Jaspers was hardly agreeing with Bultmann on anything in that debate—except for occasionally giving his opponent’s meanings the benefit of kind trust rather than untactful doubt. Jaspers thinks out of freedom (transcendence) and individually while alone in the thick of issues. Bultmann was being “literal” with the biblical literary “Word” by using scientism (empirical ontological rationalism) to demyth the literature to preserve its sacredness. He was conforming to the superiority attitude, the systemic certitude, and the hubris inherent in modernity (absolute certainty about having all the answers).
Avoiding the death of God/preserving the suffering image--Jaspers was being “empirical” but through avoiding subjecting God to empirical limitations, to objectivity, to an objectified, ossified, particular time-space event. He wanted to preserve the effect of Jesus’ excruciating death. He wanted to avoid God’s death and God’s resurrection so that an institution could not become a sacred substitute for imitating Jesus. Jaspers was speaking more from the standpoint of learned-ignorance, thus more relevant to post-modernity (micro macro uncertainty), but more faithful to humankind’s biblical history (See the introduction in Origin and Goal Human History). However:
Univocal use of “literal”--On this “literal” presumption, Cho (logically) connects the resurrection with the messianic topic—approached negatively. Cho concludes Bultmann’s use of “Christ” is found to produce racial biases—because of integral exclusivity demands. In other words (mine), salvation comes from God but only through the demythed church. The church of “science” becomes the way, the truth, and the life--not the Jew.
Emotively charged words--Cho inadequately handled Jaspers’ efforts to mollify this messianic ground that can produce exclusivity by also having Bultmann and Jaspers agreeing on disbelieving in “Christ”—an easy and appealing accomplishment, for, scientific rationalism laughs at the emotionally toned word “Christ”; thus the philistine word “Christocentric”.
Seeking prior approval--Cho judges and compliments Jaspers for denying…“Christ”…more openhandedly than Bultmann. Pointing to his open-minded relativity regarding other cultures’ influence on the development of the occidental (Western) culture. Cho thereby supposedly saves Jaspers from being antisemitic like Bultmann. Cho argues by dropping names including important persons in the Karl Jaspers Society who give prior approval for papers submitted for acceptance. (Papers published in “Existenz” are not always presented at the Karl Jaspers Society of North America--though publication might be considered.)
The univocal to nominal spin--Having apparently eliminated any worth to literal “Christ”, while using only its nominal meaning, Cho uses Jaspers’ openness to communication and transcendence as a substitute for the NT “Christ”. Again, the title “Christ” is seemingly used nominally (name only). However, Jaspers’ transcending consistent approach uses therapeutic terms to preserve the OT and NT meaning of messianic thinking and thus preserve Jesus too--to clean up religious and secular profane language that engenders racist mania. Jaspers:
Being reasonable--So, rather than conjuring up a substitute for the real and interpretive meaning of the OT and NT nominal “Christ”, Jaspers shows there are clearer ways to interpret the messianic process. I can see this in Jaspers because in my personal religious history, the process is similar to what it means to come let’s reason together, and if you’re not against me you are for me--unless you are out for me to get crucified then you are against me.
Being set-up—With no malicious intent Cho seems to me to present Jaspers in a fashion that sets him up blasphemously, i.e., subjects him to the dangers of being shunned for extreme liberal talk by the very protestant small sects wherein Jaspers finds hope for the future of humankind (e.g., in the U.S.A’s religious experience the small-sect known as the Restoration Movement and where Jaspers’ contributions are quietly recognized).
Learning by differentiating--Within the context of overwhelming evidence supporting Jaspers’ disagreement with Bultmann, Cho appeals to conventional thinking by pointing out that Jaspers said he learned a lot about theology from Bultmann (and Debilius too).
That view fails to see the whole historic picture; for, Jaspers was in the thick of things including some dependence on Debilius during WWII and after in the reinstatement of the University by the Allies. The thick of things included his loving, happy, and functional marriage to Gertrude and thereby into the Jewish milieu, and Debilius was her friend. The meaning of learning from higher critics (theological “scholarship”) is open to interpretation and thus ambiguity.
One alternative meaning is: What does not kill us makes us stronger, or like a divorced person saying much was learned from the marriage…with theological rationalism. Jaspers didn’t learn anything from his research in “Paradigmatic Individuals (e.g., Asian and Jewish) without critiquing and protesting factors that could be eventually misused socially.
A fairer understanding of Jaspers’ peaceful and appeasing conduct must include his physical and economic health. He had to count the cost for being confrontational. His early 1913 General Psychopathology was dedicated to his father during which time Jaspers earnings did not quite pay his living expenses. He had to survive with an illness knowing that the prognosis of which normally meant an early death.
The whole picture distorts what seems clear; it includes sometimes being more kind than truthful amidst unreasonable forces. Kirkbright properly points out the ethical dilemma involved in surviving Nazi Germany.
Jaspers’ need for controlled-stress for his personal health, and the need to protect Gertrude from extermination (as well as himself), led Kirkbright to say:
So, when Jaspers says he learned a lot from this and that (such as with the mentally ill), one must see through the thick of things. To protect Gertrude (classified as an outlaw in her own state because a Jew) and his philosophy, Jaspers once condescended obsequitiously in a letter to ‘Heil Hitler!’ (Kirkbright 152)
Jaspers’ objections to the exploitation of the “Christ” concept follow the same forms of logic as when dealing with the empirical misuse of the resurrection. He sees the south side (of the Alps) of making the messianic matter only visible matter, and then exploiting it by the incarnation of the body of Jesus now as “Christ” resurrected (like in the religious host, i.e., transubstantiation--my example). We need to avoid making Jaspers argue for something he never proposed. He said:
Eugene Thomas Long--Cho avoided the chance to make Jaspers’ criticism of Catholicism relevant to the misuse of the “myth” involved in general and specific resurrection-thinking when she considers Eugene Thomas Long’s criticism of Jaspers’ threat to tradition. (By “myth” I’m referring to the mental form where the mystic or mystery is nurtured—or not.) Cho fails to mention that Long is Catholic as indicated by his defense of tradition. Jaspers’ warnings against the institutionalizing of revealed truth are missed.
Cho short on Long--Long was possibly more critical of Jaspers than Bultmann because Jaspers, being more ambiguous about the resurrection, was the greater protestant force. Cho doesn’t point to the greater reason that Long was more tolerant of Bultmann: Bultmann was a threat to the protestant movement especially in the clarity with which the resurrection was denied. Also reflecting against the protestant process was Bultmann’s “Christ” idea. It continued the corporeal incarnation progress but congealing in Bultmann’s demythologizing interpretation of the “Word” (Bible, John).
Bottom line, Taxes and the Separation of Church--Cho perhaps makes the most profoundly useful statement in the first paragraph: “He [Jaspers] and his Jewess wife paid church and synagogue taxes…” Paying tribute to forces can be “in-kind” payments, such as kind compliments paid to those deciding scholarly acceptability. The conventional Jaspers-society includes Jewish, Catholic, Protestant, and academic dynamic forces. From each perspective these committed forces see the dangers and potential benefits in Jaspers’ works. It is easy to submit to usury and express oneself with patronizing “Highest Regards” in that environment.
In the U.S.A. religious experiment it is hard to identify with paying church taxes. It is easy to feel the revulsion if negating the meaningfulness of the resurrection of Jesus and the phenomenon of “Christ” leaves one feeling obligated to conform to sycophantic etiquette in the name of academia. It’s usury because the rates are too high. My 12 counter arguments are confrontational encounters without being obviously ingratiating.
GENERAL PSYCHOPATHOLOGY AND SPECIAL “RATIONALISTIC SUPERIORITY” RELATIVE TO THE RESURRECTION AND MESSIANIC PHENOMENA
Jaspers, on auto and mass hypnosis, real (subjective projecting in space-time) and false (misinterpreting real perceptions) hallucinations, and their interpretative meaning for us in society and history.
The inverted source of bias--If a summary of mass hypnosis research were to be made and made relevant to what is referred to as “christocentism or Christocentricity” and the resurrection, it should include this edited quote from Jaspers (GPsy 735):
In showing why epidemics of magnitude are not as prevalent today, but do exist, Jaspers says it is due at the time to suppression at the source, like, the greater public does not contribute half way with equal devotion to belief-tendencies and fear.
But Jaspers continues, saying that the hallucinatory experiences, being now laughed at, are confronted by intellectual dishonesty in the form of this myth-based bias:
Rationalistic superiority has its myth and bias component. Hallucinations are anything that does not qualify for rationalistic superiority. If one is not reflective enough to be hypnotized by my superiority, they are like animals (Jaspers: “There is no hypnosis of animals.” (GPsy 379)
Jaspers is certainly not saying that reality depends on consensus. He is not saying it is determined democratically or aristocratically. He is saying that variable forces can affect the interpretation of unusual phenomena and both must be looked at with empathy and intellectual fairness.
Rationalistic superiority as a reaction to devotion, to faith, is what Jaspers sees in Bultmann, i.e., a rationalistic hubris in the form of the prevailing myth of scientism. The scientific attitude, the critical approach potential, is cut off from here-and-now inspiration and revelation, and all that remains is the empirical, thus the new attitude’s continuation is incarnated and fixated and becomes the prevailing illusion.
Rationalistic superiority was a problem Jaspers had to deal with in the clinical situation. That is why his philosophical-faith consciousness is seen in his earliest book (General Psychopathology). Like, one abnormal mechanism is replaced by another brought about by losing the content of “philosophy and faith”. Jaspers shows the need for reason’s mystic creationistic form as early as in his 1923 (and 7th edition 1959)--psychopathology textbook.
Nuances (subtle ciphers) of rationalistic superiority have surfaced and are being sustained in academic circles relative to Jaspers-societies. It can be found but not addressed, in 2010, through the “An International Journal in Philosophy, Religion, Politics, and the Arts (Existenz)” http://www.bu.edu/paideia/existenz/volumes/Vol.5-1Cho.html
Name dropping a little too obvious—Cho’s position seems to be this: all really informed sources agree that the resurrection of Jesus and messianic beliefs are groundless.
To support this argument she refers to current figures such as Ehrlich, Thornhill--and Walters. They are interpreted as substantiating the view that belief in the resurrection and messiah contribute to antisemitic attitudes. Ehrlich and Thornhill accomplish this through a comparison, then similarity, then a differentiation, and finding reasons to agree with Jaspers more than Bultmann. Jaspers is more influential.
Gregory Walters is called in for support, but he has to be more vague about the disbeliefs because of his Catholicism. His talk about human rights (anti-bias) is squeezed into Cho’s paper so as to not exclude one of the important members of a “Karl Jaspers Society”. Thus his preference for “weak cultural relativism” is supposed to be one more vote for Jaspers’ being disambiguous regarding opposition to messianic issues. Here, rationalistic superiority is the ground for bias toward those that have not quit thinking about phenomena, like the meaning of the resurrection of Jesus and the meaning of messianic ciphers.
Cho concludes, with Walter’s classifications, to show that belief in the resurrection of Jesus should be mitigated if more than a weak belief; it should be considered “weak cultural relativism” (a choice between radical, weak, and strong). Cho classifies Walter as a theologian—a bit of bias in the form of appealing to divinity thus begging for some handicap credit. In this case, belief in the Catholic Church as the magical channel of salvation becomes “rationalistic superiority” that morphs easily into bias against those open more to understanding the resurrection and Jesus than assenting to a universal exclusive traditional group.
If Gregory represents a weak culture, it should be remembered that it is within and protected by the ranks of a radical cultural relativism, an “ism” that is Catholicism, the one and only church through which salvation is the only way. (I’m not talking about those in groups that are primarily members of the invisible church--nor was Jaspers.)
In my opinion Gregory is tolerated within the ranks of Catholicism because of his brilliance as an accommodating spirit but moreover relied on to assure that the “strong culture relativism” is represented though not making any concessions. He’s allowed in the fold as an outstanding token that supports the radical salvation requirement.
However, to also place Jaspers in this weak-culture category on these unsettled issues is stretching the imagination. It’s an inverted source of bias that proceeds from rationalistic superiority.
Rationalistic superiority bias is applied to the phenomenon of the resurrection of Jesus. Cho says that Christianity owes its origin to Asian influences (due to Middle Eastern relativities). A rejoinder could be: so does “crucifixion” with all the violation of humaneness. Darius I, King of Persia, crucified 3,000 political opponents in Babylon 519 BC. Now there is a cultural factor that arouses humanity to transaction! The defenders of the misunderstood--that the major folk judge to be myth assenters--then react and muster to bust the myths of rationalistic superiority who then adamantly dig deeper into infinite data compounding the complex and the bias.
This is bias: All this talk against the resurrection seems to hide the unimaginable torture, and the miracle of Jesus’ having submitting to it. So, Jaspers: “Jesus emerges as a unique, unmistakable, transcendent reality whose subjective certainty goes beyond any objective, rational proof”. (PFR 337) Inversion is complete; real racists are those hollering racism that distracts from human suffering.
Part of the rejoinder is that the resurrection phenomenon drew attention to the inhumane phenomena to which only something as miraculous as the resurrection could mitigate. That is what made the resurrection so appealing to the masses wherein smoldered the philosophical trend toward justice by the great philosophers.
It seems to me that the world was ready to meet the resurrection halfway, to show solidarity against torture whether it be the agony of a good or bad person.
Cho quotes Jaspers warning about being careful how Ciphers are interpreted. No less care should be utilized in understanding Jaspers’ case-history when interpreting Jaspers’ ciphers, especially his views on the resurrection of Jesus. Jaspers was obliged to accommodate the Jewish difficulty with the resurrection of Jesus (married into orthodox Jewish situation), the faithfulness to Debilius (Gertrude’s friend with semitic linguistic credentials), and seeing the consequential take-over of the resurrection of “Christ” by religious institutionalism.
Cho more tactful than right--The Vatican’s tolerance for the Hitler regime was a far greater immediate supporting force than any of Martin Luther’s comments, or England’s Churchill’s mistake. Cho was too quick to deflect responsibility from the Catholic Church, unlike Jaspers’ clear position. Jaspers: “It made us shudder” (QQ 93).
No one is forced to believe that a dead body came back to life—We don’t know what a dead body is, nor for that matter a live body, and we surely do not know the ultimate forces and the interventions coming in from beyond the constantly receding horizon of experience and “knowledge”.
There is a historical observation to be made when attempting to understand how Jaspers’ mystique can seem to avoid identifying with a belief in a resurrection of a dead body.
First, as a psychopathologist, what command would he respect or what reliance could his community of patients and peers have if he approached the testimony of hallucinating patients with it being known that he believed “dead bodies” could come back to life. He would be ineffective by approaching patients as a wide-eyed scared exorcist. But, approaching as one looking for the truth in the data presented is respected.
For instance, under mass hypnosis (see specific mechanisms, abnormal mechanisms GPsy 378) the willingness to believe, or an informed philosophy and faith (380), is what one is left with if empirical reality is robbed of metaphysical reality. It happens in mass or psychic epidemics, where hallucinatory experiences prevail, and are met with the empirically inclined, with an attitude of rationalistic superiority. (GPsy 735).
Jaspers says, “Dealing with the Bible does not mean belonging to a church.” (PFR 334) and “…the real issue is who is empowered to make the correct interpretations”(335). Surely not those high critics against Jaspers, nor those seemingly “for” him as depicted in Cho’s paper. But, all “those” have histories too, as does Cho.
ENDING ON A PERSONAL NOTE
On a personal note: Since doing that 2007 paper http://www.karljaspersapplied.net/Crucible.htm my wife, Sheila, passed 14 months ago. In her material absence I find myself searching for indications of her presence, her immortality, though in some indirect way according to my faith.
That experience has me looking at ciphers with more emotional attachment. A sudden breeze, a more pronounced waving of a single leaf or reed, especially those occurrences not consciously sought though there’s a consciousness prepared for those events that tend to substantiate life more abundantly—and decrease some of the intellectually honest unavoidable guilt. Even ciphers of memory are being reread.
Also, added to the need for caution about reading ciphers was her illness’ variety of hallucinations from the false interpretations of objective phenomena to subjectively projected images—those that were controlled by taking care to remove from the room unfamiliar things. But there were the more subjective projections beyond my control, but those I irresponsibly helped plant in her mind.
These experiences go to meaningfully using ciphers but do not deter my hope and faith about the resurrection of Jesus. That certitude reveals the mystery of life and inspires hope.
It seems desirable…to me…for Sheila to appear around the next bend in the path and walk happily with me. You know, like Jesus appeared and walked with the two disciples (as reported by the physician Luke)—though immediate recognition would be convincing. I’m sure that could transpire if God determined that humanity’s immortality were at risk.
But now, reading ciphers can be exhausting. Turning to the wall, I see two seagull ornaments. Sheila had purchased them. Since her passing, one fell and the left wing broke off. It now hangs descending in swirling vertigo under the hovering seagull.
Sheila and I liked Jaspers way of expressing the need for loving communication with another: “To make us soar, both wings must beat together” (PFR 317). Exhausted with the cipher-struggle, still, “take wing” is…given (327). This quote from Jaspers rather than Jesus can come across as a sin against the son of man. I pray for forgiveness and that it is not a sin against the Holy Spirit.