|Famous for his Existenz and "final experience" notions, Jaspers seems to float between heaven and ultimately absurd material. "Final experience" encouraging belief in meaning in an existence we know to be absurd seems basically futile - but many of Jaspers' observations on the plight of modern, fragmented, un-transcendental Man are poignant and provocative.|
"Man, if he is to remain man, must advance by way of consciousness. There is no road leading backward...We can no longer veil reality from ourselves by renouncing self-consciousness without simultaneously excluding ourselves from the historical course of human existence."
"'There is no God,' cry the masses more and more vociferously; and with the loss of God man loses his sense of values -- is, as it were, massacred because he feels himself of no account."
"In old days the plastic arts, music, and poesy were so germane to man in his totality that his Transcendence plainly manifest in them...What is to-day obvious to all is a decay in the essence of art...the opposition to man's true nature as man."
"When language is used without true significance, it loses its purpose as a means of communication and becomes an end in itself."
"...the culture of the generality tends to conform to the demands of the average human being. Spirituality decays through being diffused among the masses when knowledge is impoverished in every possible way by rationalisation until it becomes accessible to the crude understanding of all."
"...it is questionable whether there does not exist in man an obscure and blind will to make war."
"Man is always something more than what he knows of himself. He is not what he is simply once and for all, but is a process..."
"The 'public' is a phantom, the phantom of an opinion supposed to exist in a vast number of persons who have no effective interrelation and though the opinion is not effectively present in the units. Such an opinion is spoken of as 'public opinion,' a fiction which is appealed to by individuals and by groups as supporting their special views. It is impalpable, illusory, transient; ''tis here, 'tis there, 'tis gone'; a nullity which can nevertheless for a moment endow the multitude with power to uplift or destroy."
has become obligatory to fulfil a function which shall in some way be regarded
as useful to the masses...Even an articulated mass always tends to become
unspiritual and inhuman. It is life
without existence, superstition without faith.
It may stamp all flat; it is disinclined to tolerate independence and
greatness, but prone to constrain people to become as automatic as ants."
would-be climber [in business] must be able to make himself liked [and]
please his superiors - avoid showing
independence except in those matters wherein independence is
expected of him by his chiefs...the winners of the race have qualities which disincline
them to allow others to be their true selves. Hence the
winners snub all those who aim at adequate self-expression,
speaking of them as pretentious, eccentric, biased, unpractical,
and measuring their achievements by insincere standards."
"In the life of the mass-order, the culture of the generality tends to conform to the demands of the average human being. Spirituality decays through being diffused among the masses when knowledge is impoverished in every possible way by rationalisation until it becomes accessible to the crude understanding of all."
"...The mass-man has very little spare time...does not want to exert himself except for some concrete aim which can be expressed in terms of utility...That is why the essay has become the customary form of literature, why newspapers are taking the place of books...People read quickly and cursorily."
All of the above quotations belong to Karl Jaspers.
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