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1938, imagine this ...

Posted: Fri Jul 08, 2022 8:13 am
by billd89
To reconstruct (as best we can) how any book was conceived we 'put ourselves in the author's shoes'. There are -- let us say -- no surviving drafts, no workbooks nor outlines. So we look at what else they wrote, who they studied with in prior years, any correspondence or literary recollections from the period. Admittedly, such meagre scraps are hardly an account of the mental process and complexities of writing a 400pp book.

Given certain facts, what do we then imagine the Author(s) thought or intent, behind the published artifact itself?

We can say w/ certainty the Author is a German emigre PhD, a refugee from Nazi Germany and a Jewish intellectual formerly from an elite Berlin circle now dispersed across a darkening Western world. They are devoted to Classical History, but not to the old theories of anglophone or American academia. On the contrary, his teachers of the Religionsgeschichtliche Schule had boldly synthesized Egyptian, Jewish, Persian and Greek elements: a new framework must be created to reflect upon history, to recreate what was or what might have been.

Then -- quite unexpectedly -- a novel assignment was given by his boss at the behest of the Rockefeller Foundation. Quid pro quo, a massive grant was offered in exchange for writing a book in short order. It quickly became clear this was a special project for John D. Rockefeller Jr., the ultimate financial supporter of our Author (among several hundred other refugee scholars) for the previous 4 years after the Rockefeller funded visa arrangement.

A satisfactory effort for the RF would probably guarantee a choice professorship (it did), but everything must be done Anonymously (it was). But what should he write? Something on First Century Christianity, they want, but Not Too Jewish. In 1938, the issue of Mandate Palestine was intensely political, and this project could be no excuse to openly attack Herr Hitler. At that time, there were some believing the USA would not survive Nazism. A Rockefeller agent (also German) was a liason and assistant -- to make sure this didn't get out of hand, turn political, and to record firsthand accounts of the subjects.

How do you write all this -- as an escaped Jew, yes -- while your people faced a promised erasure (or at least, as an existential target) according to the evil doctrine of Nazism? Almost anything preserving silence seems absurdly trivial, offensive. So how could an intellectual 'detourne' this knotty predicament by writing a book on salvation?

Compose cryptically. Write about philosophical 'Jews' who disappeared, plausibly deniable as Jews (Sethians) -- or maybe not even Jews, merely Hermeticists who only sounded Jewish. On a different subject of similar period and place, Lion Feuchtwanger grappled with this very troubling duality. Present such a cover-story (historical variants) while sketching the future organization as a sleeping Golem, unknowing its own Creator and Semitic origin? This resurrectionist cult, borrowing Jacob's Ladder to practice (Jewish) anagogy, would express a mystical Judaism invisible, unidentifiable to believers. If scholars like E.R. Goodenough couldn't be more precise or convincing, who would even suspect or read the hints of a 1st C Jewish mystery cult? What's a Gnostic, anyway?

Let's suppose -- to put a very fine point on it -- that Philo's Aletheian Anthropoi were (mostly) Sethians, an alternative cult which 'disappeared': went underground or pretended towards Christianity. That a Pythagorean colony of Therapeutae (soul healers) wrote hermetically, for a much larger community of 'Gnosis-seekers' in the Diaspora c.15 AD, to suggest an occult (Mosaic) message: Escape Egypt, while you still can! That you will inevitably face a generation wandering, tested by circumstances and the peril of relapse, remain sober unto God: dry as the desert.

In late adulthood, Philo Judaeus joined a cult of Jeremiah. Were his sober Rechabites ancestors of the water-drinking Sethians/Therapeutae?


Re: 1938, imagine this ...

Posted: Fri Jul 22, 2022 7:33 am
by billd89
K.Jaspers' work is not fully translated into English and some of his minor ideas yet remain obscure.  One minor Jasperian trope which needs further elaboration by Existentialist scholars is the Cone, a geometric form easily visualized by average readers but left unexplained by the German philosopher.  Is the Cone a metaphoric phenomenon, an intellectual force-principle, a concentrating idea? From the dearth of literary evidence I've examined, only tentative conclusions are suggested. Furthermore, the Cone concept seems connected to Jaspers' famous Cipher; therefore, it IS significant and must have been explained to his German students of the Late-1920s in greater detail. At Heidelberg, Ludwig Edelstein chose Professor Karl Jaspers as his Ph.D. advisor, so it would be no surprise to see examples of Jasperian influence in Edelstein's work a decade later. Then the obvious question arises: can we find the Jasperian 'Cone' -- as a symbol, metaphor or cipher -- in the Anonymous Authors' 1938 work?

In AA (1939) the Jasperian cipher is revealed at least twice: a) 'Wall Street' (representing Capitalism, Greed, the Roaring Twenties, Bill's obsession, etc.) is "the Maelstrom" (an alcoholic symbol, in Baltimore writer E.A. Poe's work), and b) the Alcoholic, in his manifest Typhonic chaos, is "a Tornado" (direct literary allusion to the semi-autobiographical protagonist in Tender is the Night "like the tornado who had hurried through the old red buildings of Hopkins": Phipps Clinic patient and famous Baltimore alcoholic, F. Scott Fitzgerald). The A.A. Fellowship, as a "widening circle...on earth" follows this Theme also. Therefore, given such blatant examples, we would seek to understand the meaning(s) of Jaspers' Cone and how Edelstein esoterically deploys this mysterious Symbol as a Sober antithesis to the Alcoholic 'Cone of Destruction.'

Within the Egyptian context (in light of the cliché that 'the Jews built the Pyramids'), the Architectural Theme confirms the Program as an occult endeavour to build a celestial platform for Pharoah's people (i.e. Rockefeller's redeemed ex-drunks) to reach the Heavens. Like a reconstructed Chaldaean Ziggurat, the Anonymous Authors' Program is a modern (German-Jewish/Existentialist) abstraction for Jacob's Ladder, Genesis 28:10-17.

If mindful, we can easily grasp how this is profoundly significant to the A. A. in other, related tropes. 'Mixing cement' in an Hermetic-alchemical formulation is really the combining of personalities (i.e. souls) in Fellowship. 'Building an Arch' is basic organizational activity -- trained workers realizing noetic forms out of simple limestone blocks (i.e. Plinthine's Jews, constructing Pharoah's fortresses) -- which symbolizes the metaphysical work of Chaldaean Asaphim, whose sky-bridge (i.e. the Milky Way) was alternately conceived as a Serpent, Arch or Ladder. Now we begin see how the Edelsteins' "Bridge of Reason" expanded and reinterpreted Jaspers' Cone cipher, spotlighting a very specific and peculiar historico-cultural context, to explain the derivative and descendant Aletheian Anthropoi (A. A. = Sons of God) of Philo Judaeus. Much like their ancestors who built Pharaoah's epic sky-temples, the A. A. who "visioned the Great Reality" express what Israel ('those who see God') does best: revealing the course or passage god-ward. **Likewise, Enoch (Hebrews 11:5) was "translated" (μετετέθη = transitioned, changed) or uplifted to Heaven; this was based on mystical Sethian dogma, it is instructional Judeo-Egyptian palingenesis or Judeo-Hermetic metempsychosis.**

It is no more complicated than this: in 1938, the Edelsteins re-created and elaborated expressions of First Century Alexandrian Jewish Mysticism, yet they did so partly from a psychiatric-philosophic (Jasperian Existentialist) framework learned at Heidelberg c.1928.

Philosophie: II. Existenzerhellung [1932],p.202:
Situationen hängen zusammen, wenn sie auseinander hervorgehen. Ich bin Situationszusammenhängen unterworfen, deren Kegeln erst wissenschaftliche Forschung bewußt macht; diese werden nie ganz bewußt, weil das Bewußtsein von ihnen die Situation und damit jene Kegeln selbst wieder ändert, indem es als ein neuer Faktor in die Situationsgestaltung eintritt.

Situations are related when they arise apart. I am subject to situational contexts, only scientific research makes me aware of this cone. I never become completely conscious these contexts, because the awareness of them changes the situation and thus, those cones themselves, again, by entering as a new factor shaping the situation.

Beyond one example or context, we can find Jaspers using this term in his other works as far back as 1922. In 1938, Jaspers was using 'Cone' as synonym for organizing perspective or principled focus. See K. Jaspers, Existenzphilosophie: Drei Vorlesungen gehalten am Freien Deutschen Hochstift in Frankfurt A.M. 1937 [1938], p.35:
Alternately, we tend to the prejudices that absolutize an encompassing: thus Dasein: as if the life-promoting thing were the last and could take itself absolutely; thus consciousness in general, the mind: as if in the properly conscious the being itself were to be taken into possession and not only a perspective, - a cone of light into the darkness {ein Lichtkegel in das Dunkel},- was taken within the comprehensive Real-Being; thus the spirit: as if the idea were real and sufficient for itself; thus existence: as if a selfhood could be enough for itself, while it comes from the other precisely to the extent that it is itself and sees itself pointed to the other. In the isolation of a single sense of truth, truth can no longer remain truth.

Felix Müller's period dictionary, Mathematisches Vokabularium, Deutsch-Französisch [1900], p.254 very clearly defines a Kegel-perspective as "a conical or centralizing perspective"; certainly, the Jasperian Kegel is a "cone".

Metrological phenomena of both the Whirlpool and Cyclone Funnel are typically symbolized as cones, familiar mental images from the basic text:



A comparison of the Pyramid and Cone Forms:

K Jaspers, Einführung in die Philosophie [1936], p.?
Wenn das Sein als Ausgelegtsein begriffen ist , so scheint auf dieselbe Weise getrennt werden zu müssen : Auslegung legt etwas aus;
unserer Auslegung steht das Ausgelegte, das Sein selber gegenüber. Aber diese Trennung gelingt nicht. Denn es bleibt für uns nichts Bestehendes, geradezu Wißbares, das nur ausgelegt würde und nicht selber schon Auslegung wäre. Was immer wir wissen, es ist nur ein Lichtkegel unseres Auslegens in das Sein oder das Ergreifen einer Auslegungsmöglichkeit. Das Sein im Ganzen muß so beschaffen sein, daß es alle diese Auslegungen für uns ins Unabsehbare ermöglicht. Aber die Auslegung ist nicht willkürlich. Sie ist als richtige von einem objektiven Charakter. Das Sein erzwingt diese Auslegungen. Alle Seinsweisen für uns sind zwar weisen des Bedeutens, aber doch auch Weisen notwendigen Bedeutens. Die Kategorienlehre als die Lehre von den Strukturen des Seins entwirft daher die Seinsweisen als Bedeutungsweisen, zum Beispiel als Kategorien des Gegenständlichen «in Identität, Beziehung, Grund und Folge oder als usw. Alles Sein in seinem Bedeuten ist für uns wie eine nach allen Seiten sich erweiternde Spiegelung. ...

If being is understood as being interpreted, then it seems to have to be separated in the same way: Interpretation interprets something; our interpretation is confronted with the interpreted, being itself. But this separation does not succeed. For there remains for us nothing that exists, nothing that is knowable, that would only be interpreted and would not itself already be interpretation. Whatever we know, it is only a cone of light of our interpretation into being or the grasping of a possibility of interpretation. Being as a whole must be such that it makes possible for us all these interpretations into the incalculable. But the interpretation is not arbitrary. It is of an objective character as a correct one. Being forces these interpretations. All ways of being for us are indeed ways of meaning, but nevertheless also ways of necessary meaning. The category theory as the doctrine of the structures of being therefore designs modes of being as modes of signification, for example as categories of the objective "in identity, relation, or as reason and consequence, etc." All being in its signifying is for us like a reflection expanding in all directions. ...

Additional examples.
See K. Jaspers, Die geistige Situation der Zeit [1922] p.:
Nach der Entzauberung der Welt, welche erst recht den Staat in den Lichtkegel von Frage und Wissenwollen brachte, erlaubt es die geistige Lage der Gegenwart jedem, in diesen Raum des menschlichen Gesamtdaseins einzutreten.

After the disenchantment of the world, which even more so the State is brought into the light-cone of questioning and of a desire for knowing, the intellectual situation of the present allows everyone to enter this space of total human existence.

Translated poorly in Man in the Modern Age [1949], p.90:
Now that the charm has been dispelled which first brought the State into the light-pencil of questioning and of the desire for knowledge, the contemporary mental situation enables every one to enter this region of human community life. To every one the dreadfulness of the world of human activity in the domain of State reality will appear in its full inexorability.

Now -- since the Jasperian 'Cone' is a cipher (a complex metaphor, w/ varied meanings) for that organizing principle of PERSPECTIVE or FOCUS -- we can understand that related terms like Outlook, Attention, Direction, etc. may indeed possess some Jasperian nuance. For example, p.33: "If you draw this fallacious reasoning to the attention of an alcoholic..." p.102: "his attention should be drawn to you as a person who has recovered." Personally, I find this material 'merely' the dull psychiatric cover for the more fascinating directions to Judeo-Hermetic (Nazorean?) anagogy and henosis. (In any case, I wouldn't credit the Big Book's Judaic Hermeticism to Jaspers' theory, though I may be too dismissive on this point.)

Dr. Karl Jaspers was not only a Philosophy professor; he was a practicing psychiatrist who treated alcoholics and wrote a book on Psychopaths.

Re: 1938, imagine this ...

Posted: Wed Sep 14, 2022 10:53 am
by billd89
An important summary of Dr. John Rathbone Oliver's work under Dr. Adolf Meyer, during 1917-1919, here.

The Anonymous Doctor was actually a "Number #1 psychiatrist," a best-selling author and a long-time beneficiary of Rockefeller money ... see his 1943 Obituary in Time Magazine here. Detailed text analysis here.