Karl Jaspers citations

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Karl Jaspers

Date de naissance: 23. février 1883
Date de décès: 26. février 1969
Autres noms:Karl Theodor Jaspers

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Karl Jaspers, né à Oldenburg le 23 février 1883 et mort à Bâle le 26 février 1969, est un psychiatre et philosophe allemand représentatif de l'existentialisme chrétien. Ses travaux ont eu une grande influence sur la théologie, la psychologie, la psychiatrie et la philosophie. Il obtient la nationalité suisse en 1967.

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Citations Karl Jaspers

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„On the other hand, it may arise by the working of a fate to us still inscrutable which, out of ruin, will disclose a way towards the development of a new human being. To will the discovery of this way would be blind impotence, but those who do not wish to deceive themselves will be prepared for the possibility.“

— Karl Jaspers
Context: The vicious circle of dread of war which leads the nations to arm themselves for self-protection, with the result that bloated armaments ultimately lead to the war which they were intended to avert, can be broken in either of two conceivable ways. There might arise a unique world power, brought into being by the unification of all those now in possession of weapons, and equipped with the capacity to forbid the lesser and unarmed nations to make war. On the other hand, it may arise by the working of a fate to us still inscrutable which, out of ruin, will disclose a way towards the development of a new human being. To will the discovery of this way would be blind impotence, but those who do not wish to deceive themselves will be prepared for the possibility.<!-- p. 97

„Our questions and answers are in part determined by the historical tradition in which we find ourselves.“

— Karl Jaspers
Context: Our questions and answers are in part determined by the historical tradition in which we find ourselves. We apprehend truth from our own source within the historical tradition. The content of our truth depends upon our appropriating the historical foundation. Our own power of generation lies in the rebirth of what has been handed down to us. If we do not wish to slip back, nothing must be forgotten; but if philosophising is to be genuine our thoughts must arise from our own source. Hence all appropriation of tradition proceeds from the intentness of our own life. The more determinedly I exist, as myself, within the conditions of the time, the more clearly I shall hear the language of the past, the nearer I shall feel the glow of its life.

„The masses are our masters; and for every one who looks facts in the face his existence has become dependent on them, so that the thought of them must control his doings, his cares, and his duties.“

— Karl Jaspers
Context: The masses are our masters; and for every one who looks facts in the face his existence has become dependent on them, so that the thought of them must control his doings, his cares, and his duties. Even an articulated mass always tends to become unspiritual and inhuman. It is life without existence, superstitions 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.<!-- p. 43

„When the titanic apparatus of the mass-order has been consolidated, the individual has to serve it, and must from time to time combine with his fellows in order to renovate it. If he wants to make his livelihood by intellectual activity, he will find it very difficult to do this except by satisfying the needs of the many. He must give currency to something that will please the crowd.“

— Karl Jaspers
Context: When the titanic apparatus of the mass-order has been consolidated, the individual has to serve it, and must from time to time combine with his fellows in order to renovate it. If he wants to make his livelihood by intellectual activity, he will find it very difficult to do this except by satisfying the needs of the many. He must give currency to something that will please the crowd. They seek satisfaction in the pleasures of the table, eroticism, self-assertion; they find no joy in life if one of these gratifications be curtailed. They also desire some means of self-knowledge. They desire to be led in such as way that they can fancy themselves leaders. Without wishing to be free, they would fain be accounted free. One who would please their taste must produce what is really average and commonplace, though not frankly styled such; must glorify or at least justify something as universally human. Whatever is beyond their understanding is uncongenial to them. One who would influence the masses must have recourse to the art of advertisement. The clamour of puffery is to-day requisite even for an intellectual movement. The days of quiet and unpretentious activity seem over and done with. You must keep yourself in the public eye, give lectures, make speeches, arouse a sensation. Yet the mass-apparatus lacks true greatness of representation, lacks solemnity. <!-- pp. 43 - 44

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„For any community and those living in it, only that is true which can be communicated to all. Hence universal communicability is unconsciously accepted as the source and criterion of those truths that promote life through communal means.“

— Karl Jaspers
Context: For any community and those living in it, only that is true which can be communicated to all. Hence universal communicability is unconsciously accepted as the source and criterion of those truths that promote life through communal means. Truth is that which our conventional social code accepts as effective in promoting the purposes of the group. … This community will condemn as a “liar” the person who misuses its unconsciously accepted, and therefore valid, metaphors. … Community members are obliged to “lie” in accordance with fixed convention. To put it otherwise, they must be truthful by playing with the conventionally marked dice. To fail to pay in the coin of the realm is to tell forbidden lies, for, on this view, whatever transcends conventional truth is a falsehood. To tell lies of this kind is to sacrifice the world of meanings upon which the endurance of his community rests. Conversely, there are forbidden truths: This same threat to the continuance of the community is also counteracted by relentlessly preventing anyone from thinking and uttering unconventional but authentic truths. pp. 187-188

„One who would influence the masses must have recourse to the art of advertisement. The clamour of puffery is to-day requisite even for an intellectual movement.“

— Karl Jaspers
Context: When the titanic apparatus of the mass-order has been consolidated, the individual has to serve it, and must from time to time combine with his fellows in order to renovate it. If he wants to make his livelihood by intellectual activity, he will find it very difficult to do this except by satisfying the needs of the many. He must give currency to something that will please the crowd. They seek satisfaction in the pleasures of the table, eroticism, self-assertion; they find no joy in life if one of these gratifications be curtailed. They also desire some means of self-knowledge. They desire to be led in such as way that they can fancy themselves leaders. Without wishing to be free, they would fain be accounted free. One who would please their taste must produce what is really average and commonplace, though not frankly styled such; must glorify or at least justify something as universally human. Whatever is beyond their understanding is uncongenial to them. One who would influence the masses must have recourse to the art of advertisement. The clamour of puffery is to-day requisite even for an intellectual movement. The days of quiet and unpretentious activity seem over and done with. You must keep yourself in the public eye, give lectures, make speeches, arouse a sensation. Yet the mass-apparatus lacks true greatness of representation, lacks solemnity. <!-- pp. 43 - 44

„Philosophy seemed to me the supreme, even the sole, concern of man.“

— Karl Jaspers
Context: My path was not the normal one of professors of philosophy. I did not intend to become a doctor of philosophy by studying philosophy (I am in fact a doctor of medicine) nor did I by any means, intend originally to qualify for a professorship by a dissertation on philosophy. To decide to become a philosopher seemed as foolish to me as to decide to become a poet. Since my schooldays, however, I was guided by philosophical questions. Philosophy seemed to me the supreme, even the sole, concern of man. Yet a certain awe kept me from making it my profession.

„The Greek word for philosopher (philosophos) connotes a distinction from sophos. It signifies the lover of wisdom (knowledge) as distinguished from him who considers himself wise in the possession of knowledge. This meaning of the word still endures: the essence of philosophy is not the possession of the truth but the search for truth.“

— Karl Jaspers
Context: The Greek word for philosopher (philosophos) connotes a distinction from sophos. It signifies the lover of wisdom (knowledge) as distinguished from him who considers himself wise in the possession of knowledge. This meaning of the word still endures: the essence of philosophy is not the possession of the truth but the search for truth. … Philosophy means to be on the way. Its questions are more essential than its answers, and every answer becomes a new question. Way to Wisdom: An Introduction to Philosophy (1951) as translated by Ralph Mannheim, Ch. 1, What is Philosophy?, p. 12 Variant translation: It is the search for the truth, not possession of the truth which is the way of philosophy. Its questions are more relevant than its answers, and every answer becomes a new question.

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„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...“

— Karl Jaspers
Context: 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... <!-- p. 146

„Our own power of generation lies in the rebirth of what has been handed down to us. If we do not wish to slip back, nothing must be forgotten; but if philosophising is to be genuine our thoughts must arise from our own source. Hence all appropriation of tradition proceeds from the intentness of our own life. The more determinedly I exist, as myself, within the conditions of the time, the more clearly I shall hear the language of the past, the nearer I shall feel the glow of its life.“

— Karl Jaspers
Context: Our questions and answers are in part determined by the historical tradition in which we find ourselves. We apprehend truth from our own source within the historical tradition. The content of our truth depends upon our appropriating the historical foundation. Our own power of generation lies in the rebirth of what has been handed down to us. If we do not wish to slip back, nothing must be forgotten; but if philosophising is to be genuine our thoughts must arise from our own source. Hence all appropriation of tradition proceeds from the intentness of our own life. The more determinedly I exist, as myself, within the conditions of the time, the more clearly I shall hear the language of the past, the nearer I shall feel the glow of its life.

„I approach the presentation of Kierkegaard with some trepidation. Next to Nietzsche, or rather, prior to Nietzsche, I consider him to be the most important thinker of our post-Kantian age.“

— Karl Jaspers
Context: I approach the presentation of Kierkegaard with some trepidation. Next to Nietzsche, or rather, prior to Nietzsche, I consider him to be the most important thinker of our post-Kantian age. With Goethe and Hegel, an epoch had reached its conclusion, and our prevalent way of thinking — that is, the positivistic, natural-scientific one — cannot really be considered as philosophy. The Great Philosophers (1962)

„Man, if he is to remain man, must advance by way of consciousness.“

— Karl Jaspers
Context: 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. <!-- p. 143

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