After a few days of rest, meditation, and a couple of public dialogs, the importance of existential communication or loving struggle became all the more clear to me. So, near the end of the evening, I sat down with my Jaspers and my texts about Jaspers. I found good insights in a paper by Kurt Salamun* that I wish to share here.
I can talk about this and that occurrence. I can learn or teach valid conceptions. I can create or appreciate new ideas. I can do this with whomever and probably never call up much of my own singular being to do it.
But existential communication arises from the profound experience of self-realizaiton and needing to exchange my life experiences with others who are also striving for self-realization.†
According to Jaspers, there are four moral attitudes that we can call the necessary conditions for existential communication or loving struggle:
1. The willingness to experience the “dignity of solitude.” Being lonely pushes me to reach out in communication. But if I cannot sustain myself in solitude, I will do what I have to do to escape isolation at any price (254).
2. Open-mindedness and frankness. The first counteracts any intellectual superiority that might close me off to another. The second ensures that I do not manipulate my fellow by hiding motives. I must “risk a radical change in [my] usual habits, opinions, and ways of life toward others” (255).
3. Fidelity or faithfulness to the other: My fellow is my equal in that each of us has personal freedom and equal opportunity to achieve self-realization (Existenz). There must be “a real intention to accept a communication partner in his or her own autonomy and individual possibility”” (255).
4. Openness to critique: This is where the struggle in “loving struggle” centers. There must be a back and forth of “intellectual integrity and truthfulness.” We engage each other by radical honesty in order for us to find our dogmatic presuppositions and our conceptual failings. (255)
As always, I find great hope that we can aid each other toward our highest possibility.
* Kurt Salamun. “Karl Jaspers on Human Self-Realization: Existenz in Boundary Situations and Communication.” In Karl Jaspers’s Philosophy: Expositions & Interpretations. Kurt Salamun and Gregory J. Walters, Eds. Amherst, New York: Humanity Books, 2008, 243-290.
†Through loving struggle my Existenz must engage others who would also be Existenz.