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Awareness in Karl Jaspers’ General Psychopathology (pp. 35-44) $100.00
Authors:  (Elena Bezzubova, University of California, Irvine and New Center of Psychoanalysis, Los Angeles, California, USA)
Abstract:
After a walk along the ocean, I am sitting on the deserted beach. My hands
are warmed by soft sand. My ears are comforted by the rhythms of the surf.
My nose is bathing in a bouquet of scents: ocean water, seaweed, heated rocks
and tender spring flowers. My mouth senses the distinctive ―salty oxygen,‖ a taste of those tiny droplets of foam spray. My eyes are resting on the distant
deep blue where the water meets the sky and they both meet eternity. I feel
like a part of this eternity; yet, at the same time, I feel distinctly myself,
present and real as well as completed and self-sufficient. I am not thinking
about something particular. Not even registering what is going on around me. I
experience my being as sand in my palm and as the rhythm of ocean waves.
What I see and hear, taste and sense, smell and grasp from inside of my body –
all these five – six – or perhaps more senses – are confluent together and they
are all together confluent with me and the world around me, living-through in
the effortless power of immediate oneness. Here is the peace and power of I
am…
I hope that this description conveys a sense of human awareness, a
phenomenon that is to be experienced rather than explained. Awareness is
most elemental and pure, undivided into matter and mind, object and subject,
cognitive structures or bodily functions. Since language that operates in the
domain of conceptual reasoning fails to describe awareness adequately, we
tend to express metaphorically what and how awareness is. There is not an
exact particular definition of awareness; instead there is a referential spectrum
of related notions: consciousness, awareness, memory, self, intuition,
perception, concentration, relaxation and mindfulness. There is also a broad
spectrum of approaches that utilize different conceptual tools and that operate
with different categories to treat awareness: scientific vs. esoteric,
philosophical vs. psychological, or religious vs. therapeutic. This paper
focuses on Karl Jaspers‘ General Psychoathology and attempts to reflect on
his phenomenological-existential vision of awareness as an internal core of
human ―being in the world.‖ First, I shall examine the matter, method and the
very Geist of General Psychopathology to assert their epistemological and
methodological congruence for investigating some facets of awareness. Then,
I will consider Jaspers‘ treatment of awareness, including four characteristics
of self-awareness and four types of awareness. Finally, I will explore
awareness through the prism of depersonalization as a disorder of awareness. 


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Awareness in Karl Jaspers’ <i>General Psychopathology</i> (pp. 35-44)