Gero Jenner is a German-Austrian author and publicist whose publications cover science (philosophy, economics, linguistics) and literature. Jenner studied philosophy, indology and sinology in Hamburg, later in Munich, Paris and Rome. Right at the start of his studies, he was admitted to the prestigious „Studienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes“ (German Academic Scholarship Foundation). After being awarded a PH.D. for his thesis on Indian (Sanskrit) Poetics, Jenner followed courses of sociology in Munich and London – these too supported by the fore-mentioned Foundation. He then worked for the École Française d ‚Extrême Orient in Kyoto, Japan (Hobogirin), was coordinator for South Asia Research at the University of Heidelberg, then Lecturer in German Culture and Language at Tohoku University Sendai, Japan, and later Assistant at the department of Indology at Freie Universität Berlin. He interrupted his work on a habilitation thesis focused on Patanjalis Yogasutram, producing instead a linguistic work for habilitation. This was rejected by the Commission „for formal reasons“. Thereafter Jenner left Berlin (1982) and moved to Austria, Puch near Graz. Since 1979 he is married to the sculptress Anna Jenner and works as a freelance writer. More
…1.1 Science and Religion
…1.2 Religion versus Mysticism
…1.3 The Problem of Freedom in Religion and Science
…1.4 On Peace
2. Economics and Politics
……….2.1 Theory of Trade
……….2.2 Theory of Taxation
……….2.3 Theory of Money
……….2.4 Dangers of Globalization
3. Linguistic Theory
……….3.1 General Grammar
4. Tales and Novels
From Jenner’s point of view, philosophy represents much more than just an academic discipline – today, preferably reduced to the two fields of analytic and historical philosophy. For him, philosophy is an attitude of mind, which consists, above all, of questioning what is supposed to be self-evident. In this sense, probing into the nature of science was always foremost in his mind, precisely because scientific truths are regarded to be beyond questioning. What relation do the laws of nature have to the laws ceated by man as these become manifest in culture, and, especially, in religions? Works.
……1.1 Science and Religion
According to Jenner, this question had been dealt with at the end of the nineteenth century by intellectual giants, such as Wilhelm Dilthey, Max Weber, Emile Durkheim, or William James, with a depth of thought and breadth of empirical survey never again reached since that time. The discussion has nevertheless not yet been completed, as proved by Richard Dawkins‚ barnstorming but misleading book „The God Delusion“. Jenner ’s book “Doubt and Dogma – a Philosophy of Freedom in Nature and Man” (German original: „Die Macht der Träume und die Ohnmacht der Vernunft – eine Philosophie der Freiheit“, Metropolis-Verlag) endeavors to explain two different types of truth: the truth of religion and the truth of science (Content+Conclusions).
Religions establish values and create communities (the elementary meaning of Latin „religio“ is binding) – a function the sciences are unable to exert. Contrary to popular religion, Mysticism tries to free itself from all anthropomorphic delusions. In this respect it resembles science. It is not surprising that its language – as its most knowledgeable expert Rudolf Otto emphasizes – is a universal one, encountered in most different cultures all over the world. In his yet unpublished book „Der Dawkinswahn oder die Antwort der Mystik“ (“The Dawkins Delusion or the Answer of Mysticism“) Jenner tries to penetrate into the depths and varieties of mystical thought.
……1.3 The Problem of Freedom in Religion and Science
Freedom of the will and the actions based on it constitutes a central problem for Jenner. All the more so as it is strictly denied in modern neurology. The brain is said to be a device functioning according to natural laws, so that every effect must be lawfully attributed to a cause. Freedom of will exists – but merely as a subjective illusion, not as an objective fact. This belief in a world dominated exclusively by laws of nature – a belief long since relativized by quantum mechanics -, Jenner (following Karl Popper) considers a ‘metaphysical’ (because not falsifiable) assumption whose historical origin and, in his opinion, erroneous justification he reviews in his book ‘Doubt and Dogma – a Philosophy of Freedom in Nature and Man’ (content + theses).
Jenner stresses the obvious parallelism between the denial of freedom both in religion and science. At first glance, the respective motivations appear to be fundamentally different, but according to Jenner they result from the same antagonism. While on the one hand ‘critical theology’ gives way to ‘power theology’, in an analogous way ‘critical science’ is replaced by ‘power science’. Whether Jenner has succeeded in convincing religious or natural science determinists with his ‘four proofs of freedom in nature and man’ remains to be seen.
……1.4 About Peace
Immanuel Kant’s famous work ‘Perpetual Peace’ inspired Jenner to write the as yet unpublished book ‘Technik, Terror und der kommende Weltstaat’ (Technology, Terror and the future World Government) – a book which, as he says himself, he would rather not have written as the image of humanity there expounded shows few sympathetic features. „History is made by lazy, greedy, frightened people (who rarely know what they’re doing) looking for easier, more profitable, and safer ways to do things.“ This is how the great English historian Ian Morris summarizes his painstaking excursions into Western and Eastern cultures. Jenner arrives at a similar conclusion, emphasizing the role of technology in the global competition for greater economic and military power. But there remains a glimmer of hope for future peace. The idea of a future world government, which still seems fantastic to many people, was envisaged by some of the greatest thinkers. The historian Arnold Toynbee, the philosopher Bertrand Russell and the natural scientist Albert Einstein – and not least Immanuel Kant -, all suggested a similar scheme. More
After having completed his thesis, Jenner followed a subsequent university training in sociology. This together with a three-year stay in Japan stimulated his interest in the problems of industrial capitalism. He came to perceive the latter in its fundamental ambiguity as the most successful and at the same time the most vulnerable economic system because of its inherent tendency to increase the gap between rich and poor. What he calls „parasitic capitalism“ is characterized by a shift of wealth from achievement to enrichment based on performance to enrichment without performance (through interest, dividends, rents and speculation comprising commodities of all kinds and even food). As a result, society is divided into a majority working for dwindling wages and a minority of less than ten per cent (in the US, less than 1 per cent), where wealth becomes more and more concentrated. The underlying process has been described by Jenner as a „Ponzi scheme“ that regularly culminates in economic and social collapse. Jenner’s work in the field of economic analysis was honored by two experts, Prof. Bert Rürup and Prof. Gerhard Scherhorn, both temporary members of the German Council of Economic Experts. Works
……….2.1 Theory of Trade
According to Gerhard Scherhorn, Jenner has coined the concept of ‘repression trade’, by means of which low-cost suppliers (who, however, do so in the interest of domestic big companies) undermine the productive base of old industrial societies. For some time at least, outsourcing was a more potent agent of job destruction than technological progress. As regards the latter, Jenner provides a theoretical justification why it ends up creating many more jobs than it destroys (see ‘Die Arbeitslose Gesellschaft’ (Jobless Society), S. Fischer). Since automation is steadily reducing the cost of products, the general purchasing power and hence the demand for new products and new professions are accordingly increased. If this process is now (largely) obstructed, it is because the gain generated by such price reductions is sucked up by investors (instead of increasing the general purchasing power). In times of globalization investors are given the further opportunity to invest their profits all over the world wherever taxation is lowest, environmental requirements are least restrictive and labor is cheapest. In this way workplaces have been destroyed in the old industrialized countries (and especially the US).
……….2.2 Tax theory
Jenner has designed a radically simplified tax system that has at its main characteristic that it leaves performance – that is, what each individual gives to society – free from taxation. Instead, it is consumption, i.e. what each individual takes from society – that is made the exclusive object of taxation. This means that work in all its manifestations whether that of an unskilled worker or that of a highly paid CEO – remains free of taxes. All non-wage costs too are abolished (New fiscalism).
Jenner’s model of a progressive consumption tax on individuals (made possible by digital technology) combines the demand for social justice with that of resource conservation – a demand of at least equal importance. Both aims can be most effectively implemented in digital money systems as they have been recently introduced in some Scandinavian countries.
……….2.3 Money theory
Jenner disagrees with full-money (100%-money) theorists, who attribute to business banks the ability to create money out of nothing thus circumventing the monopoly of the central banks. He holds this theory to be wrong and orthodox money theory, which denies this capability, to be fundamentally correct. Together with Silvio Gesell and Helmut Creutz he does, however, believe that the mechanism of interest favors enrichment without performance. In this way capitalism – more precisely, what he calls ‘parasitic capitalism’ – divides society into a plutocratic minority and a majority exploited by it. The redistribution of economic wealth from the bottom upwards is made possible by interest as well as by other kinds of rent (The Ponzi Scheme, The Economic Manifesto).
While Jenner sees a major advancement in the globalization of knowledge, he is a keen critic of unrestricted globalized financial and commodity flows. Any distortions and breakdowns at certain points of the globe may become a danger to the whole world. That is why any major crises in the US or China are likely to destabilize all other economies (as did the Great Depression of 1929 and the Crisis of 2007).
In the wake of Bertrand Russell, Albert Einstein, Arnold Toynbee, and Immanuel Kant, Jenner sees the only chance for mankind to avoid self-destruction by an ever more relentless, ever more murderous economic and military competition against itself, in the establishment of a future world government. This alone would be capable of diverting globalization from the path of destruction into that of a lasting peace.
In his textbooks on general linguistics, Jenner adopts a generative approach inspired by Noam Chomsky but which insists on a strict separation of meaning and form. In this way, General Grammar is based on universal fundamental concepts, which (in contrast to Chomsky) allow the diversity of human languages to be described analytically and generated synthetically by using the same basic elements of semantics and form. Linguistic works
……….3.1 General Grammar
On the one hand, General Grammar is meant to describe the basic semantic building blocks and structures that the neurological apparatus of man (his brain) uses in the conceptual apprehension of reality. On the other hand, it describes the basic building blocks and structures used by the human articulating organ in order to ‘realize’ semantic contents in acoustic form so that they may become the object of communication. The actual semantic analysis of reality is, of course, potentially as infinite as its concrete phonetic realization (namely as infinite as all actually existing languages and all those that could still be invented); the basic building blocks and structures are, however, finite and indeed very limited. This means that the number of possible linguistic types is limited as well. See ‚Principles of Language, revised‚
4. Tales and Novels
Reason is an instrument of human life-orientation, such as the magnetic sense of wandering doves or the echolocation of bats. As most people know, reality itself rarely conforms to the rules of human reason, on the contrary, it more often makes a mockery of them. Sometimes, it is, therefore, a liberating experience to get free from the excessive use of reason. At least that is how Jenner explains why he sometimes resorts to writing some tales or a novel. There the world appears neither rationally nor artificially embellished, but keeps being so heartily absurd, as it quite often appears to us. Jenner considers his excursions into literature to be a purely private pleasure. At any rate, his novels remain well preserved in a tomb almost unknown to a larger public, a tomb by the name of Neobooks. Works
Politik und Sozialökonomie
- Japan – eine untergehende Sonne? Peter Lang, 1997
- Die arbeitslose Gesellschaft. S. Fischer, 1997
- Das Ende des Kapitalismus – Triumph oder Kollaps eines Wirtschaftssystems? S. Fischer, 1999
- (Chinesische Version:) 資本主義的未来. Social Sciences Dokumentation Publishing House, 2004
- Energiewende – So sichern wir Deutschlands Zukunft. Propyläen, 2006
- Das Pyramidenspiel. Signum, 2008
- Wohlstand und Armut – eine allgemeine Theorie über Eigentum, Geld, Güter und Staat. Metropolis, 2010
- Von der Krise ins Chaos. Signum, 2012
- EuroKalypse Now? Es gibt einen Weg aus der Krise! Metropolis, 2012
- Technik, Terror und die kommende Weltregierung. 2014, unveröffentlicht
- Das Ökonomische Manifest – fünf Fundamentalreformen, um den Niedergang von Wirtschaft und Demokratie aufzuhalten. Monsenstein und Vannerdat, 2015
Sprache und Linguistik
- Die poetischen Figuren der Inder von Bhamaha bis Mammata. Schriftenreihe des Europakollegs, Ludwig Appel, 1968
- The Place of Japanese in General Linguistics. erschienen in den Berichten der Toyogakkai, 1974
- Grammatica Nova. Peter Lang, 1981
- Prolegomena zur Generellen Grammatik. Peter Lang, 1991
- Principles of Language. Peter Lang, 1993
- Principles of Language. teilweise überarbeitet
- Max Weber’s Essays on the Sociology of Religion. erschienen in den Berichten der Rechtswissenschaftlichen Fakultät der Universität Tokio, 1974
- Wider den Stachel – Gespräche zur Zeit- und Kulturkritik. Peter Lang, 1985, C.H. Beck im Internet
- Das Gottesproblem. Peter Lang, 2004
- Der Dawkinswahn oder die Antwort der Mystik. unveröffentlicht, 2008
- Die Macht der Träume und die Ohnmacht der Vernunft – eine Philosophie der Freiheit. Metropolis, 2013
- Doubt and Dogma – a Philosophy of Freedom in Nature and Man. English translation of ‚Die Macht der Träume‘ as yet unpublished
- Die Messingstadt und andere Erzählungen. Leykam, 1989
Unter dem Pseudonym Till Angersbrecht mehrere Romane phantastischer Art:
- Allah und die Klavierspielerin
- Die Weltenretter
- Ego – oder das Unglück, ein Mann auf dem Mars zu sein
- Schatten der Schuld
- Die Botschaft, die ihr nicht hören wollt
- Die Leiden des schwarzen Peters
- Ökopolitisches Portal
- Literatur von und über Gero Jenner im Katalog der Deutschen Nationalbibliothek
- Gero Jenner: TechnoKrieg global – oder Frieden mit Mensch und Natur?
- Gero Jenner: Principles of Language(revised).
- Gero Jenner: Der Dawkinswahn oder die Antwort der Mystik.