Søren Kierkegaard

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Skapad den: 17 maj 2009
Søren Aabye Kierkegaard (1813 – 1855), a Danish philosopher and theologian.

"One sticks one’s finger into the soil to tell by the smell in what land one is: I stick my finger in existence — it smells of nothing. Where am I? Who am I? How came I here? What is this thing called the world? What does this world mean? Who is it that has lured me into the world? Why was I not consulted, why not made acquainted with its manners and customs instead of throwing me into the ranks, as if I had been bought by a kidnapper, a dealer in souls? How did I obtain an interest in this big enterprise they call reality? Why should I have an interest in it? Is it not a voluntary concern? And if I am to be compelled to take part in it, where is the director? I should like to make a remark to him. Is there no director? Whither shall I turn with my complaint?"

(Repetition, 1843)

"Alas, fortune's door doesn't open inward so that one can push it open by rushing at it; but it opens outward, and therefore one can do nothing about it."

(Either/Or, 1843)

"What is faith? A rope by which one gets hung if he does not hang himself."

(Journals and Papers, 1844)

"Prior to the outbreak of cholera there usually appears a kind of fly not otherwise seen; in like manner might not these fabolous pure thinkers be a sign that a calamity is in store for humankind—for example, the loss of the ethical and the religious? Therefore, be cautious with an abstract thinker who not only wants to remain in abstraction's pure being but wants this to be the highest for a human being, and wants such thinking, which results in the ignoring of the ethical and a misunderstanding of the religious, to be the highest human thinking."

(Concluding Unscientific Postscript to the Philosophical Fragments, 1846)

"All logical thinking is in the language of abstraction and sub specie aeterni. To think existence in this way is to disregard the difficulty, that is, the difficulty of thinking the eternal in a process of becoming, which one is presumably compelled to do since the thinker himself is in a process of becoming. [...] Here again is an example of how the simplest task is the most difficult. To exist, one thinks, is nothing much, even less an art. Of course, we all exist, but to think abstractly—that is something. But truly to exist, that is, to permeate one's existence with consciousness, simultaneously to be eternal, far beyond it, as it were, and nevertheless present in it and nevertheless in a process of becoming—that is truly difficult. If in our day thinking had not become something strange, something secondhand, thinkers would indeed make a totally different impression on people, as was the case in Greece, where a thinker was also an ardent existing person impassioned by his thinking, as was the case at one time in Christendom, where a thinker was a believer who ardently sought to understand himself in the existence of faith."

(Concluding Unscientific Postscript to the Philosophical Fragments, 1846)

"Having to exist with the help of the guidance of pure thinking is like having to travel in Denmark with a small map of Europe on which Denmark is no larger than a steel pen-point - indeed, even more impossible."

(Concluding Unscientific Postscript to the Philosophical Fragments, 1846)

"Existing, if this is not to be understood as just any sort of existing, cannot be done without passion. Therefore, every Greek thinker was essentially also a passionate thinker. I have often thought about how one might bring a person into passion. So I have considered the possibility of getting him astride a horse and then frightening the horse into the wildest gallop, or even better, in order to draw out the passion properly, the possibility of getting a man who wants to go somewhere as quickly as possible (and therefore was already in something of a passion) astride a horse that can hardly walk—and yet existing is like that if one is conscious of it. Or if a Pegasus and an old nag were hitched to a carriage for a driver not usually disposed to passion and he was told: Now drive—I think it would be successful. And this is what existing is like if one is to be conscious of it. Eternity is infinitely quick like that winged steed, temporality is an old nag, and the existing person is the driver, that is, if existing is not to be what people usually call existing, because then the existing person is no driver but a drunken peasant who lies in the wagon and sleeps and lets the horses shift for themselves. Of course, he also drives, he is also a driver, and likewise there perhaps are many who—also exist."

(Concluding Unscientific Postscript to the Philosophical Fragments, 1846)

"There is a view of life which holds that where the crowd is, the truth is also, that it is a need in truth itself, that it must have the crowd on its side. There is another view of life; which holds that wherever the crowd is, there is untruth, so that, for a moment to carry the matter out to its farthest conclusion, even if every individual possessed the truth in private, yet if they came together into a crowd (so that "the crowd" received any decisive, voting, noisy, audible importance), untruth would at once be let in."

(Edifiying Discourses in Diverse Spirits, 1847)

External links:

About Søren Kierkegaard - Biography and Significance
Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Søren Kierkegaard
The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Søren Kierkegaard
The Philosophers' Magazine: Søren Kierkegaard
Søren Kierkegaard, the original leap of faith
D. Anthony Storm's Commentary on Kierkegaard
Subjectivity in Kierkegaard: A reassessment

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