Posts Tagged ‘Kierkegaard’

“No! No one who was great in the world will be forgotten, but everyone was great in his own way, and everyone in proportion to the greatness of that which he loved. He who loved himself became great by virtue of himself, and he who loved other men became great by his devotedness, but he who loved God became the greatest of all. Everyone shall be remembered, but everyone became great in proportion to his expectancy. One became great by expecting the possible, another by expecting the eternal; but he who expected the impossible became the greatest of all. Everyone shall be remembered, but everyone was great wholly in proportion to the magnitude of that with which he struggled. For he who struggled with the world became great by conquering the world, and he who struggled with himself became great by conquering himself, but he who struggled with God became the greatest of all. Thus did they struggle in the world, man against man, one against thousands, but he who struggled with God was the greatest of all. Thus did they struggle on earth: there was one who conquered everything by his power, and there was one who conquered God by his powerlessness. There was one who relied upon himself and gained everything; there was one who in the security of his own strength sacrificed everything; but the one who believed God was the greatest of all.There was one who was great by virtue of his power, and one who was great by virtue of his wisdom, and one who was great by virtue of his hope, and one who was great by virtue of his love, but Abraham was the greatest of all, great by the power whose strength is powerlessness, great by that wisdom whose secret is foolishness, great by that hope who form is madness, great by the love that is hatred to oneself.” –Fear and Trembling, Soren Kierkegaard

Kierkegaard, an ordained Lutheran minister, and father of existentialism, here talks about reality as he sees it. Who will be remembered, how and why? Whether you feel his thoughts on this are appealing or repulsive, they are non-the-less interesting. Continue your struggle with God…


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“Men of conscience fend off all alone the superior power of predicaments that demand decision. But the dimensions of the conflicts in which they have to choose, counseled and supported by nothing but their own conscience, tear them to pieces. The countless respectable and deductive disguises and masks in which evil approaches them make their conscience anxious and unsure until they finally content themselves with an assuaged conscience instead of a good conscience, that is, until they deceive their own conscience in order not to despair. Those whose sole support is their conscience can never grasp that a bad conscience can be stronger and healthier than one that is deceived.” p. 79 Ethics

To me, this is very powerful. I hear echoes of Soren Kierkegaard here “in order not to despair”. The bad conscience, knowing full-well that it is bad, and what is bad and what is good…is better than that which is deceiving itself into thinking what is bad is good. A distinction, between bad conscience and deceived, which we don’t often hear about.

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“It was different in those ancient days. Faith was then a task for a whole lifetime, because it was assumed that proficiency in believing is not acquired either in days or in weeks. When the tried and tested oldster approached his end, had fought the good fight and kept the faith, his heart was still young enough not to have forgotten the anxiety and trembling that disciplined the youth, that the adult learned to control, but that no man outgrows–except to the extent that he succeeds in going further as early as possible. The point attained by those venerable personages is in our age the point where everyone begins in order to go further.” -Preface of Fear and Trembling

Kierkegaard here explains how faith is taken for granted in his age. Everyone is assumed to know it and possess it. But SK thinks otherwise, that perhaps they do not have what they think they have or know what they think they know. Faith is so much more than most realize, and in this book from which the passage is taken from, he elaborates this idea much further. So what is faith then? That’s something I’ll be working on in this blog (and in real life) for a while.

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