Summary [ Sygdommen til Døden epub ] by Søren Kierkegaard
One Too Many Blows To The Head gKierkegaard is a strange philosopher to discuss His writing is incredibly dense in ideology while poetically preserving the aesthetic I bought this book than two years ago along with Fear and Trembling yet they have never left my bedside table One can read this book a dozen times and still find new landscapes in his ideology It was about time to revisit this book once againIt might sound ridiculous but I find this book to be thereatest self help book ever written Its important to recognize Despair as a part of the self its important to recognize Despair as the right path to actualization or in Kierkegaard s vocabulary Faith Its normal for us to rebel against our existence and defy any eternal consolation for the sake of individuality because what are we but self conscious errors who have risen up against the tyranny of their creator One of the most eye opening works of philosophy I have ever read What our age needs is education And so this is what happened God chose a man who also needed to be educated and educated him privatissime so that he might be able to teach others from his own experience From Kierkegaard s personal Journals 2013 is the bicentennial of Kierkegaard s birth He probably would have not wanted you to know that but he has plenty things to let you knowThey call him the Father of Existentialism You know you re asking for trouble when trying to write about a man who holds that distinction but I must make an effort once again to try in vain to talk about one of my heroes period Philosopher theologian man in love man in despair man in angst man in thought man in anxiety the man who launched the The Dressmakers Gift great Attack on Christendom in order to save ChristianityI can obviouslyo on but he is almost beyond description in a way though I have just described him at considerable length To et to the book itself it is a relatively short read in comparison to most of his work and is an implicit response to his earlier masterpiece Concluding Unscientific Postscript to Philosophical Fragments written under the pseudonym Johannes Climacus while this book is written under the name Anti Climacus I have read excerpts of Postscripts but not the whole work in its entirety it is long but a lot of the main points are brought up and somewhat expounded on from a different angle here The title of this book is actually 23 of the main topic of the book which is that the sickness unto death is despair that is THE word of this book and main idea In two parts he is oing to talk about the kinds of despair and than what despair actually is Throughout that time we will Street Without a Name: Childhood and Other Misadventures in Bulgaria get the standard anti Hegelianism mixed with the very in depth psychological existential obviously he even uses the word and theological insight that has made his work as new today as it was 50 100 and 164 years ago I am constantly amazed at how at his best he could tell you anything and make it sound ultra enlightening even if you feel you have heard it before For such a small book I felt overwhelmed in aood way at all the information that I was etting in such little space The only other book that really did that to me is Notes from Underground another existential classic This book also recalled Fear and Trembling to my mind But where that book ives the existential definition of faith the teleological suspension of the ethical this book ives the existential definition of sin One common complaint about this book is about some of the lag in part one which infuriated me when part two came around and he easily explains all the tortured points he was making in a page and a half The ood news is that he makes up for it big time in part two when he If It’s Monday It Must Be Madurai: A Conducted Tour of India gets into the topic Despair is Sin from there he s on a rampage of everything you ever thought about sin and Christian faithOne is amazed at how well executed his criticism of institutional Christianity which he calls Christendom is without seeming in the least apostateical yet he pulls no punches whether you re pious or a pagan he isoing after you and trying his best to make you uestion what you thought you knew But it has to be said and as bluntly as possible that so called Christendom in which all in their millions are Christians as a matter of course so that there are as many yes just as many Christians as there are people is not only a miserable edition of Christianity full of misprints that distort the meaning and of thoughtless omissions and emendations but an abuse of it in having taken Christianity s name in vain Alas the fate of this word in Christendom is like an epigram on all that is Christian The misfortune is not that no one speaks up for Christianity nor therefore that there is not enough priests but they speak up for for it in such a way that the majority of people end up attaching no meaning to itThus the highest and holiest leave no impression at all but sound like something that has now God knows why become a matter of form and habits indefensible they find it reuisite to defend Christianity Oh and
HIS FEELINGS TOWARD APOLOGETICS ONE CAN SEE NOWHOW EXTRAORDINARILY feelings toward apologetics One can see nowhow extraordinarily it is to defend Christianity how little knowledge of humanity it betrays how itmakes Christianity out to be some miserable object that in the end must be rescued by a defencesic It is therefore certain and true that the person who first thought of defending Christianity in Christendom is de facto a Judas No 2 he too betrays with a kiss except his treason is that of stupidity To defend Is Always To Discredit It Let A Man Have A always to it Let a man have a full of old let him be willing to ive away a ducat to every one of the poor but let him also be stupid enough to begin this charitable undertaking of his with a defence in which he offers three The Monk as Man: The Unknown Life of Swami Vivekananda good reasons in justification and it will almost come to the point of people finding it doubtful whether indeed he is doing somethingood But now for Christianity Yes the person who defends that has never believed in it If he does believe then the enthusiasm of faith is not a defence no it is the assault and the victory a believer is a victor One has to have read or be familiar with Concluding Unscientific Postscripts to understand why he is so against Christian apologetics In that work he comments on the absurdity of the idea that the eternal should come into time and die while taking on the form as the least and lowest of men He argues here and there that the idea is from an intellectual bases absurd to all hell and back thus making it indefensible but at the same time making it the supreme act of love and morality and is at least for him the solution to despair but of course I m simplifying this so my small mind can understand This is just a taste of the ideas oing through this book and I would advise you to read it and experience it for yourself One person who deserves some credit in this book is obvious to those who knows the life of Kierkegaard was the only love he ever had his fianc e Regine Olsen This book like many of SK s work is autobiographical to an extent and his relationship to Olsen manages to show up in uite a bit of his works in one form or another They were not Dante and Beatrice but she had a devastatingly profound effect on him and she could be called in a way the mother of existentialism This really impresses me and makes me feel that Kierkegaard was probably one of the best psychologist of his own mind outside of Jung Let us speak of this in purely human terms Oh how pitiable a person who has never felt the loving urge to sacrifice everything for love who has therefore been unable to do so In which I am again reminded of a friend s experience with a professor in a class on Kierkegaard the students spent the first five weeks trying to convince the professor that you can probably only understand a uarter of Kierkegaard unless you read him in the context of Hegel the professor rejects this and stresses instead Kierkegaard s Socraticism at the end of the fifth week ie less than halfway through the course the professor admits defeat If that doesn t sound remarkable you haven t taken many courses with philosophy professors whom you cannot convince of anything unless they already secretly believe it The moral of the story is most of Kierkegaard s writing is incomprehensible unless you ve read Hegel That doesn t mean as the cliche has it that he s writing against Hegel This book is a kind of depressing mini phenomenology of spirit in which instead of ascending towards absolute knowledge human kind simultaneously ascends towards what Kierkegaard takes to be absolute knowledge ie God and descends further into despair for any number of reasons and in any number of ways For Hegel there s always one destination you might stop on the way to the truth but your journey is always in that direction For Kierkegaard as for Marx there are two destinations the ood Godcommunism and the horrific despairbarbarism which are both in the same direction For Marx science in the Hegelian sense will et you to communism while ideologycapitalism etc will et you to barbarism For Kierkegaard science will lead you closer to God by deepening your despair but it won t Advanced First Aid, CPR, and AED (Orange Book) get you to theood Kierkegaard has very ood criticisms to make of Hegel but not the way that say Russell has criticisms of him Kierkegaard like Marx remains on Hegel s side of the fence Anyway SuD is a critiue of the various idiocies human kind will perform in order to stay in despair Unlike 20th century existentialists to whom he s often compared Kierkegaard insists that the way we are both eternal and mortal does not in itself lead to despair despair is the result of an imbalance in ourselves a stressing of one or the other of these elements at th. Influencing philosophers such as Sartre and Camus and still strikingly modern in its psychological insights Kierkegaard's The Sickness Unto Death explores the concept of 'despair' as a symptom of the human condition and describes. Reason I say a vague struct The Sickness unto Death is an insightful taxonomy of human self deception and a fascinating polemic supporting a Christianity of individuals rather than roups Its two parts The Sickness unto Death is Despair and Despair is Sin reflect its dual psychological and theological significanceIt is first a precursor of modern psychoanalysis exploring the idea of despair as a lack of self understanding and self acceptance Anticipating Freud s unconscious mind Kierkegaard claims that virtually everyone is always in despair whether they know it or not Not being conscious of being in despair is itself a form of despair The physician knows that just as there can be merely imagined illness so too is there merely imagined health Much of the book consists of a eneral overview of the many different forms despair can take from the despairing ignorance of having a self and an eternal self to the demonic wanting in despair to be oneself defianceAlthough as one of Kierkegaard s algebraic ie philosophically schematic rather than literary works Sickness spends little time developing these forms of despair fleshed out examples an be found in his other works such as EitherOr The short allegories Kierkegaard does use to illustrate his ideas however are consistently clear and illuminating For exampleAs a father disinherits a son the self will not acknowledge itself after it has been so weak Despairingly it is unable to forget that weakness somehow it hates itself it will not humble itself in faith under its weakness in order to win itself back No in despair it will not as it were hear a word about itself will have nothing to do with itself As doubtless often with the father who disinherited the son the external fact only helped a little it did not rid him of the son least of all in his thoughts As so often it helps little when the lover curses the despised that is loved one but almost intricates him the so it is for the despairing self with itselfSecond and to Kierkegaard s purpose Sickness is an unorthodoxly orthodox classic of Christian theology A must read for anyone interested in the concept of sin Sickness disavows the notion that sin is simply unethical behavior no for Kierkegaard the opposite of sin is not virtue but faith Sin for Kierkegaard is before God or with the conception of God in despair not wanting to be oneself or wanting in despair to be oneself Sin is a heightened form of despair in which God judges each one of us Using this notion Kierkegaard attacks established Christendom for being complacent and confident due to its strength in numbers of its sinlessnessChristianity says to each individual Thou shalt believe Not one word there is nothing to add Now I have spoken says God in heaven we shall talk it over again in eternity In the meantime you can do what you want but judgement is at hand A judgement Indeed we men have learned by experience that when there is a mutiny on a ship or in an army then the uilty are so numerous that the punishment has to be dropped and when it is the public the highly esteemed and cultivated public or the people then there is not only no crime but according to the newspaper which is as dependable as the Gospels and the Revelation it is God s will Why is this so The reason is that the concept judgement corresponds to the individual judgment cannot be passed en masse people can be killed en masse sprayed en masse flattered en masse in short can be treated in many ways just like cattle but to judge people like cattle is not possible for one cannot pass judgement on cattle However many are judged if there is to be any seriousness or truth in the judgement then judgement is passed on each individualIf only there are enough of us in this then there is no wrong in it before this wisdom all people have to this day bowed down kings emperors and excellencies So God is damned well oing to learn to bow down too It is simply a matter of there being many of us a decent number who stick together if we do that we are made safe against the judgement of eternity They are indeed safe if it is only in eternity that they are to become individuals But they were and are constantly individuals before GodThus Kierkegaard s aim is to awaken the reader as spirit ie as an individual self before God not to defend Christianity s doctrines On the contrary Kierkegaard s strongest words are directed against apologetics how extraordinarily stupid it is to defend Christianity how little knowledge of humanity it betrays how it connives if only unconsciously with offence by making Christianity out to be some miserable object that in the end must be rescued by a defence Yes the person who defends that has never believed in it If he does believe then the enthusiasm of faith is not a defence no it is the assault and the victory a believer is a VICTORTO FULLY UNDERSTAND WHY KIERKEGAARD CONSIDERS fully understand why Kierkegaard considers fundamentally and necessarily irrational to the point of causing offence it will be helpful to read his other works such as Fear and Trembling or Concluding Unscientific Postscript where faith is defined as an objective uncertainty held fast in the most passionate inwardness And nothing for Kierkegaard could be less certainly true than Christianity s paradoxes like the idea that there is an infinite difference in kind between God and man yet the two share a kinship To try and water down Christianity s offensive aspects to make faith easier to just blindly slip into is to destroy faith by removing the necessity for the individual to passionately CHOOSE for himself his own life path his own selfAlthough this is one of Kierkegaard s difficult works once the basic project is rasped it is uite readable and is straightforward than The Concept of Anxiety a psychological work which explores very similar ideas to Sickness The first paragraph with its The self is a relation which relates to itself or that in the relation which is its relating to itself etc etc is famously dense and opaue but is not representative of the rest of the text which becomes and clear and accessible as it delves deeper into the obscurity of sin and despairThe Sickness unto Death is an invaluable resource for those interested in existential psychology or religious philosophy However it is perhaps not the best place to begin if you haven t read other Kierkegaard works Fear and Trembling is an easier starting point For both texts I recommend the Hannay translation rather than the Hong one This can be called a Phenomenology of Despair Kierkegaard is freuently considered as anti Hegel but this book can be considered as a kind of dialectic of the self Kierkegaard looked at the self the same way as Hegel looked at the world his universal spiritHere we see his iterative definition of the self The self is a relation which relates itself to its own self or it is that in the relation that the relation relates itself to its own self
The Self Is Not The Relation But That The Relation self is not the relation but that the relation itself to its own self It must in turn relate to the power which established the whole relation The self is a dynamic process It is simultaneously becoming and and unbecoming from what one isand the self as a synthesis A human being is a synthesis of the infinite and the finite of the temporal and the eternal of freedom and necessity in short a synthesisDespair results from lack of balance between these opposites and takes three forms Being unconscious in despair of having a self This is the most common form of despair Despair of an aesthete Where someone is lost in something external that they are not aware of their eternal self or that they are in despair A spiritless existence From Kierkegaard s point of view almost everyone is in despair and most of them are not aware of it not wanting in despair to be oneself happens if one has finitude and necessity but without infinitude and possibility ie no faith For God is infinite for God everything is possible The opposite is where you have infinitude and possibility without being rounded in temporal and necessity Where one is carried away by dreams and fantasies without being rounded in something temporal leading to despair and wanting in despair to be oneselfOne can contrast this with materialism where alienation and despair are caused by material circumstances and they can be rid of by changing the society Even though they never encountered each other s works Marx and Kierkegaard were contemporaries and both of their thoughts Mi karma y yo germinated in the rapidly industrialising society But for Marx a materialist this alienation ultimately took the form of a worker being alienated from his labour and it can only be overcome by changing the society and for Kierkegaard the individual self is all that matters despair can only be overcome by the self through faithAmong the western thinkers existentialists have a lot in common with buddhist and hindu thinkers The similar emphasis on the self the importance of self realisation and in this book there is also some similarity in the understanding of despair Despair as a sickness of the spirit and the opposite of being in despair is to have faith Standing openly in front of GodHere we also see the Christian notion of despair as a blessing Something which we see in Dostoevsky s works as well Despair transcends banal experience and it leads to salvation So despair is also a blessing To arrive at deliverance one must pass through despairThe second partot too Christian and esoteric for me It mainly deals with sin This work is rooted in christianity but still has universal applicability If you want to understand how your relation is relating itself to itself you must read this book. Ned outraged provoked and comforted They have enriched lives and destroyed them Now Penguin brings you the works of the reat thinkers pioneers radicals and visionaries whose ideas shook civilization and helped make us who we are. .
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E expense of the other The human condition is not intrinsically one of despair despair is something we do to ourselves SuD oes through the many different ways in which we can be unbalanced pretending we re other than we are despairing of the way we are and so on The cure is to recognize and live with our synthesis not wish to be entirely eternal a fantasy nor believe ourselves to be entirely mortal which as a kind of determinism cuts us off from the possibilities of human existence The uasi Hegelian portraits of various people in despair still read like a rogue s allery of contemporary intellectuals Have hope in the possibility of help especially on the strength of the absurd that for God everything is possible No that he will not And ask help of any other No that for all the world he will not do if it came to that he would rather be himself with all the torments of hell than ask for help 102Here are your militant atheists scientific determinists literary existentialists and solipsistic nihilists of all stripes wallowing in self satisfaction he prefers to rage against everything and be the one whom the whole world all existence has wronged the one for whom it is especially important to ensure that he has his agony on hand so that no one will take it from him for then he would not be able to convince others and himself that he is right 103 The second part on despair as sin is a much easier read and not uite as interesting although it does include the wonderful thought that a self is what it has as its standard of measurement 147 Kierkegaard s attack on Christendom comes up here and is as right as ever but you d have to be pretty convinced of the perfection of institutional Christianity to find it all that affecting and I dear reader am not In short there s a reat lesson in here for 21st century types who like to harp on about humanity s existential loneliness and how evolution means we re destined to rape and pillage because there s no meaning any if you think only a God can Charlie O. and the angry A's give us meaning then leap into faith or come to the somewhat easier realization that actually we canive ourselves meaning It s childish to think otherwise I ve always found it odd that so many people who uite rightly hold firm to empiricism take so seriously the idea of determinism a reasonable assumption for experimental science but not therefore a fact despite the absence of evidence for it Granted there can be no evidence for it despite those idiotic experiments in which people s brains decide something before the people do But determinism and God have that in common That won t change anyone s mind on God or determinism of course because as Kierkegaard puts it in a different context the despairer thinks that he himself is this evidence 105 Just read this for the second time The first time was in college for a Kierkegaard class I liked it then a lot but one of the problems with college for me was that I often felt overloaded There was so much to read that it was often difficult to et it all read and so even the stuff I read was almost never at full attentionI read Fear and Trembling before college or at least my second and successful attempt at college I really loved it But on the other hand I have a difficult relationship with Christianity It s too close to me to abandon but too uncomfortable to be satisfyingProbably the most satisfying communal religious experiences I have had have been with the uakers Of course as with any denomination there are many kinds of uakers I mean the uiet ones The ones who literally meet on Sunday sometimes other times too to sit for an hour in silence Where there is no priest and anyone can speak if they feel moved by God Of course just as there are different denominations there are different congregations and let s just say some of them are uiet than othersSometimes I feel very strongly that any Christianity I could really accept would be found in Christian writers like Kierkegaard than in many of the passages of the Bible But then again as K points out Christ himself said something like blessed are those who are not offended by me K takes this sense of offense very seriouslyMake no mistake Kierkegaard is disgusted by the idea of defending Christianity or of trying to convince someone of it s truth Not because he takes it as too obvious for proof but rather due to the very nature of Christianity itself and faith If you are the happy pagan likely you will simply reject the book out of hand as not corresponding to your understanding of realityI think there are two things in particular that are appealing about K First he has an incredibly noble view of human possibility Secondly he is a very clear thinkerThis read was interesting in many ways but in one way in particular because he puts the uestion directly to a waffler like me I always want to have it both ways along the lines of oh both Christianity and not Christianity are He argues that no either you really believe that those happy pagans are healthy or you that they are in despairOf course you have to be clear about what he tells you he means by this word He accepts that those happy pagans can be very much happy and healthy His meaning of despair is not the idea that oh
they look happy but underneath they are really eating their hearts out The idea is much closer to the idealook happy but underneath they are really eating their hearts out The idea is much closer to the idea they are simply in error Of course he does mean that despair is a kind of spiritual illness Just not one that necessarily makes you feel bad though of course it can It means that if you have those feelings of contentment and happiness in this life without agreeing about God and our relationship to him then you have essentially traded this life for eternity You are simply oblivious to the most profound dimension of human existence Here s the idea there s no argument about it If you are the pagan you won t find anything here to convince you except perhaps the attraction of the image he provides But it is based in a very noble notion of the eternal and the vast depths of the possibility of the human spirit Here is the idea that we are defined by what measures us and what measures us is GodOf course it can be confusing because at times he does speak of despair as a feeling like we commonly understand it to be Certainly he agrees that they can be related This is of course another of the very cool things about K that he can talk about pretty abstract things in terms of personal psycho spiritual experience Also the reverse as wellCertainly for me this read was personal about my own place And I think this is appropriate for as Kierkegaard says at the beginning he does mean this work to be edifying I take him to mean there personally relevant not simply meant as some abstract analysis Certainly I found his views very compelling I have to say an extraordinary piece of philosophy And the most serious work I came across concerning Christianity Kierkegaard s words simplified a lot of concepts about despair and also translated our emotions and our awareness of the self and how complex that is I don t think that its difficult to read the matter discussed is deep yes but the way the author had delivered it was elegant The book is a page turner no doubt Soren Kierkegaard is sure a enius and he was not the type of authors of whom you can sense that they re skeptic or timid toward their own work For Kierkegaard the self is not the relation which relates to itself but the relation s relating to itself From the start he shifts from a Cartesian or essentialist view of the self to an existentialist one Whereas for Descartes self is a common noun for Kierkegaard it is a erund And the embedded verb to relate points to the dynamics of the self In this case relating to itselfThe first relate points to the dynamics of the self In this case relating to itselfThe first is that which is ignorant of being in despair or the despairing ignorance of having a self and an eternal self Similar to the unexamined life of Socrates this is the unexamined self And for Kierkegaard this is the most common despair though the individuals involved aren t aware of it In the Christian worldview a human being is a synthesis of the infinite and finite and therefore the tension between these poles becomes the source of next two types of despair wanting in despair to be oneself and not wanting in despair to be oneself For Kierkegaard despair is the sickness unto death one different from an ordinary sickness that leads to physical death Within the Christian framework physical death may be a path toward eternal life and a dying person may hope for the life after But despair as the sickness unto death is when one hopes for death as a resolution but the person cannot die Hence the despair Such despair presupposes life after death For the atheistic existentialist such as Sartre or Camus death is the ultimate end and creates the despair by nullifying hope and achievement and life Faith the interacting with the power which established it is for Kierkegaard the only way the self can overcome despairKierkegaard contributes to Christianity by reformulating faith as the dynamics between the believer and the power that established it in overcoming the ignorance of a self and in reintegrating the self with this power so as to resolve the tension between the two Not longer is faith accepting a set of doctrines and carrying out the rites and rituals of the ChurchAnd he contributes to our understanding of human beings by modeling the self as the relating to itself and others rather than as static stuffs bodies minds souls and spirits etc So the focus shifts from being to becoming Identity in an industrialised world14 October 2013 This book seems to simply ramble on with only a vague structure to it The. Man's struggle to fill the spiritual void Throughout history some books have changed the world They have transformed the way we see ourselves and each other They have inspired debate dissent war and revolution They have enlighte. ,