Monday, October 10, 2005

Kierkegaard's Passion

Kierkegaard's passion was not about a staunch, certain and blind belief in a truth called God. It was rather about clinging on to the uncertainty of it all post reflection, and to reaffirm one's authenticity in taking the leap of faith. If Kierkegaard is seen at the root of Existentialist thought, it is because of his emphasis upon the individual whose lived experiences are most important, and because of the strong notion of freedom that a person possesses in existing and making alternative difficult choices.
The dilemma is that individuals are not sincere if they do not attempt to reflect on the relation between themselves and God. But when they indeed do, it turns out that they can never be certain about the phenomena, because God can never become the object, and therefore never accessible to the rational faculty; God is, indeed, the eternal subject. When the individual subject thus confronts this dilemma, (s)he suffers from the agony of uncertainty. And yet this uncertainty must be held fast onto with the greatest passion. The uncertainty of the possible brings with it the suffering that a truly existing human being is conscious of, as a mark of taking upon complete responsibility of choice. Kierkegaard's remedy is hardly the average person's cup of tea. But for him the ethically responsible persons would turn 'inward' and go through this if they thought of themselves as being true to the spirit of Christianity.

Clearly, Kierkegaard's bitter polemic was both against the institutionalized religion of the Church and society which offered a platter full of absolutist, certain and dogmatic Christian doctrines, to be followed uncritically, scientifically and generally. In sharp contrast, Kierkegaard felt that in truth, we strictly are individuals who cannot be treated mediately or like objects at all. We must simply not be part of these sheep-like herds (as community, race, society, etc). We must stand out by being aware of our existence. Thus, Kierkegaard's other adversary was the worldview of the Hegelian Absolute, that totally subsumed the individual's subjective reality under the Objective Spirit or Geist.


Anonymous said...

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