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Transcript of Soren Kierkegaard
Partial treatment of life
It has no moral standard of what is good and evil
Bound for despair because there is a polarity…
1. of what is interesting and boring
2. of what is pleasurable and painful
3. of what is fulfilling and frustrating
Rudolf Steiner was a Austrian philosopher who examined the way that children were educated and opened up his own schools around his theory of education in Stuttgart, 1919 for the children of the workers at the Waldorf-Astoria cigarette factory (Steiner Waldorf Schools Fellowship 2013).
(May 5, 1813 – November 11, 1855)
"Father of Existentialism"
For him, there are no longer human beings in this age because the individual man has taken refuge in the collective idea: “the masses, the group, the crowd and the public.”
“Nothing becomes personal in this age of the crowd.”
Man is superbly rational but man has forgotten to live life; man has forgotten to exist.
He blames the Western philosophers, specifically the post-Socratic philosophers because they ignore individual existence.
Individual human existence is the concern of Kierkegaard.
Man must strive to exist by dissociating himself from the “crowd-existence.”
Existence can only become significant when one realizes his personal freedom, his subjectivity, his commitment, and his responsibility.
An existing human being is conscious of his choice and not of his reason
Man should stop to be too rational in favor of his personal choice.
Man has to consider his individual existence in terms of his being a human individual who is designated…
• to own his life,
• to master his life,
• to frame his life,
• to consider his own values
Man can attain authentic individual existence when man detaches himself from the crowd and binds himself to commit to his responsibilities and his options in life.
Existence is not ready-made but one’s absolute way of making it in terms of his commitment to it.
Kierkegaard speaks of three spheres or levels of existence
To live for a privilege and pleasurable moment.
Man “is already self-conscious and opposed to, or at least independent of, other men”
Man has already broken his walls of attachment to the “crowd-existence”
Man as a being who is placed in a paradox – a paradox that arbitrarily requires his choice.
Man wrestles to know how to live life
• Man has to come to grip with his fundamental option: good or bad. It is the choice by which we summon good and bad into existence of ourselves.
• Choice is guided by faith, not by reason
• A life of reflection and self-evaluation
• Complements of an ethical life to the aesthetic life are possible only if one in the aesthetic life succumbs to admit his despair, his boredom, and his frustration as factors which make his life meaningless.
• The business of man is to make some choices.
• Doing right or wrong is not important. What matters most is the decision of the person to perform an act whether it is good or bad.
• Central point of this level is man’s utter uncertainty of the future.
• Man admits that he is never certain of what is to come—that he is not even certain of his faith which is his armor for salvation and justification before God.
• Man appears before the eyes of God as a being who is stained by sin.
• Way of life of one’s individual relatedness with God.
• Dependent with God, his Savior.
• The essence of faith is found in its subjectivity.
• The dogma of incarnation and the doctrine of the Trinity are all paradoxes that are in themselves absurd.
• What matters most is man’s faith in the Trinity or in the Divine Paradox of Incarnation
• Man’s terror, dread and fear of God are man’s proper attitude towards God.
• Turning point of man in this mode is his acceptance of his sinfulness.
• Sinfulness makes man meet the limit-situation of his existence.
• Man must tremble before God
• With a repentant heart, man must face God in dread and trembling and resign himself to God.
The religious mode of existence gives us the idea that one is worthy to be a Christian only if one admits that he is a sinner.
The deficiencies of aesthetic life must be complemented by the ethical life and the ethical life by the religious life.
Kierkegaardian concept of existence requires an individual to recover his being a person from the crowd by shattering all his attachments to it.
He is lost in the crowd therefore he must find himself again.
He must choose to live in a meaningful way by assuming his individual existence.
He must choose the kind of life he wants to live, be it aesthetic, ethical or religious.
If he seeks for an authentic life, he has to opt for the religious life since it is that which is lived in personal existence with the God who redeems him from sin, because he believes that God is the one doing it for him.
• Søren Kierkegaard was born to an affluent family in Copenhagen.
• His mother, Ane Sørensdatter Lund Kierkegaard, had served as a maid in the household before marrying his father, Michael Pedersen Kierkegaard. She was an unassuming figure: quiet, plain, and not formally educated but Henriette Lund, her granddaughter, wrote that she "wielded the sceptre with joy and protected [Soren and Peter] like a hen protecting her children"
What led him to philosophizing?
• Kierkegaard rarely left his hometown of Copenhagen, and travelled abroad only five times—four times to Berlin and once to Sweden.
• His prime recreational activities were attending the theatre, walking the streets of Copenhagen to chat with ordinary people, and taking brief carriage jaunts into the surrounding countryside.
• He was educated at a prestigious boys' school (Borgerdydskolen), then attended Copenhagen University where he studied philosophy and theology. His teachers at the university included F.C. Sibbern, Poul Martin Møller, and H.L. Martensen.
• Sibbern and Møller were both philosophers who also wrote fiction. The latter in particular had a great influence on Kierkegaard's philosophico-literary development.
• Martensen also had a profound effect on Kierkegaard, but largely in a negative manner. Martensen was a champion of Hegelianism, and when he became Bishop Primate of the Danish People's Church, Kierkegaard published a vitriolic attack on Martensen's theological views.
• Kierkegaard's life is more relevant to his work than is the case for many writers. Much of the thrust of his critique of Hegelianism is that its system of thought is abstracted from the everyday lives of its proponents. This existential critique consists in demonstrating how the life and work of a philosopher contradict one another.
• Kierkegaard derived this form of critique from the Greek notion of judging philosophers by their lives rather than simply by their intellectual artefacts. The Christian ideal, according to Kierkegaard, is even more exacting since the totality of an individual's existence is the artefact on the basis of which s/he is judged by God for his eternal validity. Of course a writer's work is an important part of his existence, but for the purpose of judgement we should focus on the whole life not just on one part.
• Much of his philosophical work deals with the issues of how one lives as a "single individual", giving priority to concrete human reality over abstract thinking, and highlighting the importance of personal choice and commitment. He was a fierce critic of idealist intellectuals and philosophers of his time, such as Emanuel Swedenborg, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Johann Gottlieb Fichte, Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling and Karl Wilhelm Friedrich Schlegel, as well as Danish pastors Jacob Peter Mynster and Hans LassenMartensen and Danish poet Johan Ludvig Heiberg.
IDEAS ON HUMAN NATURE
• His theological work focuses on Christian ethics, on the institution of the Church, and on the differences between purely objective proofs of Christianity and the individual's subjective relationship to Jesus Christ, the God-Man, which came through faith. Much of his work deals with the art of Christian love. He was extremely critical of the practice of Christianity as a state religion, primarily that of the Church of Denmark. His psychological work explored the emotions and feelings of individuals when faced with life choices.