Thursday, May 23, 2013


A few reflections on Kierkegaard on the occasion of this 200th birthday:


As the article points out, Kierkegaard was known for his difficult prose.  Kierkegaard himself wrote:  “People understand me so little that they do not even understand when I complain of being misunderstood.”  And Ludwig Wittgenstein, obscure enough himself, said of Kierkegaard, “He is too deep for me.”

When I was young, I read The Sickness Unto Death, his book on despair, and found it to be comprehensible enough.  But then, as is true for anyone in their 20's, despair was a pretty familar subject to me at the time.

Although the book does contain the following line, and the more power to you if you can figure it out:  "The self is a relation which relates itself to its own self, or it is that in the relation [which accounts for it] that the relation relates itself to its own self; the self is not the relation but [consists in the fact] that the relation relates itself to its own self."


James R said...

Wonderful article, including the comments. It is a testament to the rationality of mankind that we can develop the notion of the absurd.

jb said...

Thanks for the link to a wonderful article. Even though we get the New Yorker, I hadn't seen it yet. It answers the question of whether fluency in Danish would improve one's comprehension of SK. Soren was the name we were going to give to our child had we had a girl. I didn't know it meant little devil.

Big Myk said...

In response to jb, I don't think the article appeared in the print version of The New Yorker. It's only available online.

Similar to you in a way, I lobbied for naming our daughter Aletheia, Heidgger's term for disclosedness (unhiddenness) or truth. I have since thought, however, that perhaps it was a good thing that my wife put her foot down and we went in another direction. Life, it seems, is burden enough without the extra weight of a heavy-duty, meaning-laden name.