Monday, November 04, 2013

The idea for which I am willing to live and die

What I really need is to be clear about what I am to do, not what I must know, except in the way knowledge must precede all actions. It is a question of understanding my own destiny, of seeing what the Deity really wants me to do; the thing is to find a truth which is truth for me, to find the idea for which I am willing to live and die. And what use would it be in this respect if I were to discover a so-called objective truth, or if I worked my way through the philosophers' systems and were able to call them all to account on request, point out inconsistencies in every single circle? And what use would it be in that respect to be able work out a theory of the state, and put all the pieces from so many places into one whole, construct a world which, again, I myself did not inhabit but merely held up for others to see? What use would it be to be able to propound the meaning of Christianity, to explain many separate facts, if had no deeper meaning for myself and my life?

— from Journal AA:12, Søren Kierkegaard, 1835.

I haven't decided how I feel about Kierkegaard. This passage speaks to me, but even while saying, "Yes, Søren, I can totally relate," another part of me is saying, "Really? Just how old are you? Every college student goes through this shit, and most of us get over it." Though the sentiments are common and it could've been written by any kid, the above passage is oft-cited because it is from a philosopher's journal.

One fellow MOOC student recently accused another of having reduced Kierkegaard to the psychological realm; I'm not sure it's wrong to do so. Kierkegaard is whiny, lovelorn, and full of bitter resentment.

Meanwhile, I'm currently suffering from irony overload (Socratic and other), and yeah, still looking for an idea for which I am will to live and die.

No comments: