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Many readers come to read this book via the Hegel pathway Or at least realize that a Hegel preamble is required And most probably such a preamble is indispensable.Alas, I came to it through a side door As an attendant of a cycle of lectures given at the Prado Museum on the Bible Old Testament and Art, I listened, and looked, in fascination to the expos of one of the Speakers He examined the myth of Abraham and the Sacrifice of his beloved son Isaac.After portraying what he considered an utterly unethical behavior in the part of Abraham he presented Kierkegaard s ideas as the only way to approach the dreadful myth For it cannot be understood.For such is the nature of Paradox.Abraham was no Agamemnon There was no heroism in his act Agamemnon was driven by duty Abraham by faith Agamemnon could hate his own act but overcome his hatred and announce the intended outcome Abraham, as the Knight of Faith could not doubt a single instant He had to want to kill his son, while loving him dearly, because his god had ordered him to do so And this he had to do quietly Abraham was greater than all, great by reason of his power whose strength is impotence, great by reason of his wisdom whose secret is foolishness, great by reason of his hope whose form is madness, great by reason of the love which is hatred of oneself. And so at the core of Abraham s act was the Absurd.In this context of absurdity silence, elastic, takes its place And opens the door to laughter.And of the painters, Rembrandt, the master of capturing the interruption, was also the one who represented the force in Abraham s unrelenting and unvacillating will There is no second guessing god in his Abraham No acting and no hope Rembrandt was the one painter who understood what Kierkegaard stated about two hundred years later Angel had to fight hard to stop Abraham in his unflinching intention to murder Do I need to point out that Beckett read this book another example of this paternal filicide not mentioned in this book is Emperor Frederick II and his son Henry. Soren Kierkegaard Was A Danish Philosopher, Theologian, And Religious Author Interested In Human Psychology He Is Regarded As A Leading Pioneer Of Existentialism And One Of The Greatest Philosophers Of The Th CenturyIn Fear And Trembling, Kierkegaard Wanted To Understand The Anxiety That Must Have Been Present In Abraham When God Commanded Him To Offer His Son As A Human Sacrifice Abraham Had A Choice To Complete The Task Or To Forget It He Resigned Himself To The Loss Of His Son, Acting According To His Faith In Other Words, One Must Be Willing To Give Up All His Or Her Earthly Possessions In Infinite Resignation And Must Also Be Willing To Give Up Whatever It Is That He Or She Loves Than God Abraham Had Passed The Test His Love For God Proved Greater Than Anything Else In Him And Because A Good And Just Creator Would Not Want A Father To Kill His Son, God Intervened At The Last Moment To Prevent The Sacrifice Frygt og B ven fear and trembling, S ren Kierkegaard Fear and Trembling original Danish title Frygt og B ven is a philosophical work by S ren Kierkegaard, published in 1843 under the pseudonym Johannes de silentio John of the Silence Kierkegaard wanted to understand the anxiety that must have been present in Abraham when God tested him and said to him, take Isaac, your only son, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah and offer him as a burnt offering on the mountain that I shall show you Abraham had a choice to complete the task or to refuse to comply to God s orders He resigned himself to the three and a half day journey and to the loss of his son He said nothing to Sarah, nothing to Eliezer Who, after all, could understand him, for did not the nature of temptation extract from him a pledge of silence He split the firewood, he bound Isaac, he lit the fire, he drew the knife Because he kept everything to himself and chose not to reveal his feelings he isolated himself as higher than the universal Kierkegaard envisions two types of people in Fear and Trembling and Repetition One lives in hope, Abraham, the other lives in memory, The Young Man and Constantin Constantius He discussed them beforehand in Lectures delivered before the Symparanekromenoi and The Unhappiest Man One hopes for happiness from something out there while the other finds happiness from something in themself 1996 1373 231 1374 1376 20 1378 173 1380 9643124347 1385 1386 1387 1388 1392 1392 9786006867625 view spoiler hide spoiler To contend with the whole world is a comfort, but to contend with oneself is dreadful Fear and Trembling is Kierkegaard s astonishingly dexterous analysis of faith via the Old Testament story of Abraham and IsaacAnd it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of Genesis 22 1 According to Kierkegaard, Abraham was a true knight of faith He didn t merely resign himself to losing his son, but instead believed that Isaac wouldn t actually be harmed He had faith based on the strength of the absurd, or in spite of the fact that it made no rational sense to do so Kierkegaard contended that Abraham s belief in this undeniable absurdity elevated him to the highest plane of faith one can possibly hope to attain.Kierkegaard then made an apparently simple yet really rather profound point Abraham s decision to make a leap of faith could not concern itself with the OUTCOME of that leapSurely anyone with a speck of erectior ingenii nobility of mind cannot become so completely the cold and clammy mollusc as to lose sight altogether, in approaching the great, of the fact that ever since the Creation it has been accepted practice for the outcome to come last, and that if one is really to learn something from the great it is precisely the beginning one must attend to If anyone on the verge of action should judge himself according to the outcome, he would never begin Even though the result may gladden the whole world, that cannot help the hero for he knows the result only when the whole thing is over, and that is not how he becomes a hero, but by virtue of the fact that he beganKierkegaard concluded this section of the book by stating that faith is fundamentally a paradox, and that it goes beyond what reason can comprehend He then proceeded to examine three problemata Problema 1Is there a teleological suspension of the ethicalKierkegaard answered in the affirmative Basically, taking care of your fellow human beings is generally your most important ethical concern However, since murdering a helpless child doesn t usually provide much benefit to humanity, and yet God commanded Abraham to do so, ethical considerations must have been suspended in favor of a higher imperative.Problema 2Is there an absolute duty to GodShort answer Yes Slightly longer explanation Kierkegaard held thatfaith s paradox is this, that the single individual is higher than the human race , that the single individual determines his relation to the human race through his relation to GodI tinkered with the previous quote in an effort to make ituser friendly Kierkegaard was kind of a dweeb with some of his jargon and specialized slang Perhaps also with his coiffure Problema 3Was it ethically defensible of Abraham to conceal his purpose from Sarah, from Eleazar, from IsaacKierkegaard was of the opinion that honesty is usually the best policy In Abraham s case, however, since his task was Absurd with a capital A, and as such could not possibly be understood, he had to grapple with it alone Abraham couldn t even attempt to relate it to anyone else, since trying to explain what is absurd and incomprehensible is well absurd.Kierkegaard wrapped things up by asserting thatthe highest passion in a human being is faith,and that this is something each person must wrestle with and ultimately earn for themselves.Thus concludes my probably overly detailed summary of the main points presented in the book I d now like to share a few of Kierkegaard sbrilliant quotesSomeone who has understood life s horror has grasped Daub s meaning when he says that a soldier standing guard alone with a loaded gun by a powder magazine on a stormy night gets strange thoughts There is greatness in meriting the tears of those who deserve to shed them great indeed for the poet to dare hold the crowd in check, dare discipline people into testing their own worthiness to weep for the hero, for the waste water of snivellers is a degradation of the holy Aesthetics is the most faithless of all sciences Anyone who has truly loved it will in a way become unhappy while anyone who has never done so is and will remain a blockheadOverall, Kierkegaard was a phenomenal writer with an often merciless wit His mind was arrestingly complex, nimble, fluid I can t claim to fully grasp everything he wrote at times I got tangled up in the threads of his subtly nuanced logic, especially when I was frantically trying to keep up with some of hispeculiar terminology That said, many of his points were beautifully reasoned, some even striking in their clarity I especially appreciated his musings on the suffering that standing alone with your beliefs necessarily entails, and the importance of not letting the pain erode your resolve Although the aforementioned merits made this a fascinating read, I couldn t wholly relate to it, as I do not count religious faith among theworthwhile pursuits available to us as thinking beings I do agree with him on thisHow monstrous a paradox faith is, a paradox capable of making a murder into a holy act well pleasing to God, a paradox which gives Isaac back to Abraham, which no thought can grasp because faith begins precisely where thinking leaves offI just tend to side with Hitchens as to its rather dubious value , , ,, , , ,, . It is not an exaggeration to say that Fear and Trembling 1843 was a challenging piece for me to to read, maybe being someone of no religious faith had something to do with it Kierkegaard Johannes de silentio compounds the essential difficulty that lies within the theme of the work, the Akedah, through choosing an alternative pseudonym to praise Abraham as a knight of faith and examine his movements That the pseudonym s perspective is shrouded in silence seemingly precludes any clear and straightforward understanding of this work Ultimately, whether Kierkegaard s Johannes de silentio is to be read with irony or edification appears as undecidable as whether we should view Abraham as a murderous madman who in contrast to Nietzsche s madman proclaiming the death of god proclaims a living god who has commanded the death of his son and then later a ram, or the great father of faith He goes over the story of Abraham and Isaac and can make no sense of it he concludes that faith must be a leap in the dark Take the leap he seems to say and God will catch you Most people do no such thing They are too sensible and do not jump anywhere unless there is a soft landing of a safety net Sadly he has bequeathed to the world the idea that Christianity is a religion and belief in god is not rational Generations of Humanists, Rationalists and Materialists have taken this up as a stick with which to beat Christians and Christian belief Because he thought God told him to Will this have you either going to church every Sunday believing it s OK to kill your kids as long as God gives you his blessing, or tearing the pages out and throwing the cover across the room screaming and swearing at Kiekegaard for being morally and ethically wrong Like I said as piece of historical philosophy it challenged me, something most books I read never do, hence the four stars But still left me feeling bemused and dumbfound Definitely requires a second reading, but me doubt will happen It s the sort of book that could fire great debate and war of words I will just sit on the fence though and keep my opinions to myself. 68 I was going to write that I still come back to this book, even ten years after reading it for the first time But that s not quite true What is true is that this book has never really left me it has worked itself into my psyche and become an automatic philosophical reference point for my life Kierkegaard s discussion of faith versus resignation is an exhileration to read His unfolding of the concept of the absurd in the universe is sublime Everyone should dive into this work, grapple with it, and re emerge with some of Kierkegaard s Romantic greatness internalized. It seems to me that after reading Fear and Trembling that all of my thinking on faith lies within Kierkegaard Which isn t to claim that I understand his arguments but that his arguments have come to dominate the way I think about the issues.Curiously although Kierkegaard s voice comes at us from the margins he seems oddly part of a broad current of nineteenth century writing, Dostoevsky, if he cold have got past the author being a non Russian and a Lutheran would have agreed with the emphasis on faith alone I feel Though then again I can be no adequate reader of Kierkegaard as he reveals himself only through a nest of alternative identities as though engaging in plausible deniability, or hide and seek, with the reader.I think I read this first, and then was brought back to it several times by reading Dostoevskyseriously in my 20s and then by means of David Lodge s novel Therapy although Kierkegaard isof a staging post in his downward path until the central character clings to a desperate ridiculous, plan view spoiler returning to his long lost first girlfriend, thirty Forty years after separating hide spoiler