Welcome sign in sign up. Some time after its acquisition, he tells us, he took a hatchet to a stuck drawer and discovered a trove of papers, evidently composed by two distinct authors. I hereby retract this book. It was a necessary deception in order, if possible, to deceive men into the religious, which has continually been my task all along. Maieutically it certainly has had its influence. Yet I do not need to retract it, for I have never claimed to be its author.
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Appearing in two volumes in under the pseudonymous editorship of Victor Eremita Latin for "victorious hermit" , it outlines a theory of human existence, marked by the distinction between an essentially hedonistic, aesthetic mode of life and the ethical life, which is predicated upon commitment.
Each life view is written and represented by a fictional pseudonymous author, with the prose of the work reflecting and depending on the life view being discussed. For example, the aesthetic life view is written in short essay form, with poetic imagery and allusions , discussing aesthetic topics such as music , seduction , drama , and beauty. The ethical life view is written as two long letters, with a more argumentative and restrained prose, discussing moral responsibility , critical reflection , and marriage.
The book's central concern is the primal question asked by Aristotle , "How should we live? The aesthetic is the personal, subjective realm of existence, where an individual lives and extracts pleasure from life only for their own sake.
In this realm, one has the possibility of the highest as well as the lowest. The ethical, on the other hand, is the civic realm of existence, where one's value and identity are judged and at times superseded by the objective world. In simple terms, one can choose either to remain oblivious to all that goes on in the world, or to become involved. More specifically, the ethic realm starts with a conscious effort to choose one's life, with a choice to choose. Either way, however, an individual can go too far in these realms and lose sight of his or her true self.
Only faith can rescue the individual from these two opposing realms. After writing and defending his dissertation On the Concept of Irony with Continual Reference to Socrates , Kierkegaard left Copenhagen in October to spend the winter in Berlin. The main purpose of this visit was to attend the lectures by the German philosopher Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling , who was an eminent figure at the time. The lectures turned out to be a disappointment for many in Schelling's audience, including Mikhail Bakunin and Friedrich Engels , and Kierkegaard described it as "unbearable nonsense".
He returned to Copenhagen in March with a draft of the manuscript, which was completed near the end of and published in February Is the question, "Who am I? Fichte wrote in The Science of Knowledge "An in itself returning activity Egohood, subjectivity is character of the rational being.
The positing of itself reflecting about itself is an act of this activity. Let this reflection be called A. The rational being posits itself through the act of such an activity. All reflection reflects something as its object; let this object be called B. Now, what sort of a something must this object be as object of the reflection A. In A the rational being is to posit itself, is to be its own object; but its character is in itself returning activity.
The last highest object B of its reflection must therefore also be in itself returning, or itself determining activity, since otherwise it would not posit itself as a rational being, and hence would not posit itself at all. The answer is, I was not at all, for I was not I. The Ego is only in so far as it is conscious of itself. The proposition not A is not A will doubtless be recognized by every one as certain, and it is scarcely to be expected that any one will ask for its proof.
But such a proof is impossible. In Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel 's work, The Science of Logic , Hegel had criticized Aristotle 's laws of classical logic for being static, rather than dynamic and becoming, and had replaced it with his own dialectical logic.
Hegel formulated addendums for Aristotle's laws:     . Thus when an author entitles the last section of the Logic " Actuality ," he thereby gains the advantage of making it appear that in logic the highest has already been achieved, or if one prefers, the lowest. In the meantime, the loss is obvious, for neither logic nor actuality is served by placing actuality in the Logic. Actuality is not served thereby, for contingency , which is an essential part of the actual, cannot be admitted within the realm of logic.
The dialectic structure of becoming renders existence far too easy, in Hegel's theory, because conflicts are eventually mediated and disappear automatically through a natural process that requires no individual choice other than a submission to the will of the Idea or Geist. Kierkegaard saw this as a denial of true selfhood and instead advocated the importance of personal responsibility and choice-making. The book is the first of Kierkegaard's works written pseudonymously , a practice he employed during the first half of his career.
Journals and Papers of Kierkegaard , 4A Three devotional Discourses. The first volume, the "Either", describes the " aesthetic " phase of existence. It contains a collection of papers, found by 'Victor Eremita' and written by 'A', the "aesthete. The aesthete, according to Kierkegaard's model, will eventually find himself in "despair", a psychological state explored further in Kierkegaard's The Concept of Anxiety and The Sickness Unto Death that results from a recognition of the limits of the aesthetic approach to life.
Kierkegaard's "despair" is a somewhat analogous precursor of existential angst. The natural reaction is to make an eventual "leap" to the second phase, the "ethical," which is characterized as a phase in which rational choice and commitment replace the capricious and inconsistent longings of the aesthetic mode.
Ultimately, for Kierkegaard, the aesthetic and the ethical are both superseded by a final phase which he terms the "religious" mode. This is introduced later in Fear and Trembling. The first section of Either is a collection of many tangential aphorisms , epigrams , anecdotes and musings on the aesthetic mode of life. The word 'diapsalmata' is related to ' psalms ', and means "refrains". It contains some of Kierkegaard's most famous and poetic lines, such as "What is a poet?
If one were to read these as written they would show a constant movement from the outer poetic experience to the inner experience of humor. The movement from the outer to the inner is a theme in Kierkegaard's works. An essay discussing the idea that music expresses the spirit of sensuality. During this process he develops the three stages of the musical-erotic. Here he makes the distinction between a seducer like Don Juan , who falls under aesthetic categories, and Faust, who falls under ethical categories.
This section deals with theological questions. He asks if God seduces 1, people at one time or if he seduces one single individual at a time in order to make a believer. He also wrote about seducers in this way:. Achim v. Arnim tells somewhere of a seducer of a very different style, a seducer who falls under ethical categories. This is the real seducer; the aesthetic interest here is also different, namely: how , the method. There is evidently something very profound here, which has perhaps escaped the attention of most people, in that Faust, who reproduces Don Juan, seduces only one girl, while Don Juan seduced hundreds; but this one girl is also, in an intensive sense, seduced and crushed quite differently from all those Don Juan has deceived, simply because Faust, as reproduction, falls under the category of the intellectual.
The power of such a seducer is speech, i. A few days ago I heard one soldier talking to another about a third who had betrayed a girl; he did not give a long-winded description, and yet his expression was very pithy: "He gets away with things like that by lies and things like that. The object of his desire is accordingly, when one rightly considers him aesthetically, something more than the mere sensuous. But what is this force, then by which Don Juan seduces?
It is desire, the energy of sensuous desire. He desires in every woman, the whole of womanhood, and therein lies the sensuously idealizing power with which he at once embellishes and overcomes his prey. The reaction beautifies and develops the one desired, who flushes in enhanced beauty by its reflection. Therefore all finite differences fade away before him in comparison with the main thing: being a woman.
Kierkegaard believed the spiritual element was missing in Don Juan's and in Faust's view of life. He wrote the following in Assume that a woman as beautiful as the concubine of a god and as clever as the Queen of Sheba were willing to squander the summa summarum [sum of sums] of her hidden and manifest charms on my unworthy cleverness; assume that on the same evening one of my peers invited me to drink wine with him and clink glasses and smoke tobacco in student fashion and enjoy the old classics together-I would not ponder very long.
What prudery, they shout. I do not think that it is so. In my opinion, all this beauty and cleverness, together with love and the eternal, have infinite worth, but without that a relation between man and woman, which nevertheless essentially wants to express this, is not worth a pipe of tobacco. In my opinion, when falling in love is separated from this-please note, the eternal from falling in love-one can properly speak only of what is left over, which would be the same as talking like a midwife, who does not beat about the bush, or like a dead and departed one who, "seared to spirit," does not feel stimulus.
It is comic that the action in the vaudeville revolves around four marks and eight shillings, and it is the same here also. When falling in love-that is, the eternal in falling in love-is absent, then the erotic, despite all possible cleverness, revolves around what becomes nauseating because spirit qua spirit wants to have an ambiguous involvement with it.
It is comic that a mentally disordered man picks up any piece of granite and carries it around because he thinks it is money, and in the same way it is comic that Don Juan has 1, mistresses, for the number simply indicates that they have no value.
The next three sections are essay lectures from 'A' to the 'Symparanekromenoi',  a club or fellowship of the dead who practice the art of writing posthumous papers. The first essay, which discusses ancient and modern tragedy , is called the "Ancient Tragical Motif as Reflected in the Modern".
Once again he is writing about the inner and the outer aspects of tragedy. Can remorse be shown on a stage? What about sorrow and pain? Which is easier to portray? Draw nearer to me, dear brothers of Symparanekromenoi; close around me as I send my tragic heroine out into the world, as I give the daughter of sorrow a dowry of pain as a wedding gift.
She is my creation, but still her outline is so vague, her form so nebulous, that each one of you is free to imagine her as you will, and each one of you can love her in your own way.
She is my creation, her thoughts are my thoughts, and yet it is as if I had rested with her in a night of love, as if she had entrusted me with her deep secret, breathed it and her soul out in my embrace, and as if in the same moment she changed before me, vanished, so that her actuality could only be traced in the mood that remained, instead of the converse being true, that my mood brought her forth to a greater and greater actuality.
I placed the words in her mouth, and yet it is as if I abused her confidence; to me, it is as if she stood reproachfully behind me, and yet it is the other way around, in her mystery she becomes ever more and more visible. She is my possession, my lawful possession, and yet sometimes it is as if I had slyly insinuated myself into her confidence, as if I must constantly look behind me to find her, and yet, on the contrary, she lies constantly before me, she constantly comes into existence only as I bring her forth.
She is called Antigone. This name I retain from the ancient tragedy, which for the most part I will follow, although, from another point of view, everything will be modern. This is the totality which makes the sorrow of the spectator so infinitely deep. There is indeed enough freedom of action in this to make us love Antigone for her sisterly affection, but in the necessity of fate there is also, as it were, a higher refrain which envelops not only the life of Oedipus but also his entire family.
Kierkegaard may have been responding to what Hegel wrote about "divine commands and the State and country and community and Freedom and Reason". Subjective volition Passion is that which sets men in activity, that which effects" practical" realization. The Idea is the inner spring of action; the State is the actually existing, realized moral life. For it is the Unity of the universal, essential Will, with that of the individual; and this is "Morality.
Sophocles in his Antigone , says, "The divine commands are not of yesterday, nor of to-day; no, they have an infinite existence, and no one could say whence they came.
The Seducer's Diary
Appearing in two volumes in under the pseudonymous editorship of Victor Eremita Latin for "victorious hermit" , it outlines a theory of human existence, marked by the distinction between an essentially hedonistic, aesthetic mode of life and the ethical life, which is predicated upon commitment. Each life view is written and represented by a fictional pseudonymous author, with the prose of the work reflecting and depending on the life view being discussed. For example, the aesthetic life view is written in short essay form, with poetic imagery and allusions , discussing aesthetic topics such as music , seduction , drama , and beauty. The ethical life view is written as two long letters, with a more argumentative and restrained prose, discussing moral responsibility , critical reflection , and marriage. The book's central concern is the primal question asked by Aristotle , "How should we live? The aesthetic is the personal, subjective realm of existence, where an individual lives and extracts pleasure from life only for their own sake.
Johannes is an aesthete, dedicated to creating the possibility of seduction through the careful manipulation of young women. He stealthily pursues the innocent Cordelia until she becomes increasingly drawn to him. But when she is ready to give herself completely, she realizes she may have got everything wrong. United by the theme of love, the writings in the Great Loves series span over two thousand years and vastly different worlds. Soren Kierkegaard's childhood was clouded by the religious fervour of his father.