This is one of the first articles that I read about SK from a former Lutheran who died a Catholic priest. Anyway, here is a quote:
There are Christians who call themselves Kierkegaardians, much as others call themselves Augustinians or Thomists or Barthians. But Kierkegaard provides no school of thought, and most emphatically no “system,” that can be a secure resting place for one’s Christian identity. Kierkegaard offers only a mode of being, of thinking, of living that has no end other than the end of being “contemporaneous” with Jesus Christ, true man and true God, who has no end. The certifying mark that one has accepted what he offers—or, more precisely, what Christ offers—is martyrdom, and Kierkegaard yearned to be a martyr. The word martyr, one recalls, means witness. If Kierkegaard was not to be given the privilege of literally shedding his blood, he would bear witness in other ways. He welcomed the derision of those surrounding him, recognizing in them the same crowd that surrounded the cross of his contemporary, Jesus Christ.
Reading last night, I found this in Kierkegaard’s Journals (1847):
The evolution of the whole world tends in the direction of the absolute significance of the category of the particular, which is precisely the principle of Christianity. But as yet, concretely, we haven’t come especially far, for it is only recognized in abstracto. That explains why it is still impresses people as presumptuously and overwhelmingly arrogant to speak of the single individual, instead of recognizing that absolute humanity means precisely that everyone is a single individual.
As I look at people going about their daily lives, I wonder if the first step for a Single Individual is to show people that their lives are much more than survival. Life is much more than food, drink, pleasure, money, power, influence. Life is much more than the basics for day to day existence.
Survival seems so self-evident. If I do not have the basics there will be no tomorrow! Of course I need food, shelter, “love”. But it does not end there. Existence is much more than survival.
I just wanted to share this – Reflections: Mad Men & Existentialism
I think stories and how we tell them are important. Some TV is just escapism. But we cannot ignore that modern questions are sometimes asked in unusual and new contexts. So reflecting on real TV shows is going to be an ongoing theme on this blog – how do these shows reflect the questions we are asking? And, more importantly, what do they say about being a person in a modern age?
I have been re-watching Lost. (Remember when everyone was into it and every podcaster was doing a Lost fancast?) I have been hesitant to watch it again – not much value once you know how it ends. But I have been pleasantly surprised and entertained. Once you get past the whole “island mystery” thing, the characters are well developed. I like the interconnectness and overlap. Yet, as an Australian, the Australian sections are unrealistic and way off the mark – no “hot sauce” or bars in Australia!
Anyway, back to the point. I have been struck by the recurring theme of consequences. The main characters all carry the consequences of their actions onto the island. The flash-backs bring the choices of the individual into focus in the new context of the island. A Catholic may even see the island as an image for purgatory.
So the point: all our actions, and hence our choices, have consequence. Sometimes these are good and sometimes they are not. But every choice we make has a consequence that we have to live with.
So here are the take-aways for me:
- I make choices and they have consequences.
- Not all consequences are good or pleasant.
- But they are my choices and I cannot blame others for the consequences.
Soren Kierkegaard, Practice in Christianity, writes,
The established order desires to be totalitarian, recognising nothing over it, but having under it every individual.
I sometimes wonder if some modern institutions are not more cult than organisation?!
Moral of the story: join groups but do not let them rob you of your individuality.
Here are a collect of links to a great simple introduction to Soren Kierkegaard:
- part 1: What does it mean to exist?
- part 2: The truth of knowledge and the truth of life
- part 3: The story of Abraham and Isaac
- part 4: ‘The essentially human is passion’
- part 5: The task of becoming a Christian
- part 6: On learning to suffer
- part 7: Spiritlessness
- part 8: God and possibility
It is also available as an audiobook.