#individual

An individual is that which exists as a distinct entity. Individuality (or selfhood) is the state or quality of being an individual; particularly of being a person separate from other people and possessing their own needs or goals, rights and responsibilities. The exact definition of an individual is important in the fields of biology, law, and philosophy.

With the rise of existentialism, Søren Kierkegaard rejected Hegel’s notion of the individual as subordinated to the forces of history. Instead, he elevated the individual’s subjectivity and capacity to choose their own fate.

Wikipedia: Individual

SK and Merton – winning!

I stumbled across this in my Reader:

It is said that one of the most terrifying things that can happen to us at the final judgement, when we stand before God, is that He asks us this one question:

“Why did you not become the person I had created you to be?”

This Is How Kierkegaard, Merton, And An Obscure Book On Spinoza Helped Me Become A Writer

Now the post has SK and Merton – so we are winning right from the start. But seeing my journey reflected in other people’s journey is always an amazing experience.

I would love to be a writer but I know deep down that I will never be one. Nothing to say! Yet the post has reminded me that other’s have struggled with the same things and they have come through to the other side. So keep going!

There is another post I will check out later:

This Heartfelt Letter From Merton To Jacques Maritain Will Make You A Better Writer, Artist, Human Being

born again?

There is in us an instinct for newness, for renewal, for a liberation of creative power. We seek to awaken in ourselves a force which really changes our lives from within. And yet the same instinct tells us that this change is a recovery of that which is deepest, most original, most personal in ourselves. To be born again is not to become somebody else, but to become ourselves.

Thomas Merton (via Born Again = Imago Dei)

I appreciate in Merton that “faith” is a deepening of what I am not an abandonment. I wonder if it has something to say about our concept of sin and especially original sin. Again it is an emphases on the “Christ in us” and not the triumphalism of the “Christ for us”.

The article makes a deeper point yet: some of the rhetoric round the “born again” question is really a discussion about what it means to be in the image of God. Is every human being in the image of God? Or has the “fall” somehow smudged it only to be redrawn in the “choice of faith”?

Anyway, I would like to know the source of the above quote!

tranquilises itself in the trivial

I had some time this morning so I sat down to drink my coffee – rather than do it on the run between various duties. I read Kierkegaard’s world part 8: God and possibility by Clare Carlisle. I think I have read it before. I know I have listened to an audiobook version of the whole series.

I was struck by the following quote:

In The Sickness Unto Death, the despair that lacks possibility is described as ‘spiritless philistinism’, which both “tranquilises itself in the trivial” and “imagines itself to be the master”. In our own world, this takes many different forms: the reduction of spiritual teachings to rigid dogmatism; the commodification of romance; the stifling of intellectual life by a fixation on measurable “skills”, “outputs”, and “impacts”.

Kierkegaard’s world part 8: God and possibility, Clare Carlisle

Since I had a copy of SUD with me, I read the whole section where SK speaks about the imbalance (despair) of possibility and necessity. The psychological insight that SK offers often amazes me.

In my own context I have often been struck by how people will escape into the trivial – minutiae – of a particular issue. And become addicted to their point of view. I am not saying I have been, or am, immune! I like to escape. But my own experience of myself and of other people has really highlighted this “despair” of the actual over the “what could be”.

SO I have set myself a task: start dreaming more! Worry less about the mess and the problems, and start seeing the possibilities of my daily life. And in those possibilities see God working for and in me.

Where to?

I have been thinking about where I am intending to go with this blog (and hopefully the podcast). I really do not want to convince anyone of anything. I have no product to sell, no idea to proclaim, no party line to defend. I have absolutely no authority except my lived experience. Yet I know that life comes with many questions and many different answers to these many questions. And somehow I would like to be in that mix – helping finding answers rather than giving answers. So where to from here?

So while I was reading I came across this quote from SK about his task as an author:

“I dare not call myself a Christian; but I want honesty and to this end I will venture”

Søren Kierkegaard

THAT IS IT!! Be honest with yourself. I want to be honest with myself and I want to help people be honest with themselves. I really do not care where you stand (right, left, gay, straight, theist, atheist, Catholic, or Protestant) simply be honest in your own position. And make it that – your own position! I do not accept negative positions – “I am [X] because [Y] is wrong”. But I do accept that all positions have a sense of paradox and individuality to them. So “it is right for me” is an answer and a reason.

So there it is! A new year and a new direction. So this year I hope to post a little more regularly and a little longer posts. And, of course, I will post some new podcast episodes.

Some SK insights

I read a great article on SK and possibility this morning. It is especially useful since I am reading Sickness unto death. Anyway, here is a quote:

The important step for Kierkegaard is the concept “before God”. This is a Christian concept. He sees this actuality, standing in prayer before God, or becoming contemporary with God, as the highest for any Christian. Here the possibility of the offense is present, and must be ever-present. But here also the possibility of being able to become a believer  is present and is ever present.

SK & Possibility

The great risk in possibility is also the risk in faith.