Between Nihilism and Faith: A Commentary on Either Or by Karsten Harries

By Karsten Harries

If the Enlightenment became to cause to reoccupy where left vacant via the loss of life of God, the historical past of the final centuries has undermined the boldness that cause will bind freedom and retain it liable. we can't break out this background, which has issued in a pervasive nihilism and has rendered all appeals to the moral questionable. Nor might Kierkegaard. the threat of nihilism haunts all of his writings, because it haunts already German romanticism, to which he's so indebted. To exorcize it truly is his so much primary problem. And it's the related essentially spiritual predicament that makes Kierkegaard so suitable to our scenario: What this present day is to make lifestyles significant? If no longer cause, does the flip to the cultured promise a solution? to truly pick out is to bind freedom. Either-Or calls us to make this sort of selection, i.e. to be actual. yet what does it suggest to be real? How are we this day to consider such an real selection? As self sustaining motion? As a blind jump? As a bounce of religion? Either/Or circles round those questions.

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There was a school of estheticians who, because of a one-sided emphasis on form, were not without guilt in occasioning the diametrically opposite misunderstanding. ”94 Both are considered inadequate. A formalist approach may well seem to be demanded by the discussion of beauty found in Baumgarten and his followers (sensible perfection) 95 and then again in Kant’s Critique of Judgment (purposiveness 91 Cf. G. W. F. Hegel Vorlesungen über die ¾sthetik, Werke, vols. ” Kierkegaard’s journals make clear that he was reading Hegel’s lectures on aesthetics already in 1841 and 1842 (cf.

I don’t feel like riding – the motion is too powerful; I don’t feel like walking – it is too tiring; I don’t feel like lying down, for either I would have to stay down, and I don’t feel like doing that, or I would have to get up again, and I don’t feel lie doing that either. ”51 For a sense of homelessness: “There are particular occasions when one may be most painfully moved to see a person standing utterly alone in the world. ”52 For a nihilistic preoccupation with self: “I say of my sorrow what the Englishman says of his house: My sorrow is my castle.

Diapsalmata cern me any more – or they are faithful. ”64 What would appeal to him? A beauty that would not fade away! But what would that mean: a beauty divorced from love and life? We should note the connection between the satisfaction A sometimes dreams of and death. There is indeed an obvious connection: “There are, as is known insects that die in the moment of fertilization. ”65 Revealing about A’s inability to take his place in the world is the following: “I have, I believe, the courage to doubt everything.

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